Saturday, September 25, 2010

Painting Demo Under Artificial Light

Every Tuesday evening from 6pm-9pm, I teach a still life class. Because it is an evening class, we paint under artificial light. These lights run parallel to my skylights along the north side, so the light mimics the natural light. The previous post shows these artificial lights above the skylights. I usually set up several still life arrangements on the east and west sides of the studio, and the students are free to choose an arrangement. Most students stand to paint, so I have the arrangements raised to under eye level. For the students who are seated, lower arrangements are set up. In these photos, you can see some of my other arrangements.

This past Tuesday night class, I painted a demo of my geraniums. It is painted on a gessoed panel that is 14"x18". In the top photo, you can see the start, with the gesture indicated, and the background started. The following pictures show the general mass into flat value shapes for the leaves, pot and blossoms. Once these were in place, I started adding planes of light, and I began modeling in the light, as well as in the shadow, always keeping in mind where I was on my value scale. With each pass, I tried to get a little tighter, drawing into the mass. I talked the whole time, and students were free to ask questions. I think that demonstrating is important, and I feel that students learn a great deal when the demonstration is interactive.


Judy P. said...

Wish I lived closer-great demo. For your initial passes, do you thin the paint,or apply only a little as drybrush? Then do you paint thicker when you start tightening up? My problem is going back into the previous paint- it gets muddy or I can't control the value or color of how it blends, especially if some white is in that previous pass. Thanks again!

Karen Winslow said...

Hi Judy. Thank you. I love doing demos. Since I have several still life arrangements set up around the room, I have the students help me to pick one out for the demonstration.

When I begin my demo, I am thinking about "pitch" and how I can analyze my painting and fit it into my value scale. I use little medium or none at all..just enough to get the paint to spread. Once my background and general masses are established, I often take a large brush (could be a sash brush) or a fan brush to control the amount of paint I have on the canvas or panel. I want my background to recede, so I do not want it to be to thick or come forward on me. When you control the amount of paint you have on your panel or canvas, you can lay down strokes with a very light touch, and they will not pick up paint the is underneath. You can do this with a landscape too, and paint thin branches over a wet sky, without disturbing the paint underneath. I hope this helps. :D