Tag Archives: everything is interconnected

Painting over old sketches. Time to PLAY and WARM UP….

I am often asked the question – When is a painting finished?   

This quote from Jidda Krishnamurti is my jumping off point for thoughts on this subject.

‘There is no end to education.   It is not that you read a book,  pass an examination and finish education.    The whole of life,  from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.’

The piano – rapid watercolour/gouacheOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEach painting we work on (including preliminary sketches and warm up exercises) is connected to all the work we have produced in the past and any work we will produce in the future…….Everything is interconnected.

Unlike many jobs where there is a clear beginning, middle and finish – a painting can take minutes, hours or years to complete…….and even when the painting is not being worked on – the seed of it’s idea is still sprouting information, even if at a subliminal level.

I painted a ground over an old watercolour to make this image…A great way to recycle old paintings that haven’t worked.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASomething to consider is that striving for perfection can sometimes cripple the creative process.

As artists we seek to attain technical prowess, however it’s important to remember that warming up,  playfulness and risk taking are all part of the exploration and creative processOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlways try to work on more than one image at a time.     This can prevent overworking the painting and producing mud, particularly when working with watercolour!

When the question is asked – ‘where do I go next with this painting?’  It is time to stop.   Move onto the next painting and  invariably at a later date the answer will be revealed to your initial question.     Paintings communicate with us if we allow enough space and time…….            OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  When working on canvases….it is customary to turn paintings to the wall – sometimes for long periods.     This helps an artist to see the painting in a fresh light at a later date.    Any work produced in the interim feeds the artist with new information, which is often relevant to the original piece.          OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARegardless of the end goal…rapid sketches in any medium, along with honing observational skills help an artist to focus the mind.

Many years ago, I gave a workshop in Wales where a group of us walked the Brecon/ Monmouthshire Canal for one day.      Every fifteen minutes we stopped and sketched for fifteen minutes.….Initially, this was daunting to some of the participants….however, by the end of the day…people were producing quick sketches, filled with information.

The point of this story is that sketches had to be finished within fifteen minutes – which again was an excellent way of focusing the mind and also removing the desire to achieve the ‘perfect’ sketch.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen we focus on the journey and not the destination – we are freed from restraints which might otherwise interfere with the creative flow.   The joy and learning will be  found in the doing, and answers will be revealed in their own good time.

P1130684

 

Painting over old paintings and sketches. Time to PLAY and WARM UP….

I am often asked the question – When is a painting finished?   

This quote from Jidda Krishnamurti is my jumping off point for thoughts on this subject.

‘There is no end to education.   It is not that you read a book,  pass an examination and finish education.    The whole of life,  from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.’

The piano – rapid watercolour/gouacheOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEach painting we work on (including preliminary sketches and warm up exercises) is connected to all the work we have produced in the past and any work we will produce in the future…….Everything is interconnected.

Unlike many jobs where there is a clear beginning, middle and finish – a painting can take minutes, hours or years to complete…….and even when the painting is not being worked on – the seed of it’s idea is still sprouting information, even if at a subliminal level.

I painted a ground over an old watercolour to make this image…A great way to recycle old paintings that haven’t worked.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASomething to consider is that striving for perfection can sometimes cripple the creative process.

As artists we seek to attain technical prowess, however it’s important to remember that warming up,  playfulness and risk taking are all part of the exploration and creative processOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlways try to work on more than one image at a time.     This can prevent overworking the painting and producing mud, particularly when working with watercolour!

When the question is asked – ‘where do I go next with this painting?’  It is time to stop.   Move onto the next painting and  invariably at a later date the answer will be revealed to your initial question.     Paintings communicate with us if we allow enough space and time…….            OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  When working on canvases….it is customary to turn paintings to the wall – sometimes for long periods.     This helps an artist to see the painting in a fresh light at a later date.    Any work produced in the interim feeds the artist with new information, which is often relevant to the original piece.          OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARegardless of the end goal…rapid sketches in any medium, along with honing observational skills help an artist to focus the mind.

Many years ago, I gave a workshop in Wales where a group of us walked the Brecon/ Monmouthshire Canal for one day.      Every fifteen minutes we stopped and sketched for fifteen minutes.….Initially, this was daunting to some of the participants….however, by the end of the day…people were producing quick sketches, filled with information.

The point of this story is that sketches had to be finished within fifteen minutes – which again was an excellent way of focusing the mind and also removing the desire to achieve the ‘perfect’ sketch.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen we focus on the journey and not the destination – we are freed from restraints which might otherwise interfere with the creative flow.   The joy and learning will be  found in the doing, and answers will be revealed in their own good time.

Magical hummingbirds, of course completely understand this concept:)   Have a beautiful weekend.

watercolour

P1130684

 

Details create the big picture…..

During the middle part of my career, from 1986 til 1999, I painted large murals for corporate entities.      They weren’t always paintings I was excited about, but they paid the bills and kept my tools honed, which in turn gave me freedom to paint what I wanted to paint.

Something I learned, which has stood me in good stead, is that if you change one small area of a huge mural.the whole image changes.

P1130874

A relatively small change might not seem obvious to the viewer, but the fact is that every brush stroke added or deleted changes the rhythm and energy of a painting. 

P1130876

And so it is with all of life.        

Rachel Carson in her book Silent Spring, first published in 1962, recognised the early signs of relatively small changes within the environment.      She understood how they would affect the whole.

P1130875

In my book The Apple Exercise, one of the key elements is to understand that we can observe the apple in hundreds of different ways….somewhat like a complex jigsaw puzzle. 

