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Tom Behnke
03-15-2010, 08:23 AM
Hi Dusties.

Going to try to keep this short. Completelr self taught artistically, and though I have audited audited few art classes, and learned quite a lot here, I still want to improve of course. Specifically, I am trying to work FASTER. I seem to be incredibly inefficient, lol.

I am looking for any advice on how I can kind of 'get it right the first time' instead of drawing, realizing that isn't quite in proportion, or not the shape I wante, etc.

Obviously the medium is made for 'easing' things into shape and is very forgiving of 'mistakes'. But can anyone help with exercises on how to make less of them?

DAK723
03-15-2010, 10:30 AM
I guess my first question would be, "How long does it take for you to complete a painting?" You might think that you are taking longer than others, but it might not be so. I remember watching some DVD demos by pastel artists, one of which was Bob Rohm. The thing that made the biggest impression on me was how SLOWLY he worked. He took forever!! But the results were quite nice!

But in general, and in my opinion, here are some things that you can try.

Do thumbnail sketches to work out the composition beforehand.

Do not draw in your initial composition with any detail whatsoever. If doing a landscape, for example, just indicate where the horizon line, or a major tree, or mountain, with a line or mark that indicates where it is on the page.

Then block in the big shapes with the side of a pastel. A range of mountains might be one shape, for example. A treeline - one shape to start, not individual trees. You can start your block with very light strokes at first, so that you can easily revise and re-mould those shapes.

Gradually, work towards the smaller shapes and details, but, in many cases, just suggest the details.

Those are things you can try, just as sketches at first, rather than aiming for finished paintings.

I know - easier said than done!

Good luck! I'm sure you will get lots of other suggestions!

Don

Colorix
03-15-2010, 01:09 PM
I'm working on the same phenomenon, as I want to be fast enough to paint finished Plein Air sketches. In addition to the excellent advice Don gives, you can do sketches under time-pressure. I used to be active every week in the WDE, in AMAE (All Media Art Events forum), where you have 2 hours to complete a sketch/painting. My first took 3 days to paint.... Then I shortened the time to one hour per sketch, forcing myself to work faster, and allowing myself to make 'stinkers'. That finally let me relax enough, and late last summer I managed a nearly complete PA sketch on location.

Complete paintings, I can do those now in a third of the time I spent 18 months ago, thanks to all the sketches.

Might work for you too.

Charlie

Tom Behnke
03-15-2010, 01:24 PM
Thanks Don.

Right now I am painting at work. I work at night alone in a building, with usually few interruptions for 'real' work.

So, I would say I paint aprox five hrs a day. Typically a painting 16 x 20 or 18 x 24 of a familiar topic (landscape, animal, etc.) will take me three shifts.
so let's say 15 hrs.

The reason I started this post is that I have been invited to start working craft fairs, and psychic type fairs. i have been working on doing some spiritual type abstracts. and obviously those fairs are not very conducive to high end paintings. so i am trying to speed up and do little sketchy things that will be more affordable to that type of clientelle. But I am also a compulsive perfectionist, lol. So while I want it relatively quick, I don't want it to be inferior either.

I am working on an exercise an artist friend recommended where I am doing timed 15 min sketches.

Any other advice would be welcome.

Tom Behnke
03-15-2010, 01:33 PM
I'm working on the same phenomenon, as I want to be fast enough to paint finished Plein Air sketches. In addition to the excellent advice Don gives, you can do sketches under time-pressure. I used to be active every week in the WDE, in AMAE (All Media Art Events forum), where you have 2 hours to complete a sketch/painting. My first took 3 days to paint.... Then I shortened the time to one hour per sketch, forcing myself to work faster, and allowing myself to make 'stinkers'. That finally let me relax enough, and late last summer I managed a nearly complete PA sketch on location.

Complete paintings, I can do those now in a third of the time I spent 18 months ago, thanks to all the sketches.

Might work for you too.


Charlie

Thanks Charlie.

I think we were posting at the same time. I said above I am going to be doing 15 min sketches, where I can't 'fix' them after, lol. Oh that is going to be very difficult, lol.

I have gotten better at not playing with my paintings ad nauseum, but 15 min is going to be hell. :>

johndill01
03-15-2010, 02:12 PM
Tom, one of the things that has helped me the most is belonging to a small group of artists that get together approx twice a month for 2 hours and hire a model for the evening. We usually start off with one minute timed sketches, for approx 1/2 hour, then 2 to 3 minute sketches and then finish with either 2 30 minute or 3 20 minute sketch periods. After the one minute sketches, the 20 to 30 minute time periods seem like they are going on all night. It's amazing what can be accomplished when loosened up by the quick draws. One of our group paints with acrylics and usually completes a very good color painting in these longer sessions. This generally makes one look for just the most abstract shapes to define the model, which is what most of us are after.

