Monday, September 16, 2013

Oil Painting 101-The Foundations, fall 2013

Oil Painting 101, The Foundations has just begun. This class will cover materials and procedures, drawing and design, the practice and philosophy of oil painting. During the class, there will be presentations and demonstrations, actual painting time with personal instruction and critique, designed to bring the student from their present level to the next level.  In short, it’s the class that I tried to find when I was starting out in oils but could not find. We have a great group again this time and I am really looking forward to the fall semester. 
For our first day, I brought all the supplies that members will need to paint with oils, plus lots and lots of optional things (canvas choices, many palettes, every kind of brush, even easels!) that they might want, to make their life easier as they paint in and out of the studio.  Here they are, all packed into 10 easy-to-fit-into-the-Mini Cooper pieces!

I like this show-and-tell day because it allows everyone to see and touch and ask about things that they may have only heard about or seen in pictures. There aren’t many artists who don’t have a collection of things they thought they needed but didn’t. How much better to use someone else’s experience and save some time and money!
So, as we begin, our palette will be the most limited in history: one color + white. Starting like this will allow us to understand value as the most important foundational element in painting. Do you know that the human eye has 120 million rods, which interpret value, and only 6 million cones, which interpret color? Well it’s true and that is one of the reasons that it’s critical to be able to express a visual idea with value.

Our color is Transparent Oxide Brown, which is a very deep transparent partner for the opaque white. We will study why these characteristics are even important. In addition to value and temperature, we will explore line and edges using this pair and, when the time is right, we’ll add the three primaries: red, yellow and blue. By the end of the semester, we will have at least an understanding of the infinite capabilities of these few colors. Each class could easily be expanded into years of training, as it has been in the ateliers throughout art history. But we only have 4 months so I promise: we will only just scratch the surface!