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Something is Better than Nothing

16 Oct
Purple Pole Beans

“Purple Pole Beans”, Watercolor on Yupo paper, Katie Turner

A fellow artist approached me recently bemoaning that his drawing wasn’t as he would have liked it.  When I asked him why he didn’t like his drawing he explained that it had been done using a photo reference rather than sketching it “en plein air”.

In my opinion, drawing from a photo is certainly better than not drawing at all.  But without the right approach it can be a sad experience with drawings and paintings that look flat, lifeless and soulless.

So how do you keep your drawing or painting from lacking soul? First, have a positive attitude and then an open mind. What are you feeling as you draw this?  What senses are affecting you during the drawing process?  What is it about this particular subject that you want to communicate to the viewer in your drawing?

Another thing to consider is what the photographer has already done in the photo.  How have they already edited the scene and what can you do to make it your scene rather than just a repeat of what the photographer created?  What else can you bring to this drawing that would make it fresh and spice it up?

Remember that your art tells your story and you get to choose what you want to say and how to say it.   Happy creating. ♦

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Chromatic Interaction

29 Aug

There are many methods for organizing colors in the world of art and science.  Having a visual model can help an artist see the relationships colors have with each other. A color wheel, developed by Albert Munsell in 1905, assigned a numbering system to colors and became a useful and common tool artists and designers could use for planning color ideas.  Johannes Itten also developed a three-dimensional model, integrating the color wheel into a globe.

Using a sketchbook to study colors can help an artist examine the relationships between warmer and cooler colors as well as between analogous and complementary colors.  As a watercolorist, I can gain an understanding of how the various watercolors work together, but may find changes as I experiment with different brands.

Testing chromatic interaction doesn’t have to be boring at all – try this exercise for fun:

  1. Draw several free-hand circles in various sizes.  Allow them to overlap.  This first step is optional, since you could just create your circles with the brush.
  2. Start with the largest circle, painting one color into the circle.
  3. Clean the brush with water before adding a second color. Paint the new color into the adjoining circle on the first circle.  Watch the colors bleed, paying attention to how the colors are interacting.
  4. Continue painting circles with different colors.
  5. This is only one way to paint the circles. You could also wait for each circle to dry before painting the next, so there would be no “bleeding” of colors.

Have fun!

To read more about color theory, click here: https://watercolorpainting.com/color/

https://uxplanet.org/algorithm-for-automatic-harmonious-color-selection-for-the-image-fc26dde69ca1

The Munsell Color System: https://web.archive.org/web/20030813092028/http://www.adobe.com/support/techguides/color/colormodels/munsell.html

Itten Color: https://www.bauhaus100.de/en/past/teaching/classes/preliminary-course-by-johannes-itten/index.html

An art & design duo from Milan have chromatic interaction art:  https://www.carnovsky.com/RGB.htm

Exercises For Brush Control

28 Jun
chinese brush practice

Chinese Brush Painting made easier using a giant serving tray as a mixing palette.

Chinese Brush Painting was one of many items on my Art “To-Do” list.  I had heard from others that it would be helpful in learning control of the brush.  I’ve been painting for a long time so I knew some techniques but I was happy to find that daily Chinese Brush painting practice has helped my painting.

Masters of Chinese Brush Painting study the art for many years and create some of the most beautiful paintings and calligraphy.  I was more interested in building the brush work into my daily habits.

Some of the exercises include painting bands of color, laying varying colors side by side (steady hand practice), and painting thick and thin lines using the tip and base of the brush (practicing pressure).  Painting fast lines with a wrist flick and cutting shapes are more exercises.  These are only some of the many exercises to try.

If you haven’t tried Chinese Brush Painting and you want to strengthen your brush control, give it a try.  There are many inexpensive books to help guide you in the process.  You can even use YouTube to get an idea of how to paint this way.

Here are some online resources: http://education.asianart.org/explore-resources/background-information/introduction-chinese-brushpainting-techniques

http://asia-art.net/chinese_brush.html

https://www.wikihow.com/Start-Chinese-Brush-Painting

https://youtu.be/qF3EbR8y8go

 

 

Transforming Reality

23 Mar
Confetti Mountain

“Confetti Mountain” Watercolor by Katie Turner

In allowing greater creativity to unfold in my paintings, I’ve worked hard to eliminate and simplify.  Without losing too many of my white areas, I built an abstract foundation with delicate calligraphic accents to evoke an illusion of reality.  Most of the time I like to use larger brushes because they force me to stay loose.  The reality of the scene in front of me may include many excellent details but the simplification and editing can help me to transform it into more of a feeling.  Transforming reality is my key to freedom.  ~ Katie

Munch Created His Own Style

6 Mar
the-scream

The Scream, 1893 by Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch (1863-1944), the Norwegian artist whose art covered themes of love, death, isolation and pain had developed his own style.

Although he had health issues, particularly in his younger years, he painted almost every day.  His last thirty years he spent mostly in isolation, producing a phenomenal amount of work (around 1,100 paintings).

His paintings were constantly changing and he often would repeat paintings, changing subtle things each time.  Munch is considered a unique artist due to his fluidity, meaning his style was changing from day to day and period to period.

Not all of his paintings were masterpieces and some of his most famously renowned paintings had critics who loved them and also critics who hated them.

Although he was accused of copying the styles of Cezanne, Van Gogh and Renoir he denied it saying that yes, some of his techniques may be similar but his painting was unique and with these other artists, he was only related in time.

Munch was both criticized and praised for his innovative “turpentine paintings” which allowed the canvas to be visible.  He spent years developing his “turpentine paintings” techniques.  Although he was aware of the influence of his contemporaries, Munch always remained faithful to his own style.

To view some of his paintings click here: http://munchmuseet.no/en/munch

Developing Tenacity

21 Feb
The Starry Night by Van Gogh

The Starry Night by Van Gogh

Van Gogh must have felt a lot of satisfaction staring at a completed piece he had just finished.  Maybe he felt sad that he wasn’t a financial success but I bet he felt the excitement of completing a good painting.

Van Gogh sold only one painting while he was alive yet he produced 900 paintings and over 1000 amazing drawings that we enjoy today.  It doesn’t seem like he was discouraged enough to give up on the art.  It seems Van Gogh created with drive and passion.

As creative people, we will face difficulty and discouragement.  Will we keep creating our art?  Van Gogh sets a good example for those who might be discouraged.  To read more about Van Gogh’s and his art, visit https://www.vincent-van-gogh-gallery.org/  To see more of my art, visit  https://fineartamerica.com/artists/4+katie+turner  or my website http://www.ktartstudio.com/

red flowers with abstract design

Red Flowers, Mixed Media Painting by Katie Turner

Color Grid for Copic

24 Jan

Distant Blue smallest with logo

Most of us have heard of Copic markers which are a favorite brand among many artists.  I have a few of these (as well as many less expensive brand markers) that I use for illustrations.  I was interested to read that Copic has reworked their website with various improvements.  Their “Collect” and “Feed” sections have a large concise color grid and there is also a section of how to use these markers, best papers, airbrushing, shading, how to refill and store, and more.  Detailed instructions help the artist to understand how to use these coded markers for projects.  You can view the new website here: https://www.copicmarker.com/