Feb 8, 2018

3 Steps to Putting Magic in Your Art - Painting & Drawing Tips


Wait Stop!!
Uttering Magic Words is not the Answer.

Like any Magic Trick there is research, practice and preparation involved.  There is the need to keep the viewer's eye under control, seeing what YOU want it to see.  Sounds just like what you want to happen when someone looks at your Art, Right!

See Magic in Action
Along the Shoreline, Miracle Beach BC

Doesn't look like Magic but wait. . . Take another look at ALONG THE SHORELINE, MIRACLE BEACH, BC.   When you look at the picture, does your eye run smack to the tree, wonder down the trunk, along the shore over to the logs, up and back to the tree?  Do you see an interesting little tree, logs, underbrush, grasses, sand and more? 

All that information is there but not all of it is detailed and carefully rendered.  Most of the underbrush is 'implied'.  Just colourful shapes, a few sharp lines.  However, by setting the stage with my logs, and tree, the rest of the shapes have 'become the background/foreground'.  Magic! (See more about putting HOCUSPOCUS  in Your Work in last Post)

Step 1 in Making Your Own Magic
The first step in your Magic Trick is something you love to do, painting detail - setting your scene.  Giving your viewer a sense of place and time. 
Lovely summer day, on Vancouver Island looking over to the Coastal Mountains on the Mainland

In this case, the tree and the logs give the setting. Particularly the tree, it is the focus point.  For this example I did not include the water and distant mountains but they certainly could have been part of the picture. More valuable information as to the setting. 

Step 2 for Magic Making
For me this is the hardest part, painting shapes and patterns.  Searching for colours.  This little picture has few discernible 'things' in the foreground, thus forcing you to work only with blogs of colour.  This is the part too where you 'push' some colour.  Just painting 'green' wont cut it.  There are yellows, golds, blues and violets in the underbrush but there could be more if you want.  I like to take the challenge and add a bit of colour just to see where I can go with it.  Remember though, put that colour in 3 places so it will be part of the scenery, not an isolate.


I painted the picture again, trying different colours in the foreground and experimenting with other shapes. My goal was to get lots of midtones, shapes that were in the picture, creating a nice flow.  

Close up of some of the detail from the picture
Looking at the close up you can't see the tree and logs, my Scene Setters, only my colourful shapes.  Really doesn't look like anything.  But wait . . Step 3 of the Magic Steps is coming.

Step 3 - TA DA!!
After filling in all my foreground with those midtones I could see a 'nice' foreground emerging but to give it life it needs some Darks.
   To make my darks I used a pen.  (You know it is one of my favourite things) But you could also add those touches with your paints.  "Little Bits of Jewellery" one of my artist friends calls it.  Not tight rendered brushing, just giving the shapes some darks or shadow shapes. 

Close up with the darks added
Here is that same little cross section of foreground with some darks dropped in.  Note how the ink lines do not 'draw a leaf or branch' they suggest them.  Broken lines, half circles.  Here is a chance to let your painting talk to you.  Some of those shapes might suggest a rock, or log, add a little dark shadow to build on that.  Note those little squiggles in the sand at the lower bottom - they suggest so much.  Never underestimate the power of 'dot' or 'squiggle' when you are working. 

If you would like to Make Magic with this picture, drop me a line and I will be glad to send you a larger file of the shoreline reference.  I would also love to see how you bring it to life.  What colours you infused into it.

Next Week is Chinese New Year - The Year of the Dog - Come meet some of the Dogs I have met.

AWESOME OPPORTUNITY: 2 Day Workshop with Dene Croft, SFCA - Friday, Feb 23 & Saturday, Feb 24, South Langley.   2 SPOTS LEFT- $160 Contact me to Register.

1 -Day Marketing Workshop for Artist - Let's Get Your Art Out There! with Wendy Mould, AFCA      Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018 10-3pm $84(Tax Incd)
Great Art needs Good Marketing to Move it out the Door
During the day you learn Strategies that FOCUS your marketing, see effective ways to promote your work and find a path that is right for you.  It is a full day and the synergy generated from the experience will keep you on track for 2018. Turn your Art Making into a Business. Maximum 8 people so register early. 
I look forward to working with you.  
 REGISTER  Contact Wendy               Gift Certificates Available

Good Follow-Up Session to the Marketing Workshop: 
April 9 - Building Your Online Presence with Wendy Mould, 6-8pm. Federation Gallery, Vancouver, BC. $20 nonmembers $15 members.

Looking for more Drawing Tips, check out these popular posts from the latest Drawing Series.  
How to Find Your Starting Point in a Drawing - here
4 Ways to Grow the Sketchbook Habit - here
Get Those Values Working for you - here

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 Have a great artful day,

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