Meeting Notes, June 23, 2016

At today’s meeting Diane, Lisa, Tim, Genie, Tracie, Jeanne, Vicki, Joanne T, Stephanie, Annie, Jim, Tom, Ward, Susan, Jerry, Kathy, Mike, John, Dotty, and me Celeste.

Today’s suggested table topic:  Value domination. Do you have a plan --do you paint with value domination in mind?

Celeste: I don't always plan very well. Sometimes if I go to a lot of trouble and make value sketches and layouts my resulting painting will lose vitality. I seem to paint best when I paint with spontaneous energy. I did notice in this painting that I am showing you that when I photographed it and turned it to black and white two thirds of it is med/light and one third is dark ---so this fits the topic. I am also showing an old painting from my archives that is predominantly dark.

Mike: When you are a watercolorist you must plan…there are no do-overs. If you make a serious error you have to start all over again on a fresh sheet of paper.  I took a watercolor workshop with Michael Reardon. This is the book he authored. In it is a very good section on planning your painting. I am also showing you another book by Jeanne Dobie. Both of these books address not only values but also shapes and why it is so important to plan values and shapes.

Kathy: I have taken classes with Jennifer Diehl. She teaches to group mid tones with light or group mid tones with dark. I am showing an example of a still life where I did two versions of a value plan. She teaches that you do a thumbnail value plan and you stick with that. When you begin your painting you don't look at the still life objects, you look at your thumbnail value plan of the objects. You begin your painting from the value study-- so you will stick with your plan.

Jerry: The first time I became really aware of a value plan was when I saw paintings by Caravaggio and Rembrandt. It is recommended to be looking at something like a three value plan such as 1-6-9. I paint in both oil and watercolor. Value is handled so differently in oil and watercolor…it is a challenge to shift from one medium to another. I took Aimee Erickson’s color theory class. It is very helpful. I recently painted in Prineville. I am showing three recent plein air paintings.

Susan: When I first read this topic I thought it sounded kind of kinky. (Laughter)! Yesterday at the lavender fields I was thinking about this topic and as a result of thinking about it I did a poor painting. It’s not always helpful to think about these things in the field…!  Recently I set up a still life with my student. We both painted the same thing--- this silver teapot. I was really happy with how this came out and when I put it on Facebook one of my Facebook friends asked if I had a tube of “mirror like” paint (laughter)!

Ward: I am a real fan of the Opera. I have seen many operas.  There is a wonderful famous scene where Pagliacci the clown cries. During the scene eventually (because theatrical lighting) all you see is his face. Paintings are like this--! Paintings are like advertisements in a way. You have to grab the viewer really quickly. You just have a couple of seconds to grab the viewer. I am going to take a class with Charles Reid. I understand that he is asked all the time “what color are you using-- what color are you using?”---and according to what I understand his reply is “you should be asking me what value or am I using”. There are good videos on YouTube by Stan Miller about value. Color works because of value. I am showing two recent paintings. One is “in progress.”

Tom: I don't really think about values when I am outside painting. I think about color and composition and the values tag along. I am showing two recent plein air paintings. I took Za’s advice and have purchased some frames from a place in Eugene. They are little bit more expensive then I have paid before but I really like them. I painted this at Lewis River.  I don’t think about manipulating values.

Jim: In my opinion a clear understanding about value is absolutely essential for the artist. I took a recent workshop with Max Ginsburg. He puts in the darkest dark first and then the next darkest dark. He defines as the entire form by starting with darks and moving through the values in a hierarchy (darkest dark through to lightest light).  This procedure works just as well in landscape as it does with figure. Start with darks and lock in your design. Color is not the primary thing. I am showing three recent paintings that I did from photo reference from my trip to Europe.

Annie: I love this topic-- I do not have anything to say about it. I have just returned from Florida.

Stephanie: My former career was in lighting. Too many spotlights does not work. This is the same in a painting. If you have too many light sources the painting will not hold together. When I first started painting I liked grisaille at first. But then I painted alla prima and I liked that better. But grisaille is definitely a good way to get in strong solid values. I often times find myself painting in the middle of the day even though I am well aware that the better contrast is either early or late in the day. I am showing two recent paintings that I did and I may do this one again in the future in a more impressionist way with dots of color.

