Posted on July 4, 2007
© The Artist.
I didn’t paint this watercolour last week, as I was very busy teaching one of my Painting Holidays au Chateau de Lanquais, France
night-time plein air
This watercolour was another of my night-time plein air pieces. St Rémy de Provence is the birth place of Nostradamus; there’s a little fontaine erected to honour this visionary. The night of time, the flowing out of water, the passing of time, Janus-like, we strive to see into the future, understand the past & … live in the present.
tonality & ‘notan’
The reason why I post this as it continues on with the recent theme of tonality & ‘notan’ that I’ve been thinking about out loud here in this blog. One of the interesting concepts behind the japanese idea of notan is that black & white can be used as a design tool rather than a strict ‘draw what you see’ policy. Tonality is crucial for watercolour, probably even more so than for opaque mediums such as oils. Diluting, painting with beautiful transparent washes of clear water…. A precision of tone much finer & far more subtle than anything that can be achieved with buttery oil paint, with all that business of adding of white.
To prove the point, see what happens when I strip the colour out the above jpeg. The design decisions that I consciously & deliberately made become more apparent.
greyscale via PS elements
Posted on June 18, 2007
Notan photography? Is the black emptiness?
Photography has difficult of reading things in shadows. It frequently makes pictures with black nothingness as shadows…
These digital cameras are great for ‘visual thinking’ … working things out in a visual way… kind of important to ‘think like a painter’ (ho hum), meaning to look at things visually … to take time to perceive their ‘abstract’ qualities. Black & white is already more ‘abstract’ than colour. Is that why black & white photography is granted ‘art status’ more readily than colour?
Here’s a little ditty I rhymed up …… don’t worry I don’t sing out loud whilst painting …the point is to think in way that helps you, personally & individually, to paint:
Notes on Notan
not quite a notan I know…
Posted on June 17, 2007
‘La Maison Payarade, Bergerac’ Encre Chine. Tous Droits Reservés
Quarter tone & half tone drawings
Quarter tone & half tone drawings are great practise at this. Helps students work out in what order to construct a painting. Once you get into them, you see black & white everywhere. I teach tonality at my Painting Holidays au Chateau de Lanquais, as the chateau does have some wonderful light/dark painting opportunities.
Even Turner was seduced to paint the occassional interior, albeit Petworth Castle. The important thing is that the learning helps – & don’t worry, students do get out in the sunglight as well.
Later on , the students ‘did their own thing’ in black & white.
Lanquais alumni – oil on gesso
Posted on April 7, 2007
30 x 40 cm. Oil on Panel. sold
A passer-by on internet might well assume the white in this painting to be snow. But is not. It is something far more surprising…in fact, it’s white chalk, which gives the name to the region in the Lot called ‘Quercy Blanc’. A field of vines growing out of pure white stoney chalk. These things surprise me.
Posted on April 1, 2007