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View Full Version : what subject matter is your favourite?


jackiesimmonds
09-14-2005, 10:25 AM
I wouldn't call this a "poll" exactly but I am trying to get some sense of what kinds of subject-matter (apart from animals) people prefer; I have been asked to make a couple of new DVD's and it might be good to get a sense of what would be popular.

The DVD's will be fir an "Improve your....." series.
At the moment, our thoughts are running along the lines of

1 Improve your Pastels. In this one, which would be more general, I would look at those areas where I feel people TEND to be weakest -and show how to improve.

2 Improve your Flowers and Gardens. Speaks for itself

3 Improve your skies in Pastels. Again, self-explanatory.

It would be helpful to get some feedback about the popularity of each of these above, and also if there are other, specific areas, people feel they would like to "improve".

thanks
Jackie

DLJohnson
09-14-2005, 11:21 AM
Hi Jackie,

Fruit. There is never enough fruit still life. I am a strange one though, probably don't represent the masses. I would buy a book or dvd dedicated to fruit in pastel. How about food in general, fruit, vegtables, eggs, wine and cheese.

Ok, now I am hungry.

Donna

jackiesimmonds
09-14-2005, 12:07 PM
mmm - perhaps a DVD called

"Improve your still life in pastels". ?

My original video, Pastels Workshop, which has been made into a DVD now, DOES show food...I do a still life of breads and rolls.

Clearly, you would have to sit there munching breads and rolls while watching it, if just thinking about it makes you hungry!

J

CM Neidhofer
09-14-2005, 12:11 PM
I would also agree with still life, but not necessarily a particular subject. I would be more interested in what makes a good composition, different set ups that "work" and what doesn't...things like that.


Christine

Dark_Shades
09-14-2005, 12:16 PM
How to Paint Trees :) (especially in Green) :evil: would be a sure fire cert buy from me lol



But I do think still life, and what makes a good one..... selection of objects

Check out the Pastel Project thread, shows alot of what people are interested in ...... Might give you food for thought ;)

K Taylor-Green
09-14-2005, 12:50 PM
For me, portraiture. Going beyond what makes a good portrait to what makes a good portrait a work of art.

Kathryn Wilson
09-14-2005, 01:35 PM
mmm - perhaps a DVD called

"Improve your still life in pastels". ?

This one gets my vote - never enough help with still lifes.

I also see more advanced subjects - there are so many basic books and DVD's

jackiesimmonds
09-14-2005, 01:50 PM
Sorry, Kate, Portraiture is not my thing.

And Kat, these DVD's will be for "improvers" rather than for beginners.

DS - they may get me to do a short 20 minute one for trees!
I will let you know if they do.



Just to elaborate on the general Improve Your Pastels, which I think is very much on the cards, I would look at the following:

1. Technique - people tend to get stuck in a rut with technique, and I will remind about various alternatives to simple blocking-in of colour.
2. How to avoid "thin" colour layers
3. How to improve "muddy colour" mixes
4. How to correct properly, rather than overpaint and overpaint.
5. How to advance to using unfamiliar surfaces
6. How to tackle different types of "underpainting" - felt pen, watercolour, gouache, etc.
Perhaps I could include something about how to improve composition too.
Anything else I should include?

I had not suggested Still Life to them. I may do so, since it appears to be quite popular.

J

Bringer
09-14-2005, 02:54 PM
Hi,

Here's a suggestion for a tittle :

«Surfaces for Dummies» :-)

I would like : Copper; Silver; Wood; Paper; Sand; Snow; Stone

And if possible, 500 Euro bills :rolleyes:

Regards,

José

Khadres
09-14-2005, 03:16 PM
Don't forget to include all about shadows in that general one....you're a master of those! Also might touch upon basic perspective...if there's enough time.

I'd like a plein air one....maybe "Improving Your On-site Sketches" or some such...you could include some of your Greek stuff maybe?

"Improving Your Compositions" ... a pretty broad topic, really, if you include landscapes, still lifes, etc.

