Task 3: Charcoal Forms

Learning to Draw: TASK 3

You can use a range of Charcoal equipment, but I like for this task to look at the effects I can get using the blocks of Charcoal! They create such dark effects and so you can achieve eye popping results due to the tonal range you can create.

Charcoal pencils are great too…but the skills you are learning from using Graphite are being utilised again. The reason I like to encourage students to grab the blocks is to widen their experience and knowledge of alternatives. So, come out of your comfort zone and grab a compressed charcoal block for this task 🙂

 

Other Equipment that is useful:

Putter rubber / kneaded eraser is crucial for the technique I will show in my next video (Facebook live tutorial). Willow sticks are nice but more light and good for midtones… the break easy and smudge easy too- this is good for some effects but the block you will get a solid black covering.

White charcoal, or even a white chalk stick, is great for making highlights when using midtone paper- I will be! Creating a stark tonal range, and again, making that eye popping result.

So, the paper… Brown parcel paper is what I use in my demonstrations. I really love this paper as it is textured, providing a rougher surface to work on. This holds powder media really well and allows for harsh mark making. It can be cut to any length when bought on a roll, so it adds to your flexibility of what you can create. White paper usually is set to one size and when working in a sketchbook it can restrict creativity sometimes.

For this task, I will go big! I want to work on nothing less than A3 for sample and produce a final outcome around A1 size…don’t be daunted by this, it is great and much easier to do when you have blocks of media to spread all over the surface in no time at all 🙂

The Task

For this task you are continuing your skill building with using tone. By using Charcoal this time, you will not only be trialling a new medium, you will also be using much darker tones and testing how you see tones in these forms.

You first need to add the tonal scale to the universal forms; Cube, Cylinder, Sphere and Cone. This allows you to understand the range of forms you will encounter when taking on a still life observation in the future. If you can shade these 4 forms, it is commonly thought you can apply tone to any object you may want to draw 🙂

You may wish to use your own photography and still life compositions to further explore adding tone to your art. Check out the resource for inspiration and guidance;

charcoal practice

Also, see me in this quick demo to see how to use charcoal in different ways 🙂

 

I will be on Facebook soon giving another tutorial using this great media! Look forward to seeing you there 🙂

Enjoy!

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there:)

Task 1 Learning to Observe

OBSERVATION

One day students were asked to copy a Picasso drawing upside down.
That small experiment, more than anything else, showed that something
very different is going on during the act of drawing. To everyone’s surprise the
finished drawings were so extremely well done that the class were asked, “How
come you can draw upside down when you can’t draw right-side up?”

 

The students responded,
“Upside down, we didn’t know what we
were drawing.”

 

You have two brains: a left and a right. Modern brain scientists now know that your left brain is your verbal and rational brain; it thinks serially and reduces its thoughts to numbers, letters and words

Your right brain is your nonverbal and intuitive brain; it thinks in patterns, or pictures, composed of ‘whole things,’ and does not comprehend reductions, either numbers, letters, or words.

 

Drawing is not really very difficult. Seeing is the problem, or, to be more specific, shifting to a particular way of seeing. You may not believe me at this moment. You may feel that you are seeing things just fine and that it’s the drawing that is hard. But the opposite is true.

Broadly speaking, except for the degree of complexity, all drawing is the same. One drawing task is no harder than any other. The same skills and ways of seeing are involved in drawing still-life setups, landscapes, the figure, random objects, even imaginary subjects, and portrait drawing. It’s all the same thing: You see what’s out there (imaginary subjects are “seen” in the mind’s eye) and you draw what you see.

 

What is the purpose of Upside Down Drawing?

The purpose of this kind of practice is to force your left (thinking) side of the brain to give up identifying what you draw. So, even if you have a little voice that tells you the name of features or things, – ignore it! Instead, focus on a specific line and concentrate on its direction and where it lies in relation to the lines
around it.
If you do have trouble with matching things up as you come to the end of the drawing, this is because it is out of proportion. That doesn’t matter, just connect it all as best as you can because the benefit remains.

So begin by trialling this technique and drawing this horse, upside down:

You will find the horse, and the more challenging Picasso line drawing, on this following resource so you can print them and then copy what you see. To make things even easier, draw a grid over your image and also onto your page- then you can copy each square in turn…but remember, upside down.

Click here: upside down

I’m sure when you are more aware of using the right side of your brain, you will find your observation skills significantly improve. Remember that everything you need to know in order to draw the image is right in front of your eyes. All of the information is right there, making it easy for you. Don’t make it complicated. It really is as simple as that.

Tips

If you feel confused by a large picture, try placing paper over the picture and just reveal one portion at a time. You’ll only need to do this once or twice. When your confidence builds, you won’t even notice the whole picture, you will
only be seeing the lines you are copying. This may not work for everyone
 do what feels right for you to ‘simplify’ what you are seeing.

At some point, the drawing may begin to seem like an interesting, even fascinating, puzzle. When this happens, you will be “really drawing,” meaning that you have successfully shifted to R-mode and you are seeing clearly. This state is easily broken. For example, if someone were to come into the room and ask, “How are you doing?” your verbal system would be reactivated and your focus and concentration would be over. This is also true if you have the TV on in the background or music playing with recognisable lyrics.

Copy the picture just as you see it and don’t be tempted to turn it the right side up at any time. You can start anywhere on your page that you
feel comfortable with. It’s fine if you wish to erase. Sometimes our judgment is a little bit out

 

Simple isn’t it? This technique helps to set you on the path of seeing the way an artist sees! That, in turn, helps you properly illustrate whatever you want. Upside down drawing develops your ability to see only lines and shapes and their relation to each other which is the ultimate aim for all artists 🙂

 

During our next tutorial, we will also look at ‘The Grid Method’ which will help many of you learn this technique quicker and be even more successful 🙂

Keep an eye on our Facebook Page to tune in to our live session Coming Soon!

 

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

 

 

Task 3 Charcoal

Drawing the universal forms is great practice before taking on more challenging still life drawing. It allows you to learn about how light and shadow work on the main forms for all future drawing. It also gives you chance to experiment with a new media…in this case, charcoal.

You are aiming to produce each of the main forms: Cube, Cylinder, Sphere and Cone, using your charcoal media.

To get a richer experience, do try to leave the confines of a sketchbook. Larger pieces of paper work very well and allow for different expression of markings. Being able to smudge easily, you will find covering large papers much easier than with graphite.

Try white paper, but also tonal and black papers. I like to use brown parcel paper as it has a bit of texture, it’s cheap, and you can buy a roll and have the freedom to cut it to any size you want.  White charcoal or even chalk, is a great to get the highlights onto the paper and to create your full tonal range.

