A&P just started painting

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by themolsen, Sep 14, 2009.

  1. themolsen

    themolsen New Member

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    Dove into it this week knowing nothing... acrylics, btw

    [​IMG]

    What does OT think?

    I'm not too happy with the corrections in the green area around the black, but this is only my second painting. I still have tons to learn, but I like it :dunno:

    My description with it:
     
  2. themolsen

    themolsen New Member

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    PLEASE don't ask me "what is it?"

    I fucking HATE that question. It's not supposed to BE anything, jack ass.
     
  3. adamlewis88

    adamlewis88 New Member

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    So...................................


    What is it?
     
  4. themolsen

    themolsen New Member

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    lol omg it's an evil twirly tree coming to get you
     
  5. EWhytsell

    EWhytsell New Member

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    Thats why I don't paint. If I don't know what it is I just pass it by and go look at something I do recognize in the museums.
     
  6. themolsen

    themolsen New Member

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    The whole reason why I got into painting was so that I could create something that ISN'T SOMETHING. Photography is my interpretation of something that already exists, right? I want to create out of thin air that's just a representation of a feeling or emotion! I do this with music, but that's not visual.

    But that's the thing with art... some people look for different things from it. So it's in the eye of the beholder, or in some cases, it's all for the artist him/herself
     
  7. EWhytsell

    EWhytsell New Member

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    Very true, my brother got all the creative genes. He used to paint some creepy stuff that came from his head. I can only duplicate what I see.
    Though when it comes to electronics I can be creative.
     
  8. free_notes

    free_notes New Member

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    a while ago i was introduced to the difference between form and composition. i had never really thought of these being separate before, since they seemed in my mind to be connected in any piece of creative work.

    the difference, as was explained to me, is that form is about specificity of intention, the intention of the author to communicate some meaning to a viewer. this is ultimately what creative people do with their work. in a composition, all the energy of the author is devoted to exactly that: composition. this is not to say that composition is not a powerful attribute of creative work, in fact it is often necessary to effectively communicate meaning. form inherently has composition, whereas compositions often do not have intention. this is the biggest issue i have with a lot of photography. because it is so easy to create an image we're often too caught up in composition (post-processing especially) that we forget to define what we intend to do first. other creative forms force us to do this.

    in your narrative i can tell you have some intention, though the relationship between your metaphors and what you've painted is too direct. i 'get it' without having to try. leave some mystery in there for me to have to put forth some effort, in other words, give me the opportunity to own my experience of your work, and i will appreciate it far more, and remember it far longer, than if you just gave it to me.

    something that might help: what would you call this work? does it have a name?
     
  9. themolsen

    themolsen New Member

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    cool thanks for the tips.

    I don't really have a name for it. lol the name is the description

    I feel that naming the painting further contributes to "forcing" the viewer into interpreting it a certain way. I should honestly do away with descriptions unless someone asks for my interpretation
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2009
  10. Asherman

    Asherman New Member

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    I think you are too ambitious for a beginner. Before you begin trying to express yourself through oil/acrylic media, you need to first learn the basics. Frankly, I would advise most beginning painters to tackle oil before acrylic... but that's a personal thing based on how I was trained so many years ago. My comments here will probably at times be more relevant to oil than to acrylic because I seldom paint with anything other than oil.

    Your final result often is dependent upon stuff the view doesn't even see, and may not even be more than tangentially aware of. First, is the support. For oil/acrylics that will usually be canvas (there are a number of considerations the painter must make in choosing which canvas is appropriate to the picture in mind), or a panel. Until the 20th century almost all panels were wood. Different woods have different characteristics (shrinkage, warpage, splitting, etc.), and almost always tend to be small in size. During the 20th century alternative panels became available. Masonite was an early choice, but had some disadvantages because of the way it was manufactured. Those problems, for a painter's point of view, have mostly been corrected, and inexpensive panels of 4'X8' are readily available. Large Masonite panels weigh a lot; if not properly prepared are subject to severe warpage, and there remain some concerns over long-term stability. There are today other support surface materials... canvas wrapped cardboard, clayboard, etc. Each of these has its own characteristics and what is good for one painting is inappropriate for others.

    Supports alone are inadvisable. Pigment often won't adhere properly to supports that don't have a proper 'ground'. Manfactured, pre-stretched canvas these days usually comes with at least on coat of acrylic primer. You can paint directly on to those surfaces with that minimal ground, but additional coats of gesso generally lead to better final results. Gesso originally was made of a rabbit glue recipe, but these days acrylic gesso makes gesso preparation faster and easier. Another reason to take care in preparing your ground is that it gives the painter more control over the texture of the surface. Smooth surfaces tend to work better when you intend fine detail, and course surfaces lend themselves to other approaches to the final work. Gesso should be applied in even coats, in even numbers; one coat vertical followed by a horizontal coat. So, two gesso coats are the minimum most painters would use. The gesso can be applied with a wide housepaint style brush, and dries very fast. Generally I'll set aside one or two days each year to build solid gesso grounds on the canvases and panels I expect to use over the following six months, or so. Applying gesso to Masonite, or wooden panels is a bit different. With panels, you need to coat all sides of the surface, front and back specifically. This is because gesso shrinks as it dries, and without a counter coat your panel will warp badly. Wooden/Masonite panels also swell and shrink as temperature and humidity vary so warpage can develop over a period of years... even if it isn't immediately evident.

