I always learn something when watching another painter. Maybe I just see a tool or a technique that I can claim for my own or modify in some way. Perhaps some of these little videos will give you ideas for your own work. I have to say that I used to hate painting outdoors. I became confused and the results were generally sub-standard. When I started treating plein air as a minor event with lower expectations I began to better understand my motivation and to pick up on the spirit. A curiously satisfying activity.
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My daughter, Sara, and I have recently been listening closely to the music of our friend Rhiannon. The timeless old folk song, "Shenandoah," is a particular favourite. So one beautiful evening, when my assistant Samantha and I had a few hours to spare, we set about making a short video using the song. It's a sentimental tale about a young man who must depart from the daughter of an Indian chief. The video's a bit self-indulgent but, as in the act of plein air painting, a sense of timelessness overcame us as we lingered together on the lonely river.
A tribute, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is "a thing said, done or given as a mark of respect." When you think of it, all of nature and a great deal of what mankind has done are worthy of tribute. Further, when you consider appreciation of beauty or history or even the possibility of life enhancement, our art takes on greater meaning and more power.
Last week I was trying to advise a young lady who wanted to break loose from the landscape persuasion. "It's not even me," she said, holding up a tree. "I want to do something fun, imaginative, whimsical, goofy, cuckoo." Cuckoo, I told her, is serious business. Introducing incongruity, surprise and nuttiness is not easy.
"The Nude as Landscape" came about in a normal studio session. The painting was conceived as a figure study, in acrylic on canvas, but as the work proceeded the landscape-like contours of the human body suggested a broader landscape. The female figure became surrounded in air as well as light, and a new idea was born. This "second-generation" thinking happens when normal orders of procedure are reversed, causing new angles to be discovered.
Several days ago in the Queen Charlotte Islands I was faced with a particularly flat day. Overcast and grey, it wasn't even foreboding. Not much was wrong with the small canvas I painted down on the beach, but during the windup strokes I realized it needed something more. Changing the light is a painter's prerogative. Remembering the sunset of the previous evening--and the rain squalls passing through it--I thought, "Why not?"
Sara and I were guided above Lake O'Hara to a remote ridge known to the "Opabin Shale-Splitters." This was where MacDonald and his friends painted in the summers of 1924 to 1930. We could well see the appeal. Patterns of rock and snow in all directions. Light. Shadow. Atmosphere. Dramatic mountains all around. Lots of places to sit.
I needed to get out of the studio. We jumped in the car and disappeared into the local forest. I set up and made a little painting while Michelle set up and made a little movie. " Forest Spirit " is another of those Shoulder Clips that we have shown you before , but this one is in real time, a bit languorous and laid back. For her first flick, I think she caught the feeling. It takes six minutes.
A painter needs to think of the orderly processing of areas. As much as possible one should work from large areas to small, more or less setting up to hold these areas with negative areas. While doing this, keep in mind some elements of a painting cannot be handled this way, and must be painted topically. The artist should give a few minutes of thought before diving in. The idea is to decide on the approximate order in which the various elements are to be processed.
Art Videos I Recommend
"Over the past while, we've looked at about thirty DVDs and other online educational opportunities. These four are the most valuable we've seen so far.
Color Foundation for the Painter - A Complete Guide
Eight hours (thirteen chapters) of progressive demo tutorials showing Quiller's celebrated colour systems and methodology. Using recommended pigments as related to the "Quiller Wheel", we see systems of color mixing, application as well as effects achieved. Stephen steps you thorough a range of color compositions using watercolour and other media and shows how to achieve various moods from similar subject matter. Stephen has a steady and particular style of presentation that leaves no tube unsqueezed.
Two disc set $99.95 You can learn more about this new course by going to his website here
Not a tutorial but a prize winning full-length movie showing this remarkable Canadian painter working in a variety of unexplored and magnificent northern environments. This is the best painterly exposure of the arctic I've seen to date. Hiking, boating, backpacking in difficult terrain, this film gives the true magic of rough, hard-won plein air. Makes you wonder what we're doing at home. Mosquitoes, yes, but that's not what makes you itchy.
Single disc (one hour 25 minutes) DVD: $20.00, Digital downloads: $16.00 Website here
No more muddy color!
• 2 Hours of expert tuition
• 40 Breakthrough color exercises
• 240 Pages of printable lesson notes
Chapter 1 - Color Theory
Chapter 2 - Seeing Color
Chapter 3 - Describing Color
Chapter 4 - Value
Chapter 5 - Mixing Color
Chapter 6 - Manipulating Color
Chapter 7 - Color Harmony
Chapter 8 - Light Effects
• Easy step-by-step instruction
• Have a website online in a short time
• Save time & money by learning from a professional
• Learn how to attract more visitors
Learn how to...
• Set up your own website in a system that is easy to use
• Accept payments online
• Engage with collectors through Email Marketing
• Photograph your artwork & save quality images
• Get started with a blog, social media, and how to use them
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