After you have trialed and experimented with using Charcoal on different papers, you should take on a still life drawing to test your technique.

Final Still Life

Less is more. One object or three objects…don’t go too far. Think of the scale of your piece-it can be bigger than what you did for graphite-especially if you are using blocks of charcoal.

Composition is important. If doing fruits, think of their interesting textures from inside as well as outside. Zoom in and think about placement on your final page.

Whole objects are not necessary and can focus your observation and make the piece more interesting too.

 

What paper will you use? This would have been decided from your previous trials with charcoal. Brown parcel paper perhaps to make the scale larger and involve white chalk too? White A3+ paper to capture some textures and work on main shadows?

Make time to set the composition and trial many variations before deciding on the final one. Do careful observations of the main forms and objects, then you can start to add the tones and details.

I will demonstrate in my next facebook live how I go about a still life using charcoal, in case you are anxious to start.

See you there 🙂

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 13 Learning from an Artist

Vincent Van Gogh

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

Learning from an artist is a great exercise to really test and stretch your technical skills. It will force you to try new things and learn new approaches, and this can only be a good thing for a developing artist!

Vincent Van Gogh is one of my favourites. Just reading up on his life, or watching the film ‘Loving Vincent’ is bound to conjure up inspiration for you. However, art is subjective, and if you have another artist in mind for this task, use them instead. The skills you gain are the same and the objective of the task will end up the same also: Learning from an artist to build on your own skills and techniques.

So to start, research your artist. Create a page of information that inspires you…facts on their life, images of their work… it will give you a great starting point and can help you start to think like them. Van Gogh didn’t just want to paint what he saw. He wanted to paint what he felt… when you know the emotions that went into the art, as well as the technique, you will see the work in a completely new way.

Once you have found out about your artist, you should get to work on imitating their style and doing some samples of their technique to learn about it.

You could sketch places that have meaning to you, just like Van Gogh did. Or paint some sunflowers to capture their forms and use the brilliant tones of yellow on a blue background (like his Paris series).

Did you know he was heavily influenced by Japanese art prints? See the image below with Van Gogh’s version, on the right, of the original Japanese print on the left.

Image taken from google images: https://artchive.ru/news/3304~Van_Gogh_and_Japan_the_fascination_that_changed_Vincents_style

Maybe you could research some prints and imitate them, just like Van Gogh did. Sometimes, inspiration comes from copying the artist’s approach and ideas that inspired them. You don’t always just have to replicate a painting, or part of a painting, of theirs to learn from them.

 

The image here is of Starry Night that I did in a class with my students. It’s not supposed to be exactly the same, but we worked on how to layer the colours and tones to create a similar effect. And I added features and changed compositions slightly, just like you can, to focus on areas of interest. It has really helped students to learn a new style of painting and see what is possible if you apply a different approach to your art.

I’ll be showing you how we did it in my next facebook live tutorial. I hope to see you there 🙂

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 2: Universal Forms

Task 2 is encouraging you to develop the skill of drawing the universal forms in a realistic way. You can learn how tone and shadow sit on these 4 forms so that in future still life work you can observe the shadows and highlights more confidently.

The four forms are:

Cube

Cylinder

Cone

Sphere

Here are some demonstrations to help get started. I also use charcoal sometimes so that you can compare and see how tone can be built up. Task 3 is producing the forms in charcoal 🙂

First, here is the CUBE:

 

Here is the Cylinder:

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 8: Colour Theory & Still Life

Before you get started, go through the following blog post which discusses colour theory. When you know the basics of colour theory, painting becomes more effective (you will see why):

 

Task 8 Part 1: The Colour Wheel

 

Following on from colour theory, I will demonstrate some painting techniques for this tutorial.

This time I will be using acrylic paint on canvas.

In the demonstration video you will see me get to this point and produce the basis of a pear. What this image shows is the underpainting that I used to layer my image and this is how colour theory can come into play when you design your own art work. For this painting, I used crimson red.

Your Underpainting Has Three Primary Functions:

  • First: to create some texture, or build on the canvas.
  • Second: To put a colour underneath your painting, allowing that to impact your final work in some way.
  • Third: A way of laying out your painting to see whether all the elements balance up compositionally, and whether they “fit”.

For our pear painting, the first 2 functions are used for this art work. It helped me to create texture on the skin of the pear, and also allowed the colours to clash and sit on top of the red; this impacted how the colours blended from one to the other.

 

More on underpainting:

It’s a lovely thing to leave flashes of the ground colour showing through. You can experiment with this and have a lot of fun. Try using a colour that’s quite unexpected. If your image happens to have a lot of green, as an example, do your underpainting a luscious vibrant red. This is what is happening with your pear.

For other art works, a lovely hot pink is a fantastic colour to paint over. Little flashes of hot pink through your painting can often give it a lift it would not have had. This way lends itself to throwing chunks of colour onto your canvas, and allowing the “pure” ground colour to show through.

One of the other added benefits of painting onto a coloured ground, is that you can rough sketch in your painting in chalk. Cheap, easy to wipe off, and visible. Lots of time saved. You’ll see me do this in my demonstration.

 

Some artists like to mark out very clearly on their canvas the position of all of their elements. This is nice, but can sometimes lack the spontaneity of just hurling some paint around, and seeing where it takes you.

As your technique improves, you will become less constrained by the image you want to paint.  Throwing a rough outline of the painting at the canvas, allows you to balance everything (and here’s the beauty of acrylics) and 20 minutes later, make adjustments if you are not happy. It is all about layering and letting one layer dry to make way for the next. Mistakes can be covered up, or you can use the acrylic hue underneath to add to the next. Who cares if you have to move an object over 3 inches? It’s all part of the process, and gets you closer to being happy with the finished painting (without putting your paintbrush down). It’s also another layer of paint on the canvas to work with later on if you need to.

How do I choose my underpainting colour?

There are many colours that are traditionally used for underpainting: burnt or raw umber, burnt sienna, or ultramarine blue. Almost any pigment can be used as long as it is capable of producing an adequate value range from light to dark. Yellow or medium-toned pigments, for example, cannot do this. The broader question, however, is whether the underpainting colour should be similar to the dominant colour of the subject, or contrast with it?

 

Monochromatic Underpainting (same colour as the main image-like blue underpainting when painting water scene or skies):

  • Advantages: Recommended for those just learning the underpainting method, but also a solid choice for seasoned painters. Makes tonal studies that are beautiful in their own right.
  • Disadvantages: Initial strokes of full colour paint may look out of place against the monochromatic underpainting until more coverage is achieved-keep going and use warm colours on top to bring out a range of tone.

