Friday, April 28, 2017

Stewart White Demo

Stewart White did a watercolor demo yesterday at the Plein Air Painting Conference and Expo in San Diego.

I did this live portrait as he painted. I was working in rather dim light with the book in my lap, so I used fairly dense mixtures of color and strong contrasts. 

Stewart, who hails from Baltimore, is renowned as both an architectural illustrator and an outdoor painter.  He'll be leading a workshop to Granada, Spain this October, which promises inspiring instruction, delicious food, and unforgettable camaraderie.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

More about Homemade Easels Coming Soon

The ideal easel rig should meet these six objectives:
1. Get the brushes and the paint palette as close as possible to the painting.
2. Get the painting as close as possible to the line of sight. 
3. Make the height and slopes of both surfaces fully adjustable without having to mess with tricky knobs or screws.
4. Free up my left hand so that it's not always holding brushes, towels, or other gear.
5. Accommodate a diffuser and other accessories.
6. It should work on uneven ground and should stand up to any amount of wind.
7. It should be buildable out of inexpensive materials using ordinary workshop tools.

Many of the innovations of my system have developed from the contributions of you, the amazing blog community. I'm trying to keep this design open-source and collaborative so that we can share ideas and mutually benefit. 

My plan is to do some blog posts and free YouTube videos in a month or so about our homemade easel rigs. I'll share my latest round of innovations, and invite you to share yours. 

So if you've been working on your own system, please finish your build, test it out, and get photos or videos. For those who would like really in-depth build tips, I'll release a longer Gumroad video download about how to build one of these lightweight, sturdy easel rigs.

There will be contest, discussion, and prizes! More to come.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Art Rules

Yesterday I listened to a lecture where a professional artist said "You can't paint a landscape without showing the horizon or the sky. Any painting without at least some sky will be oppressive. Stay away from it."

That made me want to go outside and try an experiment to see if I could create a feeling of openness and freedom without showing the horizon or the sky.

I also thought of Sargent's famous Alps paintings, which often don't have any sky. Have you questioned any art rules that you were taught and found them to be untrue for you.?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Gumball machines in a laundromat

Heres a page from my sketchbook yesterday—some gumball machines in a San Diego laundromat.

I showed the owner a few pages from my sketchbook and she loaned me a stool to sit on. Her daughter is a budding artist and she watched with great interest and then did a drawing of her own. 

I'm using casein as a base layer and then finishing up with Royal Talens gouache, which I'm trying out for the first time. The gouache is very rich in pigment saturation with very interesting thixotropic working properties due to the dextrin binder. More on that in future posts. 

(link to video on Facebook) I'm at the Plein Air Convention and Expo in San Diego. Very inspiring to be among over a thousand outdoor painters.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dinosaurs on the March

We've arrived in San Diego. Not much wi-fi where we are, but we'll try to keep up. 
This Ankylosaurus is from Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Seven Minute Silhouettes

At Spectrum Fantastic Art Live here in Kansas City, we had a fun time talking about portable sketching setups. 

Then I did a quick demo of a quick paint-sketch technique, thanks to two volunteers who stood looking at their cellphones.

We set the timer for 7 minutes, and I limited my gouache palette to yellow ochre, perylene maroon, and ultramarine blue, plus white. I quickly sketched in the figure with a watercolor pencil. Then, using a synthetic round brush, I painted the silhouette as directly as possible.

Seven minutes were up in no time at all, but that's pretty much all the time you'd get in a real-world situation.