Meeting Notes, Nov 3, 2016

At today’s meeting Tracie, Joanne T, Ward, Joanne K, John, Dotty, Loretta L, Thomas, Tim, Jim, Loretta U, Tom, Jeanie, Annie, Mike, Eunice, Karen, Genie, Elo, Za, Jerry, Nancy, and me Celeste.

Today’s suggested table topic: “Simplification” Reduction of values and/or colors in painting. Is it important?  How are you doing in this department?

Celeste: I am glad that Za is here for this topic. When I’ve taken classes and workshops with her she always stresses three values. I think I’m actually pretty good at simplification. I don’t know exactly why, but I always seem to want to stop a painting early. I’m not a fan of a lot of detail. I found something in a book that addresses this topic. I will read it. (see below) I am showing 4 paintings from recent daily painting challenges.

Joanne: I took classes with Jennifer Diehl. She also puts emphasis on the three values. It's hard to make colors match those three values! I am showing a painting that I did in complementary colors. It is easier to match values with just two colors. I am also showing a plein air painting that I think turned out really well. 

Tracie: I tend to complicate things. But! in my opinion less is not necessarily more. Sometimes if you were trying to convey an certain attitude you have to use more information. Here is an example of a too complicated painting (laughter) And here is another painting I did recently from a photo reference.

Joanne K: I have been doing a painting every day. My life has been chaotic because I don't have my studio move sorted out quite yet.  I am always looking to link the darks. I am showing some recent paintings.

Za: I love this topic. Simplicity is not just about design. I think it is important to have a common thread run throughout the whole painting. For example we had a blonde model recently and we set her up with a pale yellow-ish background. I am showing you a recent Nocturne. This is predominantly blue. It is also predominately dark-- this what gives it harmony.  I like to set set  up still life from the very start with harmony. It is important to her have fun. Don’t forget to have fun.

Ward: I like what Za said about having some sort of cohesion. I am trying to paint a white wolf and I don't know if any of you know how hard that is, but believe me it is hard! I like to use an app on my phone to look at the photo reference with two or three values. In watercolor it is so important to maintain your lights. I am showing a recent painting of elephants.

Jeanie: I am not so sure economy is for me. I have been experimenting with backlighting. This is my back lit painting.

 Loretta: I have a problem with wanting to put everything in. I have been taking a class with Mark Andreus at PCC. He has you take a photo from your phone and print it out. Then you put glass over it and you effectively trace it (with paint), painting it in only a few values. This is invaluable exercise for training your eye for values. I am showing an example.

Jim: When I lived in San Francisco I was part of a gallery. You had to be juried into this group. I did this portfolio (that I’m showing you) in order to submit to the gallery. When I worked like this I worked out the composition, the basic shapes and colors all ahead of a time. All these paintings were sold --people actually liked them! Some of these paintings were meant for the Napa Valley audience. I got sick of painting grapes (Laughter)! Sometimes I would have to do something like topple a glass in the painting just for interest. But,  I got sick of toppling glasses (laughter)!
Even now when I do still life I have to work out the design in black-and-white before I go to color. You have to get the colors and shapes down before you put the icing on.

John: I get too involved in detail. In my former life I was a landscape architect and of course that is very detailed. I have to retrain myself. I love this meeting. I will have something to show soon.

Dotty: everything we do need to be simplified. When I get into trouble is when I try to change or adjust things. Then the idea might not be as clear as it was originally. I am showing two paintings one is a pastel.

 Karen: I have been working on back lighting. I have been compressing values to see what is lit and what is not lit. I am showing a recent plein air painting

Jerry: I remember the letters CVS = color value shape. Whenever I am painting a painting I think of the letters CVS. I also have something else that I say to myself. Lay it and leave it. This is a painting I did at Sauvie island

Elo: I struggle with simplicity. I look at detail way too much. I'd like to use an app on my phone. I like to use a big brush and I like to limit my pallette. I give myself these strategies to force myself into simplifying. I did the painting October challenge. My husband was glad when that was over laughter! I am showing two paintings from the challenge.

Tim: I am showing you a painting that I did with all the leftover paint after a painting session. I decided to go to the dark side -- to do a watercolor! (Laughter)! This is a painting about Halloween. this is an acrylic painting that I did of shoes.

Nancy: I like the comments you’ve all been making. I try to simplify but it is so hard. I am showing you paintings that I did for the big 500.

Loretta U:  I can simplify when I have only two colors. When I have more colors it causes more problems (laughter)!

 Eunice: I’m going to bring my series of paintings next week. Applause!

Mike: Before the meeting some of us had a breakfast together and we talked about the right way to practice. You can practice and practice but what if you are practicing the wrong things? You could actually be creating a bad habit instead of a good one. So perhaps you should check with a mentor to make sure that you are practicing the right principles. I produce a pencil sketch before I paint to (try to) get the values right. I’m showing two paintings from my trip to England.

Annie: I went to the AIS show at the Howard Mandville Gallery. I asked myself what colors are predominant in these paintings? I determined that most paintings had only two predominate colors. I went around and said things like “that’s blue and orange”. “That’s violet and orange”. I tend to paint a piecemeal type patchwork painting. I may want to look at a more overall way. There is an artist I like who says that he spends as much effort removing things as he does putting things in. He is trying to remove things and make paintings that look a little bit more like how we remember things.

Jeanie: I am just back from a six week vacation where we went 10,000 miles in a Volkswagen van! (Laughter)! I went to the Georgia Okeefe museum in Santa Fe. Talk about simplicity! Her work is inspiring. I found a perfect statement for myself here it is: "I am an artist and I live in a perverse fantasy world thank you for your understanding". (Laughter)! I am showing a recent sketch.

Tom: lately I’ve been too busy for painting. I like that CVS idea. I like things like that. There is simplicity or complexity in everything. Within a simple composition you can find complexity.

Thomas: The term “less is more” originated in a poem by Robert Browning called the Faultless painter. Mies van der Rohe adopted the expression as his own. Less is More has to do with reducing the amount of decoration. The work is done when there is nothing left to take away. But! If you take out too much, then “there is no there” (Laughter)! If you have never heard of Howard Pyle you should look him up. He said:  If it has two values it’s great, if it has three values it’s good, if it has four values, it’s OK.. if it has five values, throw it out! (laughter) But on the other hand, John Singer Sargent used five values. They were both right. This idea of reduction and simplification is something easily seen in this in this painting by Bryan Mark Taylor. “Don’t assault your viewer with details”.



Art on the Boulevard First Friday Tracy Leagjeld

 “Fine Art Friday” clothed model at OSA begins at 1 and goes to 4 PM. Stay and go to the 200 show reception beginning at 4 PM. (sign up as per the instructions)

Clark County studio tour is next weekend. Tom Daniels Khanh Huynh, Michael Lindstrom and others are participants.

 Nancy Zhang has work (19 paintings) at Beaverton City Hall on the fifth floor.

 Stormy weather is this weekend


 Ward will be teaching in North Carolina in a year. Right now he is teaching at OSA on Fridays

 Karen E. Lewis has new oil painting classes starting for the new Fall/Winter term at Lakewood Center Lake Oswego
Register/Find out more here:

 Thomas recommends that we go to the Tacoma Art Museum to see CC McKim –opening on the 12th

 Big 500 show Dec 10, Ford Gallery click to enlarge

Thanks all!

Next meeting Thursday, November 10 suggested table topic: REDS. Tell us specifically what Reds you use on your palette. Warm and cool. Name and brand --reasons why you use them.

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