Monday, May 10, 2010

Shapes and Massing

When we train our eyes to see shapes as opposed to things, painting the concept gets easier.  When you identify shapes and their values (squinting) it is appropriate to "mass" in these shapes.  Opening the eye to see colour allows one to mass in the shapes with the colour eliminating the common underpainting step.  Given that there should be only 3-5 (OK up to 7) major shapes in a strong painting this process can work well, but it is opposite to what most of us learned as kids - colouring book and outlining.  You can even use the pencil to mass in the shapes in a thumbnail almost as if you are painting.  Try it and let me know how it works for you.

Melt This, 12x24, Oil on Canvas

Here you can see the major shapes quite easily.  For example, the sky.  Doing this helps one simplify.  This helps en plein air where the light is changing rapidly.  It also helps one express detail through "inference" rather that drawing in small colour patches.  This approach takes one into the realm of painting as opposed to drawing (not to say that drawing is not important).  This takes you closer to sculpture.

This painting was done with a well shaped #14 bristle filbert brush and a palette knife.

The palette used was Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Alizarin, Viridian, and Titanium White.

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