Complementary Underpainting (clashing colours that are opposite on the colour wheel, like red underpainting for a green pear!):

  • Advantage: Can provide exciting colour reactions as the subsequent layers of colours react with the underlying colour.
  • Disadvantages: Like the monochromatic underpainting, initial strokes of full colour may seem out of place until enough coverage is achieved

I will be using complementary colours and explain as I paint what is happening as each layer is added.

With a few extra details and a range of techniques of how to use acrylic paint, you can achieve a basic painting and progress with your technical skills in no time 🙂

See the video below to watch the live video tutorial below to learn how it is done…

Click here to watch the live video tutorial below to learn how it is done…

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 4- Still life in Graphite

We have been building up a very basic foundation here for drawing in tonal media. Now task 4 explores taking on a ‘final outcome’ to put some techniques and skills to the test.

We will soon be moving away from our tonal work so let’s try a Still Life drawing with our graphite pencils.

Things we have covered so far:

  • Observation Skills- right side of the brain
  • Tonal Scale & Universal forms
  • Charcoal Techniques
  • Composition Considerations

Now we need graphite techniques to complete our skills in observational drawing.

You can use similar skills developed using charcoal for your graphite drawing, such as using a kneaded eraser to help with highlights. Do what you feel is right for you whilst applying the full tonal range to your drawing.

The same composition techniques we have discussed will apply and you should refer back to your universal forms to remind yourself of the different highlights and shadows. This time it should be easier as you will have the objects in front of you; if your light is good (natural light by a window) and your choice of objects is good (range of sizes, forms, textures) then you should be finding it easier to observe and create successful observational drawings.

Doing some different mark making exercises will also help you to decide on your style. It will also develop your understanding and control of using a graphite pencil in different ways. We have looked at adding tone to our shapes in a Sfumato sort of way so far, but there are many others that might suit you better and give a different character to your work.

Check out this resource to help you:

Mark Making

Here is also the previous video to a Live Mark Making Lesson which could give you a head start.

 

Soon I will be demonstrating some more techniques in a Facebook Live to show you how to get going with this task. See you there soon.

 

Have fun and remember to share your work for friendly feedback to support your progress – Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and a friendly art community

Task 3- Part 2: Charcoal Still Life

After you have trialed and experimented with using Charcoal on different papers, you should take on a still life drawing to test your technique.

Universal forms now need to be tested in observational drawing. Finding objects that are interesting on their own, or mixed with other objects that altogether have a range of forms, is a good challenge for you to take on.

Less is more. One object or three objects…don’t go too far. Think of the scale of your piece-it can be bigger than what you did for graphite-especially if you are using blocks of charcoal.

Composition is important. If doing fruits, think of their interesting textures from inside as well as outside. Zoom in and think about placement on your final page.

Whole objects are not necessary and can focus your observation and make the piece more interesting too.

So get a photo of a set-up. Make it tonal so you can easily see the range of tones you create. These can be made very good when using natural light. Have the objects in front of you, as well as the photo, so all your references are there to do a great observation.

What paper will you use? This would have been decided from your previous trials with charcoal. Brown parcel paper perhaps to make the scale larger and involve white chalk too? White A3+ paper to capture some textures and work on main shadows? See my previous demonstration on Facebook Live (link below) to see how to practice charcoal basics first.

Make time to set the composition and trial many variations before deciding on the final one. Do careful observations of the main forms and objects, then you can start to add the tones and details.

 

I will demonstrate in my next facebook live how I go about a still life using charcoal, in case you are anxious to start.

See you there 🙂

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 16: Mixed Media

Mixed media art refers to a visual art form that combines a variety of media in a single artwork. For example, if you draw with ink, then paint over it with watercolors, then add some highlights in colored pencil – that’s mixed media!

The use of mixed media began around 1912 with the cubist collages and constructions of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, and has become widespread as artists developed increasingly open attitudes to the media of art. Essentially art can be made of anything or any combination of things.

Picasso and Braque were the first artists to put into question whether art could consist of pre-made materials. Collage questioned the separation between art and life—ideas so many artists of the 20th century—such as Duchamp, but also the Dadaists and Neo-Dadaartists like Robert Rauschenberg—would later also take-up.

Pablo Picasso, ‘Bottle of Vieux Marc, Glass, Guitar and Newspaper’ 1913

Pablo Picasso
Bottle of Vieux Marc, Glass, Guitar and Newspaper 1913

 

This task asks you to use your own photos for inspiration. This gives you a personal touch to the work and makes it increasingly unique. Recreating elements of that photo, or even recreating a previous artwork you have done, could be how you begin this task.

Everyone should start by thinking about the surface which is going to be used for the mixed media art work. If you are thinking of producing a painting, then adding other mediums to it possibly, then don’t just paint or draw on white cartridge paper and nothing else. Not that there is anything wrong with cartridge paper, but being able to experiment on various other textures and surfaces, will add to your dynamic variety of work. Painting onto something unexpected brings with it differing colours, textures, marks and irregularities of its own. So do try it as a starting point.

I am going to explore fibre art to open your eyes to a totally new way of approaching your art work. But you can use any media you wish 🙂

 

You need a theme… it can be food, nature, portraits… or a chosen artist like those mentioned above, or, Klimt, Chuck Close, Frida Kahlo, Hundertwasser – the reason I pluck these names out of my head is that I’m thinking ‘colours’ and maybe something abstract. Hundertwasser used foils and other mediums in his work so it is great to see how he did this. You will find many mixed media artists but you don’t have to find influence in this particular style of art, maybe just the patterns and textures in other art works which you then recreate yourself.

Going abstract could free you up when doing this art work as you have no pressure of trying to make it realistic… but go with your interests and choose a theme and artist that really interests you.

So for my example, I could combine both the ideas of ‘Nature’ and the artist ‘Klimt’.

So first I need to draw up some patterns and ideas from his artwork, so I look at Gustav Klimt’s work to get some inspiration-some are close-ups:

I can combine the colours and patterns found in these works with my own nature photos; by collecting fabrics, scraps of papers, wrappers and anything else I can find, it will help me to piece together my experimental mixed media. I have picked up on the use of metallic, bold colours of Klimt, and this is helping me to decide on my colour scheme. Also metallics can be found in a variety of materials so I will begin collecting with this in mind.

Find out what drawing and painting mediums will go onto the surfaces you are going to use. For fabric, I would hold it in an embroidery hoop to stretch the fabric firm so that I have a sturdy base on which to draw. I will pick out the textures and patterns I see in my photos to see how I can recreate these… I am not really thinking of creating a ‘flower’ but my abstract mixed media will have been inspired by them.

