Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Still Life Teaching Under the Sun #2

This week I changed the setup.  The light was cool from the overcast day.

Red Onion, Pot. Dish Towel

Compared to the last setup this one sports cloth and the red onion and its skin.  There is no formal backdrop.  The light is north and and the sky overcast.  All challenges in themselves.

The concept was left for the student to write out.  Then we discussed what the aim was.  The painting was to look loose with prominent brush marks.  Basically a version of realism.  She wanted to reduce her dependency on drawing.  She did a thumbnail to determine the composition and the value of the shapes.  Again, she did only one, failing to try out other options.

We went over some of the principles.  I was slowing her down, getting her to look and hopefully "see".  Look, mix, place the stroke, look, mix, place...  Every plane change has an associated colour change.  She began to tentatively mass in the shapes.  She proceeded to move the aspects of the painting along taking the shapes closer to completion, comparing one to the other.  You can see what I saw.

See What I Saw


  • Slower approach, trying to observe, see, and do
  • Trouble with shapes - seeing
  • Trouble with values - seeing
  • Trouble with colours - seeing
  • Still rushing to use same load of paint instead of mixing - licking
  • Using thinners as a watercolourist and getting mud, but improved, thicker paint for brushstrokes
  • The rigid evidence of drawing all but gone
  • More comfortable in the painting process

Now, for this session I decided to setup beside her and paint along making a running commentary about what was going on and answer questions as they came along.  Mirroring a relaxed approach, this buddy system seemed to be welcome and have a positive effect.  Now it is practice, practice, practice, but with a specific concept in mind.  That insures that a lesson will be learned with the practice sessions.

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