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Old 01-14-2008, 10:48 AM
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pinkpetunia pinkpetunia is offline
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How in the world do you paint grass

Hello all. I'm new here and I have a question that probably sounds really stupid but I want to ask it anyway. Does anyone know how to paint grass using oil paints? I'm working on a painting and I want a realistic looking lawn like Thomas Kinkade would do but I can't figure out how to paint the grass lawn. In his pictures I would sware that I can see about every blade of grass and I'm sure I don't. So, how did he accomplish this illusion. Can't wait to hear from all you experts.
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:51 AM
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Re: How in the world do you paint grass

in my realistic pictures I use a fan brush ro paint grass.
Mix different greens, that makes the grass look more realistic

and don ' t forget:

in the foreground you cann see details, grass in the background however looks like a green spot
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Old 01-14-2008, 02:25 PM
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Re: How in the world do you paint grass

I have a hard time with grass, too, though I'm usually wanting to paint longer (and more yellow) grass than a lawn. And in all of my searching on the subject, I've never really seen anyone explain it well enough to really help much, it seems it's just one of those things that you have to practice, practice, practice yourself.

Try doing some plein air (or you can just paint out your window!), that might really open your eyes.

My other advice (advice I have a hard time following myself) is to try not to get too fiddly for as long as you can manage. Hard, I know. But there are shadows and such in grassy areas that are best managed by painting the generalizations first before you get to the individual grass. A fan brush or the like is good. or a really old brush with splayed edges. And keep in mind that the more detail you put into the grass relative to the rest of the painting, the more the eye might be drawn there.

You can also try scratching it in. Paint a light area, let dry, then paint some slightly darker on top and scratch into it with a palette knife or the handle of your brush, etc.

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Old 01-14-2008, 03:42 PM
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LarrySeiler LarrySeiler is offline
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Re: How in the world do you paint grass

I squint my eyes...determine the color and value...the shape of the area or mass, then mix the color/value up and compare...and put it down trusting my eyes.

I then squint my eyes again...determine the next color and value of the next shapre or mass, mix it up and compare...trust my eyes and put it down...

painting is one spot of color next to another until there are no more spots left to put down, then it is finished...
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:56 PM
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Re: How in the world do you paint grass

Strange how the simplest things are often the hardest to paint? I have problems with painting certain things, due to looking too hard.
So I'll struggle with a landscape because I find it difficult to leave stuff out. And anybody'll tell you that any landscape is brim full. And if you try to paint like that - you're going to be there all year working on one picture.

One solution that I came across in an exhibition of Victorian watercolours at the V&A, was to use a piece of smoked glass. Now I'm struggling to remember its precise use, but the glass reduced the landscape into much simpler forms, when you looked through it. In a way it edited the landscape and gave the painter less detail to work with. Today you may reproduce this technique by using digital photography, and learn to manipulate your photographs using one of the 'photo shop' programmes. That is manipulate a photograph of the patch of grass that you wish to paint, until it is much simplified. Then you'll find it much easier to render convincing grass by working from this source.

Andrew
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:58 PM
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Re: How in the world do you paint grass

I just realised that Larry is doing just this, simply by squinting his eyes - how the low tech solution is often superior to the high tech one.

Andrew
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Old 01-15-2008, 05:05 AM
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Re: How in the world do you paint grass

I get good results squinting my eyes. I've tried every which way to make grass 'work' on a painting - fine detailing or just abstract the general view. The latter has proven to be more successful, at least it works for me.
Always a difficulty is to create depth in a painting especially with f.e. a meadow. What works for me is to have a bunch of greenish paints on my palet with each a slight different chroma. In parts that have a considerable distance in the painting I'll maintain a general green colour, also lighter that the foreground.
Grass is seldom very green I have noticed, so I wouldn't delve into cadmium green at once but it'll all depends on the light projected on the grass.
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Old 01-15-2008, 08:25 AM
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Re: How in the world do you paint grass

Quote:
Originally Posted by nit-wit
Strange how the simplest things are often the hardest to paint? I have problems with painting certain things, due to looking too hard.
So I'll struggle with a landscape because I find it difficult to leave stuff out.

