September 22, 2023


How Art Works

Lesson 3: Portray and Method

7 min read

Welcome to lesson 3 of the Portray the Panorama workshop.

As a recap, in lesson 1, I selected a reference picture to color. In lesson 2, I analyzed that reference picture and got here up with a method to color it. Now, it’s time to color!

Portray the topic is all about bringing your concepts to life. It’s not about copying.

Copying is ok for studying about method. For instance, if you wish to study concerning the strategies I exploit, among the finest methods to do this is to repeat my strategy. However, to actually problem your self, deal with portray your concepts and the best way you see and expertise the world. That is what makes artwork so fascinating! It’s why a number of artists may paint the identical topic however give you utterly completely different artworks.

Anyway, right here’s how the portray turned out:

Dan Scott, Maleny, White, Purple, and Blue Flowers, 2022
Dan Scott, Maleny, White, Purple, and Blue Flowers, 2022

(You’ll be able to obtain a high-resolution picture of the portray right here.)

I painted this over a number of classes and I estimate it took two to a few portray hours, not together with time spent pondering in entrance of the easel. Nevertheless, that is only a wild guess as I lose any affordable sense of time after I’m “within the zone”. (On a separate word, that’s how you already know you’ve obtained one thing value doing: if time ceases to have that means as you do it.)

There have been three key steps to this portray: sketch, shade block-in, and refine. I exploit these steps to simplify and talk my course of, however in apply, it’s rather more fluid. I take a look at the reference picture, I take a look at the portray, and I make choices on what the portray wants. I do that over and over till the portray is completed. This is a vital level. Having the ability to observe broad steps gained’t get you very far. Having the ability to make good choices primarily based on what’s in entrance of you’ll. I like to think about a portray as being the sum of many small choices. The higher these choices, the higher the portray.

The next is a extra detailed rationalization of how I went about this portray.

Step 1: Tough Sketch

I begin with a tough sketch to map out main shapes and contours and to get a really feel for the general composition. I additionally use diagonal strains to point the darkish shapes. All up, this solely took a couple of minutes.

Even with a tough sketch like this, it’s essential to be correct. Small errors made at the beginning of a portray can compound into vital errors later.

Pay no significance to the colour I exploit for the sketch. I sometimes seize no matter is handy. Nevertheless, I do keep away from vivid colours, akin to cadmium pink, as they are often problematic to color over.

Step 2: Colour Block-in

With the sketch in place, I begin blocking within the normal colours. I work quick and deal with the large, easy shade shapes. That is all about setting the muse for the remainder of the portray. What I need is an trustworthy illustration of the topic with no frills or nuances. It’s additionally important that the muse is true earlier than I proceed to the subsequent step.

I work quick in order that I can get as a lot of the portray carried out moist on moist as doable. Moist on moist offers a pure and easy look if carried out properly. I additionally prefer to be pushed by instinct and my first impressions of the topic at the beginning of a portray, when it’s simpler to vary path and recuperate from errors. I are usually extra calculated in the direction of the tip of a portray.

If all goes properly, the colour block-in doesn’t take lengthy for a easy topic like this. I imagine this took 20 to half-hour. For future workshops, I’ll movie the portray to point out you what I imply. It’s also possible to see footage from different work right here.

Step 3: Refine

For the third and last step, I refine the portray and add the refined nuances and particulars. This step takes probably the most time. I sometimes spend round 80% of my time on the ultimate 20% of the portray.

The objective of this step is to provide the portray a completed look and to make all of the components work collectively as a complete. In apply, I slim in on a specific part and work on it till close to end, then I transfer on to the subsequent part. I work across the portray till I see no extra work to be carried out. Nevertheless, it’s not so simple as it sounds. The primary problem is that, after I change one part, I additionally change the relationships it has with all the opposite sections. For instance, if I alter the background, I additionally change the connection between the background and the focus. This implies I have to continually soar across the completely different sections till I’m happy with the components and the relationships between the components. This actually is probably the most difficult facet of portray in my view.

