I think every artist knows the feeling of overworking a painting or a drawing. And this is something that I've wanted to write about for a while because I think it's the difference between professional work and amateur.
If you like the freshness of the work by artists like John Singer Sargent and Sorolla, then I'm going to share some of my own insight about how to avoid overworking a painting.
1. It's better to leave a painting slightly unfinished, instead of working something to death. The painting will look worse if you get finicky with the color and overall painting. It will lose the freshness and spontaneity that you want.
2. Stay far away from your subject! What I mean by this is to not get too close to whatever you're painting. This is easier when you're painting from life, but if you're using photos on your computer or phone, then DON'T ZOOM IN. I know it's tempting to zoom in and see every detail, but trust me when I say that it will only make it harder to paint. Details in a painting are always secondary to the larger value structure and composition.
3. Don't mess with it. This is always easier said than done, but you must learn to leave the painting alone. This is especially true when you're working with watercolor because watercolor painting is very fragile. Never use two strokes, when one stroke will suffice.
So this is what I've been thinking a lot about recently, and I hope that it helps shed some light on this really important topic. Remember to keep painting, keep practicing and have fun!
I have some exciting news to share with everyone about this upcoming fall 2018. A little while ago, I was contacted by an organization called the American Artists Professional League (AAPL) in New York City about becoming a board member for their organization. They contacted me because I'm an instructor at the Ridgewood Art Institute and the AAPL has held events at the Art Institute in the past. The AAPL contacted me because they want to get a younger point of view on their member board. Obviously, this is a huge honor and I'm very proud to help advance the organization in any way that I can. I'm currently generating ideas which will help the AAPL connect with artists in a more modern way.
For this fall, I will also being continuing to teach at the Ridgewood Art Institute, which I'm also extremely proud to be a part of. I think my class (oil painting for young people) will still be Wednesdays 3:30 to 5:30PM, but I'll confirm that when we get closer to September.
The final bit of news that I want to share is that I was just contacted by Bergen Community College to continue teaching Art 101 for the fall semester. I took some time off from Bergen after having taught there from fall 2015 to spring 2017. I really miss being a part of Bergen and I'm very happy to be back and teaching what I love. I'm not currently sure which days and sections I'll be teaching at Bergen, but I will also share that information as soon as I get it. So look for me around Bergen and in the weight room 💪
Of course, I'll still be painting a lot and accepting commissions and selling work through my STORE and also on my Instagram. Fall is my favorite season and it's looking like this will a very busy and exciting time of year! Keep painting everyone and keep networking!
I had a revelation this morning about the colors on my oil painting palette. I always spend a lot of time thinking about which colors to use and which colors I actually need. It's really hard some times because it's easy to get influenced by your artistic heroes and think that if you use the same colors, then you'll paint like them. The truth is that you should use colors that you like.
Of course, the only way to figure out which colors you like is to test out a bunch and then figure out which ones work for you and which ones don't. I'm attaching a picture of my current palette below, which is combination of colors that work for me.
Always remember that you can tailor your palette for specific subjects. For instance, if I'm painting a landscape with a lot of greens and blues, then I'm not going to put out all my reds because I don't need them. You could argue that you could mix reds into your greens to neutralize them, but I don't mix color that way so I know I don't need them. And, if suddenly, a red bird lands in the scene, then I can just put a little bit of red on my palette.
What I've realized is that it's good to learn about what colors artists of the past have used and to test out those colors as a guide. But to progress as an artist, you'll need to think for yourself and see the world with your own eyes. You'll eventually realize that the colors you use don't actually matter that much. And if you've practiced enough, then you can make a great painting just using the most basic palette!
*Many of my readers may know this, but I'm colorblind so I've spent a lot of time studying color for this very reason. Also because of this, I set up my color palette in a unique way that works for me. I always encourage everyone to work in your own style and always experiment with color!
Scroll down for photos!
I just got back today from a weekend beach trip with my family and two of my best friends. I did some pencil sketching on my trip but I really missed my oil paints. I got back home early enough today to do a quick 6" X 8" oil sketch. The sun was going down fast, but I always love the evening and dusk so I wanted to do a sketch during that time of day.
For some technical information: here's a list of the colors I used for this. Starting at the top right of the palette and circling counter-clockwise:
-Chrome Yellow Light
-Chrome Yellow Deep
-Emerald Green (Veronese Green)
It's a pretty basic color palette, but you could also put out some ultramarine blue and cobalt and have a fully realized landscape palette. I was using a really small palette box so I decided I didn't need any blues or. Another note about colors on your palette: try and figure out what colors you really need instead of setting up a standard palette. And you don't really need as many colors as you think you do. Less is more.