Thursday, November 17, 2016

Yikes! Patterns are everywhere. Painting & Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY
SITTING PRETTY - 5 X 7 - Watercolour
This is one of my pieces in my Constructive Organic Series

 
After working with patterns and tangles for my Constructive Organic series (see here to see more) I began to look around. You know what it is like, you are buried in the trenches and really can't see anything.  Your done so you lift your head up you begin to notice all kinds of things.

I noticed patterns.

Patterns are everywhere in our work.  Patterns of colours, patterns in shapes and patterns in lines.  Colours are bright, colourful, dark, mute; shapes are rounded, angular, big, small; even the lines can vary: curved, straight, soft,  hard, vertical,  horizontal it goes on and on.  You see what I mean, patterns are everywhere.

So what? 

Studying your patterns is an important part of critiquing your work.  However, when to critique and when to keep going is a fine step.  

As you draw or paint you make marks.  But each mark does not stand alone.  You are making a pattern as well. This means to critique a mark in isolation will lead you no where.  Have you been caught in that circle - paint/draw a spot, looks weird, you wipe it off, do it again, still looks weird, you wipe it off,  . . . . .  Bin there, done that.

Let's look at an example:
Here is a single rosebud.

 Draw this little rosebud. As you make the rosebud, it becomes very important. Your total focus is on it. You immediately begin to evaluate its success. Is it right? Round enough?Are there enough rings in it?

But Wait.  What happens when it is in a cluster?
The Rosebud is not alone, it is part of a cluster.  It begins to lose its individuality.

Now inside a picture? 

Note the Rosebuds in the little tree on the right.  Any inperfection in a single bud is lost when you view them as a whole.
This is one of my Christmas Cards - (5 x7) $10 handdrawn, one of a kind.  Fun to do after working with my Constructive Organic Series.

Note the Rosebuds in the center tree and the one on the right.  The perfection of each bud is no longer an issue.  As a group they look good.
This is one of my Christmas Cards - (5 x7) $10 handdrawn, one of a kind.  Fun to do after working with my Constructive Organic Series.

Suddenly it settles into "the whole" (your picture) and no longer has that importance.  Now is the time to evaluate.

Sounds simple. But do we do it?

In the heat of the battle, it gets forgotten.  Whether you are drawing or painting it is important to relate the mark to the whole pattern you are making rather than focusing just on the mark. 

How?  You ask?

Simple.  Step away from the easel, if standing or set your work upright and move back if you are working flat.  Still  unsure how things look. Leave the room. Work on something else. Make the decision with a cool head, not one deep in battle. 

Do you see the patterns in your work? Is your work about patterns in colour, shapes, lines or some else? 

Special Note:   My Series Constructive Organics  Premiering at The ACT Art Gallery- 11944 Haney Place, Maple Ridge  Sat. Nov 5 - Wed. Dec 21.    7 of my pieces will be featured.  You can see some of my pieces here and read about working in series starting here.  

Time to gear up for Christmas.  Two things coming up that may help your shopping list:

1.  All day Marketing Workshop - Let's Get Your Art Out There - Sunday, Feb 26 or March 5, 2017.
This is an opportunity to work with a small group focusing on ways that work for you, to market your art.  Whether you are looking at full time or part Art Sales, there are effective, proven strategies that will get your work out the door. $70 Limited to 8 per session.  Art by Wendy Studio/Gallery, N. Surrey, BC.  REGISTER NOW  with Wendy.   Out of Towners give me a call and we can set something up.

Great gift for yourself or an artist you know.  Gift Certificates are available.   
  
2.  Paints n'Bloom Fall Show & Sale -  Friday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, 10-4pm.
Gardenworks at Mandeville, 4746 Marine Dr., Burnaby.  Featuring Award Winning Artists Audrey Bakewell and myself, Wendy Mould, AFCA.  Proud supporter of Alzheimer Society of BC

Awesome opportunity to pick up special works of arts and art gift-ware for those special people on your list.

Special Show Features: Start your Christmas Fun early with a:
a.   Beginner Watercolour Class - Wednesday, Nov. 23 3:30-5:30pm
b.  Christmas Card Making Class - Thursday, Nov. 24, 2-4pm.
No Experienced requried,  All suppllies included $35 each.
REGISTER NOW with Wendy.   Space is limited.

 Be sure to like and share my posts. You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar)
Have a great artful day, Wendy

Thursday, November 10, 2016

What does snow look like? Painting and Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

A dumb question? Right?  But really when you are painting snow, what does it look like?

