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Showing posts from March, 2016

Teaching to learn

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I've just come back from teaching a 5 day figurative workshop in White Rock, BC, and, like every workshop that I teach, it taught me a lot.  Rather, it reminded me of the things that I believe are important in paintings, and the things that are secondary.

Paintings are about good paint.  They're also about patterns, repetition, linkages and separations.  The secondary thing is that paintings are about stuff: vases of flowers, apples, bowls, sculptures, and loaves of bread.

What I stressed in the workshop was that it was a wonderful thing to create a rounded, proportional person on the canvas, but, even more wonderful, was to create a composition in which one element was a person.  That meant looking for shapes that enhanced the figure's pose, colours that could be repeated both in the figure and her surroundings, and edges that could be lost or emphasized to move the viewers' eyes through the rectangular world that each painter had created with nothing but paint, br…

Draw like you're painting

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Last week I took some really old (let's just call them "vintage") Grumbacher chalk pastels to figure drop in.  I haven't thrown out an art supply in my life, so these pastels have been with me since I was 13.  They're as hard as rock - similar to a 2B pencil - limited in colours, and devoid of character, but they were still wonderful fun to mix with other mediums, and the sheer force needed to apply them means that using them is a vigorous, full arm endeavour.  These drawings contain vine charcoal, soft pastels in black and white, and, in the profile picture, an oil bar used as a blender.

Starting with charcoal, I mapped out the many angles of the face lightly and with the longest projecting lines that I could.  By extending lines across the page, I can find relationships within the form.  So there was a long line that went from the top of the eyebrow to the top of the ear, and a line extending from the jaw across the top of the shoulder.  I put the lines in fi…