- Lesson Details
In this lesson, instructor Steve Huston will demonstrate his painting process. Here, he focuses on the finishing stage of the painting, like controlling the temperature, harmonizing different elements, and refining the silhouettes. You will learn Steve’s philosophy for painting and what masters have influenced him.
This lesson belongs to the course Creative Composition. In this 6-week course, Steve Huston will teach you the main visual components frequently used in fine art. You will discover how line, shape, and color help strengthen the storytelling of your work. Steve will show you examples from the Old Masters as he presents each significant concept. In doing so, he will talk about how these components are applied in other art fields. Since this course was filmed during a live workshop, you will also be tuning in to his Q&A sessions and critiques of students’ works. Moreover, you will watch Steve develop a composition for a painting from start to finish. After completing this course, you will gain a deep understanding of art philosophy and composition; what you need for creating successful artworks.
Throughout this course, you’ll have access to the NMA community for feedback and critiques to improve your work as you progress.
Transcription not available.
Let's move along here so we can get what we need to done.
I forgot to change that out, but that's okay.
I'll use that for the moment.
And then we'll change out in a second.
Need more paint up there.
Coming out here.
Now that's dirty up there.
But I'll just go up above it or you can come down here and put it there.
You don't really want to put clean paint over dirty paint.
And I'm painting with little zigzag strokes.
Let the textures happen organically rather than having to render
them and looking for surprises.
The short strokes gives me a little more control, adds a
little bit more of nervous energy.
So that's that.
Now let's start playing - that's close enough to get in the white out of there.
Let's start playing with some of the other areas.
Get this over here, actually.
I'm gonna let that cool off just a little bit.
My world, when things start to go farther from me, they
start getting a little bluer.
I'm gonna let that happen, even though that's, you know, a foot or two.
This I won't do much about, we just won't have time to, but I can get
a little bit of action in there.
And just little laws of perspective, idea of foreshortening and diminishing.
So we'll make this get bigger here.
And we can even do things, even though it's going to be the reverse.
I'm saying in my world, as we go back things are going to
get bluer and bluer and bluer.
But I'm also saying that when things get closer to us and not
only warmer, they're more intense.
So I can put a more intense color there, switch my brush and it
could even be, you know, this more intense color, it will gray down a
little bit, relatively more intense.
And try putting a very cool color there since it's shadow.
So it's getting more intense.
The value holds it as a shadow and of course that's a shadow facing up.
So it's catching the skylight.
Presumably this is going to get bluer and bluer and bluer
as it caps over, arcs over.
Now this in here, I don't see it in the reference I'm looking at now, but when
I was looking on my computer, the little thumbnail shots of the landscapes, I'm
talking about the smokiest landscape now where the trees are really faded back,
they looked actually kind of reddish.
They had kind of this red brown, it was like the mist got dirty red brown.
So I'm going to use that because when it blows up big enough to see the colors
clearly that doesn't show off, but it was the impression I had when I saw it.
And I liked that because that again gives us that sense.
Well it does a couple things, it gives me coverage for my dirty drawing that
maybe has given me trouble in my painting, but also it takes that earth color
and brings it up into the sky color.
And that's kind of one of the magical things about the trees is it's - it's
an underground on-ground and in the air spirit, you know, you have
typical mythologies, you've got Hades who lives under the ground.
You've got Poseidon who let's say is more earth bound, he's in the oceans,
and you have Zeus in the heavens and the same way with most nature spirits and
such they're either under, on, or over.
And so, the tree is a very magical idea
potentially, but it has a real magical sense to it in that way, because it's
such a keen example of life, growth, and worlds coming together, you know,
the many worlds coming together.
So I'm going to fill that in and then I'm going to make it
a little bit redder and darker.
How red and dark I got to test that out.
Now I've got some dirty paint there.
So whatever I mix here is going to mix here and it's the value, intensity, and
temperature is going to drop by half.
This is lighter, grayer and cooler.
This is darker, more intense and warmer.
So I'm going to get half strength basically.
And that hopefully will be about right.
If not, I'd remix.
Or I could put that in say, no, that's not right at all.
And so I need to remix and totally cover up the blue.
And again, this also has a bit of a fleshy quality to it.
You know this deeper red.
Let me get, a little bit more, show what I was talking about.
The deeper red could well be the deepest, darkest half tones or
the red shadows in the flesh.
I have a little bit of blue in there, which I actually liked, but
it was not the point I'm making.
So we'll change it.
So then that can push that way and maybe strongly so.
Maybe pick that up here.
And maybe while I'm at it.
And see here, I'm just going to search out that color.
That'd be cooler and dirtier for now.
Clean it up a little bit later if I decide it needs it, and it will
need it, but this is good for now.
And I'll let it go down into a darker, warm shadow.
That'll feel like maybe it's going into the tree growth and it will show that that
blood is there and notice on the figure
as we get into the smaller body parts, they oftentimes get redder because
the blood's coming to the surface, you get into big areas, all the blood's
down in the organs in here, up here, the - not much blood and well there
actually is, but it's under the surface and it's more pale, but in smaller
areas, you get to see that blast.
So what does do that for now.
We'll clean it up a little bit later or we'll keep it dirty
so it stays out of our reads.
You know, it doesn't distract.
Gives her maybe a solid base, like a tree, a monopod rather than a - than a bipod.
And that might give her tree like interest, you know,
all sorts of possibilities.
So where was I?
Got distracted here again.
I'm going to go back.
I kind of lost that color.
Getting distracted into the little figure there.
And so this ended up being a little cooler than that, and I kind of liked that.
It's gradating this way.
Here I'm making the blue get bluer and the green get redder, you know, the
blues going yellow over here, red over
So there's a little gradation there.
So let that happen here.
So I'm going to let this get a little less red, maybe up here.
It picks up again.
Like so, and let's do this.
Maybe have a few sky holes there.
And really too early to do that, but just to give the idea in case
we don't get back to that much.
So anyway that's that.
There's my tree line.
Now I've got to make that grass lay back better.
I got to get the shadow.
Let's get the shadow out of there cause at least we'll be done with the white.
It's a little bits of white, but it's more or less the same values
as this so it's not disturbing.
There' little flickers of white and those cause problems actually, it
makes it look like there's a million little highlights or more likely it
looks like there's white canvas coming through, destroying the illusion.
We want to get rid of that.
But for the moment at a glance, it's part of the coverage.
Let's deal with that and then we'll actually change our paper here.
And now this was a dirty shadow and my brush was dirty and it's bumping
into dirty color and all that adds into the dirty shadow ness of it.
And so it doesn't really create a problem.
It could, you might throw you off and say, you know, that's
just not where I wanted it to go.
And so you might well need to correct that and clean that up.
And I'm just going to let this fade off as a soft edge.
There was a request by whoever it was about edges.
We'll talk more about that later, but create a little bit less
interest in that by losing the edge.
Maybe this goes out of focus, kind of almost out of the cone of vision.
Okay, it could just be the sense that there's a lot of branches,
foliage over the top there.