Here on the west coast of British Columbia it is a challenge to paint snow.  Unlike the rest of Canada we don't get much.  We haven't really had a descent snow fall for 3 winters.  Actually our snow is up in the mountains, not here on the streets.  (Personally I think that is a great place for the snow to be.  I am not a big fan of driving in the snow.)
WINTER BERRIES - Watercolour 7 x 10
However, when it comes time to painting a picture for my Christmas Card, my Eastern roots demand that I include snow in the picture.  My reference file is very thin in the snow department.  So I turned to some of my favourite artists to see what they did.  Stephen Quiller is definitely one of my gurus for  watercolour.  He paints his snow all the time.  His approach works well for landscapes, which he is a master at.  But for my situation it did not answer all my questions.  Robert Bateman, is my other go to artist.  His wildlife work is real and his compositions are sooooo eye catching.  His snowy clumps fill his picture but don't steal the show. 

I needed those kind of snow clumps. 

My picture is winter berries with my little chickadee.  Yes, a new member for my Chickadees in the Garden series.  It seems a fitting subject  to round out my year.

To get soft and fluffy snow, with volume, is a tricky thing I discovered.   You need to consider:
A.    colour:  reflected light plays a big part here.  Colour is reflected from everywhere in the picture and that white snow picks it all up.  The colours are soft but still need the light to dark progression to give the mounds of snow volume. In my case the red from the berries and soft yellow browns from my branches and chickadee are my soft colours and my sky blues are my darker shadow colour.
B.    Soft and hard edges: this is a biggy.  Soft edges tell the eye it is soft and fluffy but hard edges talk about melting snow in the sunshine. Don't let them get away on you, the hard edges shouldn't be far from the focal point.
C.   Shadows: you need at least 3 values to create good shape.  Those shadow colours have to have depth and that means your value range has to hit all the numbers.
D.   Negative space: With snow in watercolour you need your white.  So painting the negative space is very important in watercolour. No going back later with a dab of paint to recapture your white.  Looking at the the sharp contrast between the edge of the branches tells the eye that those white clumps are snow.
E.    Gumption:  What do I mean by that?  Well, after making your plan, doing your research,  get your paint ready and go for it.  That moment when you take charge, paint and get into the flow is when learning really happens. Put your paint down and 'see' what happens.  Be alert to the patterns you create.  Feel your way.  Layer by layer build up the clumps and let it snow.

Hard to believe something as simple as snow can be so much work!!

Winter Berries will be my featured picture for Christmas this year but I don't think I am finished with snow yet.  I think maybe my Stellar Jay, sitting at the feeder may end up on a snowy clump soon as well.  All of this snow has really inspired me. 

Have you started your Christmas card picture yet?  What will you feature on it?

Special Note:   My Series Constructive Organics  Premiering at The ACT Art Gallery- 11944 Haney Place, Maple Ridge  Sat. Nov 5 - Wed. Dec 21.    7 of my pieces will be featured.  You can see some of my pieces here and read about working in series starting here.  

Time to gear up for Christmas.  Two things coming up that may help your shopping list:

1.  All day Marketing Workshop - Let's Get Your Art Out There - Sunday, Feb 26 or March 5, 2017.
This is an opportunity to work with a small group focusing on ways that work for you, to market your art.  Whether you are looking at full time or part Art Sales, there are effective, proven strategies that will get your work out the door. $70 Limited to 8 per session.  Art by Wendy Studio/Gallery, N. Surrey, BC.  REGISTER NOW  with Wendy.   Out of Towners give me a call and we can set something up.

Great gift for yourself or an artist you know.  Gift Certificates are available.   
  
2.  Paints n'Bloom Fall Show & Sale -  Friday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, 10-4pm.
Gardenworks at Mandeville, 4746 Marine Dr., Burnaby.  Featuring Award Winning Artists Audrey Bakewell and myself, Wendy Mould, AFCA.  Proud supporter of Alzheimer Society of BC

Awesome opportunity to pick up special works of arts and art gift-ware for those special people on your list.

Special Show Features: Start your Christmas Fun early with a:
a.   Beginner Watercolour Class - Wednesday, Nov. 23 3:30-5:30pm
b.  Christmas Card Making Class - Thursday, Nov. 24, 2-4pm.
No Experienced requried,  All suppllies included $35 each.
REGISTER NOW with Wendy.   Space is limited.

Be sure to like and share my posts. You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar) Have a great artful day, Wendy

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Do you Know Your Subject? Part 4 - Painting and Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

"Getting to know your subject, so you know its variances, so everything doesn't look the same." Robert McMurray.

Working in a series or a theme has been my focus for my last three posts and I must admit it started as a one-off post but grew and grew.  Kind of took off as a series of its own.  (You can read about the earlier posts starting here.). 

As I continued my research I talked to artists and read about some of the different types of series that  have been tried. I got some of their thoughts on this approach to their work.