Yes..well stated. I often tell painters as concerns landscapes, that the novice paints everything they see and in the end wonders whatever the reason was they found the scene interesting(?), and the mature painter learns to discriminate, concern more with what NOT to paint.

Nature throws a lot of lumber at the eyes...

In setting up on a location to paint, I tell students that one can immediately assume that at least a half-dozen paintings could be and are waiting to be painted. But important for this one painting is to hone in on yourself. Discover what is most essential inwardly, that excites your aesthetiics. The most typical mistake of artists is to paint three or four paintings into the one.

In the studio, it is a good idea to pretend your reference photo is what you are seeing as if you are set up outdoors...otherwise the comfort and convenience of all that is indoors produces poor habits, and one of them is not squinting the eyes.

Painting is a means of deeper seeing...and as you paint, you will see more. The novice wanting to prove themselves capable, see new information such as a boulder they did not first see...or an interesting tree, then lose focus of the point of the painting and include that detail...as well as many others.

Quote:

One solution that I came across in an exhibition of Victorian watercolours at the V&A, was to use a piece of smoked glass. Now I'm struggling to remember its precise use, but the glass reduced the landscape into much simpler forms, when you looked through it.
Andrew

Interesing...

and it does surprise me how difficult it can be for folks to learn the habit of squinting the eyes.

Near closure of the eyes has this effect of blurring or smoking out unnecessary details as this glass does, to see simpler forms, shapes, basic values etc.,

If one has intent of ever painting from life...one is not likely to find convenience to haul around a piece of smoky glass...though sure sounds like something some folks might want to try in studio.

If you read Edgar Payne..."Composition of Outdoor Painting" or any of the great past painters that painted from life...you will read as near a mantra the frequent mentioning of squinting the eyes..

I squint eyes to see the subject. Squint eyes looking at my canvas to judge the painting's progress so that I do not have to take four to five paces back away from it. A good practice to make a habit of...

I have some painting students indoors right now that probably think I am being simply too lazy to offer them greater assistance...(though I am thinking them too lazy and weak in constitution to work thru their struggles and see some victory for themselves). They want me to rescue them every other minute or so...claiming not to see what to do next, and I repeat myself...see a spot on the reference, squint your eyes...determine its value...its general color, mix that value and color up on your palette and hold some of that paint on a brush up to your reference, squint your eyes to see if they match, then take a step of faith to put that value/color down in the spot needed...then move the eyes to another area and repeat the process.

No sooner said...and back comes the "...but, "

Painting is not suppose to be easy. It is suppose to be worthwhile.

Its not about growing our comfort...but rather one's character.

If you want to be a good painter, do NOT make a habit of seeking easy ways out of things. Instead...see the challenge, take in head on, and push thru it...better to fail and learn something from the failing than find something worked (because someone helped) and not know why it worked.
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Last edited by LarrySeiler : 01-15-2008 at 08:34 AM.
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Old 01-15-2008, 09:13 PM
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Re: How in the world do you paint grass

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarrySeiler
Interesing...

and it does surprise me how difficult it can be for folks to learn the habit of squinting the eyes.

It's not that it's difficult, it's that I find it...wrong

I've been wearing glasses since I was seven, and I don't take clear vision for granted.

I look to art to help me see more clearly, both metaphorically and perceptually,

Last edited by Keith Russell : 01-15-2008 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:05 PM
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Re: How in the world do you paint grass

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarrySeiler
I have some painting students indoors right now that probably think I am being simply too lazy to offer them greater assistance...(though I am thinking them too lazy and weak in constitution to work thru their struggles and see some victory for themselves). They want me to rescue them every other minute or so...claiming not to see what to do next, and I repeat myself...see a spot on the reference, squint your eyes...determine its value...its general color, mix that value and color up on your palette and hold some of that paint on a brush up to your reference, squint your eyes to see if they match, then take a step of faith to put that value/color down in the spot needed...then move the eyes to another area and repeat the process.