Patterns from flowers:

By experimenting with all of my images, I can now bring the two themes together to create something more unique and personal to me. The key to successful ideas is good research. Collect and study many aspects of your chosen theme to develop ideas into something great!

Here are some examples of how others may have used a range of materials to create their mixed media:

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 15: Painting your Landscape

TASK: Learn from a Landscape artist and trial new techniques;

1) Look at the work of a landscape artist: write about the artist and evaluate their work and then compare it to your own.

2) Paint your landscape

 

There are many artists to look at to gain inspiration from. Start easy and just experiment. Remember from our previous discussion that in addition to maybe wanting to represent or replicate a place of beauty, some artists opt to create these artworks to explore light, colour and texture. You may use the scene as a way to tell a story, illustrate an idea or conceptualise a metaphor.

Your chosen artist doesn’t have to be well-known or famous at all – any artist you choose will give you things to learn and draw inspiration from.

A quick list t start:

J. W. M. Turner

Claude Monet

Paul Cezanne

Vincent Van Gogh

Scott Naismith

Clair Bremner

Erin Hanson

Yukari Kaihori

Adem Pota

Stevnn Hall

You will have a photo from the previous task, so jump straight in and apply different techniques you have learned up to now. Think about composition and where your focal points are. Think about colours and do some colour scales and colour schemes to get you thinking about your range of tones (this will also stem from the artist you choose and maybe you are going abstract or impressionist with your style?).

Our previous lessons can help with any genre of art you wish to study; keep building on your experience of applying this knowledge to your work.

Think about perspective and use your observation skills to sketch in the key features to guide you when you start applying the paint.  Using a 3B pencil sketch out the image to work from. Don’t worry if it isn’t completely accurate; it is just a guide to get you started.

Oil and Acrylics…

You may wish to apply a coloured ground first. In doing this, it will help to give you a unified tone to work onto and give you a nice under glow of colour for your painting. Trial a yellow ochre ground just to see what happens to your colour and final effect. It is also more inspiring and helpful to paint on a different colour to white, I find 🙂

To begin applying the paint, I would use colours to show where the darkest and lightest areas are first. I’d avoid black but again it depends on the style and the picture you have in front of you. Maybe Burnt Umber & Titanium White establish the extremities of your picture. You can squint your eyes at the image to help to distinguish each area rather than getting hung up on the details.

Keep your water clean and have kitchen roll to hand to wipe off your brushes…it’s always better to have more water and change it regularly, than to use the same pot. If it gets mucky, then think where all that dirt in your water will go when using your colours! When you are mixing you want to get a nice clean colour. Even if you are using brown, it’s still worth it to keep your water clean, it’s good professional working habits.

You may wish to use watercolours or another media too. The idea is to keep building on your art experiences and experiment with unknown mediums at this stage. It doesn’t matter if it does not work first time.

Post your efforts and get some feedback to learn from the areas that need improving. 🙂

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

 

 

Task 13: Learning from an Artist

Learning from an artist is a practice we should engage in early on when learning to draw and paint. Not only for technical reasons, but to see their practice as a process of conceptual enquiry and of making meaning.

Seeing the practice of an artist is not just to see which media they use, but more about the approaches that they take; it is about learning about the methods of investigation. The kinds of questions you can find yourself asking are then about what you want to find out when starting an art project.

Interrogating the concerns that preoccupy you, rather than simply becoming a maker of images is important for the development of an artist. You may not identify yourself later on exclusively with a particular medium or technique, but see how you can engage in creative investigation and problem solving, a process that culminates in artwork. Whilst you may be proficient at ceramics or digital photography, you will learn to utilise your skills in order to articulate ideas.

Skills and expertise of an artist includes active questioning and enquiry.  Playfulness and risk-taking are central and this has been explored in our previous tasks, but also now become increasingly mindful of accommodating the unexpected. Many artists value curiosity, imaginative response, open-mindedness and the freedom to explore concurrent strands of interest. They see that productive failure occupies an important place in their practice and the spontaneity of what they do, and also using intuition, are important. Looking, reflecting and critical thinking are equally significant.

I tell my students often to slow down. Not pushing forwards just to consume and move on, but to notice and reflect on what they see and feel and begin to process it. Art develops over time, and students of art need to adopt an approach to artworks which allows them to move from recognition to analysis. This will encourage visual and intellectual interpretive processes to happen as you are working. This task is going to support you with learning how to do this even more.

So to tackle this task, multiple ideas are going to be brought together to build your skills, confidence and knowledge to interpret art for yourselves. Looking at an artist’s work enables you as learners to draw on your own personal experiences, gain understanding, develop new knowledge and articulate your individual ideas.

Think about the different ways you may approach your art. Students doing an art history degree vs somebody who was doing a fine art degree.

The art historian may want to collect meaning and take it to the work whereas the fine art student may want to go to the work and unlock what was there standing in front of them.

It is this understanding of art which enables us to go through the process of an art project.

So, choosing your artist to learn from! There are just so many! One of the first articles I posted was of the many artists that could give you a starting point:

Inspiring Artists

Another idea could be to write to and meet a living artist from your area. Ask them questions about their process and techniques. This kind of first hand research will teach you so much about how art can be approached.

Look at these very famous artists to get some basic understanding of what they do:

 

Vetheuil in the Fog (1879)

Claude Monet

His Vetheuil in the Fog is among his finest works, offering a subtle, albeit distinct impression of a figural form. As was characteristic of many of Monet’s paintings, he applied his brush rather quickly to the canvas in order to capture the exact image he wanted before the sunlight shifted or faded away altogether.

 

The Scream (1893)

Edvard Munch

Expressionist artists often employed swirling, swaying, and exaggeratedly executed brushstrokes in the depiction of their subjects. These techniques were meant to convey the turgid emotional state of the artist reacting to the anxieties of the modern world.

 

Starry night, 1889

Van Gogh

The iconic tortured artist strove to convey his emotional and spiritual state in each of his artworks. Each painting provides a direct sense of how the artist viewed each scene, interpreted through his eyes, mind and heart.

 

Now I want to take Van Gogh further as an example of how to truly begin to gain inspiration, and to further your skills, by looking at his art. Before engaging in painting, read up online about his works, where he got his inspirations and why he used the technique he did. In learning about the artist, we truly can appreciate the artworks that have become so famous.

 

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

Vincent Van Gogh

 

 

Here is a starting point with some facts on the artist Van Gogh:

Click on the link below

Van Gogh

 

Getting the Style:

It seems the individual artists now labelled as Expressionists largely made it up as they went along, following their instincts as to what colour to use, when and where.

The ‘breakthrough’ was that colour didn’t have to be realistic. While reference is made to colours having symbolic value, again it seems to me that this symbolism was largely determined by individual artists, and not governed by a rigid set of pre-existing rules.

