Thursday, September 27, 2012

Final Painting Assignment 01

Here's the result for the first assignment in my painting class.
The crit went really well. I was told that my mark making was very interesting and helped with evoking the sense of space. My prof made the comment that my painting was the "opposite of technique", meaning that I was responding to the space with the different types of brushstrokes I was using etc. Some of my classmates didn't like the strong horizontal of the buildings in the background but before I had a chance to defend myself, one of the other students defended it saying it helps ground the composition (which was it's intended purpose). She seems to be the only other student that I've seen so far that has more considerable painting experience but of course, it's just as interesting to see the efforts of the others.
I was a little dismayed that one of the students was taking the criticism personally. I know it's your heart and soul up there on the chopping block . . . but only 3 weeks worth (not a whole lifetime of painting). And I also know that you have to maintain your identity and artistic integrity, but you also have to give way to constructive criticism: it only makes you a better painter and artist.
We also began the conversation about painting the side of your canvas: painting as 3d object. I have to agree with my prof on this one: when painting an illusion of space, it doesn't make sense to break the law of the window of the picture plane. You need that 2d plane to create depth of space. I wonder when it would be appropriate to break that rule? This makes me think I'm gonna have to cover up the edges of my stretched canvases that have part of the image wrapped around the edges with tape or a frame or something! :O

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An economy of stroke

When I first did a search for this, I got some pretty xxx-rated results. I'm not talking about handjobs or heart conditions. What I mean when I say economy of stroke, I'm talking about using the minimum amount of brush strokes to convey the structure of what I'm painting. My prof pointed out to me today that my strokes become decorative when there are too many, when they are too fussy, and when I'm not sure exactly on what colour to use lol. This means I'll have to think more about my choice of stroke and direction etc. Hopefully this won't leave me paralyzed thinking about painting instead of doing it. Also, maybe for now, I can edit my strokes by scraping them away when they get fussy. It's a fine line between structural and decorative "hey look at me, I'm a paint stroke" strokes. (use of the word stroke in the above = 9)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Assignment 1 - progress

Making some progress on my painting. Tonight I'm going to work on the beams of the sculpture and exaggerate the foreshortening to add depth to the picture. Not entirely convinced by the strokes in the foreground. Might go over it with a large smudge of warm yellow. Also have to work on the tone of the bricks on the walls of the building in the background. They need to have some blue in them so that they recede a little more. Then I'll add the brick line using 2 point perspective.
We'll see if my colours are getting too fussy because I'm reading 5 colours, only I wasn't expecting the sculpture to be different from the cement path . . . might have to change that.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Assignment 1: Landscape

For our first assignment, we are painting a landscape using 5 colours to describe space. We are allowed to use perspective, overlapping, relative placement, etc. to help with depth, and we are allowed to tint and shade our 5 colours to enhance the space but, the 5 colours should be easily identified.
I'm thinking about taking a Cezanne-like approach using warm and cool colours to make the picture recede. I love the way he goes over and over his pictures, slowly building up the forms and spaces! I don't want to use the same kind of anxious strokes that he used though . . . but we'll see how confident I am while painting.
I haven't painted outdoors in a long time so it was rather fun! There's a sort of "on your toes" aspect when painting outside of the comfort of your studio (living room corner lol). It forces you to think about economy of paint and material etc.
We started about by doing a simple line drawing to work out the composition and to assign the colour zones.
Made some good progress today in class. The picture looks fairly solid in terms of space. I was starting to lose my concentration and was muddling around with my strokes. Thomas suggested that I use one or two bold strokes on the grass foreground. This'll make the viewer "trust me more" lol. I also have to pay attention to the perspective lines in my building. If I make them different, it might help me show which part of the wall comes forward (cuz I'm facing it straight on). He suggested that I keep painting the shadow each time I go over it as a kind of record of time (where the shadow has been ie. the distance traveled by the sun). I remember another painter using this type of method except he would paint different sections of the canvas in the differing light ie. morning = house and grass, evening = tool shed etc. It creates an interesting dialogue within the canvas between the different sections.
Gosh it was hot today! But it was nice to be outside . . . and the Department was offering free pizza after class = chomp to the omp! :)
I'll post more as the painting progresses.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Painting 211

I'm excited about my painting class that I'm taking with Thomas Chisholm. I'm interested in learning more about what painting is and what it means in a contemporary context. I'm a little sad that my paintings will probably look different by the end of this class, but this is part of what an art education is about: your work will be drastically different (for better or worse) when you're done. Will I still be painting nude figures? Will I still be using oil on canvas with the picture hanging on the wall? Will I do away with the image altogether?

I'm fretful. At the same time, I'm stoked to try something new with my painting that's in a completely different vein and see where that takes me. Hopefully, I can finish this self-portrait that I'm working on before I lose interest in the motive (new directions and ideas for art are so seductive).

I took stock of all the tools I have in making my paintings (this is the "before" picture):
- oil on canvas
- figures/nudes
- lively, meaningful strokes
- tradition portrait painting colours
- 22" by 32" ish in size
- using projections
- photographic references
- brushes: (no.12 flat, bristle), palette knives, squeegee
- to be hung on the wall
- multiple realities
- focal point, traditional composition
- lights and darks
- blended colour
- direct observation

I should eliminate one of these tools each time I work on a project so that by the end of this class, I'll be somewhere new and unexpected. Might be a lot to ask for 12 weeks of classes, but this would be a good start ;) The purpose of my taking art classes in University is to learn, not just do what I've all ready done and feel good about it! If I can do away with 5 of the above tools by December and be making work that I'm excited about, then I'd call that a success :D
Self-portrait (in progress)