Saturday, December 29, 2012

Advancing art class: 6

Not all watercolor pigments are equal.  That is not to say that one is better then another, but they do perform differently, and so your choice of pigments can change a painting.  For my final paintings I used a palette of Winsor & Newton red, yellow, blue, and orange.  These are more transparent pigments then I had been using in the previous paintings.

I re-painted one of the previous classes painting using a this palette.  The difference between the transparent and semi-opaque pigments really standout in the jar.  The most notable other difference is the greens are more blue then olive.

I added glazes over the previously painted still life using this palette to increase the reflections on the copper and brass pitcher.  As I increased the bright reflections I also increased the darkest shadows.  These changes make the pitcher compete with the marble for the center of interest.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Advancing art class: 5b

The second assignment for the second class was to paint a still life.  We were to start by drawing five small thumbnail sketches.  Each sketch was to have a different arrangement of elements.  While setting up each sketch we were to consider the elements of composition we had discussed in class: rule of thirds, using an odd number of elements, balance, unity, grouping, angles, repetition of shapes and colors, contrast of soft and hard lines, varied values.   The sketch that we felt exhibited to most pleasing composition would be use to create value and color sketch.

In a good composition there is both variety in value and amount of each value.  Less then a third of the values in the sketch are dark values, and only a small amount are light values (highlights on the marble, pitcher).  The majority of values are in the middle range.  To capture the copper and brass colors of the small pitcher and the fur of the Steiff bear, I added burnt siena and yellow ochre to my palette of cadmium yellow, cadmium red and ultramarine blue.  

The still life elements were set out on a blue piece of paper under a bright overhead light casting distinct shadows.  The focal point of the painting is the clear glass marble.  The marble reflected back colors from the blue paper, copper and brass pitcher and tan bear.  The bright light reflected off the top of the marble, and also passed through it creating a blue halo shadow on the paper.  The halo shadow was even dark enough to be reflected back by the pitcher.  The distinct lines of the pitcher circle the edge of the page, leading to the softer lines formed by the books and shadows, which lead back to the bear.

One item that was changed from the thumbnail sketch is the direction the bear is looking.  Instead of looking directly at the viewer, it is now looking off to the right.  This helped shift the focal point away from the bear, but also diminished the strength of the over all composition.