    This is already a long post, and as you can see it hasn't much more than indicated some of the details surrounding the choice and preparation of the surface you will paint on.
     
  11. Stevie DV

    Stevie DV Artist

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    listen to asherman.

    if you like it, dont stop. get tips where you can and interpret them in your own style.
     
  12. Asherman

    Asherman New Member

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    Now lets consider composition for a bit.

    There are two primary approaches to dealing with how a painter works on what is traditionally a two dimensional space. The first is to create the illusion of a three dimensional world. There are a number of techniques that we use for this. Perhaps the most obvious are: overlapping of one figure over another; relative size (larger figures appear closer than small figures), this is especially true when the figures are 'known' (we visually 'know' the size of humans, houses, trees, mountains, etc., etc.); horizontals, especially those lacking detail, appear further away than verticals... especially those with many details; bright color and sharp focus appears close, while muted/pastel colors appear further away (this is sometimes called aerial perspective). There are other visual 'clues' that painters have used to create spacial illusion since early antiquity, but these illustrations should give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

    During the 15th century, linear perspective was invented to re-enforce the visual strength of space. Linear-perspective is 'scientific' and has definite rules that must be followed or the effect isn't just spoiled, it grates. most important is finding the horizon on your surface. If the viewer is intended to be high-up, looking down on the scene/figure, the horizon line will be low on your surface. If the viewpoint is looking upward, then the horizon line will be very high in the painting/drawing. In one-point perspective, there is a single vanishing point (VP) almost always located half way between the two edges of the horizon line. Straight lines radiating from that point guide the artist in defining visually what is close from what is distant. Two-point perspectives is similar, in that lines radiate from two vanishing points located on the horizon line just off the picture's edges. The intersection of those lines then define things like how a building appears at different viewing heights. There are many "how-to" books available that illustrate linear perspective, and beginning artists are urged to spend the time committing their lessons to memory.

    The second approach began to emerge during the 19th century, and it is for the picture NOT to attempt the illusion of three dimensions, but to accept the reality of the painter's two dimensional working surface. Probably the best example is the 'pure' paintings created by Mondrian, like the famous "Broadway Boogy-Woogie". Of course, there are many earlier examples that should be studied. These 'flat' paintings also often use flat fields of color, and shadows (shadows define 3 dimensional space) are banished, or contrived to subtly suggest unreality. Many modern paintings work off of this flat, color field approach to creating pictures.

    Had enough yet?
     
  13. Asherman

    Asherman New Member

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    Strange interlude #1. I'm 69 and have been painting for over fifty years. I apprenticed in the Datoro-Tonoff studios in Rhode Island, after failing to get into RSDI. Striking out on my own, my earliest paintings tended to be surrealistic (think Dali, Man Ray, etc.). As my painting style matured, I painted more and more in the abstract experssionist manner. Early influences, that still inform my work, were Paul Klee and the Bauhaus, Hoffman and Frankenthaller, and Picasso (I can't imagine any serious modern painter who hasn't been influenced by Pablo). Over time my paintings became quite large and the elements became less symbolic and, as my work evolved toward minimalism, my concern and efforts to completely control the surfaces increased. All my life, I've been looking and studying how earlier painters worked and how they created their best work. Consequently, I've spent a lot of time in art museums. The LACMA staff liked drawings I was doing while spending hours there each month. They invited me to apply as an emerging L.A. artist, but before the process was completed my wife and I moved to New Mexico.

    I felt I had reached pretty much a dead-end with minimalism, and so I went back to basics. Landscapes are a natural for this place, and so I've been doing a lot of those since the turn of the century. In that same period, I've been an active member of the Rio Grande Art Association (spent 4-5 years as editor to their monthly publication), and exhibited in a number of regional exhibitions. I haven't had any gallary or agent representation in many years, and frankly that's made me happier than I probably would otherwise have been. Recently, my paintings are returning to the abstract expressionist manner, and that also makes me happy.

    Where will I go in the future? Probably fewer of my quirky landscapes and figurative works, and much, much more in the abstact vein. I still tend to work in creating dimensional illusions, though there are fewer and fewer visual clues as to the subject's mundane origins.
     