No sooner said...and back comes the "...but, "

Painting is not suppose to be easy. It is suppose to be worthwhile.

Its not about growing our comfort...but rather one's character.

If you want to be a good painter, do NOT make a habit of seeking easy ways out of things. Instead...see the challenge, take in head on, and push thru it....
[

Larry,

If the world doesn't really need another painting, why should your students bother to learn?

When I learned to paint, and in every academic course for that matter, I asked many questions, over and over again. Thats how I process information. Not attempting to have anyone rescue me, but rather to assist me in building the framework necessary to learn something new. To cope and adapt to change. My repeated challenges were necessary to find out if what an instructor said or taught, had depth and weight. I love to say "but..." You know what, I even pushed a professor one time to the point where he said: "thats the answer, because I say so." No depth and weight there. I must say that I never learned much from hands off instructors. If they couldn't meet the challenge of instructing me, they had nothing I wanted to learn from them.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LarrySeiler
better to fail and learn something from the failing than find something worked (because someone helped) and not know why it worked....

Good thing that surgeons don't learn based on this philosophy. Wouldn't it be better to help a student find something that works, and then facilitate them in finding out why?
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Old 01-16-2008, 01:29 AM
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Re: How in the world do you paint grass

Thank you Larry for your post about squinting. I think that's the problem I am having with some trees I'm working on that have lost only SOME of their leaves. I sure wish I were in your classes, and if that is what you are telling everyone about everything then I guess that is what I need to do. Your pictures sure look better than mine.
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Old 01-16-2008, 01:32 AM
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Re: How in the world do you paint grass

P.S. Larry,

But I do wish it were easy.
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Old 01-16-2008, 07:58 AM
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Re: How in the world do you paint grass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Russell

It's not that it's difficult, it's that I find it...wrong

I've been wearing glasses since I was seven, and I don't take clear vision for granted.

I look to art to help me see more clearly, both metaphorically and perceptually,

wrong for you...and unfortunate, but...

I'll side with being wrong along with Edgar Payne's camp, Gruppe, and about a ba'Zillion other great painters..
but, yooz gotzta do watz yaz gotzda do...

Those that have learned from me have to account for my work turning out as it does, and squinting the eyes is part of the full package...
just the way it is, unapologetically so...
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:13 AM
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Re: How in the world do you paint grass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Termini.

If the world doesn't really need another painting, why should your students bother to learn?

You are absolutely spot on...!!!!!

Not bothering to want to learn anything...from what I hear of the English teacher, the history teacher, Spanish...on and on. The immediate sensate technology pandering impatience of students will have none of what promises meaningful purposeful life if it has to come in the future. Just dispense with it now! Yeppers...

Of course there are the very few...and we find them precious and few.

Quote:

When I learned to paint, and in every academic course for that matter, I asked many questions, over and over again. Thats how I process information. Not attempting to have anyone rescue me, but rather to assist me in building the framework necessary to learn something new. To cope and adapt to change. My repeated challenges were necessary to find out if what an instructor said or taught, had depth and weight. I love to say "but..." You know what, I even pushed a professor one time to the point where he said: "thats the answer, because I say so." No depth and weight there. I must say that I never learned much from hands off instructors. If they couldn't meet the challenge of instructing me, they had nothing I wanted to learn from them.

Love it...

I couldn't afford the art ed I wanted...and attended the university in the anti-art 70's...where squirting paint in cow manure whipping it at the canvas was the most assured way to grab your "A" in painting classes...so, I did what I only could do at the time...and that was to check out books from the university library on Frans Hals and Rembrandt and copy them.

So wet behind the ears was I...that it would come as a great shock visiting the Chicago Art Institute and see just how poorly book prints do the artist's work justice. I cried in front of Rembrandt's "The Officer"...


