Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Art 105 - Collage Assignment

The latest assignment for my painting class was to make three 9" x 12" collages. One of the collages would then be painted. Of course this meant that I could only choose collage images that I felt I could paint. Quite a limiting factor! :)

Collage #1:
I like the curves in this collage: the flamingos necks, the ear, the softness of the butterfly's wings, the small dots in the background. I also like the moodiness of the blue trees. This is why I didn't choose this one. I didn't feel I could capture the trees in a painting. On to the next one...

Collage #2: In contrast to the curves in #1, this one is all lines. Too boring, although probably not too difficult to paint. On to #3...

Collage #3:
Yep, this is the one. I like orange/yellow as the key color, the silly mood and the color balance. Hey, I think I can actually paint this one too. Once we picked the collage we intended to paint we had to mark it with a grid pattern. That's why there are lines on it. Wish I had scanned it prior to the grid marking it up.

Next post: Collage turned into Painting.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Art 105 - Still Life Finished, Almost

Here's the follow up from my last post...

I finished the still life piece satisfactorily and handed it in. I got a good grade too. However, after having lived with it for awhile, the black bird house is bothering me. I've drawn in, with vine charcoal, the part on the black birdhouse that I want to fix. But, since I don't anticipate that "fix" being high on my priority list, you get to see it in its handed-in-but-not-finished state.

In the class critique we had to give two positives and two negatives about each students' piece. My two positives are: The red bird house decorative trim is not only painted in (I debated about leaving it off) but shadowed correctly! I really like the little tan bird house and the shadows it throws.

My two negatives are: The black bird house, as I mentioned, needs some additional work. And, The background went from being one of my favorite parts of this effort to just ok.

More to come...


PS. One fellow classmate suggested that it be titled "Nobody's Home". Seems about right.

PSS. I don't plan on doing any other still life paintings anytime soon.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Art 105 - Progression of a Still Life

For those of you following me because of my handmade paper art, my apologies for not having much of that type of thing on the blog lately.  Between general life with three kids, finishing the basement and my painting class the only art getting accomplished around here is for the class.  I hope you'll stick with me though as I continue to explore painting as a way to enhance my handmade paper art. 

In my last post I showed you some initial efforts for the class.  Thankfully, I'm improving.  Or, at least my efforts aren't too embarrassing for public viewing. 

Having never done a still life before I decided to record my progress as a reminder that what comes before doesn't have to remain after. I'm frequently afraid, in a good share of all of my finishing work, that I'll mess up something that is already somewhat successful. One of the biggest lessons coming from this class is that you can just paint over it. Of course, I know that in my brain. But, when you actually do it over and over, it becomes rather freeing in the heart.

This is an 18 x 24 canvas at my kitchen table (I mean easel).  A key to a good still life is the directional lighting.  Since my birdhouses were too big to fit in a box in which I could control the light easily, I found myself painting at night with one directional light to make the shadows.  This was a pretty good trick as I was able to see the shadows on the still life yet barely see what I was painting!

I drew in the objects with vine charcoal.  Great stuff as it is easily wiped off when you don't get a line right.  The perspective of most of this is fairly accurate but it took a lot of wiping off first.

Oh my, this is so brown.  The assignment required that we use only white, black, yellow ochre and magenta.  Hence, the brown.

I'm liking the ripped up wall paperish background.  Check out the shadow being cast from the little white house onto the red one.  I'm getting it, I'm getting it!

I have been trying to post this for days.  Blogger is just not cooperating with the downloads.  So, you'll have to wait til the next post to see the finished piece...


Monday, March 7, 2011

Art 105 - Painting

I want to get better at incorporating my handmade paper into paintings.  So, back in January I began my very first college art class.  Things that I've learned: 

 *  The aspect of my past work that I always felt fell short was shading and shadow.  My painting work is not very dimensional.  I now believe that is because I don't mix colors on a palette I just work straight out of the tube/bottle.

*  Even though my work is almost always extremely colorful I work intuitively.  Learning more about the color wheel, tinting and shading is helpful with that whole dimensional problem.

*  Having said that, I don't really like the mixing colors part of the whole thing. 

*  In this class I'm learning by doing the assignments rather than by what is taught during class time.  Expectations were too high, perhaps?  No, don't think that is it.

*  In summary, painting a decent painting is really, really, really hard.

Here are my first attempts:
Second try at a studio still life.  The first try is too embarrassing for public consumption.  We could only use burnt sienna plus black and white.  Oh no, what have I gotten myself into?

Painting from a photo.  I re-painted the foreground three times trying to make it look like flowers instead of snow.  Guess we'll just go with snow.  This assignment required that we use only black, white, magenta and yellow.  Try making a good blue or green with only those colors.  Impossible!
Here is the original photo on a beautiful, sunny August day on Washington Island, WI.  My painting looks like an overcast day on the prairies just below the mountains of Colorado.  Close enough, I say. 
I'll show you  more as I move though the semester.


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