Because of this, it’s troublesome to stroll you thru the specifics of this step. There’s simply a lot tinkering and backwards and forwards between the sections. However I’ll present you some notable factors.

I begin with the flowers and greenery within the foreground and on the function plant. The flowers are the large thought of this portray, so it’s essential that I get them proper. I exploit impasto brushwork and damaged shade to counsel element and exercise with out having to painstakingly render each element.

For the timber within the background, I add element and curiosity with out drawing an excessive amount of consideration. That is surprisingly troublesome to do. As you paint a sure space, there’s all the time a pure urge to hone in on the element. However this may be counterproductive for background areas which are there to offer context, environment, and distinction for the focus.

Lastly, I add intricate branches on the high. I left this till the tip because it’s simpler to color intricate particulars moist on dry. I additionally wished to be utterly happy with the sky and timber earlier than portray the branches excessive, as it might be finicky to make adjustments to those areas after.

Tip: When developing with a method for a portray, you need to think about the order through which you’ll paint the completely different sections. Keep in mind any overlap between the sections and challenges you would possibly encounter when it comes to brushwork and shade.

When Is the Portray Completed?

One of the difficult choices to make through the portray course of is deciding when to place the comb down and name it completed.

I name a portray completed when it appears to be like proper and I see no extra methods to enhance it. I may also go away the portray on the easel or someplace in plain sight for a number of days. If I don’t see something within the portray that annoys me, that’s normally signal it’s carried out.

I not often return to a portray as soon as I’ve deemed it completed. I would spot errors or methods to enhance the portray later down the observe, however I desire to maneuver on to the subsequent portray than continually rework the previous.

Signal and {Photograph}

As soon as I end a portray, I signal and {photograph} it.

I range the colour and place of my signature primarily based on the portray. I need the signature to be distinct, however not overstated. When it comes to the place, I think about the general stability of the portray. If the portray is heavy or extra lively on one aspect, I would signal on the opposite aspect to stability it out. I additionally desire to signal on “quiet” areas with out impasto texture.

For this portray, I signal utilizing magenta (a darkish, cool pink) within the backside right-hand nook. It’s distinct, however not overstated. And it doesn’t look misplaced within the portray.

Photographing the portray warrants a separate lesson, however right here’s a short overview of my course of:

  • I {photograph} the portray in my studio as this permits me to supply constant outcomes. Photographing outdoors on an overcast day can be an possibility, however the outcomes range day-to-day.
  • The sunshine is an important issue to get proper. I exploit Neewer studio lights (Amazon link). They’re adjustable in each brightness and temperature. They’re additionally surprisingly reasonably priced for what you get.
  • I take pictures in RAW format. This offers me extra choices in post-processing.
  • I switch the pictures to my laptop and edit them in Photoshop. I focus totally on getting the publicity and temperature proper. The objective is for the picture to be an trustworthy illustration of the actual factor.

Right here’s the completed portray once more. Remember, the digicam I exploit for photographing the completed portray is completely different from the one I exploit to take progress pictures. That explains the slight variations in shade.

Dan Scott, Maleny, White, Purple, and Blue Flowers, 2022

Train (Non-obligatory):

Paint the reference picture. You’ll be able to both use the technique you got here up with in lesson 2 or observe my strategy. I’d like to see the way you go. You’ll be able to ship a photograph of the completed portray to [email protected].

(For future workshops, I’ll get you to color the topic earlier than I reveal my very own portray. This fashion, you’ll be capable of paint with out my concepts tarnishing yours.)

Thanks for studying! The subsequent lesson will likely be about self-reflection. Most individuals skip this half, but it surely’s important for enhancing over the long run.

Pleased portray!

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy

PS. If you wish to invite any associates to the workshop, copy and paste the next hyperlink:

Painting the Landscape

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