Now let's deal with our landscape here.
And so I'm going to look to my other reference for this, and I have this real
light patch here against the darker trees.
I've made my trees a little lighter in contrast to the sky,
less contrast than what the
reference has, but I like that because I want the contrast to stay in here.
So that's fine.
You can always change it later.
Always that qualification.
There's a little strip of light here.
That's very cool.
Pretty much sky color there.
Then I look to the other one and we get some really beautiful blue greens
in there, which I particularly like.
That's why I put it in.
I didn't want to pick up the heavier architecture of the background, those
deep kind of mounds and hollows, but I like the color palette.
There's not enough room in here to deal with it.
So I won't deal with that.
So let's do two things here.
Let us get shadow.
There is the
tree casting a shadow on the closer
And so there's this pot here I used.
Gonna put it in here.
Now let's go ahead and deal with that.
Could have down the gradation first, I just wanted to see how
things played out proportionally and I would anchor the tree.
The shadow - the cash shadow out and especially the shadow underneath,
like under her chin anchors under here, anchors, gives weight.
It makes it feel like it's pulling down.
Because that's our experience that things that have mass, size, form may
not actually have weight, but it feels weighty and it feels locked to the ground.
The darks kind of pull it down and are basically a metaphor for gravity.
So putting in your shadows really gives you a sense of gravitas and
let you know if you've got the sense of volume and solids that you want.
So let me change the palette here and what I do in these kinds of
situations, if I'm in a class, I just tear it and I just leave the paint
If this is all mucked up, dirty mucky paint, I'll scrape off the little
that's good and put it on the next sheet, but it's still doing okay.
And usually you can get away with this without all coming to pieces.
Di advantage of this is you lose some mixed colors that may be really useful,
but oftentimes at this point at the lay-in, when I've blocked things and
developed a few ideas of where I'm taking other things, it's pretty dirty.
And William Merritt Chase at this stage would clean off his palette, wipe
down it completely, get rid of all of the colors, whatever is left, get a
new set of brushes and begin again.
So he had fresh color, fresh tools, fresh turpentine, solvent, and he could begin
again and get a nice clean fit because there's a fair chance this is going to be
the most intense this is ever going to be.
As I start rendering, everything's going to muddy and dirty up,
and that will be the battle
that you wage, trying to hold onto your richness because part of having a sense
of light is having a sense of color.
Identifying its orange or blueness, its intensity and its value change.
And so if we lose the intensity of color, we oftentimes it'll
hang onto the rest of it.
But we lose the intensity of it
it loses some of the impact of light, light equals color.
So you lose the intensity, you're losing - some of your toolbox is getting robbed.
All right, let's see here.
Now, as I add white to this green, it's going to get lighter
and grayer and a little bluer.
And so it might be just what I want right there.
Give it a shot.
No, I think it should be grayer.
But I'm not sure.
So I'm going to create some variations.
I'm going to go to the yellow and the blue and bypass the green.
You can see, I keep cheating going back and forth, which
is not the best way to go.
So making that stroke, gets dirty, wipe it off.
And I like standing up when I work, because you can, sometimes you're
thinking and acting and looking and your body wants to move around with it.
So you can disperse some of that energy or tap into some of that energy.
I got into the dirty white, because I'm looking for dirty color here.
Maybe some of the, the trunks of the trees back there are getting darker.
And I'm just kinda making notations to myself.
They might end up being the best part of the painterly painting,
but that's not the intention.
I'm trying to be loose and nimble.
So when an opportunity comes, I grab it or know enough to leave it alone.
Really, what I'm trying to do is get rid of that white and make some
notations on the canvas for what I want.
I want a few darker trunks, maybe a few bits of dappled light on those trunks.
And so that'll remind me to do my very careful rendering of those trunks later
or whatever plans or however it evolves.
So that's that.
Now I like this, the blue-green very much tying in, some of
it in here and will be more.
So I'm going to go ahead
and pick that up in there.
And that'll do a couple things.
It will bring in that blue sky light, for it to get more intense.
But also I'm lightening the value a little bit.
And that'll make this a soft edge, the closing of values.
Getting them closer.
Makes that less interesting.
There's less contrast.
It's now cool on cool, soft edge, blending those things together.
So it's not going to suck me out to this corner.
I won't do it cause I don't want to waste real estate on my palette,
but this should have a, ou know, this should be my frame here.
So I don't want that corner to be really interesting.
And you can see as soon as you frame it out, you've contained the world
so that the you're allowing it to be consistent within there and not
seeping into a brand new world.
This is a new world with new rules and in this world everything's just white.
And it goes off into stuff that has a whole new range of rules beyond that, and
that, that corrupts, that subverts this.
So I don't want that to happen.
So I frame it out so I can see it.
And there's many a painter who will have the frame ready for the canvas and even
an inventory of frames with an inventory of canvases if they're a high producer.
And they'll get going here and they'll go, okay, let's see.
I think that's working.
They'll come in, they'll put the frame on it, pop it into a frame or the wet
paintings that they're in progress,
they'll slip them in frames and lean them down on the wall around the studio, and
then taking a break here they look over 20 feet away, there's a painting there
and frame that could say, you know, that this blue sky, it's just too anemic.
So I need to let them know that it does turn into blueness here.
So that's the problem in that thing.
And it may have taken him a couple of weeks to figure that out.
Or her of course.
Or her to get around to telling him that that's the problem.
Whatever it is.
So let's push this darker, bringing in a little richness of color.
Not out of the too richness, but in the character of our peace, now we're going to
lose the contrast with the upper branches and trunk, at least at the moment.
We may decide to recover that in some other way, but that makes
us less interesting up here.
And that might be absolutely appropriate for our real intention.
In fact, I might even let this get dirty and once it dries and I can come back
on it, I can clean it up, but maybe dirtying that blue up, gives us a sense
of a blue sky, but doesn't make it too pretty, takes away from the candy
lovely pastel range that we have here.
Maybe I'll even lose the edges here.
I kind of fade into atmosphere in a way, a way of showing that that
eventually goes back in space this way.
So always kind of thinking through, looking for chances, possibilities
to take and not getting seduced, Pied Piper taking you off in the
dangerous or unimportant territory, but how can we improve our basic idea?
You might well work in this painting and halfway through, come up with a much
better composition, tonal solution, you know, color palette, framing device,
whatever, and say, you know, what would be really good is if I cropped in on
this little girl right here, took her out and make this cool, make the whole thing
But save that for another painting.
Do another version.
Do a Monet haystacks, where you do several, but you put them into
different lighting situations or color palette or design or whatever.
So we have that.
Let's let this
coolness seep around here.
All right now let's work on that tree and ground that out a little bit more.
And take that back actually, let me do this tree, which is really
going to be the same problem.
And so I'm going to make a whole range of gray off whites basically.
What you could do is take a plastic paint scraper rather than a metal one.
Metal spatula but use of plastic one.
You could scrape this down too.
I don't have that, but that would be a way to not have to change things up so much.