New Adventures - 5 x 7 - My inspiration for my Constructive Organics Series
Robert McMurray, started painting in 1972, and like many of us was working his 'other job' for many years and painting on the side.  He successfully made the transition from one career to professional artist.  He talked about his 'trip' series.  He and a select group of artists would head out to location and paint for days.

One such trip was in 2000 when they chartered a boat and traveled around Haida Gwiaii.  He took hundreds of reference pictures from the trip and great memories.  When the group returned from the trip they did a series of shows in Alberta and British Columbia featuring their art from the trip.  He remembers setting up a display in a mall in Calgary.  As soon as they opened the show people ran up to the paintings and grabbed them.  It was an amazing thing to see.  ( I am sure we would all love to have that experience with selling our work.). He attributes their success to the high interest at that time in the west coast of British Columbia and the Haida Gwiaii.  And of course the quality of their work!

Bob says that he never feels trapped with a series as he finds as one series starts to fizzle out another one starts up.  His present series is painting the islets and islands of the West Coast.  See more of his work at artists.ca/rmcmurray

Bob is not the only one that has travelled the coast.  Stewart Marshall, who worked in watercolour, travelled for 4 or 5 months along the coast in his kayak.  Painting all the time and returning in the fall to launch a show of his work.  He even produced a video that showed how he lived and painted from his kayak as he travelled along the coast.  It has been over 30 years since he launched a show but I am sure anyone who has seen his work will remember it.  See a few of his pictures with the book Painter, Paddler: The Art and Adventures of Stewart Marshall. 

Jane Appleby, interviewed in the last post about her project, concluded with this comment,  "All in all working at a series of paintings, over a period of time especially on social media, makes you somewhat accountable for finishing it and the feedback is always helpful and encouraging. Painting doesn’t have to be a lonely act."

In my research I found an artist that 'painted the sky every day for a year'.  Another artist friend of mine did a series of night painting which he compiled into a book.  One of my favourite pen and ink artists, Gary Simmons, did 24 versions of the same Monk image which he included in his book.  It is a valuable resource for anyone that works in pen and ink.  I found so many different types of series it was truly amazing to see what interests artists and the many different directions that they want to go.  

Creating a body of work around a theme or series, does not mean that is all you paint. It also does not happen over night.  Most artists have more than one project on the go. It takes time to gather material to create that body of work so there is always opportunity to do other things. You may also find that your series or themes overlap.  As a wildlife artist, I find my birds and animals showing up in a variety of ways in my work.  For example, some of my chickadees, from my Chickadees in the Garden series flew over to my Constructive Organic work and ended up on a mechanical branch with plastic berries.  They do like to investigate shiny, bright things!

The most important thing about working in a series is you decide on the theme.  It is about what you are interested in.  It is your passion that is the driving force, you set the goal.  Look at your work now, you may already be on your road to a series.  It just needs to be refined and focused.

What series have you tried?  Where did it take you? 

To read my first post on working with a series see:  Do You Know your Subject- Part 1, Oct 13.   

Special Note:   My Series Constructive Organics  Premiering at The ACT Art Gallery- 11944 Haney Place, Maple Ridge  Sat. Nov 5 - Wed. Dec 21 - Reception:bSat. Nov. 5 2-4pm.  7 of my pieces will be featured.  

Time to gear up for Christmas.  Two things coming up that may help your shopping list:

1.  All day Marketing Workshop - Let's Get Your Art Out There - Sunday, Feb 26 or March 5, 2017.
This is an opportunity to work with a small group focusing on ways that work for you, to market your art.  Whether you are looking at full time or part Art Sales, there are effective, proven strategies that will get your work out the door. $70 Limited to 8 per session.  Art by Wendy Studio/Gallery, N. Surrey, BC.  REGISTER NOW  with Wendy 

Great gift for yourself or an artist you know.  Gift Certificates are available.   
  
2.  Paints n'Bloom Fall Show & Sale -  Friday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, 10-4pm.
Gardenworks at Mandeville, 4746 Marine Dr., Burnaby.  Featuring Award Winning Artists Audrey Bakewell and myself, Wendy Mould, AFCA.  Proud supporter of Alzheimer Society of BC

Awesome opportunity to pick up special works of arts and art gift-ware for those special people on your list.

Special Show Features: Start your Christmas Fun early with a:
a.   Beginner Watercolour Class - Wednesday, Nov. 23 3:30-5:30pm
b.  Christmas Card Making Class - Thursday, Nov. 24, 2-4pm.
No Experienced requried,  All suppllies included $35 each.
REGISTER NOW with Wendy.   Space is limited.

 Be sure to like and share my posts. You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar)
Have a great artful day, Wendy