 

This detail from Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait With a Straw Hat and Artist’s Smock clearly shows how he used pure colour with very defined, directional brush strokes.

When you view the painting from close up, you see the individual brush strokes and colours; when you step back they blend visually. The ‘trick’ as a painter is to be familiar enough with your colours and tones for this to be effective.

 

To build up to producing an artwork/portrait in this style, first replicate and learn from what you see in front of you. Here are some close-ups of Van Gogh’s work to draw ideas from. You will expand on your knowledge of the style, Van Gogh’s technique and also understand the process of creating your own artwork as a result of investigation.

 

When this experimentation is complete, take on a full scale artwork or portrait of your own, utilising what was learned throughout this process. It doesn’t matter which artist you use, the process is always the same!

The final job will be to anlayse and compare your own works to that of the artist you have investigated. This is a big task here, but it is worth the time as this process is one you will return to again and again in your own artistic development.

 

So TASK 13:

  1. Find an artist and learn about them and their style – get into their head!
  2. Do some experimental trials of their style. Learn their technique and approach to an artwork
  3. Complete a final artwork which is influenced by what you have investigated
  4. Analyse and compare your artworks.  Reflect on the process you have been through to see how your own individuality and spontaneity is progressing

 

Have fun!

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 12: Painting a Self Portrait

Painting your own portrait is an exercise in truthfulness. It will force you to examine yourself in a way you normally wouldn’t. Creating a painting of your photos, explored in Task 11, is a great opportunity to think beyond the paint, and to represent another dimension to your art..

As the artist in charge, you DO get the unique opportunity of painting yourself into a situation or setting of your choice, exactly as you would like to be remembered.

And whether you see yourself as strong, wise, youthful, happy, sad, fulfilled (or anything else) art is a powerful medium for spreading that message both to others AND ourselves.

A self-portrait can be so much more than just a reflection of your physical appearance—and the more you put into it, the better it will be.

 

Here is our latest FB live video showcasing some ideas for this task:

 

Technically, what you are trialling here is how to use your paints. To mix skin tones, and to work with observation of your chosen photograph, will stretch and challenge your painting skills.

It is bringing into practice our lessons on colour theory and the colour scales you were working with in Task 8 & 9.

As I say in the video, painting is a handwriting so let you style come through.

Observe your photo. Produce colour scales to identify which colours you will use for the highlights and the shadows, and then go for it 🙂

 

A quick recap on ‘meaning’ to add a new dimension to your work:

Here are some inspirational ideas of how artists have completed a half self portrait and added their own personal meanings to how they see themselves…

Naomi Fry SALA artist self portrait for The City adelaide. Illustration by Naomi Fry. AN emerging illustrator with a passion for creating intricate artwork using mixed mediums including paint, pen, coloured pencil and watercolour.

“I don’t paint self portraits often so the portrait is an expression of my warm, colourful and vibrant personality,” she says. “It shows how I want people to see me, in a warm happy light, and to show my love of colour, details, animals and nature. The monkey is there because I’ve always loved animals, in particular unusual exotic animals from different countries.  I’m also very inspired by the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and her life story. Many of her self portraits contain animals such as monkeys, birds and wildlife. I guess I have painted myself as a modern Frida but different, more myself and my style! I have used my eyes as a special feature as I believe they are the windows to one’s soul, expression and personality.”

 

SALA artist project for The City. Photo of Elaine Cheng by Mike Burton, art by Elaine Cheng.  “I think blue has always been a colour that has been close to my personality — very emotional, very calm, deep and thoughtful — so I worked with that,” she says. “It’s always a challenge to draw my own face because I find most of the time it doesn’t look like me because of the way I see things or the way I hear things, or say things … it changes the way I want myself to look. It’s why I’ve placed those hands in those three places. “

 

Amanda Radomi and Henry Jock Walker’s creation. Photo taken by Dean Martin.

Walker: “We were playing around with a collage of the photos and also with one of Amanda’s paintings, which we used for the hair. I used a mini garden blower for the paint at the bottom. It also says ‘lifestyle’ (to the left of the tongue) which is a recurring motif we have in our show at Tandanya.”

Radomi: “It’s fun, I think. It’s supposed to be representative of two artists working together who have very different practices, and I think it does that.”

See the website for more info and ideas;

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/we-took-photos-of-seven-artists-participating-in-the-sala-festival-and-asked-them-to-draw-the-other-half-these-are-the-results/story-e6frg6n6-1227459149646

 

We will learn from more artists next time, but hopefully this will build your confidence further with mixing colours and giving a story to your art 🙂

Enjoy.

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 11: Portrait Photography

We are looking at Portrait Photography with the aim of having our own study to then work from for our next artwork.

Photography is a crucial tool in the development of an art and design student, as it provides the originality and personal control over your art.

 

In art, there is no need for colour; I see only light and shade. Give me a crayon, and I will paint your portrait.

Francisco Goya

 

So let’s look at portraiture and get some ideas so you can start taking your shots.

 

Definition: Portrait photography or portraiture in photography is a photograph of a person or group of people that captures the personality of the subject by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses.

Selfies are undoubtedly the most popular form of portrait photography today. However, portrait photography has a long and interesting history, full of new technology and iconic images.

 

I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject, rather does the person grow to look like his portrait.

Salvador Dali

 

There are many tips and technical manipulations you could do with a fancy DSLR camera, but here are some that anyone can do with any camera, from the disposable to the Smart Phone.

 

Composition

Don’t be lazy with your compositions. Too often photographers stand back, thinking it’s best to include all, or at least the top half, of their subject.

Zoom in instead to fill the frame for a more inspired photo composition. Positioning your subject to one side of the frame, with ‘space to look into’, is a great technique to master.

 

Subject

How your subject stands, poses and looks will have a dramatic effect on your results. A slight change in facial expression – such as whether they smile or not – can radically change the entire feeling of the photograph.

You could consider setting up portrait shots where your subject looks off-camera, up or down, or to one side. Play around and see what works.

When shooting, try and capture a range of expressions so you can pick which you prefer when editing them back home on the computer. This is a portrait and, as we’ve discussed before, you can add meaning and purpose to your work with a little thought. What story are you trying to tell? What would you like viewers to see when they look at your art? Making a purpose gives your art a personal touch…and makes it more fun!

 

Framing

Framing gives an image depth and draws the eye to a point of interest in the image.

You could do it by placing your subject in a window or doorway, have them look through a small gap or even use their hands around their face.

Also, framing can extend to shooting with a wide angle lens. This can help create some memorable shots when you’re doing portrait photography.

