Sunday, November 16, 2014

White's Ferry Landing

8" x 10"
Oil on canvas panel

A few things I've noticed about the way my favorite painters paint:

1. Paint is applied thickly.  They don't draw or scratch; they paint, and the paint is thick, with visible brush strokes.
2. Value (the relationship of light to dark) is more important than anything else.  Shapes, forms, subject matter, color - all meaningless without correct value.
3. Small details are ignored.  Impressionist, or perceptual painting forces the viewer to fill in the details.
4.  After value, color is most important.  Shadows are not black.  They are warm or cool versions of local color that can still be beautiful.
5. Every painting has a color scheme and color harmony.  Maybe this goes along with number 4, but I've noticed that my favorite paintings have harmony.  And that's usually achieved by using a dominant color (one color is included in all color mixtures) or through a limited palette (using a small number of colors, usually three, to mix all values and tones).

I guess these ideas are obvious, but I have to repeat them to myself over and over as I paint.  For this painting, I took in interesting approach to help me focus on value.  I removed my contacts and wore my glasses while painting. When working on the values, I lowered my glasses so that I was essentially blind (I can't distinguish my own hand in front of my face without glasses or contacts).  All I could see were value relationships.  So I focussed on values, completely disregarded details, and did my best to mix beautiful colors while using a limited palette of violet, phthalo green, and yellow.   I think I did alright for a blind man.

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