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  • in reply to: Jac’s 100 days of landscape #2110296
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Thanks Jo! It was a copy of Good Wives, which is apparently part two of Little Women. Can’t say I’ve read it, but makes a nice prop 🙂

    Day 86 23/01/22

    • I’ve started reading Mastering Composition. The opening section was about “Armatures”… compositional templates, basically. Similar content to Payne’s Composition of Outdoor Painting thus far:
      • The proportion of the canvas are the four most important lines as they establish the relationship for all the shapes within.
      •  S-curve: meandering line to guide the viewer through a picture.
      • L-type: Motif is usually at the intersection of a horizontal-vertical line, with decreasing variation away from the motif.
      • Diagonal: Watch out for the viewer falling out of the frame, lose the “momentum” of strong diagonals with flats, verticals or loss of detail.
      • Triangle: Often found when using perspective and objects converge on vanishing point. Motif is usually at one of the angles of triangle. Same problems as diagonals.
      • Radiating Lines: Think one-point perspective or clouds radiating across a sky.
      • Steelyard (he calls fulcrum): balance of major masses by size, value, etc.
      • O (circular): Two types. One where the O emphasises the motif in the centre, OR where the O creates space to guide the eye around.
      • Intersecting vertical-horizontals: exactly as the name suggests, a composition dominated by line.
      • Cruciform: Essentially, it’s the de-emphasising of the corners – though not symmetrically. Placing the motif in the centre of the cross somewhere in the page, but not in the centre. This sort of reminds me of Kearn’s always trying to link darks horizontally across the page, forms the breadth of a cruciform.
    • I worked on the sketch below over two days in short bursts and just experimenting. I’ve used the reference before and really like the photo, but I struggle to get a decent composition from it. Plus, I have to make up a lighting scheme – so I just don’t think it comes out very good. Now that I’ve used up my better references, it feels like I’m really starting to struggle to paint from photos.
    • The most frustrating part is not knowing why the design of the picture doesn’t work. Some theories:
      • Compositionally, the left-to-right slants aren’t adequately balanced. The page might be too symmetrically divided.
      • Balance: There are no other masses to balance the tree. I hoped the shadow would do this, but it doesn’t.
      • Lack of a real middle-ground. I tried to push the back field into the distance with greys, but in the reality it’s just the next field over. It should be treated similarly to the foreground, but if given the same treatment, then there’s no middle-ground and it reads flat. Bit of a conundrum.  I invented the distant bluish and purple hills, which were an improvement.
    • I think I need to clean up my up-front planning routine: more thumbnails, value hierarchy, etc.

     

    Practice Time: Unsure, 2 hours?

    in reply to: Jo’s 100 days above the shoulders #2104720
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Nice work Jo. Good to see someone else on the long road that is Russian Academic Drawing!

    in reply to: Jac’s 100 days of landscape #2104252
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Day 86 21/01/22

    I’m still trying to overcome a feeling of  low-energy towards practising art. I suspect it’s the day-job sapping my energy and leaving me a bit anxious for peace – I keep fantasising how brilliant it’d be to have nothing to do all day but learn art. I’m finding some success in looking through a book of Wendt’s landscapes. The trick seems to be lowering the commitment to no more than a thumbnail, then once I start going, I tend to give it more time.

    • I watched week 13 of Designing Your Landscape Painting. I think it was harder for Kearn’s to communicate why he was making decisions when in the studio compared to outdoors, his choices seems more intuitive and subjective.
    • I finished off Gurney’s Color and Light. Great book. Not a ‘how to’ that I could immediately apply, but a great reference book for solving specific problems –  the section on colour theory specifically I found immensely useful. I have Mastering Composition by Ian Roberts to work through next.
    • I completed a reasonably quick still life of a glass vase to follow along on the Introduction to Still Life Painting. I did a few pencil thumbnails of the still life below (on the 20th) then did the bulk of the painting the next day. Just like the previous still life attempts, the bits that come effortlessly are better painted – in this case, the chopping board. I just threw in a few colours, layering  with a scumbling-like effect. It immediately looked satisfying and could be left largely untouched. I re-drew the book probably 5-6 times – going between what I thought it should look like according to the rules of perspective, before eventually just giving in and drawing what I saw instead. I liked the cool top-light and warm light reflecting from the chopping board. The vase is possibly the weakest element -not easy!

    My hope is that painting from life will improve my plein air painting, but perhaps I’m giving myself too much leeway for this “landscape” challenge 🙂

    Practice Time: 2.5h

    in reply to: Jac’s 100 days of landscape #2102185
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Day 85 19/01/22

    I thought I’d mix it up to try and muster some energy for practising, so I sketched my partner as she watched a show. I think this is the first time I’ve ever drawn a portrait from life. Quite a challenge to get the planes right of a constantly changing pose, but very good fun!

