Suggestions for class

9:00 – 11:30
11:30 – on
3:15 – 4:00
Lecture and painting demonstrationStudents paint with individual instruction and a break for lunchBrief critique last day only

Come to class with something ready to paint each day. Keep the following ideas in mind:

I won’t spend class time coating surfaces, or drawing. Yours should be done ahead of time too. You may choose what surfaces to work on and how many paintings you will make. I have no requirements. Come to class with something ready to paint on a half sheet or smaller each day. Keep the following in mind:  Strong shadows         Backlighting     

INSPIRATION & CONCEPT – Reference: Draw from nature, your sketches, or YOUR OWN photos.

Don’t work from someone else’s idea; it is illegal to copy anything published. You are designing the composition as you photograph and sketch.


SUGGESTIONS-FOR-CLASS-2SUGGESTIONS-FOR-CLASS-1Lighting is everything! Unless you want an atmospheric, moody painting, choose subjects with contrasting light and shadow areas. Strong lighting creates definite shadows and forms patterns by linking shapes together. Look for it when sketching and photographing. Choose photos with clarity. If you can’t see defined shadow edges, don’t use it. You must be able to clearly see shadows, reflected colors anddetails. When painting a flower; choose a light or white one. It is easier to see subtle, reflected colors than in deeply colored flowers.

The hardest flowers to paint are yellow, or deep red ones; avoid these for class. Backlighting for flowers is great when it creates a glow of light through the petals.


Value Patterns

VALUES: Light striking the subject creates values. A thumbnail is a good warm-up exercise before you paint. Do this in one color such as sepia, black, or pencil. It will help you work out the distribution of values; light, medium and dark. Notice how the light merges shapes together, forming larger areas of mass. Squint or use a value viewer to see this. Design using these merged shapes to help you edit and simplify. Including too much detail is confusing.

COLOR: Learn to mix colors, begin with a warm and cool version of each of the primaries and avoid opaque pigments. Mix as many colors as possible with them until you know what they can produce. It will become intuitive. Test colors on scrap paper if uncertain about them before using them in your painting. Learn which ones make rich darks and which ones can be lifted.

Drawing: Practice drawing. Drawing forms the skeleton of your painting and is crucial to realism. Correct camera distortions if you project an image onto the paper. Edit the image; you don’t have to paint everything you see. Tools to help with editing include; squinting, small mats, 2 L-shaped mats, viewers, such as an empty slide mat, etc. You can draw first on tracing paper and transfer it to watercolor paper. This saves the paper surface from being damaged. Use only light pencil lines. Commercial carbon papers leave too dark a line for watercolor paper. Make you own: cover a piece of tracing paper with soft graphite; smudge with a tissue, dusting off any excess. Use like carbon paper, bearing down lightly. A dark incised line cannot be erased. Enlarge a small drawing by using a grid system to make the painting to scale.