Sunday, July 24, 2016

Slanty Bits of Light 1 & 2

sold. (5x7in.)

sold. (5x7in.)

I'm going out on a limb here and showing you some experiments. I did two of this same Portland neighborhood scene in order to try out some things. On both I tried blocking in the whole thing first and then refining, which I don't usually do. BUT, I'm finding that works really well with landscapes, and specifically, foliage. I also used my new round brush on a lot of it. I'm not jumping up and down with joy about either, but my husband liked them, so I thought I'd put them out there.

I'd love to start a conversation about blocking in vs. not and process in general. As I try new things I have mixed results, and I'd love to hear what works for you, IF you feel like sharing. Thanks.


Theresa Taylor Bayer said...

Love your work. I block things in and go back & refine to get the details. As you know, my work is very different from yours, so I gues it's whatever works best for you.

Steven said...

I found the second one's lighting is richer which holds my attention better. But what do you mean by blocking the whole thing first then refine. Your past bytes showed that you work from large to small island to ocean etc. How are you doing differently besides the addition of using round brush?

Annie Salness said...

Don't you usually block in dark/shadows?

John Tullis said...

Agree. Blocking in works well for my landscapes. Lately I've gone away from sketching to more of a sculptural approach, which is
directly laying down compositional elements in color right from the start. This requires a lot more thinking and planning before starting,
and moves away from the "copying without thinking" mode.
As for still lifes, which I don't do much of, I think I like your "islands and oceans" philosophy, but that's still a work in progress for me.
Now for the big question…are human subjects to be considered as still lifes or landscapes?

Unknown said...

Carol, What is the difference between how you approached 1 & 2? I vote for 1 but it would be interesting to know what you did differently. Thanks! Kathleen Broaderick

Bruce Bingham said...

It's been a joy to watch you experiment and try different techniques as you expand your subject matter. Personally I like to block in different value masses with the under painting so I have a road map and know where I'm going. I find that different subjects and plein air vs studio often call for different techniques and approaches. It's a great idea to have as many options and approaches as you can:) IMHO

Daroo said...

Thanks for sharing these and talking about "starts" . I think it was Aristotle who said, "Well begun is half done." Or was that Mary Poppins...?
For plein air painting, I am having better luck now with blocking in the big shapes of the whole thing first -- making a strong, cohesive statement quickly and then going back to adjust, edit, subdivide and refine those shapes to improve drawing and readability.
I think this works better for me than thinking only in terms of layers and working back to front, for several reasons: 1) it sets up an early mile marker to hit within a certain time so I'm working at pace . 2) It covers the whole panel with paint (albeit thinned with medium) so I can work wet into wet. 3)working into paint pushes me to use thicker paint over top which helps edge work and creates a better finished surface quality 4) By working the entire image to bring it all up to a relative level of finish at (mostly) the same time I can see what is not working and what still needs more time and effort.

carolinamoonshina said...

Where are all the comments???
I like the unblocked much better.
Maybe your paintings are so good that no one could tell the difference.
Or maybe just maybe everyone is on vacation 😎

Carol Marine said...

Hi all and thank you for writing with your thoughts! Sorry it's taken me so long to reply.

First of all, Steven, yes I usually work from islands to oceans. This just means I start with my subjects (apples, forks, etc.), painting them first and THEN what's around them so that I can keep the colors clean and the edges interesting. But with landscape I find that the relationships between the large areas are more difficult to keep harmonious unless I block everything in first.

So when I block in I do so with thin paint and big, broad strokes. I'm just looking for general harmony and correct values, so I don't fuss getting the color exactly right. Then I go in on top of the block in and start refining with smaller, more precise strokes, and thicker paint.

This is working well for me, except when it comes to trees and bushes and grass. Sometimes I get a result I like, but often (too often) they come out looking...flimsy. I had a teacher tell me I just need to fiddle with them more. I've been trying that and getting better results, but still not what I'm shooting for. So I've been thinking a lot about process, and squinting at all the trees in real life, and trying to wrap my mind around foliage. : )

Daroo, I love all the reasons you gave for blocking in! I completely agree.

And Bruce, I agree with you too! It's great to have an arsenal of different approaches that you can pull out at any given challenge.

John Tullis I replied to already - I said great question! Are humans block in material or islands? I've seen it done both ways, and done it both ways. And they can both work, but I find it MUCH MUCH harder to maintain a likeness doing it the island-ocean way. BUT, the strokes are more interesting. And so for me a combination is essential.

Caroline said...

I am learning (teaching myself) how to paint all prima. So much to learn after years of blending, etc. Painting daily, examining many paintings, remembering islands and oceans, learning a new stroke - it is quite a challenge. I have been working in acrylic which does not make it any easier. It was interesting to read the comments on blocking in or not. I need all the help i can get!

Anonymous said...

I have mixed feelings about blocking in. My high school art teacher taught us to block in using a middle tone, then add shadow and highlight over top. I find I prefer other methods, as this method looks the least 'real' or 'lively,' to me. One of my landscape teachers teaches blocking in the shapes of trees, which I do find useful when working en plein air. I'm very fond of the leafy texture of pouncing, though, and I find that blocking in first spoils the airiness of the pouncing technique. I do block in my values in greys when painting en plein air, though. It has its uses but I guess overall I'm not a fan of blocking in.

Unknown said...

Love your work, Carol, I find myself totally drawn to your paintings! I've only been painting for a couple of years and it's mostly trial by error, but I have found myself blocking in these days and I like it. I feel like I'm accomplishing something quickly which is always encouraging. That said, I often find it harder to know when to stop as sometimes the simplicity of just blocking in creates effects I'm scared I'll lose when I paint over and add detail. It's encouraging to know someone with your knowledge and skill set still experiments with these concepts. Thanks again for sharing your work :-)