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Old 02-25-2011, 12:34 PM
DaveGhmn DaveGhmn is offline
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Cape Cod School of Art underpainting

I mentioned Cape Cod School of Art (CCSA) underpainting in another recent thread. Due to popular demand*, I've put together a little demo.

It's based on a Creative Commons photo from Flickr -- a great southern California bungalow in a taupe color scheme.

One of the challenges I set myself was to tweak the color scheme to one that found in a 1914 house paint catalog, where the main house color is a light green.

Here's the original photo plus my sketch in burnt sienna (AKA transparent red oxide) on a 6 x 8 in. canvas panel.


The underpainting is done with a great deal of water mixed into the paint.

(In the upper right corner of that last photo is a knife painting on gessoed paper of a CCSA training setup: pure-color boxes set in sunlight:

)

The CCSA method directs you to underpaint in exaggerated colors while capturing values. Blurry photo due to operator error.


In this case, purple = darkest cool color; blue = next-darkest cool; green = next darkest cool; yellow = lightest warm light; Naples yellow = next darkest light; orange = darkest warm.

After that, you remove as much of the underpainting as possible. Continued operator error on the focus, but you can still see how much paint was taken off.



After that, it's a matter of applying more realistic colors. Here's the stage as of right now. I still have to get more color on the roof, add the brick chimney (not in the original photo), bring more Northern blue into the sky, and adjust the white trim.



-----------
* Actually, nobody has asked about it at all. I'm just having fun re-learning the technique.
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:39 PM
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Re: Cape Cod School of Art underpainting

Thanks for this Dave! You might be interested to know that we will be doing a forum project on the Cape Cod school methodology later this year. Stay tuned!
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:49 PM
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Re: Cape Cod School of Art underpainting

Very nicely executed and a wonderful technique!
I really like the green you chose, but I do have one nit. . . the steps would be concrete and probably not painted to match the house.
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:06 PM
DaveGhmn DaveGhmn is offline
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Re: Cape Cod School of Art underpainting

Quote:
Originally Posted by stapeliad
Thanks for this Dave! You might be interested to know that we will be doing a forum project on the Cape Cod school methodology later this year. Stay tuned!

Interested indeed - forgive my ignorance, but what's a forum project?

Dave
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:12 PM
DaveGhmn DaveGhmn is offline
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Re: Cape Cod School of Art underpainting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brenda Y
Very nicely executed and a wonderful technique!
I really like the green you chose, but I do have one nit. . . the steps would be concrete and probably not painted to match the house.

Thanks!

Interesting about the steps. You're right that they would not be painted to match the house... never thought about that, just followed the source photo.

My direct bungalow experience is limited to Cleveland, Ann Arbor, and here in the Northeast. In these places, all the bungalows except for repaired/updated ones have wood steps, as in the source photo (which is SoCal).

(Though, now that I just went through my images from a 1918 Aladdin [kit house] catalog, about 1/3 have masonry steps.)
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:36 PM
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Re: Cape Cod School of Art underpainting

Dave, if you look in the main oils forum you'll see that we have Waterhouse featured at the top as the Masters' project. Waterhouse ends at the end of this month, and a new one will start. We have the rest of the year planned out already, and i will be running a 2 month thread on color, impressionism, and specifically the Cape Cod school later this year.
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:28 PM
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Re: Cape Cod School of Art underpainting

When I saw your ref photo, it reminded me of a specific bungalow house that I'm familiar with and it has cement steps. . but now you've got me thinking back over homes I've seen and you are right! Some certainly are wood! The next time I'm in a neighborhood with these old homes, you've got me curious to be more observant.
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:32 PM
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Re: Cape Cod School of Art underpainting

Very nice painting! That is a really interesting demo and approach. Thank you for sharing! Are Burnt Sienna and Transparent Red Oxide the same color or so similar that they could be considered substitutes?
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:50 PM
DaveGhmn DaveGhmn is offline
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Re: Cape Cod School of Art underpainting

couturej, thanks.

I was completely blown away the first time I saw the way light dances on the canvas when using this method. Some of the practitioners end up with (to my white-bread, suburb boy eyes) bizarre colors -- http://www.outercapeartauctions.net/.../clayton35.jpg

But the effect and the training in value and temperature are undeniable.

As for the pigments -- manufacturers put forth their own shades. When I turned to Google for help, I ran across some cool Dick Blick pages I'd never seen before -- side-by-side comparisons of what different companies call
(a) transparent red oxide -- http://www.dickblick.com/1/3/transpa...xide-oil-paint
(b) Italian burnt Sienna -- http://www.dickblick.com/1/3/italian...s-and-supplies
(c) Natural burnt Sienna -- http://www.dickblick.com/1/3/natural...s-and-supplies

After pondering the fact that a reflected red is the toughest color for monitors to represent*, it looks to me to be a wash. In other words, short answer: transparent red oxide is burnt sienna.

Some of the reds... and some of the Siennas -- are markedly brown. Some are markedly more red or orange.