  14. Asherman

    Asherman New Member

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    Back to a few comments on composition. There is a lot of overlap here with the composition used in photography, though as a painter you have much more control over it.

    Consider the surface you will be working on. In most cases, it will be some sort of rectangle or square. If you draw an imaginary line from each of the four corners they will intersect at the exact center of your picture. If you rotate those lines along the four sides and the center, you will note that in every case the picture surface is divided evenly into quarters or halves. The picture area will be very symmetrical. That makes for very good 'balance', but also tends to make a very static picture that has to be really good to engage the eye of the viewer, especially those masses that seldom give a picture more than a passing glance. Painters who adopt this most simplistic sort of composition successfully will introduce elements that are powerful enough to capture and hold the viewer's interest for a longer period. Those elements may be figurative, or otherwise. Rothko's paintings are often pretty symmetrical, but they captivate their audience with their very sophisticated use of color and very basic 'flat' forms where edges tend to be indefinite and blend into one another. Look at some of Rothko's work.

    Asymmetrical compositions tend to more actively engage the viewer. Some element is dominant in one part of the picture, but may be 'balanced' by one or more subordinate elements somewhere else. Asymmetry offers the painter a wider range of compositions than we generally see in symmetrical pictures.

    The ancient Greeks were masters of proportion, and, in a way that's what my comments above are about. The Greeks invented the Golden Section. The Golden Section is a mathematical set of relationships that is fundamentally based on the idea that a proportion of one line/thing to another that is approximately 1/3 is harmonious and pleasing to the human eye. These days most folks just round to one third and call it the Rule of Thirds. Consider the horizontal and vertical axis of the painting surface. If we divide each into lengths of approximately 1/3, there will be four intersections on the surface. From left to right, top to bottom, lets label each of those intersections as "A", "B", "C", and "D". You will note they form a constellation around the exact center of your picture area. If you were to put an important element in each of those intersections, you would have a very balanced, but static picture. By using 1-3 of those points to place some element, your picture will be more asymmetrical.
     
  15. Asherman

    Asherman New Member

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    I think I should stop now and let you folks digest, and have an opportunity to ask some questions.
     
  16. Stevie DV

    Stevie DV Artist

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    i miss this
     
  17. Asherman

    Asherman New Member

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    What do you miss?
     
  18. themolsen

    themolsen New Member

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    Wow thanks for the input, Asherman! Lots to read and think about.

    I LOVE painting so far, but I'm not aiming to paint SOMETHING. That's what photography is for. I'm feeling the abstract, flow-from-the-brain-to-the-canvas type of art. That's why I just dove into it; to teach myself as I go along. I know all about color theory, the rule of thirds, etc. from photography and 2d design. The actual painting techniques are where I feel I have the MOST room to grow---so I can take the idea in my head and put it on canvas better and more completely.

    I still have to read everything you posted, but thanks again
     
  19. Asherman

    Asherman New Member

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    Even the most minimalist painting is something. The most elemental painting, a single one flat color field, will probably fail to capture viewers and will be boring. A master painter with a well-developed skill set and a sophisticated aesthetic can create beautiful pictures in near one element works. Even so, minimalist paintings have a limited appeal because so few viewers have taken the pains to develop their own eye. Even a beginning painter might paint something interesting, but it will probably only be an accident. Good painters know when to and how to exploit to the fullest accident, but they will almost always be solidly grounded in technique.

    What is an element? It can be a traditional image of something that most people might recognize. Portraits, still-lifes, and landscapes tend to fall into that category. Within the category however, a picture's style might range from photo realism (there are some really top-notch painters turning out wonderful photo realism whose work would be difficult to match), to your example shown above. An 'abstract' consisting of only two basic color fields arranged vertically on a landscape aspect canvas, might well have be a seascape. The two elements can be arranged and executed in an almost infinite number of ways, so how does the painter decide how to proceed? If the painter has a narrow and undeveloped skill set and aesthetic palette, we expect a lot less than if the painter is really good at what he does.

    Photo realism has little charm for me, though I certainly admire the skill and technique of such painters. At the other end of the scale, minimalism became a dead-end to me with one painting looking terribly like the one before it. Hardwork over months to produce paintings that only a very few could, or would appreciate just didn't seem worth it. Yet Rothko, even though I would hesitate to call him a minimalist, remains an important influence in the way I work on the abstract expressionist things these days.

