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Old 03-05-2004, 10:08 AM
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Eugene Veszely Eugene Veszely is offline
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Re: How Do you Start your Painting off?

LOL .....Larry you gave me a fright when I saw that bloodless white hand start to appear on the page...I thought your finger had affected your whole hand !!!!....then it loaded up and I saw it was a glove !!

You make it look so simple !!
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Old 03-05-2004, 10:58 AM
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Re: How Do you Start your Painting off?

hahaha...you're too funny! Thanks...but next time warn me not to be drinking from my cup of coffee while reading! Pppphfffffffff!!!!!

I have the finger beneath the glove and at all times wrapped in a coban gauze tape to control inflammation. A pain...but it works fairly well.

take care

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Old 03-05-2004, 11:13 AM
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Re: How Do you Start your Painting off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will H-G
Hello everyone.
I am very new to Plein Aire painting and have only managed a couple of small panels so far (last year).
Great demo as usual Larry. Can you tell us if you were working on a toned ground or do you rely on your ragging in to set up tonal balance of your picture?

I start on a neutral ground mixing some black into my white gesso, and perhaps about a mid value or slightly less.

I don't want to be influenced prior to painting with a color toned support which forces a theme upon me. I want to be unprejudiced when I begin, responding solely to the moment before me. A mid value tone of non color allows very quickly for light values and darker values to be seen immediately. Working on a white support...you get a knot in your stomach, one of anxious anticipation for when enough of your painting gets filled in to feel like its going somewhere.

Also...as it begins to get filled in from a white background you have to tweak and readjust your colors and strokes as adjacent painted areas gives the older strokes a different look. Having a midvalue tone at the onset gives you more a sense of what a color should and will remain to look like. It allows for economy of movement and time so your focus doesn't have to go back and redo anything. A midvalue is very much like the local color of many masses in nature. Very easy to judge color.

Now...as for working with an underpainting...even upon a white surface it will cause some anxiety for a wash in with turps makes the paint fairly transparent. You'll have to have more paint mixed in with your turps to cover and the surface is likely to be slicker, not dry for your build up stages. I wonder if this might not have been the case for Phyllis discovering it not being the ideal manner of starting for her?

The transparent nature of a thinned raggin naturally works darker with the midvalue tone beneath...

Also...my own personal biase is to avoid working with a white palette when you paint outdoors. Your paint is to be applied to a surface building up with color and a midvalue to start. The color will appear one thing mixed on a white palette, quite another on the paint panel itself.

Plus...the intensity of light outdoors that many of us chase is a warmer light. The light's effect on color being warmer. It is hard for us using minerals in pigments to immitate the color of nature. So, I recommend a warm palette, such as the natural wood of a wood palette.

Mixed on a white palette...most colors will appear warmer by comparison, Logical, right? Mixed on a warm palette..the color must be made warmer to feel warmer compared to the palette...thus it gets painted on your painting warmer from the get go. This is something I gleaned from Paul Strisik's writings many years ago.

Larry
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Old 03-05-2004, 11:21 AM
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Re: How Do you Start your Painting off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by E-J
Exciting to come here and find these things being discussed alongside the practical matters of how to start a plein air!

Van Gogh's dreams of his yellow house! That's what I see WC potentially being. Artists sitting around having a bit of banter, sharing a cup of delight (albeit your favorite beverage!) This morning, mine a dark roast java blend.

Thanks E-J...have fun, and be kind to yourself. As you begin...expect much from nature and let that be your greatest reward. Be a participant in the grand drama...and let abilities develop without allowing discouragements to talk you out of it. I often say it takes 120 bad paintings just to learn something about painting.

Then, come back and share with us...!

Larry
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Old 03-05-2004, 11:26 AM
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Re: How Do you Start your Painting off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle
I seem to work extremely fast compared to some others here - but then again, my studio work is fast too.

Hey Kyle....

I just contributed a lengthy banter in the Color Theory forum reviving an old thread on three colors plus white...especially with Marc here now, I'm pumped once again maybe to try for the fun of it his palette.

At anyrate.... I shared some thoughts of Carlson's on painting...and by metaphor Bruce Lee's martial arts style compared to the beautiful kata forms of other kung fu styles. Working fast as you state...is a sign of some things, and not bad btw. At anyrate...for anyone that enjoys banter or rants...it might be an interesting read- (last couple posts of mine I added today)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...=140758&page=2

Larry
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Old 03-05-2004, 01:44 PM
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Re: How Do you Start your Painting off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nrynes
I start by identifying the big, basic 4-5 shapes (at most) in the painting. I then sketch these in with thinned burnt sienna (first photo).