John

robertsloan2
03-15-2010, 02:46 PM
John's right. I attended a life drawing group for a while in Kansas that did the same thing. When I was trying to get the gist of a pose in one minute or two minutes, the first ones came out awful... but with enough of them I started getting good enough to succeed at telling who it was, how they were standing and accurate body proportions.

After that a ten or fifteen minute pose felt like I had forever to finish, and I sometimes finished it including details before the time was up. Try it.

I kept on with the one to three minute gesture sketches after I left the group. I just switched to doing my cat. The benefit is that I'm starting to get a much better grasp of his anatomy in motion. I'd love to do him leaping or running without a high speed camera.

Charlie's colourist method also helped me speed up. That forced me to work loose to tight and just get the basic shapes in the first layer. By the time I'm into the third layer where I'm rounding and shaping things, it goes much faster. Paintings that I'd have spent weeks on were done in... weeks, but with much more procrastination time between stages doing other sketches. Or in one day if I was feeling intense and didn't get tired.

Eyepaint does something cool with the Weekend Drawing Event. For months she's been doing a quick line sketch of every reference for every weekend before going to her other interpretations in color mediums.

If you wanted something to give you a regular habit of two-minute sketching, you could just look at the WDE every week and try to do a two minute charcoal or pastel sketch of everything in it. Like hers, it could be a crop or detail of the photo or the whole thing. But doing that for weeks on end would get you used to doing different subjects fast and build up speed and accuracy.

It was also easier to forgive myself a bad sketch if I only spent two minutes on it. Doing more of them was what helped my sketching ability. I should do some more of those this month since I'm still doing "sketches and studies" on my goals.

When I posted, I glanced up and saw Ari sitting in the windowsill next to my binoculars. I glanced at the time and did a two minute sketch of him -- with enough time to get in the binoculars and the windowsill too. That's practice, but when I do him that fast so many times I get used to his shapes and fur directions and proportions too.

I think I get more out of 15 two minute sketches than I would out of a single 30 minute sketch, even if he sleeps that long without moving.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Mar-2010/70184-2-Minute-Cat.jpg
2 Minute Cat
4" x 6"
Derwent pastel pencil, Sepia
White wirebound ProArt sketchbook paper

DAK723
03-15-2010, 03:21 PM
This may or may not apply to your work, but I thought of a couple other things. Using a colored ground may help speed things up - especially with sketchier type works - in that you can let some of the ground show through and don't have to spend time covering the entire paper. On the same note, using a wet underpainting will serve the same purpose and creates a quicker way to get the initial layer - and the composition, on the paper.

If you haven't already, you might want to check out this month's Spotlight, which focuses on wet underpaintings.

Don

Tom Behnke
03-15-2010, 04:02 PM
Thanks so much everyone. This really helps. Robertt, I have three kitties, so I think their will be a wealth of models, lol. The painting I did of my Mr. Ramone has gone to his head. He is constantly posing for me since I followed him around with the camera getting ref pics for that. I am sure he is singing "I'm too sexy for my fur" under his breath. :>

I like your sketch. Definitely has some attitude there. I hope to get that loose. And plan to start doing the wpe as soon as this big work on my easel is done.

Sonni
03-15-2010, 04:16 PM
am looking for any advice on how I can kind of 'get it right the first time' instead of drawing, realizing that isn't quite in proportion, or not the shape I wante, etc.

I hope you are not looking for a short cut. Every artist I know has been working on this. Some of them have been painting for several decades.

Tom Behnke
03-16-2010, 12:21 AM
Hi. No. I didn't think I would find a quick fix. Been doing soemthing creatively all my life so I know it is just a matter of plugging away, music, writing or art. Everday. Art is the talent I have the least technical training in, but I knew this community would have some great advice, and as usual, I was not disappointed.

adventureartist
03-16-2010, 02:01 AM
Tom, painting is like horse training, sometimes you have to slow down to speed up. Act like you have all the time in the world and before you know it, things are going really well. Shortcuts lead to holes in your training.:D

prestonsega
03-17-2010, 11:50 PM
All good advice.

I agree with Charlie and Robert....participation in these WC exercises is great for speed enhancment...the more you do the more you learn. Using a kitchen timer helps.

But I also agree with Drusilla...focus on quality and quantity will follow.

My best advice, keep the hand moving.