Why do you work in the medium you do? I was originally taught how to do oil paintings when I was young and I continue to learn. I found oils great for my lifestyle, I can come back to them after a day or more and they will be still workable. Studying a piece over days helps me to form an idea of what I want to do next changing the colors, lines and composition. Change is more easily accomplished. The medium allows for slower or faster drying times depending on the mix or additives put into it. Oils generally have deep rich colors and you can usually tell an oil from an acrylic. I really enjoy the creamy consistency and they way I can blend colors either on the palette or the canvas. Layering colors after they dry has a wonderful effect.
Painting Techniques and Styles
There are almost as many techniques as there are styles. Wet on wet or alla prima, palette knife, imprimatura, plein air, sfregazzi, sfumato, impasto or scumbling. Alla prima is a lot of fun and lends itself to plein air painting because it is usually completed in one session. Sgraffito is a technique where you can scratch through layers of paint exposing different colors underneath and adding texture at the same time. Sfumato is a technique of using very soft gradual transitions from light to dark. Leonardo Da Vinci has good examples of this. Impasto is thick paint applied that helps to catch light and shadows, sometimes built up for effect and usually done on stronger supports. Scumbling is speckled, broken color applied so color underneath shows through. This gives a painting a sense of depth and color variation.
This is an example of impasto.
This is an example of the scumbling technique.
I have also always loved pastel chalks because of the light airy effects I can achieve. The colors can be bright and cheerful. Blending this powdery medium is a lot of fun as is layering. Softness is easily achieved and hard edges or lines are too. They are a bit messy though.
I have recently been exploring acrylics because of their fast drying times. I am hoping it will be a great new way for me to travel without wet oil painting when I do plein air. Oils have a habit of getting onto everything if you aren’t careful. It seems to travel where you don’t want it sometimes. Acrylic is more easily cleaned and water is safer and readily available. Other additives can be put into acrylics to affect the drying times and blending too.
Experimenting with oil pastels sounds like a lot of fun. I am excited that there is so much to learn and experience with my art questing.
To purchase my art on a variety of cool things visit my other art stores.
Happy Halloween Everyone! This is one of my favorites holidays. It is full of wonder and creativity. Being in the moment is so important.
Observation of our Environment
I pay attention to what is around me and listen. Although even if I don’t, I still absorb information. For many years I watched my Mom and she taught me a lot. How did I teach myself? Art is a visual and emotional thing. For example, winter is almost upon us and now is the time to study the trees. The leaves fall off, giving us a better view of their structure. Time to observe and soak in the emotional aspects of a time or place is very helpful. I am always looking and stopping, I am not a fast walker or driver because of this.
I read books, I take lessons, I experiment and do a lot of reconnaissance. Preoccupation with art means I am almost constantly thinking about art, it is the place I go to that helps me become calm and relaxed, yet at the same time a little uncomfortable. There are challenges there. It is a preoccupation for me.
Practice makes Progress
Practice is very important because it helps to train your hand and eye coordination. You practice how to “see” things as an artist and become better. I have a love for learning and I never stop learning. I hope this is contagious. It is a wonderful thing.
How did I teach myself? Teaching myself never ends. Seeking knowledge and receiving it is powerful. I find that being around like minded people also heightens my interest and gives me ideas that I want to try as well. Sharing information is invaluable.
Learning is all about making that first mark and continuing with the next, practice and professional help also make a huge difference. When an artist shares a trick or technique, it can make you a better painter. Many artists have lots to share, whether self taught or schooled in a traditional way or not.
Art is everywhere, everything we see, touch and feel. Recognition of it is key. There is very little that isn’t touched by an artist.
Am I traveling for my art? I would love to travel more than I do. I try to get out on a continuous basis, especially during the golden hours. If you were not aware, the golden hours are the hours around sunrise and sunset. That time of day is great for capturing awesome photos. It would be difficult to do any plein air work because of the short time period. That may be quite a challenge, but probably a good exercise to try to get that light in a quick painting.
Travel Locally, Travel Abroad
I do have opportunities to travel all over New England. Wherever I go I plan to take some art supplies with me like sketchbooks, chalk, a limited palette, camera and desire to learn and explore. I have gone to Florida, Texas and all points in between. I would love to travel more, but unfortunately my finances don’t allow me that luxury. It is also hard to travel with oil paintings as they are wet for so long. I am very tempted to try using acrylics with maybe an extender in them, so they do not dry out as fast.
Be in the Moment
We have gone camping, hiking and sightseeing in many places. I love nature. We often go to museums, art shows and galleries when we travel, there is great inspiration at these places. I would urge you to go to as many of those places as you can. I find things constantly in my journeys so fascinating I want to stop everywhere. I could only imagine what it would be like if I could afford to go to so many of those awesome places out there that I have not explored.
For now I will be content with where I am and exploring not only what is around me, but what is also inside me.