At very wide focal lengths you can create some wonderful distortion. Using these focal lengths will enlarge parts of the face or body that are on the edge of the frame more than what is in the centre.

It can also give a wide open and dramatic impact when your subject is in an impressive setting.

 

Horizontal and Vertical framings are not the only options when it comes to shooting portraits. While getting your images straight can be important in when shooting in these formats, holding your camera on a more diagonal angle can also inject a little fun into your images.

This type of framing can add a sense of fun and energy into your shots. Just don’t ‘slightly’ do it or you’ll have people asking themselves if you might have mistakenly held your camera crooked.

 

Backgrounds

The person in your portrait is the main point of interest – however sometimes when you place them into different contexts with different backgrounds you can dramatically alter the mood in a shot.

Sometimes you want your background to be as minimalistic as possible.

While other times a dramatic or colourful background can help your subject really stand out.

 

 

Shadows

Not only does the quality of light affect shadows, the distance of the light source to the object casting the shadow will change its characteristics, as well as the distance of the object casting the shadow to the object the shadow falls upon. As you can see, working with shadows opens up an almost infinite window of opportunity.

A shadow can be twisted and manipulated by changing the shape of the object casting the shadow. A shadow can be almost translucent. A shadow can be coloured! You can do a lot of cool things with a shadow.

When photographers, (or all artists for that matter), think of modelling a three dimensional object onto a two dimensional medium, they think of highlights and shadows. It’s these two elements, which are created by light, that help us to see in three dimensions. You have to keep this in mind for this task as you will be painting your most successful photo next.

Photography is about expressing yourself in an artistic medium. Applying that to shadows could mean hunting down interesting shadows that already exist. It could mean creating shadows that weren’t there. It could even mean you manipulating existing shadows to satisfy your creative vision!

 

Have fun with your photography task!

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

 

 

 

Task 10: Paul Cezanne Painting

Welcome back!

This week I want to look at Paul Cezanne with you… the main reasons for this is that his art is considered as being of great importance to the development of modern art. His search for underlying structure of the composition led the way for cubism and then abstraction. I hope to show you how his use of colour as tone, and his obsession with the formal elements of composition, made it possible for artists who came after to question what they saw.

Cezanne was like the father of us all

Pablo Picasso

 

In looking and learning from artists, such as Paul Cezanne, we can learn a tremendous amount. This task will show you how to take inspiration from an artist, and it will aid your progression; it is one of the best learning tools there is 🙂

 

Task 10 is to paint a bowl of fruit- inspired by Paul Cezanne

We have already discussed colour theory and how to be creative with your use of colour when painting and drawing. Now we are going to use Cezanne’s inspiration to produce our next art work.

This resource will give you some information about how to analyse Cezanne’s art and what to look out for. If you can write about Cezanne and produce a research page about him, you can later reflect on your own art and where you were successful, as well as finding areas to improve. Knowing what to look for will come from learning more about Cezanne:

Click here for a resource: Cezanne

Have a go at painting fruit in the style of Paul Cezanne

Pointers to remind you of his style:

  • Blocks of colour
  • Use colour to achieve tone
  • His pictures were solid in appearance
  • He loved geometry-geometric simplification
  • He would paint an object from various points of view

 

Have a look here for a quick example of how to tackle this task 🙂 It is from a Facebook Live demonstration.

Here is my Cezanne inspired painting from the video above…far from perfect but the idea is to learn from one of the greats and see what happens!

Do remember that painting is like handwriting… everyone has their own way so embrace it 🙂

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 9: Still life & Oil Pastel Basics

Before we leave this task and begin our next phase, I think it is good for art students to do some experimentation.

This tasks involves completing a still life, to put into practice use of colour and observation skills, which we have previously discussed. As well as this, it is nice to incorporate some more creativity so that still life work does not become repetitive.

The resource below talks through ways you can approach producing your art work so that you are experimenting with new ways of working. This includes things like thinking about your choice of papers and surfaces to use.

Take a look and branch out to create unexpected results within your art:

Creative Art Work

 

Oil Pastels

When you have your different surfaces and the creative ideas are flowing, do make sure you are experimenting with media also. Oil pastels are a great medium to use for many reasons and can sit on top of many surfaces; which for this phase of your development is great!

There are many techniques you can use to get different effects, but generally they are less messy than powder pastels. Still have some paper towels to hand, a smudge stick and work on top of newspaper…just to be sure.

Applying a heavy pressure with your various colours will blend the pastels without the need to do any ‘smudging’. This is great to layer up colours to create tone in your drawings…try black and white for shadowing or highlighting effects.

 

Applying light pressure, like the example above, but layering many colours will also work to achieve tone and texture in a drawing. Your hues will change as you add and layer additional colours, so your understanding of colour theory will be really tested 🙂

However you use them you will quickly find they are a very versatile medium. Sketch a contour drawing on watercolour paper, or an alternative surface like what is explored in the resource above, and produce your final colour still life for this task.

Here I am demonstrating the use of oil pastels live on our facebook group:

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

 

Task 9: Colour Values and Still Life

This task is broken down into 2 parts so that you can explore colour further before you take on your full colour still life art work.

If a painting is going to be successful, you must get your tones right, otherwise, it’s just going to be visual noise. The first step to doing this is to remove colour from the equation, to create a range of tone using only black. We did this in an earlier task and it is the main reason for beginning this series with tonal drawings, in black and white.

It’s now possible to create a value scale with every colour in your palette. Once you’ve painted a grey scale, it’s well worth the time painting a series of value scales with every colour you use frequently. Then if you’re struggling to get the right tone in a painting, you can easily consult your value scale.

You can use a range of media too and this will alter your tonal scale and how the colours work:

For watercolour, one way to make it lighter is to gradually add a little more water to the colour each time. You can also try using glazes, creating a series of values by painting a series of blocks, each glazed over once more than the previous block.

With oils or acrylics, the easiest way to lighten a colour is to add white. Remember from our previous discussion that this reduces the intensity of the colour, and therefore may not be ideal. Instead, think about lightening a colour by adding another colour of a lighter value. For example, to lighten a dark red, you can add a little yellow.

We have spoken about complementary colours in our previous lessons and with this exercise you can now explore more in depth your colour wheel. To lighten or darken a colour look at its position on the colour wheel–what is directly opposite? This is its complementary colour. We can use these to create value and it makes for a more interesting painting 🙂

Also consider the harmonious colours to get a range of value. To get a lighter tone of green, try adding yellow, not white. To get a darker tone green, try adding blue, not black. Harmonious, or analogous, colours are next to each other on the colour wheel.