I also wish someone would put out a tips and techniques for using popular software to tweak photos for reference, try out different arrangements, different colors, etc. This one could be cross-media, as well.

upast
09-14-2005, 03:19 PM
What about garden and lake scenes? I think those two go together. Painting flowers seems a bit different to me since you haved to worry more about detail of form and subtlety of colour, rather than masses of colour. My first and greatest inspiration for painting garden scenes was from your Pastel Workshop book,

John

BruceF
09-14-2005, 03:22 PM
As I am new to working in pastels, primarily with figures, one of the toughest things is seeing and applying the right color. How do you know which stick is going to match what you see? And when you inevitably do put down the wrong color, how do you go back and fix it so it doesn't get muddy?

Paula Ford
09-14-2005, 07:30 PM
Perspective is a good one for me, but still life sounds great.

Trilby
09-14-2005, 08:28 PM
I would be interested in something in depth on the uses of different strokes and how to create them, also color "mixing" via layering as well as broken color. How to energize one's work with changes in strokes and texturing with pastels. Along with color would go "keeping the luminosity in your pastels"

Setting up and lighting still lifes.

I second having something good on trees, shrubs.
TJ

Trilby
09-14-2005, 08:29 PM
OH, just thought, I would especially like something good on improving water, in particular moving water.
TJ

jackiesimmonds
09-15-2005, 03:29 AM
thanks folks. Yes, shadows, I had forgotten that one - I will certainly include that.

I am not technical enough to do the "how to manipulate your photos" but it's a neat idea, I will mention it to the guys.

keep the ideas coming.

J

meowmeow
09-15-2005, 07:28 AM
I like the Improve Your Pastels idea.

On the other hand, there isn't anything that has been suggested here that I wouldn't like!

Still LIfe is good....but I would probably say more generally that Composition is the issue. PAinting a good still life per se goes back to improving your pastels...getting a good still life set up is really composition.

Sandy

sundiver
09-15-2005, 12:25 PM
How 'bout Improving Light and Shade Effects?

jackiesimmonds
09-17-2005, 03:12 AM
I was sent a dvd about trees, a watercol one to watch - it has sold in bucket-loads apparently, so I thought perhaps I ought to do one in pastels.

I was slightly horrified to find that the tutor simply showed how to produce trees by using a "trick" with a certain kind of brush. Yes, the results were quite effective, and I suppose anything goes and I am being too picky, but I do slightly despair when I see things like this. What it means is that everyone who has purchased that video will now paint trees by dabbing at the paper with a particular kind of brush, and so they will all paint identical trees! There was not one word about tree construction, about how the light affects the colour and why, about various DIFFERENT ways to create foliage, about the importance of drawing from nature to familiarise oneself with the different kinds of tree structure, to see how branches meet the trunk and how twigs grow from branches - in fact, it contained none of the fundamental things that are important to understand when painting trees. Ah well, I guess there will always be those who want a quick fix.

marionh
09-17-2005, 07:40 AM
I like the idea of showing how the different marks and techniques are used in practice. There are many beginners books showing the strokes but then I am always left with the question 'OK, but how do I use them?' and revert back to my standard mark making! Also the effect that different grounds have with the different marks, and putting it into practice. For example, if I use Ingres paper, I am always left with the texture of the paper showing and I am never sure if I should layer more pastel on or not. So some examples of where this could enhance the subject would be good.

lindadavis
09-17-2005, 10:36 AM
I would like to improve my looseness, but I'm sure that doesn't help. :D

Bringer
09-17-2005, 11:21 AM
Hi Jackie,

I suppose it must be one of those brushes that I saw once in a magazine. Seems like some kind of scrubb/mop thing.
I agree with what you said and it's like painting human figure without studying a bit of anatomy.

Regards,

José

sailmary
09-17-2005, 08:18 PM
Waterfalls, streams, still water, gently moving water (ripples). Thanks for asking.
Mary

jackiesimmonds
09-19-2005, 04:24 AM
I would like to improve my looseness, but I'm sure that doesn't help. :D


Me too!!!!

I have thought a lot about this. I reckon the only way to improve looseness is to work FASTER, and with confidence. So, your drawing needs to be good, underlying your colour work. If the drawing is not good, you spend too long slowing down and adjusting, tickling things to correct them.

Perhaps try this: Begin with a thumbnail sketch, to get the tonal pattern of the picture sorted out, and the main colour scheme. Work in colour in this thumbnail. Then, get the main elements of the drawing down (if you need them), make sure it is right, and then ATTACK. Go at it like fury, with speed. Do not try to keep "within the lines" and do not try to tidy stuff up. Give yourself a time limit, much shorter than you think you need.

