By Michael Chesley JohnsonThis is an excerpt from Maureen Bloomfield’s full feature “Poetry of Earth” in Magazine (September 2013). Click here to subscribe for 10 issues per year.For my studio painting Moran Point, I used a photo and several plein air sketches for color reference. Sometimes if I separate the issue of value from the issue of color and handle value first, my paintings seem to go more easily in the early stages.
Category Techniques and Tips
The subtle addition of cursive script to the smooth wash of the sky in May Poppies (watercolor on paper, 9×9) by Judy Morris adds a unique ﬁeld of texture to the composition and heightens the sense of place.It’s no secret that painting with watercolor is exciting; with each brushstroke, we’re reminded to expect the unexpected.
You Can Tilt Your Head, Wink, Blink or Rub Your Eyes — It Won’t Change a ThingIt’s nice to have a few things in our changing world that stay constant. Once you discover what is behind this aspect of linear perspective, you will be able to paint, draw, and sketch anything–from landscapes to the human body to still lifes–to look real and like it actually occupies the space you situate it.
Watercolor Painting Tips from the BinI’ve heard of painting for yourself, for school, for work, but painting for the trash can?! Artist and instructor Jean Haines says it might sound odd but when you paint like it doesn’t “matter” all of a sudden you loosen up and just might produce your best art ever!
Lists Are Great Things for ArtistsSometimes I get list fever, and today this is one of those days. The only list I haven’t made yet is my list of lists!But lists are great things, especially when you are like me, learning painting techniques and trying to apply them consistently and properly. Sometimes, a list of essentials helps me keep it all together in the studio.
Painting Techniques You Can’t Go WithoutOf course, there are more than three painting techniques that will allow you to create a compelling artwork, but learning how to paint a picture well can certainly start with these elements.RhythmPainting objects that actually look alive, in the case of the figure, or lively, as in a landscape, is often a matter of visual rhythm.
A lot of painters have strong opinions about whether or not it is helpful to premix colors on the palette or ‘set’ a palette before painting. For example, if you are painting a still life with green apples, at the onset you could mix a large quantity of the green you’ve decided to use so that you have it in reserve throughout the process.
Fun Techniques for Paint TextureWhat you make it do! A paintbrush isn’t animate. It isn’t going to teach me how to paint or go about painting art when no one is looking. It needs the hand of the artist to do its job. But one thing a brush—by its very nature—is made for is emphasizing paint texture. Just think back on how early Renaissance artists worked through decades in which a smooth glossy surface was tantamount.
I’ve spent way too much time in murky classrooms looking at slides, slides, and more slides. I’m convinced that the entire academic field of art history would grind to a halt without projectors, carousels and, you guessed it, slides. But what is weird about looking at so many images is I find myself thinking I know exactly what a sculpture or a painting really looks like because I’ve seen a photograph of it.
So Many Ways of Painting Flowers!Spring is in the air and that means a return to one of our favorite subject matters–floral painting. When I started writing I thought I might have trouble settling on just five unique looks for painting flowers–and I was right. That’s because every artist paints flowers differently.
Painting on VacationIt’s already August!?! Are you in last-chance vacation mode like I am? I spent all winter and a ho-hum spring imagining sunny summer road trips and exotic jaunts. But now I remember that almost every time I go on vacation, my glow wears off once the artists show up.Inevitably, I see a traveler who is painting on vacation, creating landscapes or sketching, making significant and personal mementos.
Attack Your Canvas with More Paint TextureI sometimes put so much emphasis on what I’m painting—thinking about what makes a strong composition and how to lead a viewer through an art piece —that I will forget or forego the opportunity to explore a purely sensory relationship with the surface and paint texture.
Easy Ways of Making Figure DrawingsWhen you get comfortable creating figure drawings or sketchings, you watch your whole world change. Every person — waiting in line in front of you, sitting at a table across from you at a cafe, on the bus or passing you on the sidewalk — is a figure waiting to be captured in your sketchbook.
Painting Light in NatureEven now it sounds like a beautiful, incredible and impossible thing to accomplish. I mean, painting light? It seemed like magic to me at first. I didn’t understand what it all entailed. That changed after I began studying Camille Przewodek’s work.Przewodek is a plein air painter and was a student of Henry Hensche, who in turn was an assistant to the American Impressionist Charles Hawthorne.
For a Good Portrait Painting, It’s a Must!I remember when Mr. Nemerow, my very enthusiastic freshman biology teacher, launched into what, looking back, I’d best describe as a full-body fit about how the epidermis is our largest organ, accounting for the most real estate on our bodies. It is vital for life, and in art terms its tone, color, texture, and shape can make or break a painting, especially in portrait painting.
The watercolor terms ease of lift and nonstaining describe related qualities of watercolor paint pigments. They’re good terms to understand when learning how to paint clouds in watercolor. Nonstaining paint pigments come up from the surface of a painting easily with soft scrubbing. In other words, nonstaining paint pigments have an ease-of-lift quality.
Ready to ditch the big canvas and start painting small? Check out this FREE painting demonstration, pulled straight from Joyce Washor’s book, Think Big Paint Small! fw-capture-inline campaign=”RCLP-think-big-paint-small” thanks=”Thanks for downloading!” interest=”Art” offer=”http://media2.fwpublications.
Sketching As a Starting PointIt’s tricky when an activity involves technique but is actually done best when you just get loose and let things happen naturally and effortlessly. Dancing is that way, and learning how to draw and sketching are, in part, that way too.There are a lot of things you can analyze in drawing.
I’ll be honest with you all–I am not a painting technician. I read a lot about art and, as you know, love to look at paintings and drawings all day long, but I am still a babe in the woods when it comes to many methods and approaches to painting.For example, I’ve heard a lot about the sight-size painting method, but it’s been challenging to find someone who can answer my questions about it and really prep me on both the rudiments and the big-picture aspects of it.
One of the newest kits from North Light Shop is the Watercolorist’s Guide to Painting Water, and it has plenty of resources to get you going, including Ron Hazell’s new book, The Artist’s Guide to Painting Water in Watercolor. It includes more than 30 techniques, as well as a chapter on the importance of creating a value study for your watercolor paintings.
New to small painting, or just enjoy making pretty art? Well then, here’s a fun and free, bite-sized painting lesson you’ll love! Did we mention it’s FREE? fw-capture-inline campaign=”RCLP-think-big-paint-small” thanks=”Thanks for downloading!” interest=”Art” offer=”http://media2.fwpublications.com.s3.