Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Experiments in The Studio

Working With A (Sort Of) New Medium
I've been working with mentor and portrait artist, Bill Chambers, these past few months and learning a great deal. One of his suggestions was to switch from water-based oils to regular oils and to try a simple still life in both to compare brushstroke and application. I posted the water-based oil painting (bagel) last post. This painting (above) was done in regular oils. I can't say I'm totally sold on the regular oils yet. I really like the texture compared to the water-based but I have a real problem with the chemicals used for thinning and clean up. For instance, I'm not sure how to "greenly" dispose of the jar of dirty mineral spirits that has accumulated. This could be a problem. Anyone have suggestions?
Painting: "About Last Night", oil, 11 x 14"

The Value of A Good Critique
This was a painting I "finished" a while ago. Something always bothered me about this painting, but I never quite knew what it was until I spoke with artist Fred Graff during a recent workshop. He pointed out that the two figures in the foreground were completely separate from the background. The high contrast and location of the figures make them compete with the central figure and the building.

So with this information, I decided to make a few changes to the painting, starting with the two figures. First, I reduced the contrast of the figures by adding opaque white over them. Opaque white is really not opaque, but translucent. I then added a darker wash on the sand near the figures to help anchor them to the painting.

I darkened the broken window in the background to reduce the contrast in that area, and I darkened the area in the foreground, lower right corner, to guide your eye into the painting.

Lastly, I recropped the painting to make it a vertical instead of a horizontal. This brought the two figures out of the center and helped move focus to the little boy in the red shorts.

At left is the painting after the corrections have been made.

Painting: "Discovery", watercolor, 20 x 17"

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