In understanding this, it helps us to observe all of life differently.

P1130862

Given that all of life is interconnected, were I to put a red apple into a pure white room, although not necessarily perceptible, the whole energy of the room would change.

P1130863

In this exercise, I have shown just a few details from one of my Magical Hummingbird paintings.

Here is the complete image….

P1130864

Click on each image to see in larger form. 

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

HummingbirdHQ.com

A Bientôt

Portrait (2) using three colours

Here is another portrait where I have used three colours.  Winsor & Newton – Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, and Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolours – Raw Umber Violet.

Once again I am using a photograph of Peter Deunov as my jumping off point.   

Even though the subject’s eyes are closed….I still begin my sketch with the eyes.

ImageNote that all the white in the image is dry, white paper, and again I am using the technique of wet brush no paint….which means that after applying paint to the shadow areas, I then pull the colour out using a clean wet brush. 

ImageObservation is of course key, however, I tend to see the world as a jigsaw puzzle….a kaleidoscope of shadow, light, and colour.  

In her book, Drawing on the Artist Within, Better Edwards, suggested an excellent exercise for those who believe that they can never draw or paint  a face.

Take a portrait – it can be a photograph or painting, and turn it upside down.     Remove the logic of what it is, and just copy the shapes you see.     You will be surprised.

ImageFollow the map of the face. 

ImageWhen tutoring portrait painting workshops, over the years I have seen people get hung up on a nose, regardless of the medium used. They tend to keep adjusting it, adding more colour, and ultimately ending up with a mess….when often all that’s needed is a shadow next to the nose……which points out the importance of always being aware of the whole subject,  not just one portion.   Remember everything is interconnected. 

Image

I am leaving white paper for the beard and hair allowing the viewer fill the gaps in.    Note how the yellow ochre wash to the left of the face, reveals  the highlight on the eyelid, nose and beard. 

Image

Final image.

Image

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

A Bientôt

Tutorial 2. The power of negative space.

For this second tutorial, I am using a Calla Lily as my model.    I have always loved its exquisite form, and have used it for many years as both symbolic and decorative imagery in my paintings.      

Image

 

It is key to train the eye to observe both the subject and the negative space, that which surrounds the subject.    Often we try so hard to make something happen…..to paint a perfect (in this case) calla lily, or solve an ongoing problem.     When what we need to do is observe and record the negative space, which surrounds the subject, and voila…the answer is revealed. 

In Frame 1.  Working on white paper, I have sketched the calla lilly using a neutral colour (yellow ochre) however, if you wish to use a pencil, brush, felt tip pen, that’s fine.    Note that after sketching the form, I immediately begin to add colour into the surrounding area – the negative space.   I am using a mix of burnt sienna and prussian blue. 

Image  

 Frame 2.   I continue to add the mix of Prussian Blue and Burnt sienna into the negative space, which automatically reveals the lily.  Note that I am working on a dry surface.      To manipulate the paint, I use one of the most important techniques in watercolour painting.     With a clean, wet brush I pull the paint out to the edge of the paper.    This gives an element of control, and helps to avoid muddiness….the enemy of all watercolour painters. 

Image

Frame 3.   As I pull out the colour with my clean, wet brush….I am able to bleed more colour into the wet background.   I bleed in some violet and turquoise, and at the same time use a kitchen knife to scrape out some of the colour.    This gives a sense of movement and breaks up the density of the negative space. 

Image

Frame 4.  In this image, using some of the same colour that is in the background, I begin to indicate the shadows.    Very little pigment is used for this.     The white paper, in this instance, becomes the whites in the image.     In other words I leave areas that I want to stay white, completely dry. 

Image

Frame 5.   Now I begin to strengthen the shadows and build up the colour in the Lily.   Remember, any area I want to keep completely white, I keep as dry white paper.      It is important to note, that I take the same colours I have used in the background to make up the shadows…..this is because, everything reflects upon everything else, and all things are connected.    It will also help to give the image a sense of balance and harmony. 

Image

Frame 6.   I like drama in my paintings, and so I am strengthening the shadows using pigments that are in the background.   By doing this, the white of the lily becomes more pronounced….again giving a sense of drama.     I

Image

For this image, I have used Winsor & Newton, Cotman series – Burnt sienna, Prussian Blue, Dioxazine Violet, Turquoise blue, cadmium orange, and Winsor & Newton artist’s great Green Gold (a pigment I highly recommend) 

I  used an ordinary kitchen knife to scrape out the paint.    Cutting off the corner of a credit card works very well.    Probably the best use for any credit card:)

Next week, I hope to  show some one minute videos, which might help you with some of these techniques and also talk about my book The Apple Exercise which incorporates all the different elements which will be shown in these tutorials. 

The Apple Exercise, is available through the products page on my website at http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

A Bientôt

For now wishing everyone a lovely weekend. 

A Bientôt

  

 

 

 

Magical Hummingbird Cards

Four new Magical Hummingbird cards have been added to the products page on my website http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

Each card has a hummingbird quote inside. 

1)  ‘Hummingbirds symbolise eternity, continuity and infinity’

 Image

 

2)  ‘Hummingbirds are like flying jewels, bringing seen and unseen magic to our world’

Image

 

3)  ‘Hummingbirds taught Cristeve the Cat to trust in the unseen help in our world’

Image

 

4)  ‘Hummingbirds remind us that all of life is interconnected’

Image

These four images can also be found in the book ‘Magical Hummingbirds’ which is also available through the products page on my website http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

A Bientôt