Dec 1, 2016

How to Finish a Painting Successfully - Painting and Drawing Tip


Curling is a passion for me.  I love being out on the ice, the comradeship with the team as we work together to "defeat" the opponent. But in order to succeed it is important to place your rock carefully.  Not an easy thing when it is 44 pounds. And did I mention you have to slide a few feet and let it go from 138 feet away.

Visualizing before you throw
To throw the rock,  you crouch down with your foot in a hollow on the ice, called a hack.  You then push off from the hack with your feet, slide along the ice holding the rock and then releasing it. As you release the rock your put 'a turn' on it.  The turn causes the rock to rotate either clockwise or counterclockwise which in turn cause it to move in that direction.  How hard you push off determines how fast the rock goes and also how much it curls.  "To place" a rock requires precise weight when you throw it.

In sports where precision is needed all athletes will tell you that it is important to visualize the shot/movement first for the most success.  This means to use all your senses to see a successful outcome.  To through a draw in curling and have it stop in just the right spot requires a clear picture in your mind. First you need to think about how fast to push off, then feel your speed as you slide out and sense when to release the rock.  You need to visualize that rock sliding and curling right to the spot you are aiming for.  Of course your other team members will sweep your rock, trying to make it go longer if it is light or get it to turn more or less.  But you need to give them a good delivery so they can work with it.

This is alot like your work in the studio.   You have the materials, you know your techniques, you have a goal - Paint a Picture.

But wait. . .

Have you visualized where you are going?  I know, you have an inspiration and you want to "get to it".  But have you really visualized where you are going?  In sports it is hard to do something concrete in the visualization process.  Some athletes will do body movements as they go through their routine.  But as artists we have the luxury of doing something physical.

Here is my process: I wanted a Christmas Card picture for my Christmas Cards.  I wanted something with snow, I wanted a chickadee in it.  (Part of my Chickadees in the Garden Series) So then I had to figure out what would be around when the snow comes for my chickadees.  I was out walking with Max and saw some red berries.  Perfect.  Something red for my Christmas scene.  Did I jump in with my paints right away? No.
Winter Berries - Under construction

First I did a pencil sketch of my picture. Since it was to be 7 x 10, my sketch was the same size. ( If I am going to do a bigger picture then my sketch will be in the same proportions but not the same size. Some artists do a Notan sketch to plan their work and others make a mock up on Photoshop.)   Once I was happy with my plan,  I then drew it on my paper and went to town with my paints. 

Making a plan before you paint does not have to be big job.  A simple sketch, maybe 10-30 minutes.
What are the benefits, you ask.  Well - 
- you get to see your shapes and see if they are interesting
- you can see what works for your value patterns
- you can easily make changes before committing yourself to paint
- you can work out problems as you go. 

I had a few problems to work out in my picture.  My snow reference was too bright and my snow was over exposed.  I had to work out where I would put shadows.  Also once I had it laid out I felt the bottom right hand corner was too boring with just snow there.  I decided to add a bit of a branch.  My plan allowed me to try different 'branches' before committing to my picture.

Before my Snow and the extra branch were added
You can see Winter Berries, the completed picture here.

Do you make a plan to visualize your work?  What is your process?

Two Things to help with your Christmas Shopping:

Christmas Cards
1.  Take a Christmas Break for a Relaxing Evening: Make Tangled Christmas Cards Monday, Dec. 12, 5:30-7:30, Expressions Art Gallery, 227 & Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge.  Learn how to use ink and watercolour to make some really special cards.  $30 Supplies Included.  REGISTER NOW  with Wendy

2.  A really special gift for the Artist on your list:
 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.   

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Have a great artful day,


Merrilyn Mason said...

An artist and an athlete...a rare combination that you have used to make some universal points. Make a plan...and practice...fundamentals to so much of life.

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

True but often we forget when in the trenches.