Meeting Notes, July 13, 2017

At todays meeting, Loretta U, Daine, Tedd, Tim, Judith, Raphael, Ward, Stephanie, Geri, Annie, Genie, Eunice, Joanne K, Becky Land (new), Elo, Tracie and me, Celeste.

Todays topic: The lead-in and/or foreground (in painting). Share what you know about lead-in or foreground.

Celeste: I like what Craig Srebnik told us about painting..he likened it to theater and music. First you check your coat, then you find your seat, then there is an overture and finally you'll get to the climax "where Romeo and Juliet die for love and honor"  (the "focal point" in a painting).  (Checking your coat and finding your seat were at the base of the painting).

When I first began painting I couldn't understand how to paint a big body of water, it would come out looking like a big blue parking lot...I'm better now at varying the colors. I changed this sky painting, it once had a road that took the viewer right out of the painting. 

Loretta: I am conscious of the lead-in and also of "eye-stoppers". I brought a new painting that I did from memory.

Diane: I painted my granddaughter recently and had her chin right at the base of the room! It was a mistake. I learned from that. I decided recently to try something new. I painted over an old nocturne. I was surprised that it seemed easier than the way I worked before (on blank canvas).  It all seemed to come together. I didn't use any careful gridding (like I have in the past).

Tedd: I painted in Southern Utah. It was windy at the end of this cliff. I got a little concerned! I painted this as a triptych and put it together.

Tim: I went out with Ward to paint. We went to Laurelhurst Park. I painted with watercolor. I call this a "bow-tie" composition (laughter)! It is where you put the most action in the middle ground. I painted this duck, but he wouldn't sit still! (laughter)! I also painted this from Willamette Park. I painted directly on these feathers. 

Judith: Most everything I bring to these meetings are from classes with Bethany Hayes at PCC. She had us sculpt abstract shapes in Sculpy clay and light it and then paint it. Some people thought this looked like intestines (laughter)! The exercise was to get us to observe. She has me working alla prima and that's new for me. I painted the parking lot from life at the campus. She has me putting down thicker paint. (Editor's note: sorry, I didn't get a photo of the parking lot!)

Raphael: I painted for the Lavender competition and exhibition.  The first day I went out I discovered that the lavender wasn't blooming (laughter)! Then I found blooming lavender. I painted this at Wayward Wind. You can't beat rows of lavender to lead you in! I painted this Packard car. I "cropped" this painting by cutting it down and it gave me a better composition! I'm an illustrator and I've studied a lot about all these things....but rules are sometimes meant to be broken. Look how everything is upfront in your face in a Chuck Close painting.

Becky: I'm new! (Welcome, Becky)! This is my very first plein air painting! I went to a friend to George Rogers Park. She did a completely different looking painting than mine. It's really fun to see our different approaches to the same scene. (Applause for Becky's plein air painting)!

Ward: I read once that humans evolved looking down...that's our natural state.  We are always scanning from the bottom up. ..because we are looking for what can harm us. It is an evolutionary thing! I remember also an analogy that is a little like the one Celeste talked about. This author used a stage analogy. He said that there is a curtain that represents the background...the actors on the stage represent the middle ground and the people sitting directly in front of you represent the foreground. The middle ground is where everything is "happening" according to his analogy and you wouldn't paint the back of the head in front of would not overly-describe the foreground so the attention goes mostly to the "actors". I am showing two recent plein air paintings.

Joanne: I brought in two books that have passages specifically about foreground. Goerschner recommends painting the foreground last and fast. Kuertz suggests adding foreground objects! A lot of my own word employs "s" curves..even in still life flower paintings I an implying direction. I'm showing a recent floral painting and an example of a lead-in in landscape.

Elo: I have painted the foreground very detailed in the past. A more "generalized" foreground is better. I try to think about compositional themes when I paint. I have learned that making the foreground darker makes the viewer "go into" the painting. It makes you look past the foreground to the middle ground and background. I'm showing recent paintings and a portrait of our server here at O'Connors! (Lori) Applause!

Stephanie: I look for natural "s" curves. Here are some of my examples. Celeste, your blue parking lot for water reminds me of when I first painted a cloud, it came out looking like a potato. (laughter)!
(Editor's note: I'm glad we didn't get too discouraged, Stephanie)!

Geri: I am showing my sketchbooks with examples of lead-ins. How to get people "into" the scene is something a lot of sketchbook artists consider. Storyboard artists are just exceptional at having things in the foreground that put you "into the scene". 

Genie: I brought an article about the topic today. I recently took Ruth Armitage's workshop. These are works with wax and oil. You do these in layers and it changes at every stage. I went through stages too.."I hate this, I love this, I hate this, I love this" (Laughter)! In the end stage you finalize the composition. 

Eunice: I pass on this topic

Tracie: I painted this restaurant/diners scene and made a conscious decision to make the condiments in the foreground as resolved as the people. The condiments serve as "observers" of the rest of the scene. I liked this voyeur idea, it almost seems like science fiction. The other painting I'm showing you has been in the painting hospital (laughter)! I've been working on it and I'm satisfied that it is complete. 

Tim interjects: James Gurney did a blogpost all about the conventional wisdom about how people look at paintings. Tests were run on people while they viewed paintings, how they looked at paintings were "tracked" and it turns out everything that we have talked about today is totally WRONG. (Laughter)!


Ward is giving a motivational speech at Nike today! (Hopefully there will be a video that we can see in the future)?

Joanne's Friday and Saturday classes at OSA are on break until July 21 and 22. Joanne tells us that the 22nd would be her Mom's 102nd birthday, so she'll be marking the day by making one of her Mom's desserts and presenting it to Saturday July 22 student/participants.
(Friday the 21st will be life painting with Model Tony and Saturday is "Fresh Flower Saturday" with dessert).

Elo recommends Beaverton Art Mix. Lots of positives and no fee (deadline July 24)

also check out Clackamas Art Alliance:

Contact Clackamas Community College, they are looking for paintings for Wilsonville Community College inquire via email (making sure to reference Wilsonville Community College art acquisition):

Umpqua plein air

Erik Sandgren coastal paint out (July 10-22) FREE

The Maryhill Plein Air Event 2017

Mike Hernandez one day workshop August 5

Next Meeting Thursday, July 20:  Whose artist website do you think is exceptional? Why? What is the current state of your Website and/or blog? What would it take to get your website to be on a par with the one you admire most? Let's discuss!

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