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August 2008



26

I've returned from a wonderful five days up in Northern California, teaching the Color Boot Camp workshop and doing a demonstration for the ASW painting group in Sebastopol, about 30 minutes north of San Francisco. What fun! Great group, and the workshop was full of laughter and "head-hurts" with the Color System knowledge going in. Many made great strides towards/into good color choices for the time of day they were painting.

The demonstration paintings I did during the workshop and meeting are examples of my evolving style in how I want to have my art appear after the hiatus of last two months. It's been wonderful to reach into the oils with such certainty about how I want the end painting to be.

It's easy to admit that artists grow and change, but perhaps not so exciting to know that other artists also go through this. Above is a painting I did back in 2005, and one I brought to the workshop to show evening light as it can be done on location. I knew the Color System in '05, but hadn't refined it enough to "pull it off" every time. That's typical of newbies to the CS, because it takes a while before the Color System can be involved in every one of your color choices. I was still relying on the "good ol' choices" because they were familiar.

While in the workshop, I told the students what I was going to do to the painting, and then did it. The changes are subtle, perhaps, but the overall painting has been "stepped up a notch". Here's the finished work.
27

In one of the earlier workshops I taught this year, the question came up about how to deal with the Color System and human skin.

Now, I know there are many, MANY "rules" about painting human skin, and confusion reigns. What I have found in working with the translucent nature of skin with the underlying blood of a living organ, the way to make it come to life is to "flip the boxes" in the Color System. Use warms in the shadows and cool mixes in the lights. Eeek!!

I started this boy on a beach to demonstrate this for a workshop. I originally planned to only do the figure (not my normal method) and finish it later. But I worked it through the material I had on hand and almost finished it back in March. The canvas went with me to Sebastopol, and I finished it up there.

The area of transition between the light and shadow has to have the most intense coloration to continue to convince the viewer that skin is translucent and alive. This is a 9 x 12 oil, and its progress and source material will continue tomorrow.

On another note, here I am celebrating my big sixtieth birthday at Medieval Times last month--and still losing those excess pounds with Dr. Gundry's Diet Evolution. I've never felt better! My sister is a card artist, and I'm showing off one of her creations.
28

With the figure blocked in, it was time to work on the rest of the canvas. I like the angle of the boy being intersected by the shoreline, creating some tension and interest, instead of doing the "horizontal ocean mambo" with a flat horizon line out there.

Any time one can choose a dynamic composition over a placid horizontal one, it creates interest in the finished work. Diagonals create design tension.

In the ocean, I'm using good' ol' ultramarine blue (the workhorse) and in the sands, I used the warm complementary mix of thalo blue and cad red light, with white. There's a bit of ultra blue in there, too... Keeps it cool and wet looking. The boy will be playign with a sail boat, but that will come in much later.

Here's my birthday present, at four months.... finally fulfilling my life-long dream to own one of the most magnificent of horses--an Andalusian! This Spanish horse breed is thousands of years old, and is from the Iberian area of Spain. My boy is not going to go grey as many of them do, because he has not one white hair on him--meaning he will stay dark (which is more uncommon). His registered name is Chiron EP, and if you know Greek mythology, Chiron was the centaur god. He'll be coming home to me in October. We'll begin the journey of training him--called "ground work"--as soon as he arrives. I love a project!
This image of the painting shows my source material... a kid sitting on the sand with a plastic cup making piles. As with most photography, the color leaves a lot to be desired. In the composition, I turned his body a bit so it appears that we are looking more down on him. I also made him a bit older than the five or six he appears to be. I wanted a child of about eleven, just before puberty, and then the sailboat takes on significant meaning as the boy grows up into a young man on his journey through life.

At the bottom of today's image is the warm box of the pillbox system that is integral to the Color System. Note that the colors are set up by value! That's a great help when making choices about how to lighten or darken a color. No black in the Color System, and better choices than only white for going lighter.

You asked for more images of my "boy" Chiron? Here's one, showing his Iberian heritage. Only little white coronet bands on his back legs, hardly noticeable. He's going to be a treat to train into an awesome saddle horse. My last horse was a Spanish breed as well--a Peruvian Paso, and he and I started together when he was only five months.

Although this accidentally went out before it was supposed to, I did further editing and here it is again.

It was a quick matter to put the finishing touches on this canvas while teaching in Sebastopol's workshop. The sailboat just fell into the composition, and made a complete story. I even like that the mast is a bit bent, like things in life--showing character!

The shadow on the sails was done with yellow ochre and the "usual suspects" of ultramarine blue and white. I drilled into the students' heads that over half of all shadows are made from the sky trio--ultramarine blue, alizarin and yellow ochre in some proportions, and it is in evidence here.

I hope you've enjoyed this lesson painting. It is available as I write this, although at $220 through PayPal, it might be gone before long.

The long-awaited Color System Flash Cards are AT THE PRINTER!!! I'll be proofing them in a few days, and THEN they'll be printed! Yippee! You all will be the first to know when they're in my hands.
Here's a sample of the back of one of them (the cards will be much larger):