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Old 03-26-2020, 10:04 PM
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annette71 annette71 is offline
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do you practice your paintings?

I was wondering... do you "practice" your painting before you start painting the actual painting? Do you do studies to test colors and composition and stuff?

I never do really, i go directly to the painting. It's easy for me because i paint from my head, so when i have an idea, i just go with the flow, adjusting here and there as i go. I start with shapes in charcoal, and then blocking, then alcohol wash, and then moving on to layering. In most cases, i finish and i like what i see. A few times it just don't work and i might just abandon the painting, for some reason, i never start over.

I don't think there is a reason in particular i do it this way, i guess it has to do with the fact that i'm self-taught. I had no formal education in art.
I guess it was just a method that i implemented for myself that made sense. When i began painting i didn't have a lot of time (well, i still don't have a lot of time hahaha), so my motto was "this better work out and better be good!" because i did not want to feel that so many hours of my life had been wasted. Oh and also the cost of materials. I paint on UART over gatorboard, and that's expensive to just toss away!

Logic tells me that if i "practice" my paintings maybe the outcome would be different, but i'm not unhappy with the outcome really, so in my mind it feels like i don't need to spend more time than necessary practicing a project.

I'd love to hear about your method and your opinion about having or not a study or practice session before starting the actual painting.

Best,

Annette
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Old 03-27-2020, 04:01 AM
My Beloved Muse My Beloved Muse is online now
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Re: do you practice your paintings?

Annette,

my response may sound strange, but I believe my finished pastel paintings and drawings include any of the work that I would do in the sketching or studies in the final painting. And this is what I find is so exceptional about working in pastel. It is so easy to change, add to and omit details that I feel like I can try a lot of different ideas and approaches as I work, see what works and keep going. Pastel is just so flexible! It's a great means for a gestalt approach to painting and drawing that allows thoughts and approaches to emerge that I wouldn't have expected.

Hope my ravings make sense.

John
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:48 AM
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franglais franglais is offline
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Re: do you practice your paintings?

Hi, Annette,
I agree with John... I love pastels because they are immediate but also forgiving. Much easier to change things up with pastels than with other media, imo. I don't usually do a lot of planning.... perhaps an occasional value study.... but usually not.
Happy painting!
Mike
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Old 03-27-2020, 09:28 AM
kcwhitney kcwhitney is offline
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Re: do you practice your paintings?

Although my instructor, and many other instructors recommend doing color studies, I find it hard to do. I suppose it can be useful to work out different color schemes, I haven't wanted to put in that time.

Sometimes I begin a work in (4x6) size with the idea that is would be a study for a larger work. But I find I usually find I use up the interest I have in that image, and just don't feel doing like doing it all over again.

I will do a quick value study, and find that helpful, but I don't spend a lot of time on it.
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Old 03-27-2020, 09:55 AM
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Re: do you practice your paintings?

Almost always I go directly to the painting. Only occasionally do a tiny sketch for value and composition before, and I do mean very infrequently. When I do can't say that my paintings are noticeably better, though.

I'm a very quick painter. Not sure if that is just the way I started or if it's related to the discipline of painting en plein air, where the light changes rather quickly and constantly. And like you I'm self-trained, so though I'm well aware of and have watched the way painting is taught formally, I never developed those disciplined habits.

But when I started I mostly painted from my head and not outdoors, and I was still a quick painter.

Didn't learn to paint regularly until I turned 30. Prior to that from childhood I was always sketching. When I start a painting my colleagues are amazed at how quickly I have a sketch going; then the hard part starts! (They think I'm nearly done within a very short time, while I'm not fooled and know that I have a long way to go.) So I suppose I owe my speed, which is not a virtue necessarily, to finding the initial sketching and composition come quickly and naturally.

I'm not an oil painter. Started with sumi-e inks, then acrylics and learned other media from there. Tried oils and didn't like them after several months. So I never had the oil painting training/discipline of endlessly mixing to find the "right" colors. Never developed that style of working. I'm in awe of the pastelists who choose their palette before starting. I can really see the value, especially in pastel, of working from the color perspective that way. Someday I may acquire that discipline.

The other reason I tend to work this way is a delight and a devotion to alla prima, unembellished, simpler but subtle works of art. Sumi-e taught me to work fresh and fast and to simplify composition for maximum effect. To me most masters' sketches are fully finished works and masterfully done. I have rarely found that going back to a work later improves my work; seems to ruin the freshness of the first go round. So when I'm "done" I'm probably a bit overdone to my taste in painting.

That's all a long way of saying that however YOU learn and choose to paint, that's the best for you. We will all differ, but we can learn from one another, even if we don't end up imitating our methods.

Last edited by bartc : 03-27-2020 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 03-27-2020, 10:35 AM
MLong MLong is offline
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Re: do you practice your paintings?

I am very new to pastels so shouldn't be giving advice to anyone. Maybe I should say, I can give plenty of advice but no one should take it! I spend only a minute or two with broad sketches to determine composition and dark/light balance. In the one showing, I decided on a high horizon and 1/3 dark, 2/3 light balance. This decision came from trying a few rough sketches with, say, a low horizon and 2/3 dark to 1/3 light. I chose the one I liked best. For me, without this, I can make an early mistake that may be difficult or impossible to correct later.

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Old 03-27-2020, 01:51 PM
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Re: do you practice your paintings?

Welcome to the pastel forum, Mike! Feel free to jump right in. You'll find this group loves to share.
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Old 03-27-2020, 04:19 PM
MLong MLong is offline
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Re: do you practice your paintings?

Thanks, Karen. Looking forward to it.
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Old 03-28-2020, 09:45 AM
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Re: do you practice your paintings?

A note on color sketching for choice:
I see that method in videos from online teachers/artists and am quite impressed. What I also note is that they have a "starter" set, but they end up adding other colors to it later, so what they have actually chosen is a base color scheme, not a finished spectrum.
I'm in awe of this method. Something about pastels is teaching me to be a better painter in other media, because in pastels you largely can't blend and you work for purer pigments. I note that my acrylics sometimes dull, because I'm mixing too much. So going back to that from pastels taught me something about using purer pigmentation.
Don't know if I'm explaining this well.
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Old 03-29-2020, 05:03 AM
kcwhitney kcwhitney is offline
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Re: do you practice your paintings?

Who says you can't blend with pastel? I have over 1000 colors of many manufacturers and I still find I have to blend to get the correct color. Blending both physically and optically.
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Old 03-29-2020, 08:41 AM
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Re: do you practice your paintings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcwhitney
Who says you can't blend with pastel? I have over 1000 colors of many manufacturers and I still find I have to blend to get the correct color. Blending both physically and optically.
Oh you CAN blend, but you lose that vibrant glow to some degree if you are physically blending: optical blending works for every medium. If you have 1,000 colors and can't find the one you want, I'm kind of surprised! But everybody sees differently, so I'm not criticizing.
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