Quote:

Good thing that surgeons don't learn based on this philosophy. Wouldn't it be better to help a student find something that works, and then facilitate them in finding out why?

Well...I'll grant you that you have not had my students for the nine years that I've had them, sat in faculty meetings and not fully understand the breadth of things.

If you don't teach, and I suspect you are not a classroom teacher...then you might experience the disillusionment of many just out of college coming into the classroom to discover the resistence to learning. Kids are not coming in eager and hungry for what you have..."please please give us more"

The developed mentality is that if it doesn't come automatically, naturally, right away...and one has to work for it, then it isn't meant to be. The teacher finds him/herself spending a good deal of time just making a case for learning, much less the material to be covered.

With the bottle-fed media hype since birth, and technology...education must compete with bigger explosions, more cars destroyed, more everything... and a lot of teaching strategy has gone the way of trying to win kids over with that which is more dynamic, entertaining.

I come from the school that art has value because life has value, and art is in and of itself play...(needing no additional hype) but, "serious play"

Most high school students want art to be "fun"...but that translates to easy, and the easy "A" to raise their GPA for whatever academic required course their are struggling in.

The attitude is you do not have to take an elective course...so you take it for fun.

Then they come into my room and hear things like Churchill's quote, "success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" or Edgar Degas..."painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do"

You probably haven't followed me around long on these boards, but I spill my blood out helping artists to learn...sharing much on those interested in learning, and I've had my share of past art students (now having gone on to art school or other art fields) too...but, when you sense the driving force in a student to be slothfulness, poor attitude of simply not giving a #)&%! and they want you to come over and simply do it for them because they are NOT going to bother to consider your teaching for they have no intentions of being an artist one day...well, you spend your time on those especially wanting help.

I would hope surgeons as students WANTED to be surgeons.

The most common question I get from a kid on any of my painting is "who is that for?"..."how much are you going to get for it?" meaning their only connection to art having value from the standpoint of the artist is making money.

Every reason to learn anything seems hinged to the only purpose for anything these days...making money. Young people want money because it means new toys for them, and new toys mean new forms of immediate senstate gratification and escape. I offer the resistence you read about here...as a form of protest against their growing nature, point it out to them. I do not pander it...

One may enjoy making sales of their work, but that is not the only value of making art, and certainly not the most important reason IMO...and my intent as a classroom HS teacher is to impart the sense of there being other values in life besides escape...and money.



(btw...a reminder to folks to get a copy of Richard Louv's "Last Child in the Woods- Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder" ...explains much of what is happening to our youth today with so many distractions and toys apart from an imagination that grows engaging the creative exploration and play outdoors)...

I would hope that the character that led to the learning of surgeons did not take that route!

and the reason I consider that the world really needn't one more painting from my hand is that there are a gazillion artists putting out, and not many understanding their need for what we do...and I fear many artists are losing site for what the basic need of producing is as well.

It is an esoterical point, that one's purpose for painting is better found in something higher than the aim of a sale. A sale is frosting...comes in handy, but ought not be the aesthetic driving need imagining what new distraction one can afford because of the good fortune of selling an art work. Artists should understand the value of the work that does not sell. So while the world need not necessarily one more work from my hand, I am prolific, because I need the work that comes from my hand. It completes who I am...not what I might afford.

A bit like we would hope your surgeon finding more contentment that his/her life has saved or improved the lives of many than having added another Lexus to his five stall garage living on a five star golf course as a trophy to his chosen profession.


..but I am what I am...and you can judge me to be what you will.

peace
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Last edited by LarrySeiler : 01-16-2008 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:15 AM
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Re: How in the world do you paint grass

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjorgensen
P.S. Larry,

But I do wish it were easy.


I know...that is something of our nature...but making great paintings begins with overcoming first yourself. You have to make art of yourself which requires certain disciplines...before the art appears in well refined excellence.

What defeats us on the canvas has in its grip our own natures long before the brush touches the canvas...

Expect more...insist upon it, be stubborn...
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