Monday, February 9, 2009

Artichokes, Artist Statement, Art tips #6

" Artichokes on Blue "
Oil
12"x12"
Private Collection
Artichokes are such a beautiful plant, perfect complimentary colors of greens and reds. This little painting was purchased by a good friend. His family is in the artichoke business, so I'm glad this painting ended up with him.

Tip for seeing color: punch a little hole in a 2"x3" cardboard. Use it to "isolate" color areas in your still life set-up or plein air view. Mix and paint that color. Do this for every main shape/area of your painting. You will mix incredible colors..no more mud. Carry this little "spot screen" with you on a walk. Ask yourself; what color is that building? road? mountian? car? Especially look at shadows. Now use the spot screen on the same objects. Wow! Paint what you see, not what you know.


12 comments:

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

Great idea - and the little gray viewfinders have a couple of those 'sight holes' already punched in them. Beautifully painted artichokes!

Jennifer Bellinger said...

Yes, I use one for composing but I still prefer my cardboard one for color matching. I save the cardboard backing from legal pads and such. It's usually a mid value gray. I cut them up and punch them out..give them to my students on the first day of a workshop.

Nancy and the fatties said...

Hi Jennifer! I never thought about using the viewfinder for an indoor still life before, what a great idea. I am going to give that a try with my next batch o' flowers. I LOVE your artichokes. Did you eat these after your painting was done? they look delish... ; )

Pam Holnback said...

I really like the "inside " view of the artichoke. And a great painting tip. I often stare at a spot in a still life and ask myself (often out loud) "what color is that?"

Jennifer Bellinger said...

Thanks, Nancy. Of course I ate them! That was way easier than painting them..there's a lot going on with artichokes!

Jennifer Bellinger said...

Thanks, Pam. When I'm stuck trying to decide what to call a dull, gray color I take a tip I learned from Daniel Greene. Instead of just using "warm or cool" when referring to color (that doesn't work as any color could be either). Instead ask yourself "is it yellow-ish or blue-ish). I consider ultramarine blue to be a blue-ish blue (cool). Some artists say its a warm blue. In the end its how your painting looks, not how you got there.

Jeremy Elder said...

So beautiful! I especially like the repetition of the curved lines making up the cross section of the artichokes. Thanks for the color tip too. I was just doing that this morning and I am glad to see other people use it successfully.

Jennifer Bellinger said...

Thanks Jeremy,
Such a simple, effective tool for training our brains to trust what our eyes see!

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I have incorporated the view finder into all my work. Indoor and out. It solves many problems right away, just by showing me my composition clearly.
I do have the one Kelley mentions with the hole in it, but thanks for reiterating how to use it. I also have a value finder thingy with slots to look through as you hold it up. I find it hard to match values with that thing unless they are just really dark.

Jennifer Bellinger said...

Hi Mary. The first four lines of a composition are the "sides/edges of the painting, so a viewfinder is great to solve that problem from the get-go. I do have the "value finder thingy" you mention. I cut mine down the middle ( eliminated one of the middle grays that were more of a half-step than full step jump in value)taped it together. Now I have a strip of values 10 (white)to 1 (black) which make it easier to judge from. I use it to figure out values when using photo references only. I use the "spot screen" hole in cardboard to see/judge color when painting from direct set-up. Make sure you are checking the color you see and mix (I use a palette knife to mix with, apply a smooth not rough bit on the knife) by holding it so it receives some of the light that is lighting the set-up. Of course,the final comparison comes by judging the color relationships on the painting itself. Very important to cover the entire canvas first, its hard to judge otherwise.

Jala Pfaff said...

Beautiful artichoke hearts.

Jennifer Bellinger said...

Thanks, Jala..artichokes are an amazing plant so well designed by Mother Nature. I'm glad you stopped by my blog!