*Compared to reflected color, the type you get with paint on canvas, transmitted red is far more vibrant. Transmitted color is the type of color you see on monitors, with the bright backlight transmitting through (and punching up) the color of the intervening filters.
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:08 PM
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Re: Cape Cod School of Art underpainting

Dave, nice job with this beautiful method. I am seeing several things in your pictures that remind me of Mike Rooney's working methods, are you familiar with his him and his work?
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:53 PM
DaveGhmn DaveGhmn is offline
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Re: Cape Cod School of Art underpainting

Sid, absolutely right - I was able to take a workshop from Mike Rooney and Kathy Weber last fall, after buying all but one of his DVDs... which I bought after watching every one of his free art lessons at the Jerry's Artarama site.

It's his moderate take on the Cape Cod School technique that makes the most sense to me. His "Impressionist Beachscapes: Topsail Homes" DVD lays it out in detail.

Mike's my star to steer by in my attempt to move from apprentice to journeyman... the first time in my nearly 70 years that I haven't waffled or second-guessed myself around who or what to use as a model for something. I am, in other words, a Rooney fanboy.

Another influence is Stephen Magsig's daily paintings (Postcards from Detroit, http://myartspage.blogspot.com/ ), more tightly done than Mike's and more Hopper-esque. And I have a deep appreciation of Richard Schmid, through his Alla Prima book and four landscape DVDs. But Mike's the man.

edit: for those who are interested, I wrote up the workshop in my blog: http://dgehman.blogspot.com/2010/11/...blog-post.html And I reported on a demo he did at a fine little gallery on Cape Cod: http://dgehman.blogspot.com/2010/11/...-interior.html
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Last edited by DaveGhmn : 02-25-2011 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 02-26-2011, 12:21 AM
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Re: Cape Cod School of Art underpainting

That is great Dave, same here with the videos, have seen them all, I would like to do a workshop with him also. Thanks a lot for all the info and links!
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Old 03-02-2011, 09:39 PM
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Re: Cape Cod School of Art underpainting

Dave,
I am also a follower of Mike Rooney's teaching. I have learned so much from just watching his videos. I have two of his dvd's and just ordered two more. Also, I have learned much from your great documentation of your workshop and the Cape Cod technique. I have just ordered Lois Griffel's book and hope to learn from it. I do want to stay on the same page with Mike's method and continue to learn his methods. I'm new to pleine air and am looking forward to getting out this spring to learn to paint on site. I do have a question I hope you might be able to answer to help clear some confusion for a novice like me. I know Mike teaches to paint in the values after the drawing is completed in magenta. It seems that the preliminary value study is in magenta. Once he gets the values right he then adds color but very careful to keep the values the same. The cape cod people say to use all intense, bright colors which I find very difficult to keep the values the same. Is this a difference in the labratory cape cod approach and in Mike's technique. I thought that since you were very familiar with both you might be able to tell me. Thanks again for all you most informative posts.
Tom Randolph
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Old 03-02-2011, 11:43 PM
DaveGhmn DaveGhmn is offline
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Re: Cape Cod School of Art underpainting

First, thanks for the kudos.

Mike's Cape Cod School approach is down several notches from current practitioners, such as Griffel, Susan Sarback, John Clayton and others whose names I can't recall right now. These people are either seeing colors that aren't there, or they have truly developed their color perception beyond that of ordinary humans (me, for example).

But, that said, intense tube colors can still mimic values. Purple works as the darkest cool, then blue, then green. Deep orange works as the darkest warm, then red, then yellow as the lightest light. Mike changes these up depending on the situation -- ultramarine blue might serve as the dark cool in a given painting, for example.

I haven't talked with Mike about "his" Cape Cod School technique, but watching him work, I see a real moderation vis a vis the "pure" practitioners.

Remember, he didn't actually attend the school, where Griffel *ran* the school as the last leader there, and Sarback, Clayton et al studied there, sometimes for years.

Anyway, Mike often begins with the CCSA outrageousness, but always works his way toward what he calls realistic colors. I call them realistic as well, though he sees many more colors than I see. However, even while moving his palette back to what the eye sees, he is very careful to let some of the underpainted outrageousness peek through, and it -- as he says -- makes the light dance.

Besides, it's fun.

I should note that Mike, like Sorolla, basically works with five values from darkest dark to lightest light. Absolutely the hardest part of the workshop that I took was boiling down a scene in front of me to 5 values. Try it. You'll find that you strain to differentiate planes and shapes, because you don't have a broad range of values to help delineate edges.

Don't know if you've been to his blog lately, but since 2/26, he's been producing some of his best work yet. "Late Afternoon Sparkle" (2/28) and today's "Dead End Road" (3/2) are incredible. http://mikerooneystudios.blogspot.com/
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Old 03-03-2011, 12:17 AM
sidbledsoe sidbledsoe is offline
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Re: Cape Cod School of Art underpainting

Dave and Tommy, I follow Mike's blog also and I have noticed his work looking awfully impressive lately.
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