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jackiesimmonds
05-04-2013, 07:55 AM
I recently wrote a blog post about creating woodland scenes, showing the work of a painter of old, and comparing that work with more modern pieces. the whole exercise got me thinking quite a bit about how we use colour, as artists. Everyone "sees" differently...but it is more than that, or perhaps should be.

It is important, I feel, to remember that creating a painting is not just about faithfully"duplicating" the real world...it is about creating something special.... a piece of art which reflects a personal vision.

Two people, standing shoulder to shoulder, can photograph the same scene, and their photos will look virtually identical...but no two artists will ever paint the same scene in exactly the same way, even if they are painting side by side. This is something we artists need to recognise - and capitalise upon. Our colour choices can be one way to make more of a personal statement.

Here is a small recent woodland scene ; as you can see, the colours are of my own choosing and do not accurately represent nature in the same way that a camera might. I chose them because to my mind, they better represented the cool, fresh quality of the early spring temperatures and light than the colours in all my photos which were all very "samey". Green leaves. Brown tree trunks. Pretty, yes,...but then, I always feel that copying a photo detail for detail and colour for colour, is, for me anyway, a rather soul-less approach.

If you want to see the other images I used in the blog, please do take a look.

Springtime Trio 6"x6"

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-May-2013/1805-Springtime_Trio.jpg

rsmith.1141
05-04-2013, 09:55 AM
Thanks for this insight, Jackie. Loved the examples on your blog. Very inspiring!

I'm going to go pack up and head out now!

jackiesimmonds
05-04-2013, 10:58 AM
thanks Randy, hope you bring back the goods!

jackiesimmonds
05-05-2013, 02:37 AM
here is another, same series

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-May-2013/1805-bluebell_patch.jpg

This is shown bigger than lifesize, actually. I've left it that size cos it was painted on a piece of board which had been prepared with a gesso underpainting and you can see some of the texture at the base of the board. I think it helps the foreground a bit!
I do not usually work pastels over any kind of acrylic, because of its plasticky nature, but I thought, as these are tiny pastels, they would probably be ok.

There are hints of pale gold between the trees in the distance. Do you reckon I should make them "show" a bit more?

pointy
05-05-2013, 03:18 AM
I love the colours in these, really fresh and pretty...I particularly like the foreground texture in the second one. Now I'm off to check out your blog!

jackiesimmonds
05-05-2013, 03:48 AM
thanks Pointy. That foreground texture interested me too. Obviously, I used long "grassy" strokes, but they were broken up slightly by the brushmarks in the gesso below. It looks almost like I scratched through the pastel with a blade...hmmm, now there is food for thought...........

Jackie

Colorix
05-05-2013, 11:27 AM
Great post, Jackie! I read it in your blog.

I ask a question at the end of this, but first:

15x15 cm is quite small! Both these here are lovely and convey the sense of woodlands. I see you kept the value changes to a minimum, and thus you kept down what in nature is a visual chaos of all them leaves and trunks. That texture works just great!

The gold? Keep as is, works pefectly. More yellow there would pop those holes forward...

I find it hard to not copy a photo. Possibly because I love to 'sculpt' with colour -- not because I think one should copy carefully, quite the contrary. Art lies in our rendering of our impressions, or put another way, our visual and emotional response to a scene.

Do you have any good advice on how to free oneself from being an obedient subject to the 'royal' photo?

jackiesimmonds
05-06-2013, 03:56 AM
Charlie, I think you all ready make your own colour choices and decisions which have little to do with photographic reality....but for whatever it is worth....

those woodland scenes were done from photos.(I am none to keen on the idea of standing in woods on my own!!!) But I would be hard pressed to find the original photo I worked from. The way I tend to work is to find a whole GROUP of photos of a subject like this. then, I would do several little thumbnails, using the main elements I liked from one or two of the photos, rather than just "copying" or being dictated to, by one photo alone. This is a bit like walking a tightrope...because when you start to take things out of several photos and join them together, as it were, you run the risk of conflicting light sources, things not growing properly, etc, so you need to ensure that your thumbnail really does work OK.

Then, I paint FROM THE THUMBNAIL. Not from the photos. I might put the photos on a board, and glance at them from time to time, but I try not to work too closely from them. Sometimes I even put the photos on the board upside down!!!

For these two painting, some time ago, I had done one bigger image...which I did not like. It was a regular woodland scene, not blue bell woods. This week, I used a mount which is the right size for some small frames I have here, and I moved the mount around over the original image. I found two potential compositions. Then I chopped up the board, giving me two boards to work on, and I used my imagination and experience of doing other bluebell images, to finish off these two. So actually, they owe nothing to photographic reality, even tho the first picture probably did.

Sometimes, taking a photo, doing a charcoal LARGE thumbnail, then moving 2 L shapes around over that image to find new images, can help yu to move away from the original photo.

Does this help at all?

DAK723
05-06-2013, 09:22 PM
l...but no two artists will ever paint the same scene in exactly the same way, even if they are painting side by side. This is something we artists need to recognise - and capitalise upon. Our colour choices can be one way to make more of a personal statement.

I agree completely. The color choices we make are one of the first ways that we develop our own style. While color is often relegated to secondary importance behind values, I think it is important to realize that color can be - and often is - more important when it comes to making an artistic statement.

