In the fall of 2015 I drove to Alaska and painted along the way. This expedition was my life long dream - read more here. As far as painting is concerned, the colours there are slightly different and more intense. Below are my field painting notes from this magnificent journey.
Everybody’s creative process is unique to them. Just getting started can be difficult. Facing a blank white sheet of paper or a freshly prepared canvas can be intimidating. Finishing can be just as bad. Then there are all the ups and downs in between. Sometimes creativity is a battle other times it’s a playful game. When we create, we face ourselves. There are many challenges. Creativity means navigating ebbs and flow along the meandering path that is the “artistic method”.
Using dominant & recessive qualities of pigments to your advantage.
Painting is about contrasts. Big against small, thick against thin, bright against dull, light against dark or shadow, bold against quiet, colourful against pastel, etc. These dominant and subordinate relationships are what create tension and interest in a work of art.
Dominant/recessive juxtapositions are throughout your work and extend to your palette. There’s a simple rule to follow that will help - Always add dominant to recessive...
This list is something I have used for many years while outdoor painting but I recently started using it in the studio as well.
To start with, try to finish within two hours (three hours maximum), before the light changes too drastically and you get too deeply invested in the piece and lose judgment. For indoors, it’s good to walk away after a couple of hours for a bit and come back with a fresh eye.
Throughout the course of the painting a little self-critique is a valuable exercise. My father always said; “When you dig yourself into a deep hole, take the time to inspect the quality of your work that got you there in the first place”. Worthy advice. Thus, during the course of the session, especially when close to finishing a painting, pause and ask yourself the following questions:
"There’s nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend."
Bob Ross? The guy that almost every artist loves to make fun of? Not so fast! There is more than a grain of truth in that folksy voice…
“It’s funny to talk to these people…” said Joan Kowalski, the media director of Bob Ross Inc. “…they think they’re the only ones who turn on the show to take a nap.” Bob knew about this. People would come up to him and say, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you’ve been putting me to sleep for 10 years.” He loved it.”
I didn’t nap. I watched. And as I watched, I saw a whole painted world materialize in ½ an hour - mountains, clouds, streams, cabin, bushes and paths. I was mesmerized.
Many factors can cause your painting to look duller than a subway station in December and you may be surprised to know that most of them are not even colour issues. Here is my list of the top reasons why your painting may not be as fresh and dazzling as it could be.
In painting, repetition is the key to getting better results. Like warming up with finger exercises on the piano or practicing scales on the guitar, repetition in painting is the key to getting finer work. Even professional athletes continue to hone their skills between games. In the painting game, repetition is one of the disciplines needed for self-realization…
Don't reach for that brush until you have the essentials covered.
Many students think that leaning to paint means mixing up paint and brushing it on in an interesting fashion. There is so much more to learn in order to create an interesting painting. I agree that pushing paint around is the fun part, but it's even more rewarding when you get the following aspects of the painting process done correctly.
Paula Henchell was once again featured in an article about Mixed Media (watercolour and acrylic). Below is a little bit of her process revealed. If you would like to read the full article, purchase the Dec/Jan 2015 Issue from Swinton's or Online...
"I use 140 lb CP Windsor and Newton watercolour paper which is stretched on to Gator Board. The focal point is always painted in acrylic and really makes it pop - it is actually amazing how much it draws your attention to it. I start off the painting by pouring the watercolour - then it is in to negative painting and then painting and then continue painting any of the flowers or fruits that I also want in watercolour. Next is preparing the focal point for the acrylic which has to be built up in layers. It is a fun process. You should try it!"