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Loosen Up!


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Published in: Business, Education

Loosen Up!

  1. 1. Drawing & Painting with Style and Confidence Presented by Anne Kullaf Anne Kullaf © 2008 Loosen Up!
  2. 2. Workshop premise… <ul><li>Many of my students tell me they are interested in “loosening up” or that they feel their work is too tight. Often times, they sign up for a class and expect to produce a masterpiece, rather than using the class as a means of learning and experimenting. This workshop takes the finished painting out of the equation and focuses on practice and getting the most out of it. Using my own sketchbooks as examples, I will demonstrate how exploring a subject in multiple mediums and doing multiple sketches will build confidence that will translate into more accomplished looking paintings. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Workshop Overview… <ul><li>This workshop will focus on helping you to build creative confidence thereby making your paintings look more natural and expressive. I encourage experimentation and practice as you learn how to see shapes and values in a way that will allow you to draw and paint in a more intuitive manner. Using charcoal for value studies and oil or acrylic for color studies, we will explore a still life set up in the studio. At the end of the workshop, you will have several “ideas” that can be pursued as finished paintings or simply used to develop practice routines for yourself. </li></ul>
  4. 4. What do we mean by loosen up? <ul><li>To me, painting loosely means painting with confidence in a way that truly expresses what you want to communicate with your paintings. It isn’t so much about your style of painting, but rather about the way you approach the process of painting: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you feel confident when facing a blank canvas? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you feel confident regardless of subject matter? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do you experiment with new mediums and materials? </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Practice = Confidence <ul><li>The best way to build confidence is to practice </li></ul><ul><li>It’s important to remember that it is ok to make mistakes while you are practicing—give yourself permission to make errors, after all, it is ONLY practice </li></ul><ul><li>As for how and what to practice, a good place to start is with shapes and values… </li></ul>
  6. 6. Shapes and Values
  7. 7. Shapes and Values <ul><li>When you look at an object you are drawing, focus on really seeing the dark and light values </li></ul><ul><li>A wide range of values are what make things look 3 dimensional, they add a sense of depth and space </li></ul><ul><li>Try to translate what you see onto your drawing pad using charcoal, try blocking in large areas instead of outlining </li></ul><ul><li>Using the side of the charcoal helps in several ways: it keeps your verticals and horizontals straight and provides a bold means of establishing your darkest values </li></ul>
  8. 8. Shapes and Values <ul><li>Forget about the “objects” you are drawing and instead try to capture the “gesture” of the elements in your composition. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Look at the cars in the sketch above. Think of them as one mass of traffic rather than as individual taxis. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do they move? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are they rigid or smooth and flowing? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is there a rhythm to the way they appear in the composition? </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Shapes and Values <ul><li>Draw what you see, not what you know </li></ul><ul><li>Forget “what” you are drawing and focus on observing the dark and light values that define the objects in your composition. </li></ul><ul><li>Notice the different surface textures in the drawing above. </li></ul><ul><li>Shapes and values are used to define the objects and their surface textures. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Shapes and Values <ul><li>Not thinking about “what” you are drawing will also eliminate any fears you may have, for example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I can’t a draw a car, that’s too hard.” A car is just a box, with the values properly placed it is as simple as drawing a cube </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I don’t know how to draw glass.” You draw glass the same way you draw anything else—look at the dark and light values and place them on your paper or canvas as you see them </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Working with Color
  12. 12. Working with Color <ul><li>To avoid getting “mud”, use colors that complement one another to create shadows and darks, in other words, colors that appear opposite one another on the color wheel </li></ul><ul><li>Example: if you need show a shaded area on a lemon (yellow, primary color) use violet (secondary color) </li></ul><ul><li>Mix your secondary colors whenever possible instead of using them directly from the tube </li></ul>