My approach in oil starts similarly, except I don't actually "thin" the paint, as I don't use any solvents. I just sketch with a relatively dry brush. Then I very roughly "color in" those shapes, also with dry brushed burnt sienna - a bit heavier for the darkest shapes, lighter for the middle value shapes, and leaving the bare canvas for the lightest shapes. The level of detail for the shapes we are talking about is right inline with Nancy's first picture, though. Then I start applying color, but I don't have any particular approach I follow here.

In pastel, I start with three or four sticks of color - dark, middle, one or two lights - and block in shapes at about the same level of detail, except I rarely "draw" the outlines first as I do in oil - I just lightly drag the side of the pastel sticks to color in the shapes from the inside out. End result looks like a cartoon color version of the burnt sienna underpainting in oil. I often stay with these colors for a while to develop the shapes further, though, before adding other colors. But still, I have a clear sense of when it has ceased to be "underpainting" and when I am painting "for real". Indeed, sometimes I'll take a rag or wet brush and smudge the original shapes to cover the paper more fully before starting the "real" painting.
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Old 03-05-2004, 02:05 PM
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Re: How Do you Start your Painting off?

Larry, it's interesting that you kind of do the same thing that I do...use a neutral ground I do best when my palette and my ground are the same "color" and value. So I intentionally custom-mix a gesso that matches the patina of my wood palette - I just add a little powdered pigment of the correct color to the gesso and mix. Seems to make things less troublesome for me now. The translation from the buff color of my palette to the white of my canvas used to really throw my values off.

Kyle - I am a little jealous that you are going to Moab to paint It's one of my favorite places in the world to paint AND to just have fun.

We had a freak snowstorm last night so I didn't get a chance to take pics of the broken color in my paintings (getting home was a nightmare). I think I'll have a chance to do that this afternoon though.

Nancy
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Old 03-05-2004, 08:18 PM
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Re: How Do you Start your Painting off?

As promised, here is an example of what "broken color" looks like when it's been applied (see red streaks with the green on the left side of the first pic)...with the pic of the full painting.

Basically, you just take little bits and pieces of various colors (with one main color) and apply it to the painting. Then don't mess with it anymore In this painting, I used a lot of red, orange, and burnt sienna in the base green for the trees. It looks "swirly" or speckled when you're done.

Nancy
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Old 03-05-2004, 08:35 PM
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Oooh wadta hay...I'll share one too...

good example Nancy....I'll share one too...

First, this is the 16" x 20" sittin' on the easel at the end of my session...


Here is one closeup...


Underpainting is visible. Brushwork that uses bits of color unblended to allow the eye that privilege and so forth. Also, broken color can be done not only by picking up a bit of color on one part of the brush and another elsewhere, but painting wet into wet which I often do, and allow incomplete mixing. You'll see more of that here I'm sure....

Here's one more-


furthermore...I've played with folks in the past that insisted realism wasn't pure art like their abstract work was. In fact, I argue that painterly realism is many abstract parts woven together.

So...to be a stinker, I shared just these closeups and let them think they were my abstract paintings. hee heeee....but, then to make my point, after they shared their approval and applause, I shared the image as a whole. Not so funny then...but, some got it! hahahaaa.....my bad!!!

Larry
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Old 03-06-2004, 05:28 AM
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Re: How Do you Start your Painting off?

guess working in acrylics,you can't help but work with broken colors.....



this is a detail of my tiny head

starting a plein air,
i put down a few lines with a pencil,
then i block in the main shapes,
when all my canvas is filled with color,
i step back and see if the main shapes hold their place,
is any color jumping out?is the back ground at the back,etc
i wont move to the next stage before the main shapes work.

then it is working into each of the the main shapes,
doing the same as above.
i believe if your colors are right,
the details will take care of them self.......

mind you ,the finishing part i find the hardest,edges etc,
where to stop......

wasn't it Hawthorne who said;make lots of starts,don't worry
about finishing a piece.......
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Old 03-06-2004, 09:47 AM
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Re: How Do you Start your Painting off?

I too can work with broken color now in acrylics, Bobbo...but its interesting that it took getting into oil for me to make that transition in acrylics. In my wildlife art I spent years and years layering with very thin washes of acrylic and water, small strokes...for example, here is a detail of a Hungarian Partridge with a snowy owl foot over it, and a smaller pic of the whole painting-





I think many artists would naturally have a broken use of acrylics in the common complaint of them drying too fast. I found that problem a blessing with acrylics for it allowed drawing and draftsmanship skills with washes to work for me.

