Archives for posts with tag: light

"Beyond" (copyright Natasha Henderson) There are eggs in this...

Perhaps this is a little late for Easter. Perhaps you don’t really want to paint an egg right now. That’s cool. However, if you paint an (uncracked, uncooked) egg, you will practice observation and the creative manipulation of representing form.

An egg has volume. An egg has a gentle gradation of shadow. An egg can be reflective (depending on the type of egg it is, and what sort of environment in which it is depicted). In any event, if you just read this and don’t paint, that’s fine too. You’ll learn about all these things, through observing the following images.

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

I am opting to paint from memory. I actually do not have any eggs in the house right now; it would be better to have one for a real observation. However, the basic egg-shape is a simple one, and all eggs are slightly different from one another anyhow. Therefore, whatever egg I paint could exist. That is an important question to reflect upon, when trying to be convincing in painting… Could This Exist?

just a simple shape, not perfect at all

To start, I painted my paper with a layer of white acrylic to seal it. This is like in all the exercises, as my paper is quite thin. Next, I simply painted a black oval, almost an egg shape. I just wanted to get some outside, rough darkness, leaving the inside white.

smudging with finger while paint is still wet

Then, while the paint was still wet, I smudged down the centre of the egg. I needed to blend in a bit of the darkness to the middle, too. After this, it is mostly all adding white, a bit of black… just tinkering.

I "drew" the negative space around the egg better with some white... and used the white in the egg too

To make the oval shape more egg-like, I worked some white paint around the edges, to sort of erase the black paint that didn’t contribute to its egginess. I then used a sweep of this white along the bottom of the egg, to create some mystery and subtlety in the shadow on the egg. Next up, I painted a great deal of white along the top part of the egg.

more white added... a little smudging with a finger, more white...

Honestly, I went back and forth a couple of times, adding white and then swiping with my finger, until I was happy enough with the result. After this, I painted in a bit of a shadow under the egg.

just mixed a medium grey to start...

I decided that I wanted to have a gradation or two in the shadow, as well as a bit more in the egg… so I added in some lighter and darker greys where it made sense.

a bit more grey

I finalised what I did today by painting in more white. If I’d wanted to colour the egg I would wait ’til it is dry, then glaze a colour onto it and dab a little bit of white “reflection” on the lightest part. (See last week for tips on glazing, and how this idea works!)

our friend, the egg.

You can see that I got rid of a great deal of the shadow under the egg, this is just what felt “right” to me about the image. It’s up to you how much light and shadow are in your image, and what sort of environment your egg exists within.

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

I use painted, imagined strands of lights as a sort of drawing tool in my paintings

Sunday! Sunday! If you can, and are so inclined, it is a great day to relax with a dash of painting. Last week we saw How To Paint a little light. This week we will add a bit of colour to it.

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

The very first thing to do is to choose your colour. In this case I selected red. If you have painted a strand of lights, you could opt to do them all in different colours using this same technique. Find the black and white painting that you made last week…

I chose red for this one...

 Next, paint the red onto the light.

just plain red

You might take note that I didn’t paint this red so thickly… it has a little water in it. This is so that the black paint from last week will show through. However, black and white will always have an effect on the colourful paint placed on top of it. I encourage you to just experiment with your paints.

Next, paint a little bit of the colour onto the cords.

the cords will be lit a bit by the red light

Now, water down the red paint in your palette a bit more. Use this watered-down paint to brush around the light-source. Leave a poetic amount of white space just around the bulb.

let this dry for a bit...

Once the paint is a bit dried, add a little blob of solid white into the middle of the light. You will see that I put two little blobs; it is more convincing as an electrical light source that way.

you could also add a little it of the white brushed around, close to the light source if you dont like the edge of your colour

Done! So next week we will try something that I mentioned in another article: we will paint an egg.

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal
 

so fascinated with light... he'd certainly paint if he could...

Artists who paint are often fascinated with light. Light allows us to see; light forms the subject matter that is painted. When we paint, we are painting light both as it hits objects, and as it filters through atmosphere. However… sometimes we might like to paint actual light sources. Here is a short example on how to paint a “Christmas Light”.

