So I figured for Halloween, I'd talk about something that I fear! Well, it's not a fear, but it's something that I have to work on. It's all about NOT being timid when it comes to getting darker and more accurate values painted in a bold fashion. For whatever reason, I have trouble jumping to accurate darks, but the darks are vital to the beauty of a painting. I just painted a small oil study to work on this issue. Being rough and strong in the values and with the paint is a crucial step that I'm taking from now on in my work.
Also check out that really cool dinosaur costume that was outside our house! Happy Halloween everyone, go out and have some FUN!
I think I'm about done with this current commission and I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I'm going to look over it one last time, but I'm happy with the way it looks. I was really inspired by Velazquez for this portrait and worked mostly wet-in-wet to finish it part by part.
I've been developing my recent alla prima painting ideas and I'm toying with the idea of writing a short ebook. This is a new idea, but it's something that I would love to do. As readers of my blog will know, I'm a huge fan of John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla and the original godfather of it all, Diego Velazquez. I was fortunate to travel to Madrid last year where I absorbed a lot of information about these amazing painters. For the book, I would inject a lot of my own ideas, but it would also contain a lot of information about alla prima painters of the past.
Have a great weekend everyone!
First thing I want to start off with is that I had a super transformative weekend that I will share more information about very soon! It really requires its own blog post so stay tuned for that.
With all these good feelings, I started day 1 of painting a portrait commission, which is quite a portrait to undertake. It's a portrait of 4 very regal looking dogs which is the most dogs I've painted in a single painting; I sort of feel like I'm painting The Night Watch of dogs haha. (Of course I'm joking with that). So I've spent some solid time planning it out and sketching it and I feel very good about its beginning.
I've always felt that the painters I admire the most were the most direct painters. There's no "magic" or smoke and mirrors of technique to rely on. It's just straight there, nothing else. Maybe I've reached this point because I have indeed tried many layered techniques of painting. But the problem always was that I felt like I was paying more attention to the technique than the subject matter.
The technique is merely a way to convey your image and, for me, I want the viewer to feel the direct presence and realism of these dogs or whatever I'm painting. I know there's an infinite number of paths to take which can make it confusing, but I think the best way to paint is just be completely in the moment and almost listen for guidance. Think of the guidance coming from something beyond yourself. Listen for the muse.
Have great week everyone.
I was sketching my friend Tim last night and it hit me so suddenly, the importance of accurate values. It's way more important than color, proportion, detail or any other aspect to representational painting.
This revelation came at the perfect time to me because I was really struggling with a portrait and didn't know what I was going wrong. I think the roadblock I used to have before was to be almost afraid of making the values too dark. This fear is really impeding because most accurate values are towards the darker value range.
So a simple 3 step process for the painting below that I did was:
1. Start with a simple charcoal outline to get the basic proportions
2. Use a large brush and smudges of more opaque paint with accurate values. Don't worry about details at this stage. (squinting helps)
3. Once the basic forms are in place, then you can add minor details and refine it a little bit more, but don't go overboard and lose the planes.