Its interesting and instructive to paint the same subject several times and in different mediums. These are called studies, and I like studies, because I become so familiar with how to paint the subject that I'm allowed the freedom to just play with colors and painting styles. The first and second studies are in acrylic, and the third in watercolor (with a little conte crayon). Who knows where this play will lead me. Got comments? I'm all ears!
Two weeks ago, I was in Concord, California conducting a weekend drawing workshop under the auspices of the California Watercolor Association. I taught the "Six Universal Skill Sets of Drawing". Its a drawing workshop for beginner drawers, and at the end of the weekend, they were drawing all sorts of things with a skill and accuracy they didn't have before. The fifth universal skill set is "Value Control". Value control is the foundation for any competent drawing or painting. I have a DVD that I show here in my blog's side bar and that I produced earlier this year. "Portraiture In Payne's Gray" demonstrates value control through watercolor painting. It runs one hour, fourteen minutes and sells for $50.00 ($5 for postage and handling within the USA). On the DVD's back box cover is a recommendation from Nicholas Simmons, the internationally renowned American watercolor artist (click on the photo to enlarge for easier readability). If you are interested in purchasing "Portraiture in Payne's Gray", please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I might add that the DVD also shows my watercoloring techniques from start to finish in real time with detailed medium and close up shots.
This gentleman was one of my drawing students last semester at Sacramento City College. He knew how to draw very well, and had an interesting face and was wearing a very cool looking knit cap when I took a photo of him. This is a sequence from acrylic start to finish. I first did a monotone "grisaille". When I was satisfied with my grisaille value balance, I then launched into layering on colors until I was satisfied. This is a small study for a much larger acrylic demonstration painting. The demo will be this Saturday afternoon at University Art store here in Sacramento. I will also be talking about the Liquitex tools and paints I use. I am a Liquitex Artist Outreach Rep., and will be painting in front of about 50 people who have signed up for the demo.
This weekend, I conducted a plein air painting workshop at Donner Lake up in the high Sierra mountains of Northern California. Both Saturday and Sunday, I demonstrated how to manage outdoor painting. We were out on the Yuba River near Donner Lake where much of the gold was discovered (and still is) during the great California Gold Rush. The top view was painted by me was at a camp site on the river's edge . . . beautiful granite outcroppings, pines, and snow melt. Notice the action in the water . . . blue sky, tree and brush reflections, and yellow ochre of the shallow river bottom. Water is not all blue! The trick to painting a decent piece, whether in the studio or outside, is to SQUINT HARD to impair your ability to see much detail and subtle value shifts. One wants the extreme lightest and darkest values to play off of each other with only one or two mid range values to bridge the gap . . . works every time! It also helps to have a modicum of drawing skill. One needs not to draw a lot of fine detail but just enough to lay down the foundation upon which to paint. The two eyes on either side of our nose must learn to see the nuances of the scene so that it can be abstracted (simplified). This takes a lot of practice and especially when painting en plein air with all of its attendant distractions . . . heat, cold, wind, insects, gawkers, lugging painting equipment, etc. The bottom scene was painted on Saturday. Distractions that day? . . . well, lets see . . . as I was painting that queer triangular piece of granite structure that had broken away from the main mass, I heard a splash and scream. A couple walking their 14 year old dog along the steep granite by river's edge had the misfortune of seeing their canine slip into the fast moving stream. The large dog had no energy to fight the current and was heading down river to a nearby waterfall! The pooche's male owner proceeded to reach for him and also slipped into the water! By this time, I ran to assist and slipped hard onto the granite. . . ouch! By this time, the man had grabbed the squirming, panicked stricken dog and was trying to wrestle it onto dry land. By then, I had caught my breath and proceeded to reached out and grabbed one of the dog's legs. Both owner and I manage to get the pet safely out of the water. The couple thanked me, and I headed back to my easel to finish my watercolor. I really love painting in the great outdoors, but I also really love painting in my boring studio! Do any of you have an interesting plein air experience? I would love to publish it.