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Sunday, 29 August 2010

Making Notes

I need to be able to capture the theory in colour and notes in a manner that is usable and I can interact with each day so I have decided to do this in a painting notebook. Will place important theoretical points that underlie colour, construction concept etc here on the (b)log.

Think Time - Intensity of colour experience

Well the next project is a colour study for a painting. Instead of my usual aplomb and delight at starting a new subject, taking out the white space then lightly drawing in the subjects, I find that I am at a loss. Studying colour theory, rather than trial and error with the palette, has made a significant shift in my approach.

I am looking at the colour research, colour harmony, complimentary colour charts etc and playing with colour mixes. I keep dipping into the books re Seurat, Matisse, et al, then browsing my repertoire of catalogues of contemporary paintings too. Started pairing proportions of colour mixes on paper as well.

Not ready to start so quickly now. A classic learning experience where I've gone several steps back so that I can go forward. Maybe by Tues or Wed I will have mooted my palette possibilities.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Projects 3, 4& 5

2. Colour Theory and Practice
Having undertaken all the exercises, it becomes clear which, if not all of these need to be extended, given time. Have started a personal on-going chart of colours from own mixing, including mixing browns and greys with white or black. In addition I am contrasting them proportionally; a helpful log and reference.

Looking at some problems I have had with paintings, I can see that the juxtapositions of colour temperature/proportion of contrasting colour etc is just one of the issues. This list of Qs to ask re tone/saturation/texture/temperature is so functional.

Having said that, a glance at 'The Blue Boy' Gainsborough, alone as well as many contemporary paintings, points to the challenge !

Advancing or receding squares:

One could do without the form in a painting or let the form be governed by the colour juxtaposition as many artists do! Interesting to see the matching of saturation- a green and orange and a cerulean blue and orange. But a pale violet and orange was unexpectedly different with the orange receding. Also cad yellow with ultra blue and cad red equalised, but with a light green, it shrank a little! Yo! I need trillions of these squares. Having recently seen a painting by one of the St Ives painter: The big blue circle with a white surround buffer - need to check up the name. This poses some stunning questions and concepts.
Visited Tate summer exhibs recently and stood before the Ben Nicholson 'The White Relief' Did not understand it but have a little more insight now.

How colour can induce another:

Interesting to see how similar dots 1m apart merge with some colours and not with others. The spectrum colours used Cad Red, Cad yell, did not merge. Cerulean or a pale blue merge and at a distance some larger dots merge somewhat, as do lemon yell and a mixed pale blue, and an orange and mixed blue. Having seen this, I re-visited the work of Seurat, and some of the French painters of the period, with much greater interest and scrutiny. Must see if violet and ultra blue merge at a distance.... Would it depend on saturation and dot/space size?
Thinking back to the theory, the spectrum colours cannot 'merge' because of their wavelengths
as ALL other colours are absorbed. So they should not merge at all. Finally got hold of the Ittens, Wilcox, et al . Riveting reads. How I managed mainly intuitively in the past I don't know. Relied on studio colleagues though when stuck. We were told to 'try it out' and I did most of colour trials via monoprinting. Clearly the theory would have helped. One of my collegues painted in tiny squares most successfully so must have isolated other colour factors thereby. I would build up form via colour marks but sometimes, could go no further. I think I know why now.

What have I achieved- Project 2

Viewpoint chosen: have read a lot since I chose the viewpoint and seen several exhibitions. I would change the viewpoint now because I would re-consider the negative spaces. I think now that I have simply painted in a drawing of the subject. I did try out different viewpoints - see sketches.

In addition I would use larger brush strokes and consider when to use saturated colour and when to mix tones somewhat more. I tend to paint intuitively and the trial and error produces frustration as I want the paint marks to link in structurally rather than describe what I think is there. So why have I produced local colour. (technique limitation)

Found the 4 tones drawing difficult. The final drawing is closer to 4 tones but it took 7 sketches to get there. If I got there. Less accurate, yes but better as an initial painting study perhaps.