So I'm going to make a blue violet here.
a little bit of that other side.
I'm going to take advantage of the dirty brush to show the bark turning
over into those shadows there.
And I still haven't decided whether I want to push this cooler the way it is here.
So that's something really, of course, it's better worked out in the
cop stage, but I can also do that.
Right now we will do that, but do it wet over dry and then make a correction there.
And one, one place I could test it actually is
right down here.
I can push this cooler here as it moves into the,
See if I like that.
I'm not sure about that.
And just kind of being - just play with it.
All right, so let's do
one more thing here.
All right, I'm going to go ahead and push that cool right
there and see what happens.
I'm not sure but we'll find out.
Maybe before I do that, let me lose that edge there.
And I might imagine that that's a soft windblown little dress, summer dress.
And so maybe that means that I, I soften the edges or it could mean that I
break up the silhouette a little bit.
So let's give this a shot.
See what happens.
Now whatever I mix here is going to mix with what's there.
So I have to deal with that.
So when I put these on here, it's going green.
I don't want it to go green like that.
So that means I have to add a little red to counteract the green.
You can see it's kind of a science experiment in a way, so
it's gotta be a little purpler.
I don't know.
So we got to figure it out.
So let's see if that's right and that's not the right value.
And I don't want to push it to the dark value until I'm sure of the temperature,
but what I can do is use it down here.
It's, it's fairly close to the temperature.
And so I can pick that up.
I'm feeling better about that color here now.
So let's go ahead and sneak in some darker gray.
So I'm going to go ahead and go to my black.
I haven't used that before and just mix a gray.
We don't want to make it a dead gray though.
So let's make it a gray that's dirtied towards something or
another that's in the painting.
And so let's try that
And there, and sometimes you'll look at something you'll say, you know,
I look there and I see it's really cool but it's also a really warm, you
know, it's warm compared to the blue.
It's cool compared to the dress and the blasted out light.
And so you can do actually both and lay some cools in there.
And warms together.
And let it go ahead maybe go up warmer.
So that's a little bit of that.
Let me just to get a better feel for that.
I'm going to push this down darker yet.
I'm feeling a little more confident.
I'm still not sure I'm feeling better.
Let's get even some light and shadow patterns that are actually
picking up the texture of that bark.
I just threw away a perfectly good paper towel there.
To test me.
And I'll start bringing in our shadows here, heavy hitters in terms of value.
So I'm bringing in that color because I got a lot of color in here and then
I'm taming it down with a gray and we could do that other ways, but I had
a lot of color in there and I didn't know what color I wanted to make the
dirty stinking bark and shadow there.
So I'm using the actual black and white gray, as opposed to the two compliments
or three primaries together, gray.
And then that's given me a little bit of a security blanket to feel better about.
And what I'm going to do here, I think is as the shadow - there's
shadows on both sides of this.
Light's coming this way, but this is casting a shadow over it
and so it frames it really nice.
We have a shadow coming down here, shadow coming down here fairly
well throughout, which is lovely.
So what I'm going to do
is push the values darker at the edge.
I'll show you what I mean by that.
So the shadow is going to get really dark at the edges here.
Actually put a pure red, more or less give or take the dirty brush.
So it grayed out a little bit, and it laid on the colors that were
there before, but it's a bright red.
But it's so dark you don't see the intensity.
And that's a problem when you're trying to show the intensity.
So if you need to show a lot of intensity, you need to get into the
middle range, middle value of things, the pastel, and a little darker.
If you get any lighter than the pastel things really gray out, no
matter how much you try and save them, unless they're in the yellows.
Then you can get up nice and light in value and intense in value.
And that's a great savior of the landscape painter is nature paints with
yellow light in some form generally.
And so you can get not only a nice bright color, you can get a terrific intensity.
But when you get really down in value, you lose the intensity.
You can't see.
So that means you can sneak a very bright color into a very dark shadow,
and it'll have a sense of richness without showing off its richness
and that can bring a little bit of excitement to your colors.
Let's do that.
I need a spot here.
I'm feeling a little more confident in my warm and cool shifts here.
And I'm just going to let that fracture away.
Now, one of you fine folks had asked me earlier about edges.
There's three basic edges.
There's hard, soft, and lost.
And as I'd said earlier, the hard is going to be the most contrasting
and the lost will be the least contrasting, more affinity.
It's harder to see the difference between things
if you lose the edge where one begins in one end, so full gradations
or lost edges are harder to see.
Soft edges attract a little bit less interest and the hard edges, wherever you
find those, are the greatest difference.
This definitely stops.
This definitely begins.
There you go, look at me.
So you can use that to fine tune.
So if I want this edge to be more interesting than this edge, this
is a soft edge and I like it.
So I'm going to make this a lost edge.
Now there's several ways to make soft and lost edges.
It can be a, a, just a blended gradation soft edge, or it can be
a jagged soft edge, or it can be a broken, soft edge fading away.
This does a little bit of both as it fades off.
And so this is more softer than this
and then maybe this gets a little more lost up here, like so or something,
or this gets totally lost here.
So you can play the game of how much interest you want.
You can keep the value in color change.
If you muck around with it too much, like I am, and you'll lose some of
the intensity change, but you'll get that strong separation or that
strong grouping, whichever you prefer.
All right so, but I'm going to push - my thought here is to
make the shadows on the edge
stronger in value and the shadows in the center of our old girl here
subtler, more middle value shadows here.
And we can even experiment with pushing it bluer
as it goes.
You know, this idea that we had done.
And I need better coverage.
So I'm going to make - mix more paint, put that in there.
A little too bright, but I'm going to leave it for now cause I like the color.
And at this point I'm just kind of playing with possibilities.
I'll change them back and forth.
And I'll spend at this stage now that I got everything covered
up, I'll go from area to area and I'll just kind of do what ifs.
And I'll kind of mix and match ideas.
So what if I got much cooler, but also much lighter on this side.
Here it's kind of lost, but what if I pushed it up stronger
like it is down here, but in the real cools, bring out the cool quality there.
And I might decide I really liked the cool, but I didn't like the warm
underneath, so I might let it dry so I'm not fighting that warm under painting
that I thought was such a clever idea and I realized it was a mistake and I just
let it dry and work on another painting.
And can come back to it, like so.
But we won't do that of course.
So let's finish off some more shadow and see where we're at.
I can see this starting to change very much as we add this new
color and bringing the texture.
So a lot of times you're just going to have to play.
If this is my 33rd painting, I'm going to know the effect
I'm going to get before I go.
And so I'll have a process to build up to my final aesthetic master plan.
But at this point I don't.
So, what are you going to do?
You're going to just play and see what works and be patient.
Be like the cat waiting for the mouse to pounce on the best
idea as it presents itself.
I'm gonna get back and take a look with you guys.
So some interesting stuff going on there.
Some really pitiful stuff going on there, but now I'm gonna go ahead
and come up here because I'm gonna need this value and see if what I was
thinking is going to work with this.
I push this down much darker.
