The second week of art class at the Art Students League of New York. I’ve signed up for a critique of my paintings tomorrow, Friday February 18. Looking forward to some good advice. I continue to work with oil paints, which I quite like, despite the slow pace of the work: often a day, two days, three days between stages to let the paint dry. I love the way one can blend and work color with oils.
The first painting below started out as something completely different, with large irregular areas in pastel colors. I didn’t like where it was going and so changed course completely, painting a few rectangles, then adding the vertical and horizontal lines. At this point it was still too static, so added some diagonal lines and started to bring out the triangular shapes. By this time, the second session, a structure had emerged, and I continued to work with it. Three or four sessions in all.
In the painting below, I began with some large irregular areas of color, then began to add rectangles of color. At some point I added the horizontal and vertical lines. Clearly I was using lessons of the previous painting. One point of difference: left areas of white.
The first week of my art class with Peter Bonner at the Art Student League of New York. The class is on-line with student concentrated in the New York area but scattered everywhere. Peter spends the first hour of class discussing paintings — the majority abstract, but some from earlier times. He talks about what makes a painting work — value, rhythm, etc. Very valuable, both for looking at paintings and making one’s own. When paining, I spend a lot of time looking at what I’ve done so far, trying to figure out what is missing, what makes me uncomfortable, etc. Peter’s comments really help with that. He is both analytical and kind. A big range of ages, tending towards senior, with more women than men. Some really great work.
For this study I used the same sgrafitto technique as with #5, but with cool instead of warm colors and combining both Australian aboriginal symbols (meeting place, campsite/waterhole, human and kangaroo tracks, people sitting, spears) with images from a bubble chamber, where one sees tracks coming from the collision of 300 GeV proton in the 30 inch hydrogen bubble chamber at Fermilab (credit: Wikimedia Commons).
This was a study in using an existing image as a starting point. The goal was to have the figure barely emerge from the background. There are ten layers in this digital piece, all with varying degrees of opacity which I “tuned” by trial and error. Most layers are normal, but some have a non-trivial blending mode, e.g., multiply. A very partial success, but a good experiment and experience.
One way to understand the value scale in a painting is to take a photo, then desaturate it so that it contains only shades of gray. Examples below taken from this blog, Art Journal, number 1 and number 2. Notice how much more contrast there is in the second study.
In this exercise I tried for much more value contrast, of which there was not so much in exercise #1. Also: both hard and soft edges, blended and unblended shapes. I think the final blended – unblended ratio is is out of balance. There should be more of the latter. The descending rhombus shapes, then the circles, were a late addition which finally made the composition come to life. (Made this with Procreate; need to try real paint soon).
This is the beginning an art journal for 2022. Getting serious for the new year!
Constructed using Procreate. (1) Sketched a few lines and shapes in blue pen, with a focus of small shapes near the center and larger elongated converging to the focus. (2) worked with color: lay down a first layer, some blending, then worked related colors into the base to make them richer and more varied.