Posted on March 22, 2014
Interesting to see the same landscape view in three different mediums : drawing, watercolour & stone lithography.
Different material, different effect.
Each medium is good for certain effects. In the above three images,, watercolour is delicate colours & brushmarks, conté is so immediate & so fresh, lithography is good for a design, a powerful composition.
What does ‘Medium’ Mean in Fine Art Practice?
See the world through art materials…
The creative process lies not in imitating, but in paralleling nature – translating the impulse received from nature into the medium of expression, thus vitalizing this medium. The picture should be alive, the statue should be alive, and every work of art should be alive. – Hans Hofmann
I often work in both watercolour & oil painting. I enjoy the translation from one medium to another. Same view, different vision.
In this case, the watercolour came after the oil, and so, I consider it to be a lot more than a study for the oil painting. Some historians tend to classify drawings & watercolours as preliminary studies for a more substantial, more resolved painting. Here for example is one of my tonal studies for a painting , but it is fresh enough, coherant enough to stand alone :
Posted on May 16, 2011
I’ve been working on a large oil painting these last three weeks. A commission. It’s 130 x 81 cm – approx 51 x 32 inches. Bigger than my usual size. Good to be doing something different. A lot of work, which I’ll post as WIPs (work in progress) here. Thank you for all your comments. So many of them, makes me feel that internet is full of readers who care…
Large plein-air paintings require extra attention at the planning & conception stages, especially if they are a commission ie take into account of the customer’s wishes of what is to be included in the painting.
Here is the composition sketch:
I always do one of these for every painting. Knowing what goes where is a big big relief. Which takes the stress off somewhat so one can just concentrate on the painting, and panic less about the composition. Doing one of thee is visual thinking & can’t be replaced by assuming an intellectual idea of what goes where is enough. Note how it’s a ‘plastic’ process. The framing grows or shrinks to fit. Look & see how the frame lines go on last of all. I even had to fit on an extra page so as to make the size of the sky fit. Actually I went for a longer panorama in the end & not the more rectangular format of the above compositional sketch. The point is that my mind was now more orientated towards the painting & possibilities of how it might unfold.
The next stage is the tonal sketch. A ‘notan’. I say notan cautiously because a pure notan is in fact, a sketch for Japanese wood cut engravings aka Hokusai & not all the lovely subtle graduations of one tone washing into the other that you can get in watercolour. The point is to work out:
- where are the major blocks of light & dark?
- where is the centre of interest ie where do you want the eye to go to?
- where is the light source?
- what quality of light?
- what is the incline of the sunlight?
You can click on the notan & tonality categories on the side of this page to read more.
Posted on March 5, 2011
Getting the age right is an essential part of a portrait, especially for a portrait of youth. Portraits of old age are easy in comparison! For example, wrinkles. Wrinkles are a clue that indicates the age of the sitter. Their presence in a drawing or painting are frequently due to the simple fact of just too many marks & strokes i.e. a lack of an economy of means, which is the ability to get it right first time.
My fellow-painter friends who do portraits for money tell me that flattery works every time. They consciously take ten years off the resemblance by knowing the markers that indicate youth & tweeking them.
QUESTION : Can you identify the elements in the above drawing that indicate the age of the sitter?
(I reckon there’s about ten of them)
Posted on August 12, 2010
Posted on July 21, 2010
A demonstration piece from a recent Chateaux Painting Holiday, France
left of in the lay-in or block-in phase
Posted on February 22, 2010
medium size oil on canvas
Chromatic Black in the Colourist Palette
To make chromatic black, the mix is basically the same as the transparent watercolour mix of a bluey green PG 7 pthalo viridian & a bluey red magenta. This gives a very blue black. I like it in watercolours but when mixing down with white in oils, I find it way too blue, so I add some opaque Indian Red to pull it back over to a broken neutral, more grey than blue.
These last five years I’ve been using dioziane violet (normally … but often with some burnt umber) as black. Looks like black but is ‘cleaner’ in mixing on palette than the soot & bones. But.. it’s very slow drying & is complicated to work with in colour mixes. Especially with the warm colours. So I’ve tended to isolate it & not allow it to mix with the other colours. Which thus isolate my black values… making them too black? Too moch like ‘black holes’ or black cut outs. This is exaggerated by photography’s very poor performance in registering colour in very dark values. Result : not enough fluid run down through the upper mid-tones?
In the above painting, I’m using more yellow ochre than cadium yellow pale, thus softening & muting even more the mid tones.
Same old connundrum of bringing Values into harmony with Colours, especially for my preference for a colourist palette of heightened bright colours.
Anyway, the mistletoe makes fun circles doesn’t it ? 🙂
Posted on November 19, 2009
Large Size Oil on Canvas
81 x 65 cm (approx 26 x 32 inches)
A tip for Plein-Air Painting
A tip to help this difficult plein-air trick is to consciously divide one’s painting time between sky & land. But then, the danger is that they won’t correspond correctly…. A 4pm landscape on a 6pm sky! Sometimes you have to tinker with plein-air paintings back in the studio to correct this issue.
What do you think? Does sky & land correspond correctly in my above painting?
Here’s the painting with a grey frame so as to keep true to the yellow/grey colour theme.
Posted on August 1, 2009
Rembrandt’s Drawings of Children
Here’s what Wiki has to say about one of the ’12 Basic principals of animation’ according to Ollie Jonston & Frank Thomas : sahme ; wiki used to have a great story board sketch of the dwarves falling down the stairs by Frank Thomas… on of my favourite drawings… gone , broken link…probably Walt Disney tightening up on copyright. Goodbye fair use. Anyway, back to quoting from Wiki :
Anticipation is used to prepare the audience for an action, and to make the action appear more realistic.
Anticipation: A baseball player making a pitch prepares for the action by moving his arm back.
Not without a certain amount of tender humour… we anticipate the next footstep in the above drawing! Story boarding before Walt Disney
Posted on July 30, 2009
Rembrandt’s Gesture Drawing
Rembrandt Harmensz von Rijn (1606-1669)
Zwei Frauen bringen einem Kind das Laufen bei, um 1640
Kreide auf Papier
British Museum, London, photo wiki
Gesture_Drawing = http://www.wikihow.com/Practice-Gesture-Drawing
Both these articles are great places to start reading about gesture drawing. Nicolades ‘The Natural way of Drawing’ is the best.
I would add that because gestural drawing is so quick, done in such a short time span, training the eye to identify the ESSENTIALS is vital. I suspect that ‘sympathy’ is central. If you can ‘feel’ for the subject , ‘feel’ the action of the pose, ‘feel’ the emotion weight & tension of how the person is moving, then bring your gestures into harmony with their gestures. More like mime, mimic & dance than tight obersvation of visual appearances.
You can read more about gesture drawing here below my gallery of musicians & dancers:
‘Alison & Her Cello’
Ink & Brush Pen
Approx 30 x 40 cm
© The Artist
‘M-L & E’
sanguine, A5 sketchbook
© adam cope
related posts: Rembrandt’s drawings of children – anticipation & action
Posted on June 9, 2009
Oil on masonite
20 x 50cm
© adam cope
‘I used to have six different theories on how to raise children but now I have six children, I have no theories’
(don’t worry!! I dont have six kids!!!)
Theory and Practice of Learning to Paint
It relates well to learning to paint as too many ‘theories’ & ‘tips’ & ‘learning goals’ can blind one to being sensitive to how the painting is unfolding beneath one’s hand…. the brush is moving but the brain is stuck in a pitter-pattter of theories… Theory is fine in it’s correct place, as a support for practise…. But too much theory poorly integrated into practise can give ‘creative indigestion’… Learning to listen, learning to look & learning to respond to the painting in process, slowly integrating the newly aquired skills & understanding into one’s natural, relaxed way of painting – that’s the thing!
walk the walk, not talk the walk… too much snooping around on internet, reading snippets here & there… and not doing enough actual painting is dangerous for one’s creativity. I should know 🙁
It’s also makes one chase after false goals rather than being responsive to each brush stroke & the unfolding of each individual painting. There’s the central &most important