Explore with many value scales, as that way, you can choose the right colour schemes for your art work. You need to understand exactly what colours do when mixed together and this takes practice and experimentation, but it’s time well spent.

 

Some painters start a painting with the highlights, some with the extreme darker tone. Doing this will make it easier than starting with mid-tones.

When your painting is ‘finished’, check whether you’ve still got your “darkest darks” and “lightest lights”. If you haven’t, the painting isn’t finished yet and you need to adjust the tones.

When painting, get into the habit of squinting your eyes at your subject, which reduces the level of detail you see and emphasises the light and dark areas.

Mid-tones are harder to judge. Compare them to the adjacent tones in the subject and to the lightest or darkest tone. If you struggle with this, a monochrome filter will help you to distinguish tones or value in a subject. Which is what we have been looking at in earlier tasks.

If you struggle with tone or value, doing your value study will be invaluable before painting with colour. Also, painting entirely in monochrome until you’re more comfortable with tone or value is recommended, so keep returning to earlier tasks to ensure you progress. Post your work for feedback and get some expert advice to keep moving forward 🙂

Here is a PDF resource to support you further:

Colour Scale and Colour Still LIfe

…and another quick reference to support this task 🙂

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 8 Part 2: Colour Fruit Bowl

TASK: Make a drawing of a bowl of fruit using either colour pencils, pastels or paints.

You are at the stage to begin experimenting with your colours when producing art work in colour.  Part 1 of this task was to learn some colour theory and produce a colour wheel to aid your use of colour in future artworks. We can now put that theory to use 🙂

Begin by practicing blending together different colours. Not just those created on the colour wheel but other combinations of those hues to see what is possible. Mix from light to dark a range of hues- so for this the obvious would be adding black for shade and white for the tints. But there are so many other ways. See what effects you can get by mixing the complementary colours together. Using black for the shadows on a red apple would create a different overall effect than if you mix green into the red to create the shadows instead. It is worth the time spent doing different variations to see what effect you would like.

Look at the key terms below to help you with your experiments:

Hue: the actual colour of an object

Chroma: the purity of a hue in relation to grey. When there is no shade of grey in a colour that colour has a high chroma. Adding shades of grey to a hue reduces the chroma

Saturation: the degree of purity of a hue. Similar to chroma- pure hues are highly saturated-when grey is added the colour becomes desaturated

Intensity: the brightness or dullness of a colour. Adding white or black to a colour lowers it’s intensity. An intense and highly saturated colour has a high chroma

Value/Luminance: a measure of the amount of light reflected from a colour- ie how light or dark a hue is. Adding white to a hue makes it lighter and increases its value or luminance

Shade: the result of adding black to a hue to produce a darker hue

Tint: the result of adding white to a hue to produce a lighter hue

Tone: in between black and white we have grey. A colour tone is the result of adding grey to a hue. Shades and tints are tones at the extremes

 

Make notes next to the  different and interesting effects you create through your experiments.

Fruit has lots of different colour changes and textures. You should use some of your experiments from the colour wheel in your drawing to show an understanding of colour theory.

 

When I have found the relationship of all the tones the result must be a living harmony of all the tones, a harmony not unlike that of a music composition

Henri Matisse

 

Now you have more understanding of colour theory you can apply this to not only creating tonal ranges in your work, but also consider your compositions. Which fruits will you use? How will you position them together?

You can look at how the early twentieth-century group of artists called the Fauves used complementary colours in their work for example. Matisse’s second version of his painting The Dance of 1910, and Music of the same year, demonstrate how the painter used complementary colours next to one another which enhance and vibrate against each other.

Matisse and Derain, two of the Fauve painters, made pictures using vivid palettes of primary and secondary colours. The impressionists used complementary colours to great effect, in their landscapes in particular; when you next look at Impressionist landscapes consider how the yellows and purples, and the other complementary pairs, work together.

When white is mixed in we begin to see how wonderfully subtle and exciting a palette can become- think of the beautiful paintings of Gwen John and Morandi, created using a harmonious and rich variety of greys.

Gwen John The Artist in Her Room in Paris, 1907–09Morandi ‘Natura Morta (Still Life)’, 1960

 

Morandi deliberately limited his choice of still life objects to the unremarkable bottles, boxes, jars, jugs and vases that were commonly found in his everyday domestic environment. He would then ‘depersonalise’ these objects by removing their labels and painting them with a flat matt colour to eliminate any lettering or reflections. In this condition they provided him with an anonymous cast of ready-made forms that he could arrange and rearrange to explore their abstract qualities and relationships.

Morandi’s compositions and choice of still life objects allude to his Italian heritage. When assembled together in a still life group, his dusty bottles and boxes take on an monumental quality that evokes the architecture of medieval Italy – a style with which he seems at ease.

Think about your composition and the final effects, whilst also experimenting with your media and use of colours 🙂

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 8 Part 1: The Colour Wheel

Colour theory is a tricky subject for artists. The problems arise as soon as we start putting paint on our palette. What about hues, tones, tertiaries or warm and cool colours? How many colours do we really need? And how can we use the expertise of scientists to inform our practice as artists?

 

Colour is the place where our brain and the universe meet

Paul Klee

 

Colour theory is both the science and art of colour. It explains how humans perceive colour; how colours mix, match or clash; the subliminal (and often cultural) messages colours communicate; and the methods used to replicate colour. This encompasses a multitude of definitions, concepts and design applications – enough to fill several encyclopaedias!

So let’s take it step by step- this is not an exercise just for the primary school classroom! It is fundamental for any artist to truly understand the basic concepts
.beyond naming the primary and secondary colours.

This task is to produce your own colour wheel. You can find many colour wheels online to copy from. This not only will help you with the basics of mixing the different hues, but also with seeing the relationships between different colours.

Sir Isaac Newton developed the first circular diagram of colours in 1666. Since then, scientists and artists have studied and designed numerous variations of this concept. Differences of opinion about the validity of one format over another continue to provoke debate. In reality, any colour circle or colour wheel which presents a logically arranged sequence of pure hues has merit.

Here is one example which you can copy for this task:

Primary Colours: Red, yellow and blue
In traditional colour theory (used in paint and pigments), primary colours are the 3 pigment colours that cannot be mixed or formed by any combination of other colours. All other colours are derived from these 3 hues.

Secondary Colours: Green, orange and purple
These are the colours formed by mixing the primary colours.

Tertiary Colours: Yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green & yellow-green
These are the colours formed by mixing a primary and a secondary colour. That’s why the hue is a two-word name, such as blue-green, red-violet, and yellow-orange. The name always begins with the primary colour, followed by the secondary colour.

 

When choosing colour schemes for our artwork we can use a colour wheel to help us determine the effect we are wanting to achieve in our work.