So I've got this real strong dark up here, getting caught with shadow
from some higher source it's off camera.
Maybe it's this.
We don't care.
It's off camera.
Just like Rembrandt's light, let the audience bring their
imagination into is that the sun, is it God, is it a candle power?
Is it a studio arc light?
What is it?
But anyway, we're going to bring this in and all I'm doing, I don't
need reference for this because I'm not changing any of the detail.
I'm obscuring, hiding the detail.
I'm going to put the gradation on it
and then I will come back and add detail back over the top of the gradation, do the
gradation first so you don't have to sneak around obstacles to get your gradation.
If you've got all this stuff and you have to gradate from here to
here, you have to - untenable.
It's not going to work.
With here do the gradation first and then put your drawing back on it.
The downside of doing that gradation now, first, is you'll lose your drawing.
And so that's one of the reasons, one of the many reasons we want
to be a decent draftsman and it might be a draftsman of trees.
And if you want to be a draftsman of trees, be a draftsman of people
and you'll learn many great lessons.
Same dynamics are there.
It's just that this is a stationary structure and this is a mobile structure.
And so we have a change there, but the basic laws of balance and pull of
gravity and watery design is right there.
Let me get back again.
And really, I paint from way back here.
I'm not doing it as much as I would for obvious reasons, but I paint back
here and catch it from a distance.
See what it looks like this size, or you can do is take it off the easel,
turn it upside down, put it there, walk all the way across the studio.
Or what I'll have is I'll have the painting here and on this wall here, I'll
have a mirror and so I can be painting and then I can look at the mirror and
I've doubled the distance instead of 10 or 20 feet, I've got 20 or 40 feet
and I can see what I need to see.
All right so now I want this to be slightly behind that, just a little
bit as Ray Charles would say.
Well, the trash cans filling up.
I'm going to need to change palette paper again in a second, but let's work on this.
I'm going to push the cools in here and see what happens since I've got
them right here and see if I bring in a puddle of blue around this,
what's going to happen.
Now a lot of that yellow is still gonna sneak through.
I'd have to really pile it on to get rid of it.
And that's not mine intention.
I just want it relatively bluer here so that this kind of cool grays spills
out around, does tie in, harmonize with that, but also creates a nice
foil for - hopefully a nice foil
for my little dress there.
It's not my dress.
Of course it doesn't fit me.
Although I did try it on.
And oftentimes in a sketch, and that's all this will end up being, it's a sketch or
preliminary comp for my eventual finish,
oftentimes you can give a sense of texture.
Textual difference and that'll be enough to suggest
So I'm giving these kind of quick, zigzag, heavily broken dashes, strokes,
and that's suggesting the grass and you can even come in and do things like this.
You'll see that a lot actually in landscape painters of the
past or present, look at that.
And notice how I'm cutting through all of the
paint and down to the stained canvas and it becomes that stain
idea again, let's do it here, it becomes more intense than it was.
And of course, lighter than it was.
So I can come in here and bring back some of that warm stain and maybe have some of
this kind of gnarled texture come through and have all sorts of fun with that.
Or I could get a palette knife, which I don't really have, but I
could use this and I could take this.
I'll do it here so you can see it and do the old palette knife technique.
I'm not a big palette knife guy, cause it becomes just kind of a little bit
of a cliche, but also it becomes a real crutch for getting textured paint down.
And so you have your grass technique, your craggy cliff
technique and that kind of thing.
And of course, anything can become that.
This can too.
But can you surprise the folks?
That's what I want to do and have it vary, and have a little bit of energy,
a little daring, sometimes originality.
But I mean, once you've come up with it, then you use it again the originality
goes out the window pretty soon.
At least it's not common.
The basic rule was this is relatively warmer, more intense, more detailed
and bigger in scale than what's back behind, but that's not always true.
This is more intense than this, which is closer.
And this is more intense than a lot of this, but in general, it's true.
Specifically, we can find exceptions, but in general when you look at it, this is
way more intense and a lot warmer, even though I've got cools all over the place.
So as long as you keep the overall warmth, as long as this grass is
overall more warm, warmer I guess I should say, than this grass and that
this blue yellow is warmer than this blue yellow, it's going to recede back.
And also, even if this ended up - let's go ahead and do it.
Even if this ended up being I'll push it real white here.
Make a little more obvious to you.
Even if that bit there ended up being way cooler than this overall,
it's still warmer yellow grass, bluer green grass, blue sky.
You're still having that.
So you can have an exception or a variation as long as in general en
mass you're following your rules.
And value kind of trumps.
I was trying to get that value up just like you'd want to get the value
up in the highlight of the nose.
And just because it's warm light and pink flesh, you don't have to make
that a pink or yellow highlight.
You could make it a blue highlight.
And because it's just a little change, the fact that you horribly broke the
rules, doesn't hurt things at all.
In fact, in some ways it would help.
If I make that cool white instead of warm white,
well it's subverting that law of light.
It should be lighter.
Well, it is lighter.
It should be warmer.
It's not warmer.
It's not warmer as the flesh is warmer, it's not warmer as
the light source is warmer.
What I've lost in breaking the rule, I've gained in creating a greater
contrast because instead of putting a warm light dot on a warm dark
dot, I've put a cool on a warm.
So not only is it separated in value, it's separating in temperature, even
though it's not separating correctly.
But the fact I put a little tiny bit of blue there and we can find excuses
why there should be a little tiny bit of blue there, you know, maybe this
is Kentucky bluegrass right there.
Maybe somebody spilled blue Kool-Aid there or something, but anyway, as long
as the value follows and the overall silhouette is doing what it should do.
If I made her really cool in value, she'd look like she was a
ghost or she should be back here.
We'll make her overall warm.
So you can break the rules as long as you keep the big things following
and as long as you have a certain foundation, you can say, I'll keep
the values, I'll play with the colors.
I'll keep the values and the colors, but in the small areas, I'll
start to get sneaky and creative.
See what happens.
And if you step back and look at it back from a distance and you guys
can step back from your computer screen, look at it from a distance.
Is it working back here or not?
That's what we want to want to know.
Look at it.
I have a whole rainbow of temperatures in there.
Now these are a little dappled light are supposed to be in
here, but look up in here.
This is supposed to be shadow.
I'm not done.
So that's a qualification, but as long as I control the value range
of that shadow, I can play games.
There can be all sorts of reasons why this goes really blue.
Well, if it's in a deep shadow, but you have the bright blue sky coming down
and hitting this, but because of the branches, it doesn't hit anything here.
Or, you know, maybe it does.
It's still going to read, it's going to be the value that trumps.
Now notice I started to subvert the value a little bit.
That blue, and even this blue, get quite a bit lighter and this gets way
lighter than the surrounding shadows and the shadows are already fairly
subtle compared to what I've established
they could be.
Here I made it blue, but I made that blue almost exactly the same
value as the earthy tone underneath.
And so that blue sat on top and it was just strictly a temperature change.
But here we have blue on red and here we have blue on red or red
orange, and the values are changing.
