Friday, February 22, 2013
The last while I have been teaching an Oil Painting Foundation course. This is always an enjoyable activity and I always learn from the students. It is especially fulfilling watching people making progress. The Aha! moments are the best. As we proceed putting more elements into the tool case you can see people going from "this is easy, bring on the real stuff" to, "amazing how much you can get with so little" to, "oh oh, this is hard".
We started with the "atomic bottle". Too simple you say.
Monochromatic Two Ways
The purpose here is to initiate shapes and values. First using neutral light and transparent paint. A local tone approach. Then using a strong light casting shadows and with opaque paint. So simple paint manipulation. Then another "atomic bottle" still life with the addition of an orange. To do this everyone was given a muted complement to the ultramarine to explore this colour strategy and to experience warm and cool colours. As soon as colour is added, people experience trouble with value. Even the those more experienced. This was especially true in the case of the orange. Everyone identified with the light and shadow idea as opposed to the local tone idea, but the values were still a problem. people had trouble knowing what was in the light and what was in shadow. You could see this in the shadow side of the orange and in the treatment of the dark background in the light. This was true even with squinting and the use of a colour isolator.
So moving to the use of the three primaries further complicated the decision making and the effort expended.
Landscape in the Studio
Harold would not let landscapes into the studio. However I find it useful to show people what a photo-real effort looks like. They were able to identify it in the local gallery. They find that the photo has precious little useful information compared to life. How to deal with it?
Setting up their own still life and using the primaries adds more complication. "I thought this would be easy".
Light and Shadow
Diffused Light - Local Tone
A few starts.
Values, Values..... Squint and Compare
What Colour/Value Is That?
The homework usually consisted of making another painting from the first painting with a change in the concept. I find it quite useful to send out homework instructions and questions along with some reference to reinforce the process and to energize. I include what to bring to the next session.