    She’s far more beautiful than I was able to capture! Maybe she’ll sit for a proper portrait one day 🙂

    Practice Time: 2h

    • This reply was modified 5 days, 9 hours ago by JacJac.
    • This reply was modified 5 days, 9 hours ago by JacJac.
    in reply to: Jac’s 100 days of landscape #2101018
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Day 84 18/01/22

    I was feeling a bit directionless (which often seems to happen after particularly enjoying working on something, highs and lows aye), so I grabbed a near-random reference image and set about doing a small sketch. It’s almost entirely a work of fiction, having chosen to impose a light effect not in the reference and re-arrange its main parts. Not a winning strategy, I’m starting to learn. I kind of like the sheep though 🙂

     

     

    Practice Time: 2.5hrs

    in reply to: Jac’s 100 days of landscape #2095872
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Thanks Jo! Mirochnik deserves most of the credit, I couldn’t have gotten as far with it without his drawing as a reference.

    Day 83 17/01/22

    • I watched week 12 of Designing Your Landscape Painting. It’s probably my favourite piece of Kearn’s that he’s demoed – a bit less conventional and modern, and the scenary is closer to my own than his Californian pieces.
    • So I thought I’d use the reference photo from the lesson and try a little sketch myself. The sketch below doesn’t hold a light to Kearn’s effort, but it also didn’t take particularly long either (by my standards at least). It sort of occurred to me that I don’t really know how to take paintings beyond the stage of laying in the composition, defining your shapes, getting rough colour/value families right, getting a bit of variety in. Perhaps I need to try painting on different size canvases, or just continuing to add detail and variety. Not sure.

     

    Practice Time: 2h – must practice more!

    in reply to: Jac’s 100 days of landscape #2091480
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Day 80 14/01/22, Day 81 15/01/22, Day 82 16/01/22

    Jeff Watt’s in a Youtube video “how to train to become a successful working artist” mentions that you’ve always got to be working, even if you’re unwell (it’s worth a watch). I had this notion of commitment bouncing around my head for two days as  I succumbed to lethargy and sleep. Maybe I had a cold, or maybe it  was losing a night’s sleep after the vaccine. Whatever the reason, I practised very little art for two days (12/13).  I couldn’t muster the energy. I did manage a couple hours in drips and drabs, but I was just going through the motions.

    For the following three days things got a bit better and I focused on the cadaver cast assignment from the Russian Drawing course.

    • 14/01/22
      • Still tired, I spent 1.5hrs laying in the cast, getting some big shapes down and the proportions about right.
      • I watched Introduction to Painting Still Life lesson on glass, just to try and consume something art related.
    • 15/01/22
      • A bit more on form, I completed most of the cast in 3.5h.
      • I watched the opening few lessons in Fenkse’s indoor painting series too. I was hoping it would be useful for still lifes and perhaps shine a bit more light on his methods for landscape. He’s definitely more talkative and at ease, so I think I’ll continue watching for a few more gems.
    • 16/01/22
      • I finished watching Mirochnik’s lessons on the cadaver and then drew for a further 1.5h to call the piece “done”.

    In all, I probably spent about 8 hours over 3 days on this cast – and when I compare it mark-by-mark to Mirochnik’s, I’m just stunned how good his is. He just sees details, and planes, and transitions, and edges, that I only see after he’s pointed them out. There’s a great deal to learn here! I like to think I’ll return to the cast tomorrow, as I’ve rushed it just to finish – but I doubt I will.

    Practice Time: 8h over 3 days

     

    in reply to: Jac’s 100 days of landscape #2083509
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Thanks Jo. They say teaching is one of the best ways of learning – so I suppose I write these little blurbs to try and teach my future self! If anyone else benefits, all the better 🙂

    Day 79 11/01/22

    An unproductive day. As soon as I’m trying to squeeze art practice in before/after work, my learning starts to suffer. Or perhaps it was just a bad day.

    • I attempted to take lessons from the previous day’s study of Wendt into a landscape sketch of my own from a reference photo, but I just couldn’t get any of it to work. I scraped back the hills several times until I could get it in a bearable shape. I left the whole thing a bit wooly-looking simply to move on to something else (perhaps I should face down a picture when it isn’t playing nice).
    • Post-mortem: I think the main problem was that the photo I used was awful. Bad to the point that I figured I’d either invent my own light effect or copy the effect from the Wendt study. Unsurprisingly, neither worked. I think the lesson is that you can’t paint your way out of a poor concept. Your best chance of producing something good, is to have something good in front of you to start with.
    • A positive to take away from the effort is, to my surprise, the background hills. After a few failed attempts to get what I wanted, I decided to experiment with a yellow/purple complimentary palette. The desaturated yellow went down like a green, and the purple does (as Kearn suggests) suggest distance. I’ve tried for this effect before, normally by leaving yellow out of a green mixture, but it just creates chalky pale greens.

     

    Practice Time: 4h

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by JacJac.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by JacJac.
    in reply to: Jac’s 100 days of landscape #2081658
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Day 78 10/01/22

    Back on the landscapes. I opted for another combo of doing a master study and then taking those lessons into an original painting (tomorrow).