And so that does start to subvert and destroy the shadow.
There might well be a reason why it's actually happening, but you
usually don't want to do that if you want to keep the form.
But I'm doing it for now, because I'm doing it for now it will
probably change and this'll probably get lighter, so that'll help.
But I just wanted to get that blue note, but also what I'm thinking is
I may want to take this cast shadow.
Now, one of the lovely things about cast shadows, when you get a cast
shadow or something, it tracks over the contour of the form and
really describes the character and the perspective of that form.
So having these cast shadows here are particularly useful because they
tell the audience how round it is.
Cast shadows here.
Notice this cast shadow's pretty straight and stiff.
That's not very helpful.
So I'll probably, if I'm going to pick it up, this is fading out at this moment,
if I decide to pick up that cast shadow, I'll probably want turn it, so it's going
this way let's say, to go back into space.
So anyway, the cast shadow is particularly useful, but I'm thinking
I might want to keep the contrasts, the lightest light, well, not necessarily
lightest light, but the darkest dark over here and let this fade out.
And it'll be interesting to see if it'll do this or do this.
If I fade it to the blue, maybe it's going to fall back in the blue, or
if I fade it to a lighter value, even if it is blue, even if I cheat on the
temperature, because it's in the light center, it will track this logic.
And because it's contained clearly in the drawn form, it's
separated nicely from this blue environment, maybe it'll do okay.
Or maybe things get bluer as they go off.
There could be all sorts of reasons why that happens.
You can see the trunk just by the nature of the trunk is very red here
and here, the wood and here that same bark structure is much cooler.
And then we actually have dappled leaves laying in front.
So it looks like it's mossy green over the top.
So there's all sorts of possibilities there.
So I'm just playing.
What I want to do is just try things out and I can always change them later.
So value trumps almost everything else, almost all the time.
And even that you can in small areas, and this is a relatively
small area, relatively small area.
You can completely subvert that just because it needs that kind of excitement
color, or you want to kind of play it down on to play something else up.
All right, let's see here.
What am I doing?
So now I'm just gonna play here
and see what happens.
And quite often I'll put a very strong warm in the shadows, like I did here.
I put that real strong red, or it could be deep orange.
So if the value says dark, deep shadows, but red as we
know, the color red advances.
So if I put that red over here, that's farther than this.
And so the value and the drawing and the structure say that
part of the shadow is farther from me than the little girl or the blasted out bark or
whatever it is, but the red comes forward.
And so it gives depth to those shadows.
This makes that shadow feel like it doesn't sit flat on the canvas,
but it has depth in the canvas.
There's all sorts of little tricks
you can do, visual tricks.
And sometimes they'll work great and sometimes they won't work at all.
It just depends on the relationships that you've set up around it.
We want to stay nimble.
We want to be not slaves.
You know, that's the problem with the us realists is we get to be
slaves to the subject matter.
It's such a beautiful tree.
She's such a cute girl that I better show that, or I'm not very good.
I'm not talented if I don't get that likeness, if I don't get that
personality, but your painting may need her to be a little Quasimodo.
She's going to be gone.
She'll grow up.
You'll pay that model and she'll leave the studio and all your collectors, all
of your fellow artists, all of history, all they'll have is your painting.
And then they'll judge it strictly by that.
They don't care about the rest.
Why that courage to create, you know, it takes courage to do
what you have to do sometimes.
And to go ahead and let something look a little uglier or a little less
interesting than it really is sometimes takes all your nerve to try it.
And sometimes you'll fall flat on your face for trying it, but
those great epic failures can lead to great epic revelations
too for you for another opinion.
So I'm planning on epically failing here.
And we'll see if I can rise or lower to the occasion.
So I'm going to search and I'm going to have to change my paper
here pretty quick actually.
This has a little spraying or you might've punched holes in a tuna can,
put it into a coffee can or something.
Don't do this, drag it across and then just spin it.
So that you're always training the brushes to go back into place.
And then you wipe that off and squeeze it and pull it that way.
Again, training the brushes back into place.
And it's already getting some frayed edges and that can
potentially cause problems to it.
But this is a painterly piece and we have a lot of texture
there that could be fly-aways in the hair can actually help me.
So let me change this out one more time.
Put that there.
Let me take a look again back here.
All right, so let me work on the top of the tree a little bit.
We won't to do a lot of that.
I'll just let that be unfinished so we can see if I can get a
little more finished down here.
Cause that'll be something that I'm sure you're interest in.
We'll work on this.
I think I was going to work on the little girl, but we'll do this.
So I'm making that same little kind of, not whole elbow, really a crinkling of
a material into an elbow shape there.
Pushing the dark and I'm going to do this just because it's shiny.
Gonna have to get off camera to see.
It's a little shiny and ideally in this kind of situation, in most studio
situations, I've got it back so you guys can see it well, and we had to
attach this, but ideally you'd have it tilted forward a little bit because
as you lay it in, it's no big deal.
But when you start getting thick paint in there like this, it starts to get shiny.
And I can't really see how dark that is.
and the other isn't I can't see how dark it is is because I stroked this way.
I am stroking that way.
If I stroke this way, I can see it here, then all the hairs of the brush scratch,
you can create these little rise and fall.
And every little rise is a little stair-step that catches light and shines.
So if you do this, you're going to get shinier paint.
And if you do this, but unfortunately, it's almost the reverse actually,
because we've got studio lights doing this, you know, in a, in
a triangulation I'm surrounded.
So I'm going to actually turn it back this way.
And let me take a look at what's going on here.
Really off the
composition, it bothers me.
So I'm going to fix it.
This is not off.
That is off.
That's really catching light there, turning them that way, but that's okay.
I like that.
We'll leave that as a painterly suggestion of what it should be.
Now I'm going to get some more green here.
keep it from
flopping around on me.
And notice I'm doing quite a change in temperature, very red,
deep shadows to give that depth.
Red comes forward, shadows go back.
It makes it feel like it's a into the rabbit hole kind of thing.
And then much cooler body of the shadow catch the reflected light and
we can even push that lighter there.
And so I'll search for the value.
Don't want bits of flexible white there.
Search for the value and then I can always come back and shift the temperature.
I'm going to use an opaque yellow, so I don't have to add white.
So just a bit of that.
So work on our little lady here.
That's an odd ball end.
I've never seen that before.
All right so let's work on her hair.
I use the same, it's brown hair and it was sun drenched colors.
So let's pick up more or less what's going on there.
Actually, I'm gonna go ahead and bring that down green.
I got sloppy.
Now I need to rub that back.
So let's take a brand new clean brush and I'll rub that back.
I got a little spot of my grasp green in there one way or another.
I'll push that to the edge.
So would be a nice way to frame the darker hair turning like the darker trunk turns.
Let's say I planned it that way you guys.
That was a redder version of the same thing.
It looks like a helmet now, but that's okay.
We're just gonna
let it define that shape, that rough shape for the moment and
take a look at this shadow.
See what we got.