Harmony can be defined as a pleasing arrangement of parts, whether it be music, poetry, colour, or even an ice cream sundae. In visual experiences, harmony is something that is pleasing to the eye. It engages the viewer and it creates an inner sense of order, a balance in the visual experience. When something is not harmonious, it’s either boring or chaotic. Harmony can be found by looking at part of the colour wheel.

The human brain rejects what it cannot organise, what it cannot understand. The visual task requires that we present a logical structure. Colour harmony delivers visual interest and a sense of order.

In summary, extreme unity leads to under-stimulation, extreme complexity leads to over-stimulation. Harmony is a dynamic equilibrium. Here are some examples of how to use colour theory
but there are many more to explore in this broad topic!

 

So maybe it is harmony you are wanting to create
 this can be found by using the analogous colours of the colour wheel.

Analogous colours are any three colours which are side by side on a 12-part colour wheel, such as yellow-green, yellow, and yellow-orange. Usually one of the three colours predominates. Sometimes these colours are also referred to as Harmonious Colours, which makes sense because they’re almost like tones or steps of colour, similar to musical notes in a single chord.

Designers and interior decorators use adjacent colours quite a bit; they’ll often combine them with one opposite, or complementary colour, for a little punch of intensity.

So that brings us to complementary colours.

Complementary colours are any two colours which are directly opposite each other in the colour wheel, such as red and green and red-purple and yellow-green. There may be several variations of yellow-green in leaves and several variations of red-purple in a flower such as an orchid. These opposing colours create maximum contrast and maximum stability.

How does this apply to artists? Well, just because they’re called complementary doesn’t mean you should necessarily use them right next to each other at full strength. That can be rather garish. Or maybe that is what you want??

This is exactly what artists have done. Friedensreich Hundertwasser used bright, garish colours as it creates movement in his art. Our eyes do not sit comfortable when it is not a harmonious colour scheme, so we are constantly searching. His powerful messages in his art- he was a forerunner of environmental protection- link closely to the ideas behind his choice of colour- a fascinating artist to look further into 🙂

Irinaland Over The Balkans, 1969

Another, who you may know well, is Vincent van Gogh. He used complementary colours regularly to make an impact and draw a viewer’s attention to key elements of a painting. It is clear in one of his most famous paintings:

Starry Night, 1889.

 

So, if you DO want to add some extra punch to your colour scheme, think about including complementary colours somewhere in your artwork – it will help to draw emphasis to your subject. Also, some plein air painters will cover their canvas with red before painting a landscape so that the greens and blues they put on top of it will really jump out.

 

Here is a resource with even more information to support you with this task: Colour Wheel

 

So next time you start a painting, think about what colours will work best with your subject matter and use your colour wheel—because the proper use of colour will always enhance your final artwork.

 

Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment

Claude Monet

 

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 7: Self-Portrait in Charcoal

Drawing self-portraits can be a great way to practice sketching techniques as-let’s face-it-there is no shortage of material when you draw yourself! Sketching or drawing yourself can be a great way to learn a lot about sketching, shading and proportions- this exercise will teach you a lot about art and yourself.

Task 7 comes in 2 parts:

Part 1: Get a tonal black and white photograph to work from

Part 2: Produce a tonal self-portrait using charcoal

 

The following resource will help you get started on this task:

Self Portrait

 

Part 1 allows you to get creative as well as to give yourself a great foundation on which to practice your drawing techniques. Adding meaning to your artwork makes it personal and you connect better with what you are doing.  Have fun getting your photograph just right. Some portraits will be of just the face of the artist, and other portraits will be of the whole body. The artist decides how he wants to portray himself… this is the experimental bit 🙂

Then it is on to Part 2. Everyone thinks they know the proportions of a face, but when you really study the human face, it’s easy to realise that the eyes are not near the top of the head, they are more about half-way between the crown of the head and your chin. See the previous task to learn more about these proportions 🙂

Get the major features first, lightly, to create a foundation so you can add in your details later. This way, if you make a mistake, you can easily erase it and it won’t affect the minute details you will spend more time creating later on.

Bring together the work we have done so far on charcoal techniques and observational skills. Turn the photo upside down to really ‘see’ what is in front of you to get accurate proportions.

When you are done you can ask yourself- does my portrait look exactly like the source photo? Your answer will be, No, and I don’t want it to! This is YOUR representation of the original photo. Remember, you don’t need to make an exact copy of the source, that’s what photocopies are for! Be expressive whilst following simple proportion rules to create a personal and unique work of art.

 

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Task 6: Portrait Proportions

Hi there,

This week we move onto PORTRAITURE!

 

Ah! Portraiture, portraiture with the thought, the soul of the model in it, that is what I think must come

Vincent Van Gogh

 

If you take the image all at once and dwell on how many details you have to draw and how difficult it will be, trying to tackle drawing a portrait would be intimidating for anyone! You can make the process significantly less daunting by taking it one step at a time.

 

Step one & this week’s task: Portrait Proportions

When drawing, it is easy to let your brain take charge and begin to draw what we think is there instead of going with a fully observational approach, and drawing what we actually see-remember Task 1?? One way to overcome this problem is to draw lines in order to analyse how the features align on the face. Using this technique will help you learn how things like the eyes, hairline, nose, ears, cheekbones, etc. interact with each other.

Draw vertical and diagonal lines to get a sense of how the placement of the nose relates to the placement of the mouth, and chin; how the corner of the eye interacts with the neck and jawline; or the relationship between the eye and the edge of the nose…I will go on to show you how to do this 🙂

Determining the proportions of the head is an important factor when approaching self-portrait drawing. These proportions are generally common to all faces and need to be right in a portrait.

So your task is to follow these rules to sketch out a basic drawing, leaving in all measurement lines, just to showcase these rules in action. Refer to the resource below where there is a much more detailed step-by-step approach to this task. In short, here are some of the rules:

  • The eye line – typically half way between the top of the head and the chin
  • The width of the distance between the eyes – the width of one eye
  • Eye level to the end of the nose – end of the nose half way between the eyes and the chin
  • The centre line of the mouth – typically about half way between the nose and the chin
  • The inside corner of the eyes line up vertically with the edge of the nostrils
  • The centre of the pupils line up vertically with the corners of the mouth

Interesting stuff.  Test your own measurements against these and see how you get on with this sketch! It is the beginning of this section where we are focused on learning to draw portraits 🙂

Resource with a step-by-step guide: portrait proportions

Enjoy! This is tremendously encouraging, to witness as we slowly improve our skills and get better right before our very eyes. After all, that’s what practice is all about, nothing but a beautiful journey of discovering how much we are capable of.

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART