Sunday, November 18, 2012

Advancing art class: 5a

We had two assignments for this class.  The first was to create a painting from a photograph using what we had learned about composition.  By cropping the photograph I was able to reposition the jar in one of the 'intersection spots' (Rule of Thirds), strengthening the focal point.  This also removed some of the distracting clutter of branches and leaves.  

While working on the value sketch, I removed some of the trees from the background that were competing with the focal point.  I lightened the darkest values in the building and trees effectively pushing the background back making the jar stand out even more.  I limited the number of values to just five, and noted which elements in the sketch were included in each value.  The focal point (the jar) exhibited both the lightest and darkest values.

For the color sketch I used a palette of cadmium red, ultramarine blue and cadmium yellow; with a little raw siena for the trees and jar, and a light wash of cerulean blue for the sky and pool.  The light and dark colors alternate in the sketch.  The darkly shadowed left side of the jar stands out in contrast from the light greens of the lawn, while the lit right side stands out against the darker shadowed lawn and background.
In the final painting the jar is the obvious focal point, standing out from the Reynold's Mansion in the background.  The shadows and lighter blocks of color form lines that lead into the painting from the edges.  Tree branches repeat the curve of the jar.  The pale windows on the building repeat across the background, their color is repeated in the shadows on the lawn and the jar.  The greens of the lawn are repeated in the moss on the jar, and the orange browns in the jar also occur in the background. Repetition of shapes and colors are said to  add interest and unity to a painting.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Advancing art class: 4

I am excited to be in Marilynn Brandenburger's fall Advancing art class at the Spruill Art Center.  This class builds on the class I took last Spring, focusing on the elements of composition.   The class meets once a month for three months (Oct, Nov and Dec).  For the first meeting we were each asked to bring recent pieces of art to share and critique.

At the end of the previous class, I had done two color sketches based on photos take on Sapelo Island beach at sunrise.  The first looked out across the darkened pre-dawn dunes at the sun as it was just clearing the horizon, backlighting the low clouds and reflecting off the calm ocean.

The second was taken soon after sunrise, when the light still had that warm early morning glow.  The photo looks back at the dunes, which faced the rising sun, as the warm pink morning light washed over the sand and beach plants to the sea oats on the crest of the dunes.  Pink light and purplish shadows played across the sand.

What interested me in these photos was the play of different colors and the emotional feeling of peace and warmth they had.  The rough color sketches I had done last spring were layouts for bigger paintings, which I never had a chance to complete.  


Small color sketches like these can be invaluable for determining composition as well as color palette.  Using the photos and these color sketches I painted the two larger watercolors below, which I brought to the first class.

For the sunrise painting I used a limited color palette of ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow, and cadmium light red.  This color combination allowed me to match the warm yellow of the sun, as well as the darker shadows in the clouds, water and dunes.  What was not at first obvious in the photo was a break in the dunes that I was able to capture in the painting.  The dark purple shadows on the dunes and clouds make the painting more dynamic.

The dunes painting used ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow, quinacridone rose, and yellow ochre for the Sea oats.  These colors matched the warm glow of the early morning light on the sand and plants, as well as the darker shadowed areas.