I just read this awesome article about the singer of The Lumineers, Wesley Shultz, and his thoughts on motorcycles and music. I'm a big fan of their music and it's interesting that Shultz grew up in Ramsey, N.J., close to where I live and grew up. As an artist, I completely agree with the connection between motorcycles and the genesis of ideas. There's something meditative about riding that cultivates creativity.
This article was sent to me in the Triumph newsletter which always has great content. Click on the image below to read the article and to watch the video.
"'I’ve been riding anytime it’s a clear day. It’s become a catalyst for coming up with lyrics and melodies. You feel like you have this hit of dopamine, but you have to be ready to react quickly. You can’t be on your phone. You can’t be anywhere else in your mind.'”
Merry Christmas to everyone, hope everyone is having a good one and got some cool gifts.
I got some amazing books that I started working my way through. The first book that I'm reading is one I've been waiting to read for a while: Painting Portraits by Everett Raymond Kinstler. I'm not finished reading it yet, but I've already learned a tremendous amount. It has a lot of technical information, which makes it fascinating to read. The copy I got had a special addition of a drawing and inscription by Mr. Kinstler himself.
I sadly never got to meet Mr. Kinstler in person, but I did exchange emails with him; he always took time to thoughtfully respond and give me advice for my work.
I had my weekly Ridgewood Community School watercolor class tonight and wanted to share my demo and a lesson on brushstroke economy.
Today's lesson was focused on John Singer Sargent. I've studied a lot about Sargent and I'm always impressed with how efficiently he worked. We talked in class tonight about midtones (also called halftones) and we discussed the idea of brushstroke economy. Sargent was a master of midtones and he wrote "You must classify the values...If you begin with the middle-tone and work up to the lights and down towards the darks -- so that you deal last with your highest lights and darkest darks -- you avoid false accents."
Now to discuss brushstroke economy; I think this is one of the most important lessons in all of painting, but especially for watercolor painting. I first learned about this idea in college in a class with Patrick Connors. I loved Professor Connors' class because he emphasized traditional techniques. He told us about Frans Hals (1582 - 1666) and how he would lay down a brushstroke and leave it. This lesson was taught to Sargent by his teacher, Carolus Duran (1837 - 1917) as well. This goes well with midtones because you can lay down a broad midtone and then start sculpting the form with singular brushstrokes au premier coup (on the first try).
A lot of translations of au premier coup that I've seen have related it to alla prima, but they're different according to what I've read in the book, The Painter in Oil by Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst. Parkhurst writes that au premier coup means to lay down a brushstroke and then leave it and to build up the brushstrokes in a mosaic fashion. Alla prima only means that the painting is completed in a single sitting, but au premier coup isn't necessarily in one sitting.
That's my lesson for today, have a good week everyone.
I'm excited to be starting a new book tonight all about the materials and techniques of artists. I recently read The Painter in Oil (1897) by Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst and this is a similar book. The Painter in Oil was fantastic and very informative; I think I learned more from reading that book than my entire time in art school. I'll write of review of this Doerner book once I'm finished with it.
Anyone who's interested in this information about traditional painting should go check out Natural Pigments because they have all the old school materials and a ton of information on their site. I'm a brand ambassador for them, but I would recommend their products even if I weren't affiliated with them.