A CREATIVE EXERCISE TO TRY

I teach drawing and design and one of the first sketchbook assignments I give to the students is to pick a shape and draw it 50 times 50 different ways. This gets their imagination flowing and allows them to address different design concepts we’ve discussed; line,value,variety , etc.

I myself engage in this exercise often, making a several variations of a shape . I have posted the many variations on a shape….. there are definitely more I could come up with.. color being an additional aspect I have even touched yet. try it yourself with a shape of your own choosing.

Do you see the basic shape I started with and it’s variations throughout all the sketches?

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Art Quote for the Day

Some more of my long lost notes….

Underpainting – an underpainting stimulates imagination . A black and white canvas is tedious and arouses very little initiative

Pigments for underpainting require little oil . It’s best to underpaint in neutral colors, grays or pinks.
For grays – use white lead and umber and prussian blue
For pinks – use white lead and venetian red

A midtone surface gives more flexibility than white as both dark and light will show up.
Thin color (glaze) is used for shadowand thick paint is used for highlights.

FLESH TONES
1. “basic” (caucasian) – equal parts burnt sienna & white
2. Add to ‘basic’ skin color for darker tones and variations – raw umber, cadmium red, alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow, lemon yellow ultramarine blue
3. for lighter white tones – white + burnt sienna & raw umber
+ cadmium red, burnt sienna
+ alizarin crimson & burnt sienna
+ burnt sienna & cadmium yellow
+ burnt sienna & lemon yellow
+ burnt sienna & ultramarine

Art Quote for the Day

“I notice that students often start laying in colors and paint just to cover the canvas, without being very attentive to what’s going down–colors and values all over the map! They are feeling they want to get started and hope to refine it later. The problem is, the surface of the picture plane is so alive and active that every inattentive mark you put on it is taking you away from what you had intended to paint faster than you can possibly realize . It makes a lot of sense to try and get it right the first time as if it really mattered, moving intelligently right now toward your idea. And it really helps to have an idea. But just laying in paint as an unhelpful foundation completely confounds our ability to see what we’ve accomplished and where we need to go next. Every part is now reverberating with every other in a chaotic and confusing jumble, and trying to dig ourselves out of that mess may be too much for any painter.
This brings up 2 points.First, so much of what we do while we paint is a reflection of our character and shows us, for better or worse, and if we choose to perceive it, our true nature. Not taking time to lay in a strong and meaningful foundation may be something that manifests in other areas of our life. Art can be a remarkable feedback mechanism for our life.
This is not the same as trying to get it perfect. It justs means trying to get it as right as you can as you go along. “Right” means being aligned to your idea. Trying for perfection takes the life out of expression. to be continued………..

Creative Authenticity- 16 Principles to Clarify and Deepen Your Artistic Vision by Ian Roberts

Art Quote for the Day

“I know alot of students who are distracted by an artist’s color or painterliness. They want to paint like that.Yet what isn’t always clear is that, if the artist is any good , the color and bravado is embedded in a foundation . Jon Carlson, the landscape painter, said, “confidence of execution comes from practice and long experience.”

We can run into trouble comparing ourselves with another artist’s work when our temperament is completely different from his or hers, which means that we could never do what they do.

We can admire all manner of art and artists. We can learn from all kinds of paintings. But it is unproductive to compare and evaluate ourselves againt someone else’s work. What we’re trying to compare doesn’t. and it can be harshly discouraging to try.

Certainly it’s foolish to compare what you accomplished in an afternoon session at a painting class with a model whose pose you didn’t set, with ten other artists vying for a decent view with decent lighting, with a painter who was moved by an idea, hired a model specifically for achieving the idea, and set the stage, model and lighting to reflect his vision nd then had a week of six-hour days to accomplish it. The same would apply if you tried to compare a two-hour-on-location landscape with something that was done in the studio over several weeks with far more planning and adjusting than you can ever afford with a quick sketch.

Creative Authenticity by Ian Roberts

Art Quote for the Day

I bought a new sketchbook a few months ago. It’s a larger format than I usually use so I decided I would divide each page into small squares. It’s been an interesting process…. depending on the size of the small squares, depending on how many I put on one page, I find myself exploring themes and variations of a single theme. sometimes I’ll start a page by filling all the squares with a similar shape and then start doing different things to each one. sometimes it’ll be certain set of colors I want to work with or a different media. Every single little square is a future painting I think. There are more small squares than I have time left in my life to paint but it’s going to be fun trying.

Art Quote for the Day

Begin by painting your shadows light. Guard against bringing white into them; it is the poison of the picture, except in the lights. Once white has dulled the transparency and golden warmth of your shadows, your color is no longer luminous but matte and gray.
-attributed to Rubens

Dark is the basic tone of Rembrandt’s paintings, and darkness occupies a large area in them…. But how full of life is such darkness! Beginning with the most glowing middle tones of brown and yellow, they are gradually deepened through glazes and accents and made so unutterably rich in values!”
-Max Doerner (1949), The Materials of the Artist

Art Quote for the Day

Anais Nin:

I cling to the world made by the artists because the other is full of horror, and I can see no remedy for it.  Diary entry , May , 1936

In the small towns of California the occasional absence of inhabitants, or animation, can give the place  the air of a still life painting.Thus it appeared for a moment in the eyes of a woman standing in the center of an empty lot.