All right so if you want to see how blonde hair's painted, look at
Sargent, Paxton, Benson, that whole group who kind of followed Sargent.
Frank Duveneck, especially like Paxton and Benson.
They'll really simplify things out and they start to get a little lustrative.
You can see where Sundblom, the American painter who did all the
Santa Claus for Coca Cola, Andrew Lumis, all those kind of folks.
Harry Anderson, you could see where they got their style was Sargent
and then Paxton and Benson, and then Harry Anderson and Sundblom,
and the rest, it kind of distilled
commercial style of that.
Beautifully done, but you know, everything's perfect product
placement, that kind of thing.
So it doesn't have the gravitas of fine art that's done for the
painting rather than the product.
And also, it's just, it's lost a little bit of the inspiration because
it's a student of, rather than a leader of aesthetics kind of thing.
So we've seen it done just as well and usually way better by
Sargent and Zorn and those groups.
But you'll see that
they'll use kind of a green number
for the shadows of the hair.
Oftentimes not always, but you can feel there's the bangs, build
up a little pile of it here.
It'll be somewhere in here and if it's Benson and Paxton, it'll be
incredibly simplified, beautifully, cleanly simplified, great study, and
how to take all those little hairs.
You know, you got a billion, little hairs on your head.
Or at least I used to, and it's been broken down into three or four
shapes with a couple of gradation, just beautifully distilled.
All those early illustrators did that.
It was kind of the style of the day and this lovely as a great
lesson in how much do you really need to say what you need to say.
You can see all this stuff, this energy to give you have a certain personality, the
little footnotes to myself, or in later renderings it'll probably never happen.
Or you can take it down to that thumbnail simplicity and really do wonderful things.
The other way to go is to take it very warm, make it a richer, deeper version.
So we have this blonde hair and effect.
And we're going to push it down into the reds because it's moving into the,
you know, the sunshine is warming it up and so you could push it that way.
I'm going to push it both so that you can see both, but those
are the possibilities there.
And then, and there's other ways to do it, of course, but study
the hair of Sergeant and arrest.
Zorn and see how simple, simple can be.
So there's our basic shape without the highlights.
Now I'm going to try and have a better shot.
The shape is just like a hell.
It reminds me of the eighties - makes me laugh to think of it.
The eighties newscasters in California and nationally and stuff and so
they all have this helmet hair.
The women did, not the men, probably the sixties the men had it, but
they had this helmet hair, you know, it was always shoulder length.
And it was sprayed so it wouldn't move if they did this, I guess in the
studios, they never moved in the studio anyway, but it just went down like this.
You could do a crash test in it and do just fine.
So you don't want that.
You want it to feel like it moves.
I know I want my hair to move when I, when I'm out and about
hanging out with trees and stuff.
So we don't want that effect.
I need some more white.
And I need a little more of the flesh color
now, since Sarah is.
Warm and cool around her and there's warm and cool in her, what
I oftentimes do in these little impressionist studies is I'll get a,
a cool blue or blue, green, whatever.
I'll add, I'll try both reds.
It just depends on what's going on.
So it's a little pink and then I'll bring a little bit of that blue in there.
And I'll do it again and let's make it less green this time.
And since I already had yellow white there
I'll just lay the green on it.
And then this is an awful small little figure, isn't it?
And so I'm going to want to go back and forth on how much information I give it.
That's a pretty mighty gradation.
It's a very egg like and it's probably too - too powerful of
a turn for this little head.
It looks, it makes it look like she's a snowman and I can put on
the features and fix the drawing and all that kind of stuff.
But this size, it's a little hard to do that, but it can be done certainly,
but it's just a little too much.
So I might come back and just flatten that out and even lose - power up
on the amount of paint on my brush.
Lose that shoulder shadow from her little outfit, little sun dress there.
And maybe even lose the distinction between her dress itself.
And it does that in the reference.
It blasts out as her chest comes up and catches light blasts
out that pink pretty fully.
So I've got to load up because there was too much paint there and
I'm going to cool off a little bit, cause there's a lot of pink there.
And so this is way over the top, but it's going to mix with what's going on there.
And I got a lot of that pink into my brush.
I'm going to clean off the brush.
If I have to reload, I'm just going to slightly reload.
And then pull that off there and do it again and let this
fade off and do it again.
And I'm not being real careful about cleaning my brush now
because I want paint to stay around a little better than it was.
Like, so now I've kind of blasted that out and that gives her a sense of she's
catching light, but also it gives me relief I don't have to redder the details.
And I still have to do a better job with the shapes.
Notice I'm spending the time refining the silhouettes rather
than rendering the convolutions.
You know I got to make a better head, so I better get a better little eyeball
in that little eye socket on that little forehead and cheek on that little face.
That's kind of a lost cause to do that unless I've got five or six
hours and a microscope, basically.
So instead refine the color shifts and the
silhouettes and let that be enough.
So respect your tools and respect the scale unless you're doing miniatures,
little things should be simpler and
simpler in detail and
clean in shape.
Or completely lost, so you don't have to deal with it.
And again, there's some warm and cools going on there and that's
going to give a sense of the flesh.
Just played back and forth with the shape itself until I'm happy with it.
So let's now pick up a nice
rich shadow the hair on the hair, off the hair and onto the face
and maybe onto the chest there.
And maybe we just leave it like that.
I'm in a risk.
Putting it a little lie, sock it here.
I just got to try it.
So we just do that much.
Now I'm going to put a little highlight on the hair.
Just because, you know, the scale doesn't warrant all this, but she's
right in the middle of the composition.
She's the thing we're going to go to first or stay with longest whenever we find her.
So it behooves us to
give a sense of credibility to her.
Impart that sense that she's a pretty little girl and all that kind of stuff.
So I'm going to set up.
There's the highlights there.
and then I'm going to shift my temperature and go to a bluer.
Got some red in there.
I'll just play the rainbow game.
I'll try bluer, redder, or probably don't want to do redder, but we might want to
do oranger, greener, more olive green, and we won't spend that much time on it.
We'll do that.
So now one thing I have to do is soften the silhouette.
So let's come in now
and kind of play with that and I'll go back and forth on that.
And this is kind of a Sargent technique in a sense, what he would do is he
would have the helmet head of the hair, let's call it on the light side
and he'd have the shape of the cool white of the bark coming into the tree.
But he wouldn't end the helmet head right at the perfect drawn line.
Although he was Sargent he could have done it, and he won't end
the bark right at that same line.
That's where the drawing should be.
He'd take it out too far.
He'd destroy that drawn edge and then he'd bring this back over to
try and find that drawn edge again.
Or he'd do the same thing here.
He'd overlap where the hair should be with background and he'd come
back over the background with hair.
And that's what I did here.
I brought the tree over the top of the hair, and now I'm going
to try and correct that tree.
And it might well take me a few times to do it.
Am I go back and forth until I get it?
But by doing that, you get to the buttery edges as Sargent was so famous for.
And so I go back and forth, back and forth until it was just right.
And that's plenty good enough.
