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Posts Tagged ‘texture’

15JanuaryBigBlueFinal
Here’s a painting where every part is on first. By that I mean, every part is important and interesting. Nothing is “just” background. This is counter-intuitive and that’s precisely what makes this painting so wonderful to contemplate.
15JanuaryBigBlueFinalNumbersThe large blue trapezoid (#1) appears to be on top of everything. But blue is a receding color.
Red (#2) is a forward color but it’s placed in the second tier.
The confetti strip on the top (#3) is spatially behind everything, but it jumps out at you because of its texture.
At the bottom (#4) we have what looks like a continuation of #2 and that further emphasizes the frontality of big blue (#1).
This painting presents a conundrum and there’s no solution. Try not to look at this. Good luck.
Painting by Jane Donaldson, acrylic on canvas, 30×40. 2015
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ArleneOct14
When you’re working on a painting you may get to a stage where discouragement sets in. Happens often, actually. You make a sour face as you look at the work; you wave at the latest section you worked on and you say, blecccchhhh; you’re ready to go over the whole thing with purging, purifying white because you see no hope in the mess you made. Let me stay your hand. The mess you made is full of new life and new ideas!
Above is an example.
ArleneOct14Crop1Right. It doesn’t work. Not as is, not as a whole. But there are passages in there that can spur you on to new insights and new directions in your work. Crop! Place strips of paper over your work and isolate passages. It’s all your work, you did all this, you just didn’t see it. By cropping you see what you actually did.
I particularly like the next passage. The yellow/ochre had been scraped away partially to reveal blue ArleneOct14Crop2underpainting, resulting in a rich texture and forceful markmaking, neither of which were appreciated before the passage was isolated. I look at this and imagine it as a big canvas.—————————————-————-
(Arlene Tarpey, acrylic and pastel on paper,~20×16.)
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CassFirstFinal

I love looking at this painting. It plays with my sense foreground and background. Just when I think it’s the orange shape, the large pink with its engaging texture demands attention. Then there’s the gray and white section, so atmospheric, with just a little black intrusion at the edge to make me wonder what’s going on there. Is the black invading or receding?The green underpainting adds depth of thought and a sense of process.  The division between gray-white-black and pink-orange teases me into reflecting on the history of image making and photography. 
This painting measures 40 x 30 inches. It is the first painting by a person who has never painted before. It was painted in two class periods of three hours each. How is this possible!? Granted, the ambiance in the class is stimulating, the students are bright and motivated, all of them, and I as the instructor enjoy lively conversation. But still, amazing.
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14StillLifeBosMaggyDBecause these boxes are not big (about 8-10 inches long), there was a Stage Set for every student, who 14StillLifeBosMaggyEcould move to get different angles of the thing. During this class, Maggy did two drawings of the same box, from slightly different angles. As in the previous class, she saw forms, this time playing with the repetition of triangles and trapezoids.
Her second drawing is shown here, top. This is fun to look at. It’s witty, in that some things are clearly stated, and some leave you guessing. You can tell 14StillLifeBosMaggyCthat she had worked through some possibilities and was committed to abstraction. Her first drawing of the same motif, at left, is more tentative. I recommend that students plan on doing more than one drawing, where the first one allows you to get your bearing on this subject in front of you and the second one will therefore by drawn with more conviction and daring.
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976clipC-72

Even though there are several Katherine Hildens out there, I was lucky to get the domain name. Keep it simple.  For a long time, I actually didn’t want a web site for my fine art at all because I felt elitist about that.  I caved in a couple of months ago, launched the web site and only now realized that I need to let people know about it.  Ta-tah!

I documented the paintings outside in my yard on overcast days so as to avoid glare and shadows.  The glare would be caused by sunlight hitting oil paint and the shadows would be caused by the extreme texture of the painting surfaces in this series.  So, it’s the shots from over-cast days that are shown on the web site.

But I really relish the texture, loved working on these paintings and couldn’t resist shooting details in bright sun light, when the thick impasto cast deep shadows.  Above, a passage from one of my paintings, shot at high noon.

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1304AlejandraFaceCrop

I promise, we’ll move on to other topics besides cropping, but the power of cropping cannot be underestimated.

This face was one of four studies on the same page. The model was a magazine add with strong shadows, selling jewelry of all things. In setting up the exercise, I stressed that we were not after a likeness of this beautiful woman, but were using her as a point of departure for expressive studies of the face.  We already know that beauty and expressiveness are incompatible, a major thread in these conversations.

1304AlejandraFaceThe page as a whole did not work because the faces were too similarly drawn and were all the same size.  What to do?  CROP!  You can see the edges of the strips of paper we used in cropping.  The result is an expressive face.

But wait, there’s more.  What if we crop even more radically!  What if we slice the image through the eye on the right edge.  That’s the image at the top of this post.  It’s far removed from literalness, from illustration. Now we have a provocative image. It’s truly an image, in the sense that it is more than what it represents.

Let me point out just three things that make this image so rich.

1304AlejandraFaceCropLines*The left half of the page is all texture.

 *The contour of the face is varied, so that as we trace it we travel over three different “landscapes.”

 * One eye is in the middle of the page. Uncanny! There’s a study of this phenomenon (I can’t remember the author’s name now) that shows that portrait artists will compose their subject in such a way that one eye of the sitter is in the middle of the canvas.

 —————————————————————— Velazquez(1599-1663), Portrait of Juan de Pareja

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12BowBottlelDrapeGaby1

When we work from a still life, I always remind the class that there’s a lot of stuff there and you can choose to draw the whole pile or you can zoom in and draw a select,  small passage.  In this case, a student just went for the tilted dark bottle and a bit of adjacent drapery.  How on earth do you make an interesting drawing out of such a clunky object?  Ah, but it’s not about the object it’s about how you draw it.  We had been talking about the problem of the contour, the topic in the last post on Leonardo and sfumato.  It’s not a problem, really, it’s just that you can set yourself the goal of drawing that old bottle without outlining it in a consistent line.  You can practice interrupting the line.  That simple.  At first, you may think this is awkward or arbitrary, but then you discover that since light 12BowBottlelDrapeSetupcomes from above, the upper part of the bottle will be lighter and if you lighten the contour there or leave the line out altogether, the bottle will look quite lively. Notice also, that part of the bottle is defined by the shadow in the drapery behind it, i.e something that is not-bottle and is not a contour of anything.

Once the bottle and its attendant drapery swatch were drawn, Gaby faced all that white “negative” space. What the still life set-up offered wasn’t all that dynamic, so she invented.  Are you allowed to do that?  Oh, yessss!   She invented bricks, curved ones.  The rectilinearity of the brickwork anchors the tilted bottle in a credible universe. The fact that the bricks are curved adds texture and an echo of the roundness of the bottle.

The result is a painterly drawing.  We’ve used the word “painterly” before in these posts (12.22.10 and 3.12.11), but it will get more coverage, soon, and this time in connection with drawing.

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