  13. 13. The Limited Palette <ul><li>Try working with a limited palette of 3 primaries, one dark neutral and one white. One of my favorites is: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cobalt blue - Burnt umber </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alizarin crimson - Titanium white </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yellow ochre </li></ul></ul><ul><li>You may experiment with other colors you like, just remember to keep it to 3 primaries and one dark neutral plus white. </li></ul><ul><li>If necessary, you can always add in a brighter primary for the areas in highlight—for example, I often will use a cadmium yellow in addition to the colors above when working on sunlit landscapes just to get that extra “glow” in my greens. </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Limited Palette <ul><li>2 Paintings, </li></ul><ul><li>1 Palette: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cobalt Blue </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alizarin Crimsom </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yellow Ochre </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cadmium Yellow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Burnt Umber </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Titanium White </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Notice the difference in mood of the 2 paintings above. </li></ul><ul><li>Both were painted using the colors listed at left, this illustrates the wide range of effects capable with a limited palette. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Try new methods + materials
  16. 16. Try new methods + materials <ul><li>Working with a new medium can be liberating—it’s new to you, so no reason you should feel the need to be an expert—experiment and HAVE FUN! </li></ul><ul><li>Here are a few examples of different mediums and the advantages and challenges of working with them </li></ul>Fifth Avenue, study in pastel Anne Kullaf © 2008
  17. 17. Try new methods + materials <ul><li>Pastels </li></ul><ul><li>Very expressive medium </li></ul><ul><li>Allows for a great deal of spontaneity </li></ul><ul><li>Work from dark to light </li></ul><ul><li>Excellent for sketching </li></ul><ul><li>Optically mix colors on the surface to create new colors (can be challenging to those not used to working with color) </li></ul>9 th Street, study in pastel Anne Kullaf © 2008
  18. 18. Try new methods + materials <ul><li>Acrylics </li></ul><ul><li>Highly versatile, can be used similarly to either oil or watercolor </li></ul><ul><li>Dries very quickly (drying times can be extended with gel mediums) </li></ul><ul><li>Excellent for under paintings done en plein air </li></ul>Canal Street Figures, study in acrylic on paper Anne Kullaf © 2008
  19. 19. Try new methods + materials <ul><li>Oils </li></ul><ul><li>My favorite (we all have one) </li></ul><ul><li>Rich color can be achieved with layering </li></ul><ul><li>Wonderfully expressive effects possible with brush work </li></ul><ul><li>Archival qualities proven over time </li></ul>Taxi in the Rain, oil on canvas Anne Kullaf © 2007
  20. 20. Try new methods + materials <ul><li>Watercolor </li></ul><ul><li>Highly expressive but unforgiving </li></ul><ul><li>Colors not as strong/bold as oil </li></ul><ul><li>Highly suitable for plein air </li></ul><ul><li>Working from light to dark may be confusing for those of us used to pastel or oil </li></ul>Flowers, study in watercolorl on paper Anne Kullaf © 2007
  21. 21. Try new methods + materials <ul><li>Charcoal </li></ul><ul><li>Excellent for capturing values quickly </li></ul><ul><li>Great for sketching plein air </li></ul><ul><li>Bold quality can help you from getting too “fussy” with details </li></ul>Shapes & Values demo, study in charcoal Anne Kullaf © 2008
  22. 22. Paint directly from life <ul><li>Painting from a still life set up in your studio is a great way to practice your observation skills </li></ul><ul><li>Really try to reduce objects to their basic forms and colors </li></ul><ul><li>Remember to look for the shapes and values, forget about “what” you are painting </li></ul>All prima demo, study in oil on canvas Anne Kullaf © 2008
  23. 23. Paint + sketch en plein air <ul><li>Painting plein air is a great way to practice seeing shapes, values & colors </li></ul><ul><li>Plein air studies can be used to create future studio paintings </li></ul><ul><li>Working outdoors is challenging and good practice for capturing changing light quickly </li></ul>Tree, plein air study in oil on canvas Anne Kullaf © 2008
  24. 24. Leave your comfort zone! <ul><li>It is a good idea to sometimes try subject matter that you would not normally paint. </li></ul><ul><li>For me, that would be portraiture. I still approach it from the standpoint of focusing on shapes and values, but there is a degree of “likeness” that is needed for a portrait to be successful. </li></ul><ul><li>I try to keep my strokes loose and resist the urge to blend, trying instead to capture the lightness of childhood rather than perfecting her features. </li></ul>Kristen at the Pool, pastel study Anne Kullaf © 2008
  25. 25. Tying it all together…
  26. 26. Tying it all together… <ul><li>Here are some things you can do to loosen up: </li></ul><ul><li>Practice, practice, practice! </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on shapes and values – sketch in charcoal! </li></ul><ul><li>Use complementary colors for shading </li></ul><ul><li>Try working with a limited palette </li></ul><ul><li>Try working with a new medium </li></ul><ul><li>Experiment with new subject matter </li></ul><ul><li>Paint from life, either outdoors or in your studio </li></ul><ul><li>Have fun and always find something you LIKE about every sketch you do and remember what it is so you can build upon it. </li></ul><ul><li>Identify the areas you want to improve and practice those specific skills so that you become more confident </li></ul>
  27. 27. Tying it all together… <ul><li>In summary, loosening up will help you to get more fulfillment out of the process of drawing and painting, as well as instill the confidence you need to create more accomplished works. </li></ul><ul><li>In other words, you’ll get more enjoyment and satisfaction out of the process as well as better results! </li></ul>