Random Topic Painting Day - Learning to paint artistically

Date: 25th Nov 2018
Venue: Craigslea High School

Accuracy - do 1 minute speed drawing exercises - you'll be surprised at how much more accurate your drawing becomes when you do it at speed

Perspective - use a pencil or your thumb to measure distances and angles and transfer those dimensions to your page

Composition - have you taken or been given a photo of something that someone wants turned into a painting but you are having trouble making it look better or less cluttered than the photo? It's the artist's prerogative and responsibility to take the one or two things that they see as interesting in a photo and concentrate on that - value contrast, shape, colour - the thing that catches your eye in a photo. Ignore all the rest - it's just filler / background. Regardless of what's in the photo you can change, eliminate, add whatever you need to the composition to make it an artwork

Context - you've taken a photo of a place you really loved but your painting of it looks weird. If it's ok in real life but looks odd in your painting then maybe it's context, e.g. a tree on a hill looking like it's a lot higher than the hills in the background because of where you're standing. As you are standing in the spot taking the photo your brain is adding the context of standing in that spot. When you try to paint from the photo it may look odd - like the tree is floating. It's your job as an artist to add something to the painting or move things around to give the viewer the context they don't have because they weren't there when you took the photo

Bringing the eye into the painting - add a darker colour to the top sky in landscapes even though the photo may have the same sky colour all the way up. The viewer subconsciously knows the sky is darker overhead so if you don't add it to the painting it will look odd

Colour - are you having trouble finding the right colour? The brain tells you the tree is all green or the brick wall is reddish-brown but if you look through a pinhole to see the observable colour of a particular area on the tree or wall you will see the colour you need to paint to make it look real. Reflected colour from nearby objects and shadows influence what the eye sees while the brain jumps to "it's green / red"

Bodily proportions - the hand span = length of the face = elbow to wrist = length of foot