Friday, February 27, 2009

Its coloring time!

Its a dumb title but a suitable one. This week I focused on the color in my work. As I have mentioned before, I am striving to improve my abilities to design my work better, from conception to execution. Since I had so much trouble with it last week I thought I would focus a little on thinking about color.

I have done this before, but I have played it safe for the most part. Only towards the end of my expressive painting class last semester did I manage to free myself up a bit. As you know, I slid back a bit last week.

I decided to continue with what I was doing from last week and to paint with expressive color in the workshops. The female head painting on the left was done in the Monday workshop. It is roughly 16 x 20 inches on Mylar. This one was an interesting one for me because I started with something completely new for me when I began.

The best way to break my habits and explore was for me to not start with the same colors. I usually draw out the structure of my paintings using a neutral color, such as raw umber. This time I chose a pure red-purple. I did this because I thought that maybe the color I begin with influences my later color choices more than I realize. Now I would say that this is most likely true.

In an effort to stay expressive I tried to keep my colors as pure and intense as possible without overwhelming the painting with too much color. I didn't want it to glow.

When working on this, I decided to see if I could control form using color along with the values. I remember being told that to do this it was all about warm versus cool and not just warm light side against cool shadow side. So, I played with the temperature of the colors making some planes cooler that the ones next to them. It seems to have worked.

I took this to my instructor, the feedback was good. The color was strong, but I needed to work on edge control, keeping some edges soft and other hard.

This male head painting is from the second workshop, it is roughly 11 x 14 inches oil on Mylar. In this one I am just continuing what I have been doing in the first.

The difference here is the the model was set up using two different light sources, a cool natural light and a warm interior light. This made exaggerating the color and playing with the temperature easier as the reference was clearer in that regard.

To shift gears a bit, the next stuff up is some prep work I am doing for my next painting.

The sketch to the right is the figure I plan on using. It is from a photograph but is not an exact copy of it. Actually, the photo is of the figure sitting rather than standing. I wanted to do a male figure with a puffed up posture. I liked the gesture of the torso in my reference, so I moved the arms and adjusted the hips a bit and now he is standing.

After that I did some thumbs to decide what is the best compositional

arrangement. I am still trying out designing using the golden ratio. These are thumbs working on that. I chose the one on the bottom right for my layout.

Without too much detail, the next steps I took were a quick value study and a color study, seen below. I do not think the color study works, so next week I am going to do some more to see what I like.

I worked some more I the painting I struggled with last week. I think it is coming along. The color is working out better, though the feet are too purple. I took it in to class to get some feedback. The instructor said that the color was starting to work (he did say the feet were too purple, so they didn't relate to the rest of the figure)

The concerns he saw were with proportion and edges. He felt that I distorted the portion to a level that was distracting. Distortion should be done with intention, that is it should look as if you meant to do it. Here he felt that it didn't. For example, the arms are thin. His suggestion was either correct the distortions to proper proportions or distort more. He also felt that the direction of the fabric was pointing the wrong direction, confusing what the focal point should be. As to the edges its the same feedback I usually get in this area, more control over my edges, soft and hard, lost and found line.

On to the drawings. Shown here are the two drawings I worked on this week. To the left is the finished version of the structure drawing I did last week. It is 18 x 24 inches charcoal on paper. For the last drawing I did in this class, the feedback I received was that it was polished up too much and looked stiff. I guess given more time I try to refine too much and lose the idea that it is a drawing and should have some life to it.
For this one, I worked on bringing some more of expression into the drawing. Here I found it tough, because I am using my drawings to improve my understanding of the structure and anatomy of the human form. I want to tighten it all up and show the detail. (I imagine this is my desire to show off what I have learned) I used the day as an opportunity to decide what detail should be done and what should be left alone. I figured the torso was my focus, so I should refine that as best I could. Then I would get the knees down fairly detailed. Other than that, I worked on keeping the structure of my drawing while allowing the detail to disappear.
The feedback on this one was that the torso was strong and that the structure was good so it maintained the solid weight. The expressive character was better but I could have pushed some more. The instructor also said that I should be careful about heavy line in my drawing, because it flattens things out some. Fortunately, this feedback was given while I was drawing so I could correct it before working more on it. I spent some time loosing edges.
This is the homework in progress for that class. Another ten or so hours, and bit more done. Not much to say on this one yet. I am going to work on the hands and coat next week and see how it goes. No feedback was given on the drawing.
On top of that I have been doing sketches this week to learn more about anatomy, so I have been copying some drawings from a book I have. This is just something I do in my spare moments.

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