Oils always impressed me with their thickness, and considering what I was able to do with acrylics used with washes and quick drying couldn't really relate why oil painters still took pains with endless transparent glazes and drying times weeks and months on end to paint thinly. I remember trying to paint a thin line with oil myself once...and it really eluded me. Too much medium and it just bled. Or you had to wait for a layer to totally dry for weeks and weeks to paint a small thin line that would sit there. Or add wax to it...or something.

So, oils just naturally seemed ideal for impasto. Heck, when the water dries with acrylics, the pigment flattens. You have to add gels to get it to stay thick upon drying. So for a long time acrylic was my illustrative/detail medium of preference...oils for that freeing liberating painterly natural impasto approach.

But...when I began to paint plein air, standing before nature and seeing spots of color presented...here and there, painting took on a new meaning. That is, a painting is nothing more than one spot of color next to another spot until finished. Realizing and putting that into practice now makes it hard now for me to discipline myself to do with acrylics what I need to to get my old look. I mean, I can...its just, well...hahahaha...I want to paint, and my old way just seems like work.

Here is an acrylic demo I did for students...a 16" x 12"...
it was not plein air...but I was instudio presenting what plein air was, set up a larger photo of a spot I often paint at. Knowing the impatience of the group (teens) I limited myself to start and finish in 15 minutes.



I actually like the demo a great deal. I think it captured the sense of luminisence in the afternoon's fall lighting, is bold...but, again...I would not have learned with acrylics to do this without getting back into oils. Weird huh!

To have found broken color in my acrylic paintings my first 20 years of painting you'd have had to use a magnifying lens!!! hahahaha...

You have a very soft wonderful blending with your broken color, Bobbo in your snow scenes especially. It certainly distinguishes your painting signature or style. Still love that scene you did of the sheep...that one just sticks in the mind...a close up of that one would be cool I would imagine to see.

take care

Larry
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Old 03-06-2004, 09:48 AM
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Re: How Do you Start your Painting off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarrySeiler
Hey Kyle....

I just contributed a lengthy banter in the Color Theory forum reviving an old thread on three colors plus white...especially with Marc here now, I'm pumped once again maybe to try for the fun of it his palette.

At anyrate.... I shared some thoughts of Carlson's on painting...and by metaphor Bruce Lee's martial arts style compared to the beautiful kata forms of other kung fu styles. Working fast as you state...is a sign of some things, and not bad btw. At anyrate...for anyone that enjoys banter or rants...it might be an interesting read- (last couple posts of mine I added today)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...=140758&page=2

Larry

Hi Larry: Fascinating Thread! I wonder how I can translate a limited palette into using pastels in the field. It certainly would be a change for me as I tend to think I need every pastel I own because I'm not sure of what I will need. A lot of food for thought in this thread - may I link to it for a Thread in the Pastel Forum? I visited Marc Hanson's web site - wonderful work!

My other question is about "local color." Since you seem to paint mostly in a certain section of the country (is this true?), there would be a basic palette you would be comfortable with, and that you would use over and over. But what happens when you travel to a totally different part of the country - such as my traveling from green North Carolina to red Moab, UT. I am at a quandry as to what pastels to take with me. Not expressing this very well, but would this limited palette theory work for all any landscape terrain?

Forgive this "grasshopper" and my simple questions -
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Old 03-06-2004, 09:52 AM
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Re: How Do you Start your Painting off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nrynes
Kyle - I am a little jealous that you are going to Moab to paint It's one of my favorite places in the world to paint AND to just have fun.

Nancy


Nancy, may I PM you and pick your brain about spots to go to? We are staying at a ranch on the Colorado river not far from Arches.

We are very excited about this trip!
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Old 03-06-2004, 10:18 AM
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Re: How Do you Start your Painting off?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle
Forgive this "grasshopper" and my simple questions
nothing to forgive. One reason I enjoy my rants, besides others telling me once in awhile to glean something from them, is the muse is for me, isolated in my region as a plein airist..is a good exercise. It is good to think about your craft.

Quote:
I wonder how I can translate a limited palette into using pastels in the field. It certainly would be a change for me as I tend to think I need every pastel I own because I'm not sure of what I will need.