Let me just clean up this other side a little bit.
Alright and then I think we're going to want to go a little warmer here.
We can even lose the silhouette there.
Bringing a little bit brighter color at the edge of that.
And just kind of searching out for just the right peach,
pink, orange, whatever it is.
And maybe I'll pick up a little bit of that on that side with a little
bit of pink to suggest a hand that might have come out and shot back.
The ghost of a hand there or a sense of the drapery.
Now I'm going to use a cool shadows to obscure those legs a little bit.
I'm going to really load up to get those deepest moments.
Can really kind of play games.
Like sometimes I'll take a figure, i, I don't do this really
anymore, but I take a figure.
I'd say, okay, let's do an art history lesson in the figure.
This is going to be realism and I'll paint that you know, my style, but
I'll paint it pretty dead on and well-structured, and everything's there.
And maybe it's a Rembrandt realism, but you get the idea.
And then this will become impressionism.
And then this will be expressionism.
I'll get a little sharper with the colors.
Little more flipping around with the planes like a Cézanne might
do, or, and then I'll get down here and it'll be a Diebenkorn.
It'll be a figurative abstraction and let it evolve.
And rather than just letting it fade back into the mist, you can let it fade
out in terms of realism or amount of detail or harmony to disharmony or a
cohesive technique to more broken and then fractured and then blown up technique.
So I'm just going to do that.
And then I can't, I always say that, I gotta do more.
I'm going to - I'm going to do more.
So what I'm going to do - that's just a little dirty.
a little more defined and I might decide I don't like it after I did define
it, but there's that little hand over there, let's say, and that's a little
blasted out, but I'm not going to muck with it and go through that again.
What I'd probably do on that is I'd let that stay, it's fine it's that
blasted out, but the hair is so in the chiaroscuro kinda light that, that
blasting out just makes it blasted out.
So what I'd do is I'd let that dry and then come over and glaze that back a
little bit, maybe a little closer, let the pink features, pinker version of that.
What I can also do if I want the, let's say the hands and such to start
moving into the bark.
I can come in over with cooler highlights, cheating on the temperature, but now
I'm going to put a little highlight on the hand, let's say, or fade out
the red there and let it start to more merged like a tree spirits and
let her start to merge back into the tree as the less interesting parts
So anyway, we could do that and we could use fracturing off and
all sorts of stuff like that.
Let me do one last thing here.
Yeah, let's do that.
That's shorthand for, I don't know what to do with that.
So that's that.
Let me take a look back here with you folks.
Let's take that tree a little bit farther.
So I'm going to make a
- gonna make like a palette of white here.
Let's see what I have left in terms of clean brushes.
And you can see hope you can see how dirty - you probably see through, you
can see how dirty that solvent is.
And so that's affecting all of your paint.
Now, if you're working in this kind of real muted pastel, that actually
can help you, that dirty brown.
In fact, if I had my big palette, rather than throwing this stuff away, I'd scrape
it all off into one big pile and I'd have this nice rich gray that's created
by all of the colors and the specific colors that I've used throughout.
And so I'd use that for this stuff, but it can also of course fight you.
You're trying to get that little girl's flashed to get prettier, richer,
nice little peachy, pastel, whatever.
And you're gonna fight, fight it, doing that.
All right so, let's see what we were going to do.
push that up.
So I'm actually using just the white, but with my dirty brush, it's kind of a dirty,
you know, brown and bring that up here.
I'm gonna let that, just do that.
And I'm rotating my brush to get to a clean side with a lot of these strokes.
And I'm going to take this and let it hop, skip and jump over this stuff here.
And that's going to take these rhythms, these staccato rhythms.
If we looked at, I don't know that we ever did it, but you look at
a Poussin painting and you'll see all the additional stuff going on.
And then you could just chase reds throughout.
You can do that.
There's a Dean Cornwall also, it's some murder scene and you can just
see these reds kind of spot and you can trail back through this
trail of blood in effect, but it's
an outfit or a hat or a shoe or something like that.
So, and you can just kind of chase it and that becomes a gesture.
Something that maybe helps this X just by taking this and dot
dot dot, just continues on.
You let the audience make that closure throughout.
So let's do that.
Again, we'll let this break off, like it's fractured wood and it is to some degree.
And then my signature.
Deep dark red shadow can pop that in there, there, and we'll get that nice
red shadow, super dark, like it is here.
So it picks up this idea, but also it lets us know in this case that
the warm arm against the really warm dress is vibrating and throwing a lot
of red and orange into that shadow.
If you look at a Boucher, look at Watteau, especially Boucher, there were
around the same time, 1700s kinda range.
And, you know, you'll have this beautiful little goddess or nymph or girl on a
swing or something with a strapped outfit.
And you'll see the pinching arm against the pinching side
of the rib cage or breast.
And it will be fire engine red more or less, just put that in there.
And that will be the reflected light and it just boom.
And of course it's all about love and sex play.
And most of that stuff in the Rococo was just sex play.
It was daliances.
It was taking the Baroque, took the Renaissance egg and the classic
Raphael version of classicism and made this glorious flesh, whether
it was mythological or a Christian.
And then the Baroque, van Dyck and Rubens took it and made it lush and central
flesh, but still idealized and distance.
And then the Rococo.
Now it's painting for princesses and Dukes and Kings, and
they're just out for a party.
It's just a Marie Antoinette, let them eat cake era, and it's
just pure sex play basically.
And so you have the red of passion now, a sexual red bouncing in there, but it was a
beautiful, glorious color to put in there.
And so little things like that that you say, you know, I'm offended by that
with my modern sensibilities that they would do this, you know, treat love so
flippantly or whatever your reacting or just, you know, it's, it's old dated art.
I don't like that.
You can steal these wonderful little gyms from them that way.
So let's see here.
So let's go ahead and work on our shadows a little bit on the tree.
Let's see here.
And when you're working like a French impressionists, which in a
way I am, with these colors, you got to be on your game everywhere.
You know, every color has got to be this beautiful harmonious work of art, and it
has to follow the laws of color theory to the degree that we've talked about.
And so it's a lot of pressure, frankly.
If you're a Brown School, then all you have to do is push that stuff to brown.
So this is all Brown School and it was so easy.
It looks okay.
It's kind of nice.
You might well see this kind of treatment in the background of a Coro,
for example, or a core bay, for sure.
And you might come on with a little bit of opacity here, but
I mean, that's pretty close.
This is all kind of
overblown technique, kind of a frivolous technique, so that doesn't really
track anybody's, but just footnotes, notations to self kind of thing,
but that you could leave that in a secondary area, or it could even be the
primary area in a nice little sketch.
But as soon as you start coming in and saying warms and cools, riches and grays,
light and shadow light, the pressure's on.
And so you got to work.
So sometimes you're better off even that these outdoors, just to stay with the
Brown School and do maybe a little bit like this, this is something at van Dyck
or Rubens or any of those guys might do.
They just do it better.
But I mean, it takes the pressure off a little bit.