    Where along the line of continuity does the figurative disappear into the abstract? Hoffman, who was an outstanding painter, teacher and mentor, ofen would stand in front of an abstract painting and challenge the painter to tell him where the figurative origins of the painting came from. There seems to be a certain minimum number of elements to paintings that have appeal to viewers with an educated aesthetic without totally losing the audience that needs something more figrative, less intellectually challenging. When we look at the great abstractions painted from the late 19th century through the 1960's, you might be surprised at how large the number is that are based on figurative elements. Almost all hark back to the portrait, landscape, or still-lives so predominent from the 15th century onward. The approach to each of those genres is different; some are dimensional and others are flat; some use distortion or startling color choices, while others might use traditional elements in surprising ways. In each case, however, the painter has a deep understanding of the media and the direction his aesthetic growth is going. That comes from a sound foundation in the basics of painting.
     
  20. Asherman

    Asherman New Member

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    BTW, I don't see much evidence of an in-depth understanding of color theory, or composition in your example above. To me it looks like it was dashed off with little thought as to where the image was going. Your bush strokes are choppy and unvaried. There isn't much tonal variation, and the positive/negative spacial arrange is out of balance. The eye is fixed on the black figure, but has nowhere to go, so a quick visual scan is about all most viewers will give it. Paint on paint from within the same family of hues is good, though the blending of colors and values tends to get muddy.

    Not a bad second effort, but as I commented above, slow down and first master the basics. Think about what/where you want to go, and then how to manipulate composition, color, line, ect. (basic elements) to achieve that end. Do a test drawing, then a test painting with emphasis on getting the most effective color/value combinations. Then do your painting, step by step in an orderly and structured way. Each effort is a learning experience, and the more you do the better you'll be able to handle the basics. Once you have a thorough grounding and understanding of painting, then you will know which rules you can bend, which you can break, and when not to screw around. The wider your skill set, the wider the arena in which you can play. I've heard a zillion people claim they could paint as good as Jackson Pollack by throwing a can of enamel onto a bit of canvas. That's BS, Pollack arrived at his style and technique after a lot of very hard work. It seems to me, that Pollock also eventually arrived at a dead-end of where his technique could lead him... and that's when his alcohol use went back up, he became more difficult to be around, his production languished and he ended up dead. A brilliant painter, a sorry human-being who probably was never happy for long... but his best canvases still can strike a viewer into inmombility for twenty or more minutes of awe.
     
  21. free_notes

    free_notes New Member

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    the name may not be for your viewers, but for yourself to think about what you're doing. for me your 'description' is more narrative than descriptive, which suggests that you're trying to communicate some feeling or tone. a single word (or maybe a few words) paired with an image could communicate this tone far more effectively than a paragraph.

    if i asked you person-to-person what this is about, would you read off your description? probably not, though you could say "this narrative is what i want the work to feel like," which is a perfectly valid.

    'forcing an interpretation' might also be called 'effectively communicating an idea.' when a work is very abstract, is very difficult to interpret, you're asking your viewers to do a lot of heavy-lifting. i was taught (again, i'm not a trained artist, this is just what i remember from discussions in arch school) that the most successful creative works are 50% abstraction and 50% representation.
     
  22. free_notes

    free_notes New Member

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    what?
     
  23. themolsen

    themolsen New Member

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    I mean photography is based on what already exists; reality. I want to paint something that isn't anything---just a visual representation of my feelings/thoughts
     
  24. themolsen

    themolsen New Member

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    ok, but the idea was transitioning from water, through muddy top water and into the vibrant sunshine.... every single painting isn't going to be complementary colors or something. color theory doesn't ALWAYS apply.

    explain how the pos/neg is out of balance and how there is nowhere for the figure to go. does it not reach upward?

    and does the figure not reach from the bottom left third to the top right third?

    I did, in fact, draw it out before I painted it. in fact, it was based on a doodle I had done after a dream last week. And the painting was planned out. I did a general shape of the black figure first, let it dry, then applied the colors over it so the figure would sort of look like it's swimming in the colors....immersed, if you will.

    this wasn't done willy-nilly and without care, as you assume.

    thanks for the input
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2009
  25. Asherman

    Asherman New Member

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    If you can't paint "something", you'll never be able to paint "nothing".

    What are "thoughts" and "feelings"? We communicate those with a series of symbols on whose meanings we've culturally agreed upon. "Red" has little intrinsic meaning, beyond what our language and culture lend it. Is "red" hot? Is it "angry", or "insightful"? As painters we have a vocabulary that is visual and that consists of a wide-range of symbols. Learning that vocabulary takes time, practice and study. Until a painter has that vocabulary well in hand, they are like someone trying to speak a foreign language with a limited word choices and a blunted understanding of nuance.

    If you can write about the idea behind your painting, then write. If you can capture the aesthetic vision and insights with a camera, then take photos. Communicate in the language you use best, but the effort to become bi-lingual is almost always worth the effort... even if you never really master a different means of communication.

    Intuition only bears good fruit once the practice becomes so ingrained that it no longer has to be thought about. Beginners need to think deeply about each step along the way, they need to experiment and develop self-criticism that is more brutal than that offered by the public, or experts.
     

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