Sunday, February 5, 2012


There are no rules.  Nope.  "Rules" are just opinions.  So when a workshop leader says "this is the way you paint trees" or whatever, run.  Such restrictions ("you have to use this paint" or "glazing is the only way to paint" etc.) restricts the student's ability to see the differences from tree to tree and from time to time on the same tree and so forth.  These "rules" offered by so many who teach (often as a way to get people started on their artistic journey) limit one's curiosity and ability to experiment and grow.  This is part of the reason that many teachers can only take you so far.  When you have reached as far as their opinions have gone, that's as far as you can go.

So, I experiment a lot.  Perhaps exploring is more accurate.  Yesterday I decided to break into a new (for me) realm of ground preparation.  I had an old board that I had prepared with a dark ground.  Looked almost black.

Beginning of FALSE SPRING

Most of the time I prepare the ground wet on a white surface at the beginning of the painting session.  I choose a transparent mixture according to what I think I need for that particular painting.  Sometimes I choose from a selection of light value dry grounds prepared previously in the studio.  Yesterday the ground was a dark mixture of ultramarine and transparent red oxide, a transparent mixture.  I prepared a few boards with this a few years ago.  The others were quite light when dried, but this one got away from me.  I'd been avoiding it, but yesterday was to be a short sketch, so nothing ventured.....


The darks just painted themselves.  All I had to do was use the appropriate tools at my disposal and consider the truths that exist.  So what is a truth?  A truth is supported by observed realities in nature - science can back them up.  For example, warm light produces relatively cool shadows.  No opinion here, you can see this as your eye is trained to see.  Yesterday the light was cool (heavy overcast) so the shadows were relatively warm.  This can't be changed.  It is a law of nature.  However, you will see variations in how warm or cool the shadows are, and I could see that yesterday.  I expected to see warm shadows, I did, and my colour mixing exercises allowed me to mix the warm shadow mixtures that I saw.

FALSE SPRING for the Studio

Enough composition and colour information for the studio finish.  As you give consideration to the truths you see, you will find an infinite number of ways to apply the paint for your concept to get your message to the viewer.

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