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Showing posts from November, 2018

Black, white, and grey

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The seemingly simplest colours are the trickiest to paint.  Black, white, and grey may seem straightforward but, if their temperature is wrong, they refuse to integrate into a painting. You can buy any number of blacks, whites, and greys, but I find they all need modification to fit into a painting. 

This still life has the full tonal range from light to dark, including a very large expanse of white cloth.  I use titanium white by M. Graham which is, despite it's name, a mixed white of titanium and zinc (PW 6 and PW 4 on the label). 

Most titanium whites in art stores are actually mixtures, possibly because the opacity and coldness of pure titanium is so hard to work with, or because it's expensive.  Gamblin's titanium is an exception: it's just PW6 - titanium, and is incredibly bright and cold.

White should never be used straight from the tube.  It can be - there are no paint police - but I wouldn't do it; it's bland, cold, and uninteresting.  I prefer to sacr…

Blog glitch regarding floral workshop in Lumby

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Imagine my surprise this morning when I got an announcement telling me that I was teaching a floral workshop in Lumby, BC - again.

I did this workshop more than a year ago, and Blogger appears to have randomly plucked it from the archives and announced it just for a giggle.

Technology is, ultimately, my good friend.  It allows me to communicate with artists from around the world, to see work in museums at such high res that I can examine brushstrokes, and to do video critiques in which another artist and I see each other's faces and talk about their work.  All wonderful things.

Sometimes, though, entire days are lost to glitches and gremlins like this one - though I have to say, this is a really new one for me!

In the meantime, please check the dates on any blog posts that comes to your inbox to make sure they're sensible.

**I will be announcing 2 real and upcoming workshops soon.  Both will be in held in Calgary in the spring of 2019.  Stay tuned!

Happy painting!

Lessons from the art tour 2

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This famous Degas painting reminded me that the revered artists in the museums that I visited were interesting, opinionated, and witty people.  Clearly pimping for the woman beside the building, this rat-faced man is catching the ear of some gentlemen in a line up.

What I loved was the economy of one of the men's hands.  They're a pink scribble, with the most important feature crisply defined: the wedding band.

I also had a laugh when I realized that the black-shod foot visible at the bottom of the pimp's coat was not connected to any figure, but was, instead, a sly joke protruding from the pimp's pants. 

As I stood in the grand museum, looking at what was essentially a naughty joke and a keenly-observed piece of social commentary, Degas felt very human and close.  I've read that he was prickly, but I think I'd have liked him.

Happy painting!

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Lessons from the art tour

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I often hear artists worrying about the fact that their work is constantly changing.  They wonder when they'll be done with the endless stylistic renovation and experimentation, and emerge into their finished, final style.  I believe that my final, mature style will be the one that's happening in the studio on the day that I die.  Until then, change is my constant; it keeps me from growing bored and feeling like I'm working in a factory that produces paintings.

My recent trip to London and Paris showed me that I'm not alone.  I saw plenty of mature, famous works by big names like Monet, Morisot, and Degas, but I also saw anomalies: paintings that test drove styles, compositions, and ideas to see if they were worth pursuing.

The Musée D'Orsay had a great collection of Vuillards on display, and his ceaseless experimentation was plain to see on the walls.  Art books lean towards defining him as a painter of highly-patterned interiors.  Those are the pieces that are m…