Joanne: I am someone who has watched a lot of videos and DVDs. The Tucson art academy has some helpful short videos on YouTube. Jennifer Diehl had us do a lot of black-and-white studies. Scott Powers has a great DVD were he shows how he puts on a dark first (the darkest dark) and he will  also indicate a dot of the lightest light on his support. From that point he make sure that he never goes darker than the darkest dark or lighter than the lightest light. Quaing Huang uses an underpainting that is transparent red oxide and ultramarine blue. He will shift those with more blue or more red depending on what he wants in color temperature. Generally speaking, it is ideal to have two thirds more dark or two thirds more light and a painting. I am showing some recent paintings.

Vicki: as I am sitting here looking at Kristina Sellers painting on the wall --I think that it demonstrates dark and light very successfully. The painting is mostly dark with just hits of light. I thank goodness for these discussions because now I know what is wrong with me! (Laughter)! I will work on thinking about which value dominates. I am showing three plein air paintings.

Jeanne: I don't know who said it but there is a famous quotation:  “Values do all the work, but color gets all the credit”.  I purchased four markers from Dick Blick. They are big fat markers that are clearly marked (tonal markers gray to black). I don’t like doing layouts but I will do a quick idea layout with the markers. When I am working outside I always have to remember and concentrate on what hooked me in in the first place. I want to make sure that my painting has that. I am showing a painting that I did recently.

Tracie: I've done some experimental layouts with house paint!  I wanted to show energy and vibrancy with marks. I also did this larger piece in house paint! Black and white house paint! When you put white house paint over black it completely obliterates the black. I am showing my black and white energy exercises as well as a resulting painting about football. I try to link darks together where I can for the best design. I am kind of a brat and I like to break some of the rules! I liked moving the (house) paint around for this project!

Genie: I confess I do not like to do thumbnails. It bores me.  I go back-and-forth about this. I am showing a recent painting of a bouquet of flowers.

John: I am showing some colored charts that I did with colored pencil. I have taken classes with Cliff Smith. I enjoy thinking about how value and color relate. You all have me thinking1  I am going to go to Powells and start buying some of these books.

Dotty: Value in pastel is a very big deal. I arrange all of my pastels (whether hard or soft) by value. When I am painting I “combine” color and use gradation all the way across the canvas. I will not use one solid color in an area..I am looking to show color variation. I am showing a recent pastel.

Tim: Recently I glanced out the window and saw how glorious my neighbors tree looked. I painted it fast and made up the lower half of it. I also went out recently with the objective of painting a very large painting outdoors. I had to take pictures of the scene with my phone and do the sketches from that. It helped me to do thumbnails (from my phone) and to make my changes there.
I am showing both of these paintings.

Lisa: I don’t really have anything to say on the subject but I will say this--- if it weren’t for contrast we wouldn’t be able to see anything at all.

Diane: Sometimes you can imprint with your first teacher. My first teacher had us paint a painting in the same values. It had to look flat-- that was the exercise. To this very day I am in love with grays and with very subtle shifts. Maybe it is because I’m an Oregonian, I am a “tonal” artist. I just really like grays, I like subtlety. I did a still life with a friend of some unusual objects. I am showing a drawing I did of a spoon and the recent still life.


Aimee Erickson has reception on Wednesday, July 6. 5-8 This is at the University Club 1225 SW 6th

Ward Stroud: a workshop about composition and how to edit your work. It is on July 14 and 15th at Oregon society of artists.

OSA call to artists:

Gallery Nine at the blue sky has a reception July 7 (First Thursday) for the eyes project:
122 NW 8th

Plein air and More this weekend

 The Lavender festival has openings ..(it is underway but there is still time) and be sure to take in the show even if you aren't painting in it--its a super-fun exhibit

Lake Oswego Festival of Arts is this coming weekend. Stephanie Cissna, Joanne Kollman, Don Bishop, Sally Reichmuth and others:

Our facebook page for other communications:

Thank you for coming and sharing your ideas and paintings with us today. Next meeting June 30 suggested table topic: Painting very big and painting very small --- (if you haven't yet done this, have you considered it)? what has been your experience?

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