Painting an Effect Instead of a Scene
Saturday was the first class of a new painting. It is a totally different process from the previous painting as this painting is very simple and low on details. This makes it hard to lose focus on the overall painting because you are in the process of working the whole painting at once and all the processes support the overall effect. The previous waterfall painting was all about detail and technique and it was easy to get lost in the details-teach a technique and an idea of how to quickly render an area and let the student take over the process.
This painting, because of its lack of detail and the subtlety of its effect demands light overlays of color, not a whole lot of paint piling up and an intricate weaving of light and hue to capture the focus of light, movement and hue. The main point of painting water is that you are not painting water-you are painting the sky, the landscape or anything that interacts with the water but the water because of its colorless characteristics can not be captured only by the movement and color of objects reacting with it.
Another problem with painting water and a simple image of a leaf on water is how do you explain the fact that their is water and that the leaf is not just plastered on a wall flat like it is envisioned. The image needs visual cues to explain to the viewer what they are seeing, visual cues that are assumed and felt because of the fact that we know by watching water that the leaf is on water and we hear the water and know that the leaf is on water. In a painting there are no sensual cues to explain there is water so unless you can explain to the viewer how the leaf rests on water and that there is depth before and behind the leaf the image is a flat leaf on a two dimensional plain.
We have to notice changes in detail, contrast and color, without the changes the eye has no concept of what it is seeing and the photograph from which the rendering came from has successfully captured a three dimensional image and rendered it as a flat, evenly contrasting image. As artists we need to exaggerate certain aspects of the image and clarify what the viewer is seeing.
So how hard is this to teach? For me it is even more like trying to explain the color you see on a regular basis to someone who has never seen color but even harder than that is without certain words like warm or cold. I would move paint around as I was constructing the original painting and as it worked or didn’t work I would adjust and refine my rendering of the painting depending on the process. In teaching you have to reach and move paint without being able to rely on the idea that this is an experiment, there needs to be clarity with a student and you need to show the way when your way at times seems somewhat cryptic.
We moved paint around the leaf and continued to refine the image-If I say refine to her one more time she’s going to shoot me, but just as in the other more detailed painting the process begins with refining where light is, where the leaf falls in your plane of vision and how the contrast and color changes throughout the painting. As the textures and the colors form and push each other into the position on the plane the image will create itself almost like a puzzle that becomes only with the relation to its parts and how each appear. So just like not painting water, we are painting the way the sky looks and how the leaf looks and in the end we will have how the water was affected by the leaf and the sky.
I will continue to comment on the steps to getting there and have a final video of the class in the end when the final puzzle creates itself. Thanks for reading and stay tuned.
Places to Paint and the Places Painted from
I try not to be too abstract about art and the intricacies of inspiration and creativity but there are many intangibles that are hard to explain. I am a landscape painter-I paint places but the place from which I paint tends to be varied depending on mood and circumstance. The word place could better be described as tense as in writing or maybe even atmosphere. I paint from states of being either extremely happy and feeling content or being somewhat dark and pensive. There definitely seems to be a need for extreme of mood when I paint because I rarely intend on painting a pretty landscape I more want the viewer to feel
cold or lonely, or the excitement of light and vibrancy of color so the landscape becomes a secondary backdrop to a state of being.
The most uncanny of this is in the past having painted a landscape which for all purposes was a simple landscape but having music in the background while painting caused the painting to have a somewhat dark uncomfortable feeling-the music in the background was Hunters and Collectors-Scream and it touched on a darker more uncomfortable place in my mind and that’s what came out through the painting.
I am impressed with mystery and darkness. I think depression probably has also lent itself to the darkness in my paintings-I just sometimes don’t feel comfortable in my own skin and I often think that comes out in the painting. I want the viewer to walk down a road in the evening and feel that tension of fear but the enjoyment at the same time of that fear and uneasiness and that is probably why people like haunted houses-the fear takes them safely out of their comfort zone.
My writing is actually more dark and tends to be more of an open door for the uneasiness because it is unattached to a specific image which at times might be completely contradictory to the scope and ideas I convey. I like a landscape that you can enjoy the beauty and natural feeling while at the same time feeling that there was a bit of tension and you don’t feel completely comfortable being there. I think one painter that has captured the idea that I express is Edward Hopper-his paintings are about dark places in city streets or in bars and there is a tension I just love.
I’ve included a pastel that is probably a bit more over the top than intended as far as the mood but the name is Halloween. It’s a perfect example-a wonderful family time out with the community and yet the underlying idea that there are goblins in the trees and ghosts abound. I’ve always loved that feeling and that’s what I tend to paint.
The second pastel is of blackbirds which is a recurring theme in my writing. The last image is of sunflowers-I thought it was a bit alarming of that one light in the evening on a silent house-begs the question who is staring out the window?
The Media Teacher
I watched a customer walk into a shop today and stand for a while waiting to be served before ultimately leaving. I felt bad for the fact that clients are what make your business and to lose just one in this economy is a sad state of a companys’ priorities. The respect for customers has gone with the idea of personalized service and actually listening to the consumers needs.
Again I believe that customers should not be seen as numbers that increase the bottom line and the more customers you have to advertise to the bigger your bottom line will be. I believe a business should personally know everyone on a database-what they need, why they are on the database and what they will need in the future. A customer knows when a company sees them as a profit margin or genuinely fills a need for that particular client.
One unhappy customer talking negatively about your business is enough to lose more potential business. I would rather direct them somewhere they can get what they need and leave them with a good thought of customer service rather than trying to sell them something they don’t need. The confidence you build will more than make up for the sale you may lose and confidence is one of the most important things to build and retain in clients.