break out your pocket watch and your
paint brushes! It’s time for episode 8 of 10 Minutes To Better Painting! I am your
ethically questionable host, Marco Bucci. let’s get into the lesson. Champion boxer
Chris Eubank senior said: There is a simple explanation when one moves aside
all the things that distract from the point. This episode is about art
improvement, which falls under the category of study. You know, the intern
and I, we have … *ahem* … okay! We’ve put together many different things for you to study.
each episode gives you a single thing that can improve your paintings. Today
we’ll take the next step and look at a picture using not one lesson not two
lessons but every lesson! Ah, Venice, so much potential for painting. Our episode
wheel here will keep track of which lesson I’m pulling from, and intern!
Wheel us to Episode 2! In Episode 2 we looked at ideas for clear visual
communication. I’m seeing an opportunity here for a C curve. A simple directional
path that can curate this composition. It leads us through all the major elements
and arrives at a focal point, which I think can be these structures up here.
I’m choosing them as my focal point because there are three types of
contrast that play there. First: most of the picture is rectangular shapes, making
these round shapes feel special. Second: a contrast of busyness. Lots of busyness
here, with less busyness up here. And finally: it’s an area of clear value
contrast. These structures silhouetting against the sky. Your focal point is a
kind of payoff element, and a path can lead the viewer to it.
Here’s Joseph Zuh-buck-vich doing the same thing in this painting. This time
it’s a single point from which paths emanate and take us through the
composition. Zuh-buck-vich also pays off the image with a high contrast focal
poin– ah what do you want? What?! Ze-BOOK-Vich? How do you know that?? You’re reading
youtube comments? Oh, dear God! Anyway Joseph’s Zbukvic is using the same language here as I am here. We’re just rearranging the
words for different meanings. And I’ll probably crop this to make sure my
delivery is clear. Of course, I can still borrow elements where I need them. All
right intern! Wheel to episode 1, please! In
episode 1 we talked about simplification. Venice like many things
in real life is beautiful … but also absolutely assaults you with information.
Everywhere you look, shapes that demand attention. This poses a problem. I want
the most attention to be directed at my focal point … not this tangle of stuff. So
I’ll do a quick pass with my special merging shapes brush! And we’re left with
something that still delivers all those docks, boats and reflections – but in a way
that’s less incidental and more digestible. For instance in this one area
the original had one two three four five six seven eight nine shapes! Such a minor
area I don’t think needs nine shapes! I think I can do it in one shape. Also keep
in mind you can merge together entire objects too. Instead of showing the
complete silhouette of every post here, I’ll go the opposite way and kind of
melt them all together. The shapes that break up that melty-ness give you the
necessary clues to solve this area. It’s fun to paint and it’s like a mini
mystery that engages the audience and allows for a more active viewing experienc–
…oh great another youtube comment. Please enlighten us. … I sound … what!? I have no idea
what you’re talking about. Just spin us to episode 3 would ya?
Episode 3 was about varieties of edg. Taking different shapes and values
and softening them to various degrees. Different edges make for different
visual interactions. We just looked at some of the benefits of the lost edge, so
now let’s look at its opposite: the hard edge. Where lost edges create alluring
mystery, hard edges make for clear readability. And you can use them
together. Anders Zorn is using lost edges here to merge the darks into nearly a
single shape. Meanwhile the hands, beard and highlights on the glass, as well as
this part of the silhouette, draw attention with relatively harder edges.
and you don’t even need a fancy brush to do
this! Check this out. Let’s bring in some hard edged shapes. Those edges are so
sharp you can cut yourself. But watch this: if I just compress the value range …
the whole thing looks, or perhaps feels, softer, despite the physical edges being
unchanged. And here’s Walter Everett putting this into practice. The figures
feel sharper than their surroundings not because of brushwork; it’s the value
organization. So I’ll plan to use a combination of these techniques in my
Venice painting. I really enjoy working with soft and lost edges … they just give
you a … what’s a good way of saying it … they give you … what?? … Yeah! Low resistance, that’s totally it! Soft and lost edges, then, provide easier
passage through areas of a picture! Ha, YouTube comments can be useful! Any other
good ones there? OK… who is Yong Yea?? Sigh, copycat artist. Wheel to Episode 4
please. Episode 4 talked about how paintings are made of many shapes. to
have a painting that reads clearly, each little shape should be as readable as
possible. These shapes look like the result of accidents rather than
intention. They’re prone to become muddled and are less quickly readable. A
better home for those shapes might be … yeah. So what I do is kind of think about
where a shape is headed and then design it the rest of the way there. Your own
design sense is important here! well-designed shapes will stay quickly
readable even when shrunk way down. so with our Venice scene, not only do I want
the overall shapes to be well designed but I will apply that scrutiny to each
tiny shape as well. shapes are like little worker ants they
can’t do the work alone but together are able to achieve something complex. also
check for some variety in the negative spaces. variety is usually more
interesting than repetition. In fact, variety is at the heart of so many of
these lessons. it just seems to be one of those basic human preferen — OKTHAT DOES IT! INTERN! BRING YONG YEA TO ME. ALIVE! So let’s put some color to this, using
episode 5’s color wheel to chart the progress. I’m beginning by putting down
colors from both the warm and cool sides of the color wheel but keeping
everything close to gray. my overall plan of attack here is to branch outward
into saturation. like right now I’ll add some more saturated blues and reds into
this field of neutrals. You don’t need a lot of saturation just for things to
look colorful! Against a foundation of neutrals, even the most slight move
towards saturation will feel colorful. because – episode 5 – colors talk to each
other and create context! Of course I hope you’re also tracking all the stuff
we talked about in part 1. Color simply lays on top of those foundations. looking
at the color wheel you can see how I’m systematically hatching my plan to move
this way. now when I add a color I try and see if I can carry it through
multiple areas of the painting, not just relegate it to one spot. That
keeps the palate feeling connected and avoids that coloring book or local-colory look. And it helps that this scene is washed in a diffuse type of light
rather than a direct sunlight or something. color tends to weave together
much more freely in a diffuse lighting condition and I do often use this kind
of approach when I paint diffuse or ambient light. When you paint direct
light like a sunset oftentimes your colors come in two families: a warm
family and a cool family – and you can start your color conversation by
blocking that out. You know, maybe I’ll do a future episode comparing direct and
diffuse light! Anyway in episode 7 we talked about color notes. episode 7
really goes hand-in-hand with episode 5 by the way. And one thing I like to do is
with the overall color trajectory in mind … that is this direction I’m
following … I can choose to exaggerate those trends. You know, break free of the
main color conversation that’s currently happening and kind of go out on a limb.
Watch the color wheel here: I can add, like, that red also here I can accent the
cyans like this. Color notes can be a bit disconnected like that but they
still make sense because they’re extensions of the logic that’s already
in place. you could totally take the opposite route, start saturated work in
toward gray. Though I do find that method slightly harder to control. so a few
notes of purple another boat and our Venice study is complete! You know, if I
have to sum up this whole series in a single word that word would be: “design.” In
order to design, you have to select, and to select, you have to be, well, thinking! A
lot of what a good artist does really well, I think, is they effectively remove
stuff that would otherwise distract from the point. The elements that remain in
the picture then carry a real purpose. A purpose that allows them to add up to
more than the sum of their parts. And that’s a fundamental characteristic of
YouTube comments sa– oh boy. So … how about those Bioware
microtransactions huh?? What are you doing? (I don’t even think he sounds like me)