Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Working On Arches Oil Paper

A short time back I purchased a pad of Arches Oil Paper. I had not had a chance to use it up until now. It was a lot of fun to work with.

There are a lot of advantages to using this paper. There is no need to prepare the paper; it comes ready to paint on. I just taped a sheet on to a board and placed the board on my French easel and started painting. The paper absorbs the paint, which is just fine for me because I don’t like working on a slick surface. I can work with thin paint or thick. It is a good quality archival paper. It comes in pads, sheets and rolls. It’s less expensive than canvas and easier to store.

So far I’ve had one try with this paper and I can’t wait to use it again. Now since I’ve gotten back into painting with oils using this paper would help both in cost and storage.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Very, Very Brief History of the Pencil

It's almost hard to believe that the common graphite pencil was once very uncommon. In the 1500's a large graphite deposit was found in England. Up until then metal, sometimes lead, stylus' were used to write with. At the time  artists had a number of drawing medium's to work with from charcoal, different color chalks, silverpoint and ink, but not graphite.

That large deposit of Graphite was horded by the English Crown because graphite was used to line the molds that make cannonballs. Although the deposit of graphite was guarded  some was smuggled out and used by the people in that region. Latter, methods were devised for mixing the graphite with clay to harden it. It was then encased in wood and the modern pencil was born.

The pencil took sometime to catch on as an artist medium . It is in the 18th and 19th centuries that you begin to see it more widely used. Now, pencil drawings are so common and there is a wider variety of  pencils to be had.  There are pencils with a variation of hard or soft graphite, color pencils, wash pencils, watercolor pencils, mechanical pencils and pencils that emulate ink.

The pencil is probably the first medium used by every budding artist and the one we always return to.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Preliminary Studies for an Oil Painting

When my kids were born I had put aside painting in oils for many years. I didn't want to take the chance of having the paints and thinners around them. They've been older for sometime now and I've rarely returned to the medium even though I love painting in oils. Well that's ended. Even though I still have only a small space to work in I've taken out the oils again.

A drawing I posted earlier was a study for the current painting I am working on now. Over the weekend I also completed two color studies done in oils.

The studies help me to resolve problems in drawing and color ahead of time giving the final painting a better chance of success. At the very least I can anticipate the parts of the painting that are going to be a challenge for me. In this painting the figures left hand has proved the most difficult to draw and I would probably need to make another study of just that hand to understand it's shape better.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Importance of Drawing

 I started the drawing at left with the intentions of creating an oil painting based on the drawing. The drawing was done from a combination of photographs taken around the area which I work. 

After working for sometime with digital images I was happy to work with a pencil. Drawing is probably the most important thing to learn in making art.....

 "Drawing is the probity of art. To draw does not mean simply to reproduce contours; drawing does not consist merely of line: drawing is also expression, the inner form, the plane, modeling. See what remains after that." 
(Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres)

  So what Ingres is saying is that the integrity and honesty of your image hangs on how well it is drawn.

Its a great thing that something so important is so easily accessible.  All you need is a piece of paper and a pencil, (an eraser would help too), and the smarts to know how to interpret and organize what you see on to that paper. The latter comes with practice and study.....

  "Constant practice devoted to one subject often outdoes both intelligence and skill."

 "Do not fail, as you go on, to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is, it will be well worthwhile, and it will do you a world of good."
 (Cennino d'Andrea Cennini)

 Draw, Antonio, draw – draw and don't waste time! (Michelangelo)

Left and right are pencil drawings from a 5" X 8" sketchbook I  always carry with me.