Monday, November 23, 2015

New class at the Calgary School of Art

The new year will be full of painting explorations in my Tuesday afternoon class at the Calgary School of Art. 
We meet from 12:30 - 3:30 every Tuesday from January 5 - March 22.

The outline that I composed says it all, so I've pasted it here:

Join Ingrid for 12 weeks of oil painting that includes both structured and independent work.

We will begin with 7 weeks of still life because there is no better way to learn to paint than from life.  Our focus will be on creating dynamic compositions, and painting fabric, reflective surfaces, florals and a variety of textures.  Whether you are a studio or outdoor painter, prefer landscape, or other subject matter, the skills that you develop in this section will transcend genre and enhance your overall painting practise. 

The remaining 5 weeks will be independent subject, allowing you to work from any references you prefer.  Painters may bring in photos, or sketches, or continue working from still life set ups in the studio.  Ingrid will work with individuals at whatever stage their work is at; providing instruction and demoes to help painters progress. 

This course will include both group and individual demonstrations and instruction with the aim of developing each painter's individual style and aesthetic, and encouraging exploration and risk taking. 

Suitable for painters with minimal experience to advanced.  

I hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Adjusting a painting to my vision

14 x 11 
The model was a no show Thursday night at Calgary Figure Drop in, so one of the artists, Rick, kindly offered to sit for us.  What a guy!

I finished the portrait of him in the dim light of the studio, and felt it was a decent likeness, but, when I looked at it the next day, it felt like someone else's work.  After considering it for a while, I realized that the high contrast really plagued me.  My favourite paintings are those that maintain a closer value range.  No deep shadows and spotlight effects for me; I like my shadows to be colourful and midtoned, and my lights to be well below white.  So I spent some time fiddling with this painting to see whether I could turn it into something that felt right to me.  I know, some of you will prefer the original, and that's ok; that's your aesthetic.  But to be an artist is to find your own taste and follow it wherever it leads.  If other people like the things that you do that's gravy, but it's not necessary.  You can only paint to suit yourself.  

First, I lightened all of the shadows, making them have distinct colour, and better shapes.  Immediately, the work felt less harsh and illustrative to me.

Next, I toned down the chroma in the blue of the shirt and the background.  It was a very blue shirt, but the colour seemed to shout at me with its intensity.  By adding some yellow ochre and then reapplying the blue, I got a nice, tertiary mixture happening on the surface that felt more in keeping with the subdued palette that I'd introduced into the background.  The colour flowed better from subject to background, as well.  

Finally, I changed the design of the lights in his shirt in order to move the eye through the painting in a circular manner.  Now,  instead of charging up the strong diagonals of the original shirt shapes, the eye gently circles within the shapes of the shirt and follows the forearm up to the face.  The viewing pace has changed from abrupt and choppy, to reflect the quiet, gentle mood of the pose.

A painting can look a thousand different ways, and there are no rights and wrongs, only paintings that feel false and paintings that feel right - to the painter.  While the original painting had some merit and was fresh and immediate, it didn't resonate with me at all.  The altered version seems right to my eyes, and those are the only eyes that count.

Happy painting!