It’s been a week since I finished the Sunny Apinchapong workshop and I am still hearing his words as I paint, which is a good thing.
Sometimes coming away from a workshop can leave me with a let down feeling, like that was exciting and stimulating but now I’m on my own.
Sunny gave me so much to work on, here are a few of his mantras:
Mass in with a big brush, you’re not ready to start the painting, keep roughing in those large shapes!
Compare, compare, compare, is that lighter or darker than that passage over there? Look, look, look
Trust yourself, don’t think too much, just get it down!
Is that area really that orange, it’s orangish, not orange!
Check your edges, if two dark object meet with a soft line in the shadow, join them together as one!
The still-life above was a challenge, at first all the white flowers looked very similar, but I searched for the small differences in color and found them, I compared the shape of this one to that one and saw the differences. I knocked back the colors when they were not subtle enough.
The same applied to the still-life above, in order to paint better I need to see better. Detail is not what I’m looking for but ways to translate the complications of the really world into paint.
Since finishing up with the Robert Lemler workshop at SAS I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea that light has color temperature.
When outside in the late afternoon, the sun starting to go down, the color of light is very warm. Everything the late afternoon light falls on will have warmth (orange) in the color while the shadows will have cool or blue tones.
Cool light comes from LEDs or the sky on a cloudy day. The result is everything illuminated by it will have cool tones in it, the shadows will be warm.
Paintings that use these principles will have a heightened sense of brightness while still having vivid color. Getting control of this concept, one can exaggerate it for special effect. An artist who used this in all of his work was Joaquin Sorolla.
In the painting above by Sorolla I’ve noted just a few of the many temperature changes. These areas are patches of the same color, but one in light and one in shadow.
Here are three paintings I’ve done using this principle.
This portrait sketch has a cool light, warm shadow relationship.
This painting, a warm light with cool shadows. Even though there are some warmer areas in the shadow, cool dominates with grays, blues and greens.
Here a cool light falls on the figure with warmth in the shadows.
I’m going to start paying special attention to see how this works outside and inside.
Monday was the first day of a workshop I signed up for with renowned artist Robert Lemler.
Why Robert Lemler? I’ve long admired the way he distills a complex subject down to a beautiful, simple design.
The day was started with a demonstration to illustrate how to see only the light and shadow pattern, than how to work within these divisions to add interest with color changes not value changes.
The painting above (sorry for the glare), is one of three paintings Robert brought to the class. A very difficult subject because her skin is basically one dark value, it’s the way the reflected lights are placed on her face that describe the form.
This one is a fantastic example of how light falls on a form, just look at the stair steps of light that hit his face under his lips, how getting just the right value perfectly explains what is happening there.
Another painting with basically one large dark shape in cool light. The dimension he is able to suggest with just the right bits of light in the right places!
We did small oil studies for the rest of the day, some under warm light, some under cool, so that we could not only decider the shapes of light and shadow but how the temperature of the light changed the colors.