Ways in which artists use imagination

Typing up from paper log notes: lost online version due to wi-fi signal break up

Love Bratby's combination of 'bird's eye' view of plate, cup and cup marks with 'normal' view. Expressive colour and conytrasts of wood patterns with astute angular composition.
Matisse: La Desserte painting, 1908

Wonderful patterning dominates and structures this 'red' painting. The motifs and hues are intense and link the interior and exterior deliberately. They anchor the construction but also the playfulness. Wow.

Seurat's drawings in tone (usually in conte) : Located some books of these, with paintings too. Too late for my initial tonal drawings of still life. Why do I revert to the comfort zone of drawing in lines then am so please to capture a representation that I do not focus on the tonal elements that I need and understand? Have been taught to merge charcoal lines into tonal ranges for figure drawing. Seurat's gentle, precise tonal marks are apparently simplistic but both diffuse and round the subjects. Usually there are about 4 main tones with a judiciously placed 5th tone - as in 'Reclining Man' study for 'Bathing at Assieres'. 1883-4. (No link found) Does this diffusing, merging and separating of images make realistic drawing? Only in some single female figures I would say. The tendency to verticals & horizonals in his larger works with stylised figures in these produces optically very interesting paintings. Really interesting in the paint marks up close. In a study for 'La Grand Jatte' 1884-5, (private collection, Paris, the effect is luminescent undeniably. I think this is the contrasting hues that are layered and sometimes directional, to create the fluidity of a moving skirt.
Need to do my tonal sketches again or write this LARGE on my sketching easel!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Project 2- from drawing to painting

I felt constrained by the square box that the objects were placed on (own choices at the time) and would probably, on setting out again, would use fabric and a larger table top although a squaring and cropping improves the composition.

With more time spent on this piece, I would try to be more confident with more succinct and larger brushstrokes

Too tightly painted as usual.

Sketch - landscape of greenway track

Outdoor sketch in charcoal tones, with black wash.

2 further A5 Tonal sketches

Purpose: to check out viewpoints of possibly greater interest

The top version has greater depth but some lines (when I re-look at them)

Two Quick A4 Sketches - tonal still life

Rapidly drawn piece on the left, from just below eye level is closer to 4 tones, though unfinished as I knew what was wrong by then. Nevertheless, it has more energy than the others though not accurate enough to paint from. Undertaken to try out the viewpoint as is the A4 sketch on the right. (Lines present though again)
Not sure if getting there yet.

Project 1 Sketches in 4 tones, extensions

These are the other sketches

Sketch 1
My focus on drawing accuracy meant that 4 tones were not as clear as could have been. Extending one side added more interest (and the curve of the table reflected the curves on the items) but not the whole sheet was needed as the composition was then unbalanced.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

What have I learned from painting:Still Life spaces

I haven't used the full tonal range from the three colours so far so need to re-visit after a bit more tone mixing. The background is important to me but being precious about the it does not always help the composition. Having pared down the shape of the picture, the composition is tighter. Options are: to square the picture or re-define the structure of the painting (if it were a complete painting) to anchor and develop the shapes/forms into the whole A2 space. In this case I will square the image to focus on the still life. Have learned that I enjoyed the drawing process (in this case) better than the painting because it made me consider at length. Also have learned that I need to be bolder with bigger confident brush strokes in places rather than tiddly often redundant ones.

Sketchbooks and notes Lanyon - Tate Modern visit

The layers and layers of sketches and structural drawings of the St Ives artist, Peter Lanyon amazed me in their depth of intellect, creativity and precision. Also, the media is simple - usually pencil marks. The sketches are on an entirely different level to most those of most painters because the tour-de-force of composition interpolates and carries the complex ideas and messages. Nothing is redundant in any sketch. The painting finale I was drawn towards: 'Porthleven' 1951, Tate Modern, is powerful and difficult to 'see,' more muted in colour than I expected but again hugely powerful. The abstraction from the landscape scene(s), and relationships of form and colour are precisely tuned. It astounds me. Bought book about him. Can't wait to read it. Must buy book of his drawings next.