So all this stuff working out exactly how warm, how cool the
shadows and stuff would be.
That's a tremendous amount of work.
And play, unless you've just been doing it for a lot of years and you'd
just go to your same old colors and put it in there, but it's tough stuff.
So oftentimes just let all the shadows and darker halftones fade to brown.
Brown School says everything that's not indirect strong light
goes brown becomes a non-color.
And for the most part,
everything then that is in that non-color, that lightless world
gets no or very little attention.
So you can just let it be brown.
And it's just a, it's a load off your shoulders, frankly.
And I can still take it back to some degree to that, but we won't do that.
I'll be brave and we'll just let it be what it's going to be.
Yeah, I'm using a heavier touch with a better loaded brush, and
then I'm pulling off a lighter touch with slightly less load now.
If I need more load, I turn the brush and a catch that blast of pigment.
I'm just going to let the smokey branches here
and the dappled leaves and the sky holes, you know, the sky coming through define.
Now notice that if this were an arm, it'd be a poorly designed arm because
it's bulging on both sides like this.
And nature doesn't do that.
Almost always you'll find one curve is quite different in character
than the other side curve, because they have different functions.
One is going to draw the arm closer, let's say, and the
other is going to pull it apart.
One's going to be working in fighting gravity while the other side is
going to be relaxing with gravity.
And as one flexes and bulges up, the other's going to relax, get out of the
way so it doesn't get muscle-bound.
So more than likely it's going to do this kind of thing.
And notice that makes it start to have some kind of curve or S curve.
This does not.
So this is a limb, not a limb, but they're working under the same
dynamics of watery design, of movement.
There is movement here.
There's just no movement down here.
There's movement here.
This stuff - these branches are going all over the place because
they're chasing the light.
They're trying to get away from the shadow of most of the day of some other
branch or some other tree or the trunk.
And they're chasing after that light source, they're just slowpokes at it.
So we don't want it to be stiff and straight, hardly ever, same with
the human form or the animal form.
We want it to be
energetic and fluid.
What is fluid too?
It has sap for blood.
No sap jokes.
I'm tempted but I won't make any sap jokes.
By making those corrections, see how it's more interesting,
and you get these fun effects.
So something you would never have gotten probably if you planned it.
That's that Sergeant overlapping in effect.
I painted the tree here and I corrected with the negative shape of the sky.
And now I'll do maybe the reverse.
I painted the sky here.
Now I'm going to crack with the negative shape of the tree in there.
Let me come back here with my paintings.
And if I wanted this limb, if my concept was it was going back and space at some
angle, the more I could wiggle it back and forth, make an S curve or a zigzag,
the better it would go back in space.
We'd get this kind of idea or this kind of, you could have that
diminishing and tightening set of
moves going back, going back and that wind would draw you back in, it sucks you in.
Let's work on the grass a little bit.
Put down my dirty brushes.
And then we'll work on kind of our hot spot in the bark area,
as opposed to the stripped areas.
So let's work on this a little bit.
Let's take some of this, come down here, take some of this
and take some of this.
Look at William Merritt Chase's grass.
He's not one of my favorites because he's not as near a gifted draftsman as Sargent.
He was about the time of Sargent.
In fact, if you're ever in New York, the Met, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in
New York, one of the great museums of the world has a Sargent in the American
wing, they have a nice Sargent painting.
Nice big six by four, seven by five kind of thing.
And it's a portrait of William Merritt Chase.
His students bought a commission for him and did his portrait and
it's just a glorious portrait.
And it's a way better piece of art than Chase could ever do in my
opinion, he's just not as gifted.
And one of the reasons for that is he was not - or two of the
reasons for that, he's just not as good at drawing is all my opinion
And he was almost photographic in his value choices, you know,
his best paintings in my opinion, where his little fish still lives.
Because they were dramatic.
They were fresh, he would - the story may be apocryphal, but we will use it.
The story was, is he'd go to the fish market in the morning, pick out his
two or three or four fish set up the still life, paint away his little
fish painting, strip all this down, clean it up, get new materials, go
on that, finish up the painting, take the fish back and get his money back
cause he did it so quick.
So he just had a great eye, great understanding of what needed to be done.
You know, I had a great experience and vision of it, but those fish are dramatic
and just, it's like a slashing sword play in Three Musketeers is just this
wonderful adventure in brush strokes.
He never reached that level in other areas.
And I think partly because in figure, figure's tougher than fish to do.
But you look at like a scene in the park.
You'll see, someone's sitting on a park bench, a couple of people in the park and
the green grass is almost photographic.
Not that you're fooled into thinking it's a photograph, but it's just the right
green and it hasn't been manipulated like Inness would do to make it extra
manic or extra murky or richer sunlight.
It's just a slightly cloudy or slightly sunny day that shows you grass, but
he's right on the money with it.
And so you can take stock from that and see what he did to get
that nailing it kind of thing.
And the same way with water, water is difficult.
It's very much like skin because you've got whatever murky color is in the water.
Then you have what's underneath coming through the transparency and you have
reflected light and actual light.
The other would be mirror reflection of the environment reversing
into it and then the light effect of the warm sun and such on it.
And so you got layers and levels to deal with that are quite challenging.
So you look at your favorite painters, Turner or you know,
a lot of California landscape.
Granville Redmond, Edgar Payne is great.
Painting a mountain scene with a lake in front of a mountain
or something like that.
Now look what I can do here.
I can come back and add warmth back over it.
And now I'm going to get that warm under cool.
There was warm than there was cool and there was warm again.
And that might seem more appropriate to the level of space to you, but
also you've got an adventure in color there that gives more depth.
And so we can pick this stuff up here.
And you can take the almighty brush stroke, there'd be a guy on the
station and you can do that kind of stuff, but I just don't like that.
It's a trick.
It's like you take a toothbrush with paint to splatter for the wind
swept waves, you know, you get back and it actually can look very good.
You know, it can be very credible from a distance but you get up
it's just so disappointing.
It's just not there.
I had painting I just did that was one of these big commissions.
And I had this kind of floating kind of snowflakes, stylized
snowflakes, or debris in the air.
There were little ovals of different sizes and I could have just splattered,
you know, used the, the Jackson Pollock technique with a big brush.
I just didn't want to do it.
So I painted every single oval with soft edges and they were this kind of
painterly, but still doing a thousand little snowflakes and some of the
snowflakes were as big as a quarter, an oval, you know, grape, big as a grape.
All right, let me get back here again.
See what we got.
Okay, so let's stop there.
We could do another day on this kind of stuff, but you get the point.
I want you to kind of explore the visual components, think of others
and find those in your own work and your favorite pieces of work.
Transcription not available.
Reference Images (40)
Free to try
1. Learning Recommendation24sNow playing...
1. Covering the White Canvas15m 25sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Edges & Shadows15m 22s
3. Controlling the Temperature30m 11s
4. Harmonizing the Elements21m 10s
5. Refining the Silhouettes27m 25s
6. FInal Touches & Conclusion24m 23s