    I’m enjoying getting to know Wendt’s work better, I’d love to see what the place actually looks like. A few lessons learned:

    • He commonly looks for a way to darken a corner in the foreground, presumably as a compositional device to guide people into the painting.
    • He repeated colour notes from foreground to background to emphasise aerial perspective. Background colours often had way more yellow in them that I’m used to – I think I’ve been interpreting the ‘yellow fall off’ too dogmatically.
    • The ground planes are arranged in shapes intended to direct the eye or stacked to create depth.
    • As the viewer is facing the sun, the sky is greener and lighter. The opposite effect occurs when facing away from the sun, with a darker, redder blue.

    Practice Time: 3.5h

    in reply to: Jac’s 100 days of landscape #2074213
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Day 77 09/01/22

    The goal of the day was to take yesterday’s practice of depicting metallic objects into a painting from life (and not a picture). It’s hard to justify this as having much to do with landscapes …except maybe honing one’s observational skills?

    Painting this coffee-themed still life was a bit of a rollercoaster. I started by being immediately overwhelmed with the highly reflective surfaces of the can and espresso thingy. They almost looked invisible, so I just put down shapes of colour where I saw them. Then about halfway through my confidence started to grow as I thought, “damn, this does look like reflective metal, this is going well”. It was only when I painted in the background colour (quite late in the process) that I realised I hated the overall tonality of the piece. The turquoise towel I chose as the ground just made the whole thing look oppressively cold and sickly, it was too late to change it given the dominance of the colour in everything. Then I couldn’t get the background to harmonise, after a few hue/temperature changes I scraped it off and decided that leaving the background unfinished and messy was the best I had gotten it to look (which says a lot!).

    So overall, I had good fun and achieved some success with the goal of the exercise (getting things shiny). Like the jug earlier in the week, the can was the least worked and it looks better for it. Funny how that works. I think I managed the reflections and handle of the espresso thingy well too. The drawing is decent.  Next time, I’d put more thought up-front into the environment/context when dealing with shiny things.

    Practice Time: 3.5h

    in reply to: Jac’s 100 days of landscape #2072037
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Day 76 08/01/22

    • I watched week 10 of Designing Your Landscape Painting. It was a seascape, which just looks impossibly hard to me.
    • I worked a bit more on yesterday’s ear, which I don’t think made much of an improvement.
    • I completed the assignment from Introduction to Still Life Painting from a reference photo.

    Practice Time: 3h

    in reply to: Jac’s 100 days of landscape #2069574
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Day 75 07/01/22

    • I watched week 4 of the Introduction to Painting Still Life class. The plan is to do the assignment tomorrow, see if I can improve my painting of metallic things.
    • I spent another hour on the landscape above. Full disclosure. I cheated yesterday. Having forgotten to take an in-progress picture, I posted the final picture instead. Fraud!
    • I drew one more ear for the Russian Academic Drawing course. I would usually want to do more assignments before moving on, but I’ve taken a real dislike to the 3D ear cast. I’ve filled a panel, so four is enough. I did the last one (bottom right) today in charcoal, to spice things up. I have little experience in charcoal – so it’s a real mess of a drawing.

     

    Practice Time: 2.5h

    in reply to: Jac’s 100 days of landscape #2067990
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Day 74 06/01/22

    Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time for practice today.  By the late evening, when I did have some free time, I was starting to feel a bit feverous from having the booster vaccine in the morning. I was pleased with myself for getting an hour in, even when my energy was low.

    •  Landscape sketch from reference photo – trying to apply lessons from the previous day’s study of Wendt.

     

    Practice Time: 1h

    in reply to: Jac’s 100 days of landscape #2067040
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Definitely Jo. Liberating is the right word!

    Day 73 05/01/22

    • I watched Fenske’s demo of the alleyway, lesson 14. I’ve got a few I haven’t watched from Introduction to Landscape.
    • I spent a few hours working on another William Wendt study. Quite a few lessons in this one:
      • Brushwork really showing the form of the ground slope, a lot of fun to try and imitate. It hadn’t really occurred to me to use the direction of brushstrokes to effectively provide a line through a landscape. In this painting, it’s like a big arrow to the subject.
      • Cloud – when I really zoomed in, the cloud was rose coloured except for the edges,  which were a pale yellow. I thought this looked really overdone in my own paint, but when you step back it actually has quite a pleasing effect.
      • Storytelling. – I had largely missed the two figures in the shade of the tree until I went to paint the thing.
      • Tree Light/shadow contrast  – I couldn’t quite get this right. Wendt had a lot of contrast, as mine does if not more, but is able to better integrate them to look like one whole. I tried using transitional values, but then it made the shadow distinction blurry and unstructured. Tough one to get right.

     

    Practice Time: 4h

    in reply to: Jo’s 100 days above the shoulders #2065046
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Morning Jo, that’s a great portrait. I particularly enjoy the rendering where the eye and nose meet in the corner – subtle but also structural, it gives the portrait a sense of depth. I notice all your eyes are well-drawn, I suspect you’ve made it a particular focus of your practice!

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