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.
I'm super excited to give a review of some artists products that I've been using recently. The products are made by MABEF easels and I purchased them from www.mabefeasel.com. I'm so impressed with the quality and craftsmanship of these Italian made supplies.
I just used the pochade box today to paint two small paintings and it worked beautifully. I rested it on my lap, which was a very comfortable position for painting outside and inside. I also purchased a field easel that has two arms to hold my palette box, which is something that I've been looking for for ages. The other items I purchased were an artists box that has interior metal compartments that are adjustable (it also came with a beautiful wooden palette with a slick surface) and I also got a small folding artists stool, which is very comfortable and I used with my pochade box.
Anyone who's thinking about painting en plein air (or anywhere!) should visit their website and pick up some of their products. The products are very reasonably priced considering the amazing craftsmanship and that they're made in Italy!
*This review was not sponsored by MABEF Easels. I'm simply a fan of their products.
I've stressed this before, but it really is imperative to work from life. Even a 10 second sketch from life will have more magic than a finished painting from a digital photo. I emphasize this in my classes and I will always tell everyone how important it is. There's really no way to put it into words. It's like listening to live music Vs. listening to through other means. I also feel way more proud of my work when I work from life.