City Lit Fine Art Week 8 - Painting
Arghhhhhh!!!! Not only has Donald Trump just got voted in as President of the US, but yesterday was also a disaster in art terms. Chris delightfully said if we hated what we did today we were in a really good place because we've "started the argument"... Hmmm. It meant we could now fight against it.
More and more I realise how I often don't stop to enjoy the process and am impatient to get on to the next thing.
Today was about colour and oil paint and was a practice day for choosing one of our drawings as a painting to do next week. I'm not so impressed with my drawings that I want to rehash them as paintings, thankyou very much, but have to bite my lip and get on with it.
I made 3 main mistakes today:
1) I chose my drawing not very wisely, I didn't zoom in or turn it upside down, which meant that I was painting the objects again (rather than shapes), and too quickly.
2) I didn't understand that this exercise could mean that the painting could turn out quite abstract, not necessarily representational, and about exploring the quality of the paint.
3) Going for a bright sunny yellow as a mid tone was not such a good idea - if anything it should have been ground or lightest tone. I did ask Chris, but he didn't stop me. I was basically thinking of it looking rather jolly with reddy orange as a ground and dark blue as a dark. But this oil paint was impossible!! So it kind of made everything green because they mixed together. I just couldn't stop them doing that. I'd made the dark lines thick because you paint up to them with the lighter tones, that's the idea. So you can paint up to and over them - but, it turns out, not with oil paint. Because the dark tone hasn't dried yet. Why didn't other people seem to have this problem though??
Here's my muckings around with the proposed colour palette. Not sure I knew what I was doing really! Although, I did understand the colour theory as I have done it before. I'll cover in another post but briefly to make the neutral you need to choose the two primaries you are going to mix to make a secondary, then add the neutralising third primary. So I had a good muckabout with all that on my palette here:
We were to choose 4 colours: Ground, Dark, Mid, Light. They all had to be different colours.
My ground was going to be pink, but he told me not to put white in it; my dark was always going to be a very dark bluey-teal and then I thought my mid tone could be sunshine yellow and the light almost white...
YUCK! I knew that green might come through but didn't know how to avoid it...
With the ground, we painted then rubbed it down so the oil wasn't too wet for the first application of the dark tone.
I'm not going to write too much about today because it will extend to next week, but I did buy myself some Liquitex acrylic paints and resolve to have a could more go's on this at home with different compositions. We have to have a colour scheme worked out for next week.
When I got home I was so annoyed by the whole thing I tried two more drawings-to-paintings in acrylic using (roughly) the same technique. These took about 45 mins each. I feel deeply unconfident about my ability to judge anything now, but I probably do prefer them to my yellow/green first attempt. What was annoying was the acrylics don't cover a darker colour quite so well as I thought they would. As usual I got impatient with myself and was only roughly observing my original drawing. I just don't really understand why we aren't being taught to paint something more realistically first.... well maybe I do, but I don't like it. Is this supposed to be abstract, or isn't it. And why does he rave about some aspects of peoples' work which I personally would not be very excited by. It just really makes me feel insecure about my judgements. Anyway. Here are the other two I did. They feel quite clumsy and naive but then again, I didn't go on too much of an emotional journey with these (which is what Chris says draws the viewer in, their sense of your emotional process). But I had no emotions left after 2 hours' sleep from watching the elections all night... Actually the top one could probably do with a pop of proper yellow or red. Maybe the lower one could have a glaze. I was a bit mean with paint actually since it was expensive and I wasn't sure it was worth using it up on these!
I was looking up paints and found this about opacity on Will Kemp's site.
Pigments vary in their transparency by nature, different paints have difference levels of opacity depending on the paint pigments chemical make up.
So a paint made from earth, such as an ochre will be made from crushed up rock, this, of course, is hard to see through! So will make a paint that has pretty good coverage. If you were using a paint that the pigments comes from a dye or is man-made, such as a quinacridone, (called synthetic organics) the thinner and more translucent a paint will be.
So in fact my Winsor and Newton Burnt Sienna did not cover my dark tone made of Liquitex paints in that painting above, because it was cheaper! Also thinking about it, it could do with a pop of turquoise.
A Gallery of my colleagues' work: