Thursday, April 26, 2012

Monochromatic Sailboat Painting: Creating Contrast With One Color

Sometimes I use internet art-based forums to find challenges that motivate me to try something new. This month's challenge on "Paint My Photo" is to interpret a photo posted by another member with a monochromatic painting. It's a really great site where people freely post their original photography and basically let you create whatever it motivates you to create! Some of the stuff people are willing to share is simply stunning, such as the original to this piece here.

9"x12" Soft Pastel on Pastelmat
"Evening Tranquility"
I found the beautiful photo of a boat moored on a still lake on the site and it has such a terrific mood to it. I had originally planned on painting it with the colors intact, but this challenge seemed to fit well with the general tone of the original leaning towards a blue tint.

The only concern I have is that the cream cast that the paper is creating. I had actually tinted the paper, that is, take one mid-tone blue and swathed it on the entire thing, lightly filling the tooth of the paper so this exact thing wouldn't happen. Perhaps I should have scrubbed it and done another layer. It's very interesting to note that even though I only used 4 shades of blue.. a very dark navy, a normal navy, a midtone blue and a fair sky blue, thanks to the paper and the photograph, it has some interesting grays, creams, and even some violet there in the right corner; I see it!

A little more true to life. 
As I walk away and contemplate it, I like it more and more. But in real life, the cream and violet isn't a true attribute of the painting, as you can see here with this photo of it at an angle, the paper peeking through isn't as vivid in real life.  So what do you think? A happy accident, maybe? I'd love to hear your comments. Maybe next time I skip the underpainting and let the cream do its thing?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Koi Fish: Trying To Be "Painterly"

Can one learn to be more "painterly"?

I am working on being more "painterly" that is, to work a little less detail into a painting and make it more interesting with less deliberate strokes. I find it a struggle as a left-brained artist; I tend towards painting what I see, in the color I think I see. I have been continuing to use the contrasting colors to start my paintings (see earlier blog post about using the opposite color to start a painting) and have been trying to be less deliberate about my paint strokes. 
So can this be learned?? I am hoping so. I admire those works that have distinct moods thanks to the bleed of color here, the daub of color that didn't occur in real life there. 
Some things I have tried in the Koi Fish painting: 
Stop pouring over the details. Those hairs/scales/patterns only need to be suggested, not every one needs to be filled in.
Dot in a color that isn't really there. Drawing a white cat? Put some sky blue and pink through the fur. It really won't look unnatural, just more like art and less like a copy. It really is hard to place bits of color that aren't really there, but I am learning that it really does help to make it overall more interesting. 
It's not always a mistake. It's a drawing, so even if it isn't really happening in the photo, you get to choose what feels good, not what is necessarily "right". 
These are just some ideas that I've picked up by really digging into those pieces that draw me in through more than just the scenery. 
Do you have any ideas that can make a realistic type painter more "painterly"? I'd love to hear from you! 
9"x12" Koi Fish "Surfacing"
Soft Pastel on Colourfix