See what happens!

Jackie

scall0way
09-19-2005, 09:36 AM
Almost any landscape thing would be good for me. I need vast improvement in trees, water, flowers, grass, sky. :)

But I've been on a still life kick lately, so that would be a good one too. Especially suggestions on how to set up an effective still life. I've been mostly doing pictures from the RL as I can't seem to find a way to set one up effectively in my own home, and can't figure out how to get the background, the lighting, etc. Not to mention what makes a good composition!

PeggyB
09-19-2005, 11:30 AM
Well Jackie it appears you have enough information here for several videos! Your original question was in regard to favorite "subject", but one of the aspects of any subject is composition. Very few books or workshop instructors touch upon this all important subject. I think even beginners would be well served if from the beginning if they had an understanding of some simple composition techniques, and more advanced painters will benefit from a little more indepth discussion of the subject. It is too easy to take a photo of a landscape and copy what is there without concern for composing first. Thumbnails are one key to helping in that matter, but then you knew that. :) Still life compostions are another matter all together.

I "vote" for still life & landscape with compostion empahsis....

Peggy

jackiesimmonds
09-21-2005, 03:00 AM
hello Peggy
yes, I agree, composition is always a neglected suject and it is one dear to my heart. You might find something useful in this article, as a newbie you might not have found it:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Articles2/1805/333/page4.php

it is quite comprehensive, but very easy to follow. also, look out for Greg Albert's book, I think it is called something like the one rule of design, or composition - have a look in Amazon, it should jump out at you, and it is REALLY helpful imho.

Jackie

Ron Biggs
09-21-2005, 03:35 AM
look out for Greg Albert's book, I think it is called something like the one rule of design, or composition - have a look in Amazon, it should jump out at you, and it is REALLY helpful imho.

Jackie

Hi Jackie, I think the book your referring to is The Simple Secret to Better Painting.

jackiesimmonds
09-21-2005, 01:22 PM
Yep, that's the one. It's a good one.
J

DLJohnson
09-23-2005, 02:35 AM
Trees, yes. The different tree types and shapes and how to.

My trees tend to look the same when they shouldn't. So good exercises on different strokes would be good. I always appreciate knowing the colors being used. The more specific the better.

I have recently purchased 2 portrait dvds. I don't know why I don't have more, they are even better than books. I will get yours and do some bread. I use a laptop so they will be great for me.

How do we specify dvd when ordering from your site?

Donna

jackiesimmonds
09-23-2005, 03:24 AM
Trees, yes. The different tree types and shapes and how to.

My trees tend to look the same when they shouldn't. So good exercises on different strokes would be good. I always appreciate knowing the colors being used. The more specific the better.

I have recently purchased 2 portrait dvds. I don't know why I don't have more, they are even better than books. I will get yours and do some bread. I use a laptop so they will be great for me.

How do we specify dvd when ordering from your site?

Donna

Donna, they are not available on my website. Best to deal with me directly - we can use Paypal, that works really well and is fast, or you can send me a cheque which takes longer cos I have to wait for it to clear.

Write to me at [email protected], and let me know which of the DVD's you would like, there are four. I think I listed them in my forum...if not, let me know, I am rushing about this morning.

Jackie

prettytulips
11-29-2005, 02:20 AM
Jackie,

Not sure if you are still taking polls for this, but my hardest areas are tree's, water ripples and clouds. For some reason, it just doesn't turn out right. Right now my biggest challenge is tree's.

S

HarvestMoon
11-29-2005, 10:50 AM
Rocky landscapes are my favorite, but I would try about everything except humans....

fortysomething
11-30-2005, 06:33 AM
My first choice would be improving flowers in pastel, followed by improving skies. Improving all aspects of my work is the ultimate goal, and sounds as though that would be covered in a book of improving pastel work in general.

I'm doing some still life set-ups at home, and I find that adding flowers livens up most of them. I don't do them terribly well, but at least they're pleasant to look at.:) If you're limited to one topic, I vote for flower improvement.

I just ordered my copy of the Collins Workshop through North Light Book Club. :D

2tcreative
11-30-2005, 09:16 AM
I would like to see an advance DVD in the following areas:

1. Values
2. edges
3. trees (values and edges)
4. rocks (planes and values)
5. color values

As you can see, I need help with values and edges!