Wednesday, October 20, 2010

30 Minute Start

If you haven't guessed by now, I am becoming quite the advocate for using a timer in the studio! I thought I'd share an example of my using it to start a painting. With only 30 minutes to get as much in as I can, my brush moves quicker, I mix paint faster and more intuitively, and use more of it. It stretches my observation skills.

This is a 12x16 panel* and in the first 15 minutes you see my drawing set and the bones in place.



Then in the next 15, the whole panel is covered with masses blocked in. Now all I have to do is model my forms and play with highlights/shadows. I can also decide at this point if its going to work. The colors and composition are balanced. The focal point - the figures - are in an interesting spot and from the viewer's point of view, we are going to meet in the crosswalk.



Now, I'm working from a photo in this case. But I've been doing it when painting the model from life. And I think it would be an ideal way to approach plein air landscape painting. Think how fast you could get in your masses and determine the sun/shadow before it changes.
Granted, this doesn't appeal to everyone. Its not for the realist or the person who likes to render objects. My buildings will be left as masses of obscure shapes, for instance. But it works very well for the impressionist. Try it!!
(and wish me good luck not messing up from here!)

* note: the diagonal lines through my panel help me locate objects in my sketch. While I am being loose and gestural, I do want my figures to be the right size relative to their environment, and I want the right perspective. This is a trick I learned from Jeanette Le Grue (great painter!) and I do it both with photos and from life.

8 comments:

Virginia Floyd said...

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing your process. I think your perspective looks great. I hadn't seen anyone use diagonal lines before, although I have seen grid lines.

Denise R said...

Great post! I love the idea and as a new painter, I am going to give this a try. I like the impressionist style and painting plein air also, so this would be a great practice for me. I also love the diagonal line thing. It is kind of similar to the grid lines I have seen used, only just makes larger sections and shapes. I will try this too. Thanks for the inspiration!

LindaHunt said...

Interesting...I am new to street scenes and this was very helpful.

Blasquez Fine Art said...

Robin,
Thank you for sharing this. It is a new idea for me to try with myself and my students. Very challenging and eye opening I'm sure. It will work for me because I paint in the impressionist style also, and have studied a little with Jeanette as well.
I've been finding that these kinds of exercises are very helpful in developing as a painter......

SYLVIANE said...

Very interesting!and I am going to try the use of timer!thank's!

cissy said...

Thanks Robin, it is so great to see how you start and what you accomplish in only 15 min. Can't wait to see the finish. I always look forward to your posts.

shirley fachilla said...

The diagonal lines are definitely something I'll try. I like loose and gestural so grids have never been part of my process but diagonals just might keep me on the straight and narrow!
Thanks for sharing it and the timer notion as well.

Lorraine Shirkus said...

Hi Robin, I've been visiting your blog for several months but this is my first time commenting. I really enjoy exploring your blog--your paintings and writing.
Thanks for the timer advice, the diagonal lines, for reminding me of English and turning me onto LeGrue.
All great resources! I look forward to seeing more!

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