Don

adigal
05-06-2013, 09:45 PM
I just love the colors you chose - and the reminder that art is not photography. Interpretation is good!!
Nancy

Turpintine45
05-07-2013, 12:43 AM
Wonderful examples of taking an idea and running with it. The results are spontaneous, fresh and original! I too have problems straying from the photograph but I am getting better. I really should get into the thumbnail habit. Thanks for the reminder Jackie. I enjoyed the blog too.

twiglet
05-07-2013, 02:54 AM
Enjoyed reading this Jackie, there is certainly food for thought here. I am guilty of being a 'photocopier' but as I am painting more I feel more confident in putting a bit of me in a painting. The colour thing is certainly away of breaking free from reality

jackiesimmonds
05-07-2013, 03:25 AM
thanks everyone, glad it stirred up some thoughts !!

Colorix
05-07-2013, 10:46 AM
Jackie, thank you for the informative reply! Never thought of painting from the thumbnail (I've tried bw photo, though). Designed from the thumb, yes. Used the thumb to keep control of values, yes. But paint entirely from, no. I must try that.

The scenes that are hardest to change are from my home town, as everybody knows how things look, I think. When I do make changes, nobody spots them... one would think that'd be a clue.

Thanks a lot!

ArtsyBren
05-07-2013, 01:35 PM
here is another, same series

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-May-2013/1805-bluebell_patch.jpg

This is shown bigger than lifesize, actually. I've left it that size cos it was painted on a piece of board which had been prepared with a gesso underpainting and you can see some of the texture at the base of the board. I think it helps the foreground a bit!
I do not usually work pastels over any kind of acrylic, because of its plasticky nature, but I thought, as these are tiny pastels, they would probably be ok.

There are hints of pale gold between the trees in the distance. Do you reckon I should make them "show" a bit more?

There is so much to love in this, Jackie! First of all, you chose some of my favorite colors, :lol:! How did you know? :D But to me, the choice of these cool blues bring to mind the deep, coolness of a woodland. If you go deep enough into a thick woodland, it has a mystical feeling. Of being some place special and private. I LOVE what you have done here!:clap: You have given me something to think about. I have had trouble with landscapes and I think you have touched on the major reason. I do tend to get trapped in reference photos. I have tons. I need to break loose and play a little!:thumbsup:

jackiesimmonds
05-08-2013, 01:32 AM
so pleased I may have given you some ideas, Charlie...and Bren, if I have given you something to think about and shifted you into using your photos more as a starting point, then I have achieved a great deal which is incredibly gratifying. Yes, break loose and play! What have yo got to lose?

chuas2
05-08-2013, 11:04 AM
Break loose and play, about the best advice I've seen yet. And my own painting illustrated the pitfalls when painting too literally from a photo!

I see more thumbnails in my future, something I know Charlie has stressed too (notans).

I love the way with those grassy strokes, so much movement is created from an otherwise static scene. I get the sense of a breeze blowing and leaves reflecting sunlight. Another great lesson, from a wonderful artist!
Kris

jackiesimmonds
05-08-2013, 01:27 PM
Why not try it yourself? Brush some acrylic gesso onto a piece of thick card, using a housepainting brush, so that you get the marks of the bristles in the gesso. Work in different directions. Leave to dry. Work pastel over the top and hey! You get moving grasses!!!

Glad you liked these little pics,thanks for the nice comments.

Still-trying
04-21-2014, 02:27 PM
Such lovely spring work. I wonder if it will pop forward for people to admire?

Rockport123
04-21-2014, 03:23 PM
Hi Jackie!

I'm so glad you posted this! I HATE copying from photos as I feel that the cameras eye is not my own. I certainly know that Plein Aire is not for everyone, but since I have been painting out of doors, a vail has been lifted! There are so many nuances and subtle value changes that occur in nature. I agree with you each artist sees color and subjects differently. I try to use color to evoke emotion,like using a warm yellow on a patch of grass to give my viewer a sense of warmth, or that little tint of red over the trees in the distance to create drama in the distance. As a portrait artist I many times have to use photographs, however, there too I try to convey my sitters personality with my color choices. Maybe choosing a red blouse for a woman who is or was a real spitfire! In my animal portraits I take the time to increase the gradation of the lighting, using warm hues around the eyes and head, thus emitting a feeling of love. I also love to put warm tones in my shadows, which tend to make the painting more interesting and painterly. I really hate it when I hear artists say,"the color in the photo is..), they are really selling themselves short! I love putting different colors in places where you wouldn't expect it, just for the joy of it!! After all as I say, I'm an ARTIST not a copy machine! Thanks Jackie!

keepingpure
04-21-2014, 08:39 PM
You are really inspiring me to try some loose painting! I LOVE the colors you've used!

jackiesimmonds
04-26-2014, 06:17 AM
Such lovely spring work. I wonder if it will pop forward for people to admire?

got your pm...perfectly happy to see these again here, thanks for bumping up the thread.

sketchZ1ol
04-26-2014, 05:10 PM
hello
some interesting ideas .
good dialogue .

Ed

pastel65
04-26-2014, 05:57 PM
Jackie,
Found one of your books in my local library recently - good read and lots of great information.
Pam :wave:

jackiesimmonds
04-28-2014, 11:08 AM
amazing they are still around, but glad they are and that you found it useful.
J