I'm still in my self-imposed "lockdown" with my continuing knee problem, It's a lot better but not better enough .. thwarted by my feeble attempts to "keep calm and carry on".
Something that’s really bugging me is my studio clear-out/tidy up/re-shuffle/reorganise started before Christmas. It was a good idea at the time but now I have 2 piles on the floor that are attempting to morph into 3 and I can’t get down there to do much about it. It’s making me crazy! PLUS while I’m nursing my poor wee ginocchio Dennis has now gone back to work, Amy’s back to work and there’s no-one here to entertain me!! YIKES!!
So now I find myself in this temporary situation of cabin fever - I'm desperate to get out and paint/sketch, so I've made myself a new plan for my coming escapades. in a feeble attempt to get back to normal, i went for a walk with Amy and the dog. I trailed far behind them, it was so nice to be out and hearing the birds and children playing, families and their picnics but, I have to say, I paid for it the next day ... mamma mia!!
It reminded me how dependent I am on my walking, it's my chief thinking time, my meditation and quiet time that allows my thoughts and ideas to run and play out. Another purpose for me is exploration, this is when I see things that inspire me, a fleeting light, shapes interlocking and overlapping, colours or some other interesting and diverting sights.
To get out of the house, I've been for a few outings in the car (bicycle is a no-go atm) to scope out some sketching locations but of course, even here in Auckland it's almost impossible to park close enough. So I've decided to go to cafes again, they have to be in the right place, scenic and comfy.
There are so many ways to enjoy sketching out, for me, its a totally absorbing experience. Although I love my little value thumbnail sketches, I learn a lot about a scene using this process, I feel the need to change things up a little, expand my sketching and bring more of it into my life. So!! I bought a new sketchbook and made a sketch kit that's always with me.
My new sketchbook has a soft cover, so a little lighter than a hard cover but I found an old light but rigid clipboard. My backpack is pretty old, so old it doesn't have a smart phone size pocket - urk! It has a great "book" pocket but without an easy small pocket, pretty much everything falls to the bottom. In my bag I also have a wee first-aid kit, a small professional pan-set, tramper's collapsible water cup, pencil case and a few other weird sketch tools to fun things up a bit!
In my pencil case, I have my standard soft pencils, a sharpener and eraser, tombow value brushpens, general’s sketching pencil, small view finder, calligraphy sketch pen, pastel and watercolour pencil, travel brush, small flat brush, water spritzer.
To protect pencil tips and brush points, I always place them in the case in the same direction and then “up” in my bag.
In Sketch class last week, Mary said “I can’t see enough detail, I’m too far away”. I agree, I need to see exactly what goes on, this helps me to build my story. Go for a walk to understand the lay of the land, what makes this place tick? How do those elements look close up? Always have your camera charged and set to hi-resolution and use a view finder to isolate your scene and cut out the overwhelming and extraneous, then you can just focus on what you want today.
Whether you want to paint realism or abstract, the backbone is your ability “to see” and recreate what you see.
Your ability to see and developing this ability, is all about design and being able to see and create pleasing shapes, designs, values, colour temperatures and other principles of design. Sometimes the differences are so minute, barely perceptible. Sometimes your job as an artist is to exaggerate to make sure your story is understood, sometimes your job is to diminish.
Learning to see is a learnable skill. After all, you can drive a car, write your name and you can knit, sew, hammer a nail and mow the lawn. Therefore, you have the ability to learn to draw – learn to see.
If it’s been a while since you last sketched, keep it simple, small and do-able – lemons, apples, cup and saucer, whatever is handy, just slow down, enjoy the process, concentrate and relax.
ciao cari pittori
Have you ever struggled to get into just the right spot when you're painting in a group?
Everyone's elbowing each other trying to get the best possie!!
You can either get into the jostle (yuck!) or get there early. Both, to me, are pointless because you never know what the model is going to do and I hate being stuck in a crowd.
My solution is, no matter what's in front of you, the artist has to learn how to make a silk purse out of the sow's ear: use your creative brain to come up with a fine composition/design/idea and make it work (This is why I'm really good at painting feet)!! Test yourself, push your skills and make yourself come up with the goods. If permitted, dive in close at some point and get some photos so you have reference material for when you get back to your studio.
My best strategy for painting en plein air is to grab a cushion, find some shade, get comfy and then look around to find my subject. A viewfinder is a handy gadget to avoid overwhelm and pin down a great composition. When I'm done with that view, i turn 5°, make sure I'm still in the shade, get comfy and paint - step and repeat!! Very sensible when you think of how much painting time can be wasted wandering around looking for the perfect subject - it's right there in front of you!
edited from my original post 081214
Copyright © 2022 All images and text on Amanda's blog and website are the legal property of Amanda Brett and may not be reproduced without express permission from Amanda Brett or her authorised agent. Thank you for respecting her art and the livelihood of all artists.
PaintBox Tips, secrets, random thoughts,
Poetry in watercolour is made in the freedom of the here and now. Amanda Brett
Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working - Pablo Picasso
There are no mistakes in watercolour, just some extra surprises!!
What my readers and viewers have to say
Your emails are so informative! I must confess I've watched a couple of your demos from beginning to end, and it makes me want to watercolor!!! I've only ever painted with oil or acrylics and haven't know how to begin with WC. Your content is excellent!
Thank you for your tips. They inspired me to practise and I realised I haven’t been loading the brush properly. I learnt about adding more paint, and not water, to washes. In today’s tips I like the idea of painting with purpose. Your tips are very helpful. I very much appreciate receiving them. Elizabeth
Hi Amanda I enjoyed your post and generous tips. Looked up Dan Burt I begin to see that you can colour any subject to give it pizazz so long as the tone and form is correct Certainly adding value now to my attempts Thanks heaps Annie
Yes very wise words. Agree with not fussing and agree with comments about good quality paint. Well written and inspirational as always. Cheers Janet xxxx
Copyright © 2022 All images and text on Amanda's blog and website are the the legal property of Amanda Brett and may not be reproduced without express permission from Amanda Brett or her authorised agent. Thank you for respecting her art and the livelihood of all artists.