Lessons in Learning

The perk to being an artist, in my opinion, is you are always learning new things. Whether you are a photographer or painter, something new catches your eye and you try it. Or maybe you try something you have been wanting to for a long time.

Well my friends, today was one of those days. A build up from the week I’d think. About a week ago I picked up a book, “How to Paint Like the Impressionists”. I am sure many people are sick of me talking about it. But it is perfect! Tutorials  tips and history from the master impressionists. Today I finally got a day to pick a test subject. Normally it would be Monet, but today I tried Pissarro.

The piece featured was Boulevard Montmartre, Night Effect:

Pissarro

I love the simplicity of the design, along with the calming feeling. The author of the book, Susie Hodge, took a piece of the painting to recreate. The top middle section. Here was my result:

Pissarro Painting Tribute
Pissarro Painting Tribute

I kept it quick and simple. Overall I was fairly happy with my result. I didn’t want to compare myself to a master at all, and I still don’t. It’s a lesson. A learning experience. When I gaze at a blank canvas, my goal is to keep it loose, fluid and real. Real to me that is.

Like most artists out there I judge myself. “Should I have picked that color”, “Maybe that was the wrong brush”, “I messed up this whole thing!”

It happens, and I’m okay with that. After I completed this piece I decided to work on something else. A humpback whale. I will most likely use this as a stepping stone to a larger piece.

Here are my tools and step by step photos:

Paints and the ever helpful color wheel.
Paints and the ever helpful color wheel.
A simple outline of my subject on a cream canvas.
A simple outline of my subject on a cream canvas.
I block in my darks and some middles. Just establishing a direction at this point.
I block in my darks and some middles. Just establishing a direction at this point.

 

Slowly adding in more middles tones. Not worried about detail to much at this point. Just to get the canvas covered.
Slowly adding in more middles tones. Not worried about detail to much at this point. Just to get the canvas covered.

 

Now I start to add in my lights at a slow pace. This is where I usually have to stop and check where I need to slow down.
Now I start to add in my lights at a slow pace. This is where I usually have to stop and check where I need to slow down.

 

After going over my piece with a thin brush I place in the smallest lights on the piece, such as the eye. After stepping away for a minute I feel that this piece is now complete!Gracious Swimmer; 10x8; oil on canvas
After going over my piece with a thin brush I place in the smallest lights on the piece, such as the eye. After stepping away for a minute I feel that this piece is now complete!
Gracious Swimmer; 10×8; oil on canvas

 

I may go back to add things to areas, I may not. I consider this a lesson in learning new ways. New ways to loose judgement and be relaxed. It may not be the greatest piece I have ever created but that isn’t the point. It’s the experience gained. Only up from here 🙂 I hope.

 

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