She stood motionless and became , for a moment, part of the still life until a station wagon arrived and friends waved at her as they slowed down in front of her. She ran swiftly towards them and helped them open the back of the car and unload paintings and easels which they all carried to the empty lot.

The woman in slacks became intensely active, placing and turning the paintings at an angle where the sunlight would illumine rather than consume them.

Cars began to stop and people came to look.

One visitor said, ” These trees have no shadow.”

Another visitor said: ” The faces have no wrinkles. They do not look real”

” I have never seen a sea like this,” said another spectator

The woman in slacks laughed and said:  “a painting should take you to a place you have never seen before. You don’t always want to look at the same tree, the same sea, the same face every day, do you?”

But that was exactly what the people wanted to do.  They did not want to uproot themselves. They were looking for duplicates of their surroundings, a portrait of their grandmother or of their children.

The painter laughed . They liked her laughter. They ventured to buy a few of the smaller paintings, as if in diminutive sizes they might not be so dangerous or change the climate of their living room.

“I’m helping you to tell your house apart from your neightbor’s”  , said the painter.

The light grew dim. the painter and her friends packed the remaining paintings and drove away.

excerpt from COLLAGES by Anais Nin

Art Quote for the Day

Q: Now I hardly like to ask what significance painting can stil have, in relation to that responsibility of grasping reality.

A: It’s hard to say whether – as people do sometimes assume – painting in the past had more effect and more reality, on the grounds that it was better understood, or more popular, or was always on view in the churches to everyone.  But painting still has a reality and an effect now. It is shown and bought and discussed, and quite a lot of effort goes into all of this .  And so long as the art  justifies the effort, by being interesting enough, then in a sense that will do for now.

Q: It might be possible for pictures to launch something like a leap in perception or in consciousness.  Someone might suddenly look at things differently, react to them with more doubts, or with more involvement.  Indifference might be overturned by pictures.

A: I believe it might. But I’ve got nothing to say on that subject.

Q:  You have no desires in that direction yourself:

A:  Of course I have – it just doesn’t do any good to take on that kind of elevated responsibility.  We all know, don’t we, what well-intentioned paintings look like.

Q: Kasper Konig once showed your figurative paintings – the cycle 18 October 1977 – and abstract paintings in direct succession, in order to show that the theme is the same.

A: He was right to do that.  Even so, it’s difficult, because figurative paintings are always more attractive than abstract ones.  As soon as there are persons or objects to be seen, you get more interest.

Q: In 1968, in the period of the Grey Pictures and the Four Panes of Glass, there is a double panel called WAY THROUGH. It  gave me a sense of a sacrifice, in the joyous, pagan sense of the word; giving something up and getting something in return.  Did it feel like leaving something behind you, shaking something off, slipping away from it, in order to get to something different?

A: Certainly. And for that you always have to give something up, or destroy it, or scratch it out – as in this little abstract here.

Q: Let’s stay with scraping off for a moment. Is this removal of painti an agressive thing?

A: Yes, certainly.

Q: It has something to do with injury.

A:  Yes, with injury and with taking something that has been made and destroying it, subtracting it, scratching it out.  And then the pleasant feeling that you can get something else in return.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter

Art Quote of the Day

A
Q : Do you believe in your own paintings?

A: There are few that I like, but I wouldn’t go so far as to stand up and say I believe in them.

Q: But surely you ought – otherwise why go to all that trouble?

A:  Of course, I have to believe that I can produce something useful.  And the pleasure of making counts for a lot in painting- as when someone’s making music.  There’s no room for doubt.

Q:  doubt as to what?

A: That it might make no sense, or be unnecessary or passe’

Q: Doubt as to the possibility of still making a picture  you can believe in?

A:There are so many believable pictures in the world, and we love them; we travel long distances to see them.  We need them . And there are some people who need to make picutres themselves.

Q:  How does this question of  need relate to your earlier statement that you were looking for the maximum possible indifference?

A: This was an attempt at self-protection – saying that I was indifferent, that I didn’t care, and so on.  I was aftaid my pictures might seem too sentimental.  But I don’t mind admitting now that it was no coincidence that I painted things that mattered to me personally- the tragic types, the murderers and suicides, the failures, and so on.

Q: Is the painted picture closer to the reality or to the appearance?

A: In one sense it’s closer to the appearance, but then it has more reality than a photograph, because a painting is more of an object in itself, because it’s visibly hand-painted, because it has been tangibly and materially produced.  That gives it a reality of its own, which then as it were substitutes for the reality of the cup.

Q: So can a painted appearance tell us more about reality?

A: Perhaps it can, because it’s more unsettling.  It’s always more or less different from reality, and that’s unsettling. You ask more questions.

Q: You get closer?

A: Yes, closer to our relationship with reality.  The cup on its own is boring.

The Daily Practice of Painting – Gerhard Richter