March 6, 2011

Spring 2011 Newsletter – One Rotten Apple, A Lack Of Planning

Have you ever started out a project without really finalising your plan, most often it doesn’t turn out too well does it? I’m finding more and more that this concept relates to my art as well. Let me expand on my latest episode…

My art goes through numerous stages and its easy to become lost or spend an entire day making corrections due to the fact that I didn’t plan out the picture or plan how to get to the end of the picture! Instead I’ve found myself being lazy and taking shortcuts by experimenting on a the picture. Lets just see what happens is what I normally say. But so much for shortcuts as it tends to leads to layers of muddy pastel and a loss of values.

The road towards correcting this habit, or lack of understanding rather, began with a recent art exercises. We were to paint a white apple, i.e. a peeled apple, against a white wall without using the colour white. Interesting huh! Imagine how I felt when I looked at a colour wheel and back at the reference picture thinking… Ok, I’m not sure what I’m doing but I’ll do something.

So off I went completing the charcoal under-painting followed by the monochromatic stages and then onto colour and ooops!! After about two layers of colour I had no clue where I was going and it showed. My apple was a mess of lime greens, reds and all of the light values I worked so hard to achieve in the charcoal monochromatic stages were gone! My apple was flat. And let me be open and honest here. This is not something that just flies off my shoulder. When I have something good that I’ve worked hard at and its destroyed (or so perceived) by my own doings, it’s a sever disappointment and even more so because I don’t know how to correct it….So much for that.

Now that was the first apple, but there were 3 in total, so at that point I stopped, sprayed them all with workable fixative, and put them aside for a few days. Over those days I looked at them, planned my colour pallet, where the colours would go, how did they mix etc. Plan, think, plan some more, think some more, then do. At first all this thinking seemed like a waste of time, but let me tell you, I’m so glad I did it because the end results impressed me.

I settled for a limited pallet of dusty blues, and reddish greys with burnt sienna. The colour combo was beautiful and I worked this combo on all three:


© 2011 Vanessa Turner
WHITE APPLE I
Medium: pastel
Size: 8 x 7.5 inches


© 2011 Vanessa Turner
WHITE APPLE II
Medium: pastel
Size: 8 x 7.5 inches

© 2011 Vanessa Turner
WHITE APPLE III
Medium: pastel
Size: 8 x 7.5 inches

And voila! I’ve found that if I take the extra couple of hours to just stare at the picture, think about what colours I might use and to achieve what, and then perhaps test it out on a scrap piece of paper it does wonders. Plan what colours can be used to achieve specific hues and values and how they will all be balanced together. I know this might seem obvious to some but when yore working at speed and thinking about the end but not how to get there, its easy to get lost in the process.

So no matter what you have to tackle this week or month, make it easier: Plan, think, plan some more, think some more, then do…

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    13 Comments

  • wendy marquis March 7, 2011
    Reply

    Wow. Planning is tough. And you have to be patient. We as artists are generally not so patient! So I do what you have done because I just want to start painting!!!!! But you are smart to plan it out ….I have fallen into the same predicament….with a piece I don’t care for. Your apples are beautiful, Nessa! Congrats!

    • Vanessa March 8, 2011
      Reply

      Hi Wendy, patience has never been my best trait LOL, but I’m surely working on it! Hopefully if it’s something we notice, we can at least address it and not let the effects show in our work. Thanks so much for sharing your own experiences on that. Sometimes I wonder if anyone else goes through these things 🙂

  • Toni Ruppert March 9, 2011
    Reply

    First of all, I love this post. Your idea about planning will help many I think. Second of all, I see such depth in the apples. It’s like I see them through your eyes. Simply, lovely!

    • Vanessa March 17, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks Toni! I worked pretty hard on them that week to try and capture the intentions I was after. Hopefully this info serves as a reminder for myself and does help others!

  • Tracy Wall March 9, 2011
    Reply

    Excellent lesson Vanessa, and love how these came out! I love the depth in these: in the apples and also the background. And those little hints of color…. nice!

    • Vanessa March 17, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks Tracy! Coming from an artists who has amazing use of colour I surely take your compliment to heart!

  • Tracy Wall March 9, 2011
    Reply

    Excellent lesson Vanessa, and love how these came out! I love the depth in these: in the apples and also the background. And those little hints of color…. nice!

    • Vanessa March 17, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks Tracy! Coming from an artists who has amazing use of colour I surely take your compliment to heart!

  • Regina Burchett March 24, 2011
    Reply

    These are really nice, Vanessa – very subtle and your shadows are always so good. I find it hard to have a light hand with pastels, and loved what you said about planning and sticking to the plan. Difficult to do.
    Great job!

    • Vanessa March 31, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks Regina! Hopefully it becomes habit one day and makes the painting process better.

  • Regina Burchett March 24, 2011
    Reply

    These are really nice, Vanessa – very subtle and your shadows are always so good. I find it hard to have a light hand with pastels, and loved what you said about planning and sticking to the plan. Difficult to do.
    Great job!

    • Vanessa March 31, 2011
      Reply

      Thanks Regina! Hopefully it becomes habit one day and makes the painting process better.

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