I'm sure Marc would have some things to say about this for sure if he pops in here. Speaking for myself...I enjoy every so often grabbing my Cotman Field kit and doing a watercolor...or my pastels and working with those. Reminds me of my tennis competition years where if I just couldn't change momentum to my favor, I know I needed to focus back on simple fundamentals. Switching racquets...(not just to another of the same, but a different brand say from my Dunlop Maxply Fort to a Kramer Wilson) produced a different feel, and weight. I was more cognizant of needing to maintain control and it forced my attention. Often I turned a game around that way.

Sometimes we get comfortable with our mediums and we begin to even assume things about nature because a thing worked before we feel it will again and again. Switching to a different medium forces the eye to see and respond differently.

However...I didn't want to go out there and buy 250 pastels. Hey, the little buggers are expensive! I have a set of Rembrandts...some nupastels, and a smaller set of Terry Ludwigs..(which are marvelous and I want to get some more of his!). I found by carting around a smaller set of acrylics, I could do a quick underpainting much like my raggin of my oils. Not thick...but just enough to establish masses, and especially my darks. This allowed the richness of pastel strokes on top to come thru.

Here is a small example of an acrylic underpainting of a surf scene up in Lake Superior...and the finished pastels built up over the top.



I have to be honest though and credit reading Marc's comments about his methods in the Pastel Journal the year he won (2nd place was it Marc?) in the landscape division. I might not have paid attention, but I saw his name. I said to myself, "hey...wait a minute, I know who this guy is!" I went to his site, was blown away with what he was doing with his pastels and went back to read the issue a bit closer. I didn't remember if he was using watercolors or acrylics, and since then Marc tells me it is gouache, which when dry would seem the perfect match for pastels as an underpainting. Me? I'm using acrylics. Okay..."doink doink doink...(hitting head on keyboard)

Quote:

A lot of food for thought in this thread - may I link to it for a Thread in the Pastel Forum? I visited Marc Hanson's web site - wonderful work!

we're hear to share and learn...and we don't have much problem in this forum with a lot of crossing over...so I don't think its an issue Kyle...sure..

Quote:
My other question is about "local color." Since you seem to paint mostly in a certain section of the country (is this true?), there would be a basic palette you would be comfortable with, and that you would use over and over. But what happens when you travel to a totally different part of the country - such as my traveling from green North Carolina to red Moab, UT. I am at a quandry as to what pastels to take with me. Not expressing this very well, but would this limited palette theory work for all any landscape terrain?

-

Aaaahhh....good question.

For the longest time...a painter (who shall remain nameless) kept haranging me (is that a word?) that my greens and color didn't look right, and to my thinking his looked Walt Disney'ish.

All I could think of was that he lived and painted in Hawaii...and I in a more northern latitude in NE Wisconsin. He had a more direct sun overhead. So, I dismissed the alleged differences and life moves on, right?

But...along comes our own talented Surfer (Pierre B.) from our forum here, using a limited palette...and I am able to relate and connect with his work. Absolutely wonderful stuff! With the other guy...I felt like, gee wouldn't want to go to Hawaii and paint, I wouldn't know how to respond in color what I was seeing.

Seeing Pierre's plein airs, I feel confident I could certainly paint there and what is more look forward hopefully someday to doing just that! (hope Pierre has extra room to put us up! hahaha)

Yet...your question is not wholly unfounded. For example...I thought my limited split primary palette was sufficient to paint and mix any green nature would throw at me. But, then I went and painted above the cliffs of Castle Rock in Lake Superior by Munising, Michigan. There was a green I could not imitate or come close and it was driving me nuts. I ended up for two weeks putting forth questions here...tried a Grumbacher Permanent Green...and to my delight discovered Viridian...

Now..I have that pigment with me always, just in case!

Then of course, you're familiar with I'm sure discussions of how lighting varies in Italy and France going to different areas, and Arles, France was one place Van Gogh loved to go for the light the sky thru on his subject.

I was stationed in San Diego, California in the Navy back in '75...and remember the lighting to be different. I wasn't painting so much then, but hearing painters talk today seems to confirm that the air and moisture caught between the ocean air currents and the mountains produces a different light.

take care...time for me to get a hit on my coffee...needs a warming!
peace

Larry
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Old 03-06-2004, 10:22 AM
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Re: How Do you Start your Painting off?

...and I want to apologize if I've not had time to respond to everyone's sharing. There is no comment really required as to how artists evolve to discover what is going to work for them to simply start and get their painting off and running. If something has not been working...I'm sure you'll get ideas here.

This thread is more interesting really just to see what artists do that is different, and for the one starting out...is sufficient without comments to fuel a great deal of initiative and excitement. Please...for those that have not...feel invited to share.

*hint hint hint Sezzan ???

Larry
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