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

Just like last week, this time I started with a piece of paper that I’d smudged some white acrylic paint on. Again, it is not 100% necessary to add the acrylic. If I had thick paper, and I’d wanted to allow the paper’s texture and absorbancy affect the paint’s effect, I could have worked directly on the paper.

getting started

I made a simple shape, similar to an Xmas light bulb.

a simple shape, similar to an Xmas light bulb

Then, I made the “cords”. Most Xmas lights have a casement for the glass bulb, and then cords leading away from this. I opted to imagine a simple cord going each way, although in reality there are usually two twisted cords, per side, that lead away in both directions. Sometimes it is more poetic to rely on memory than observation. Who wants a painting of electrical cords?

bulb with simple cords

Next, I smudged a little watery black down the middle of the bulb.

swiped watery-black paint in the bulb...

Then I wiped some of this paint away, quickly, with my finger. It smudged the paint, giving it a bit of a hazy effect, just like staring into a real light…

smudged!

The most important thing right now was to let this DRY. After it had dried, I painted some watered-down black around the bulb area. I left the imagined-light to “glow” in a circle around the bulb.

painting the world that is not so affected by the light

Next, I added more black, solidly, onto the outside area. The light isn’t reaching there at all…

suddenly, the light seems a lot more "light"

The final, final step was to put a dab of pure white into the middle of the bulb.

final bit... unless I decide to go in colour...

If I wanted to create this image in colour, then I would glaze some colour into the image. Next week, I will do just that!

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

An early show, after I'd recovered from school.

This morning I found myself reminiscing a little about things that art instructors have said to me that stuck in my memory. I was probably doing this for a few reasons:

I taught a class last night in which a student (who is also a teacher) mentioned “you are a good teacher”.

there was a lot of strong light pouring in through my closed blinds.

I was thinking about character and strength of it.

I recall a drawing instructor who went over the idea of Chiaroscuro. This method of modelling, using dark and light to create form, was invented or at least defined as we know it during the Italian Renaissance. My instructor truly “went over it” in that we didn’t practice or learn anything about this technique. Well, he did make this (paraphrased) statement: “This was important for artists in Italy to learn, but it’s not important for us. We have different light. It’s not as harsh, it is a soft light.” Then we went back to drawing leaves and stuff.

At least he mentioned that Chiaroscuro existed, so that I could read about it later. One thing I gleaned from the thirty-second lesson on Chiaroscuro, is to pay attention to different kinds of light. I’d not really thought about it before, only simply accepted while observing. It was true that where I lived then had a hazy, blue light that meandered over objects and made them sort of softly glow from within. Beyond artificial light, there were normally no harsh shadows or light effects.

However, when learning the fundamental basics of drawing, one should learn all that one can. It is unrealistic to expect one’s college-aged students to stay in their small city for their entire lives, painting outdoor landscapes and nothing else. At least not all of them.

I got an A+ in that class.

Chiaroscuro actually works well in any type of lighting, in that you can form the object, and simultaneously (or after the fact) paint the shadows and light effects too. So, for example, say you have a sphere. It is round. The middle comes towards you, and the edges recede. By this theory, the edges are darker than the middle. However, if there is any sort of light source, that would have a highlight/shadow effect on the sphere. Ambient and atmospheric lighting play a part, as do reflections on the sphere. Try painting an egg. You’ll see what I mean. Actually, an egg will be one of the things we will paint in the “How To Paint: Stuff” series.

Painting is what I love to do best.

Another memorable moment during my time as an Art College Attendee was when a painting instructor (who I admired greatly) reduced me to tears when I dared to critique an exhibition of paintings. A famous artist was showing in a major gallery, and I was finally able to see her work in the flesh. My instructor and I talked briefly about it. Paraphrasing:

She: “Did you see the So-And-So exhibition?”

Moi: “Yes I did. I found her brushwork to be too careful. It looked un-natural and laboured over.”

She: “You and I have VERY DIFFERENT IDEAS about painting… ”

Conversation stopped. Closed door.

What did I learn from this experience? Students will take what a teacher says seriously, and students sometimes don’t express themselves as clearly as they would like. If you are a teacher, and one of your students says something you disagree with, or even find offensive, ask them a question about it rather than making a statement and closing the door to communication. Also, sometimes people we look up to have bad days and say nasty things too. Don’t always take them to heart, if you can help it.

I managed to get a B+ in that class.

Cast Over, a painting from way back in '99.

An Art History instructor told me (in front of his equally well-known and somewhat famed friend) that I would “need to learn and memorize names and dates of paintings so that I would be impressive and knowledgable at parties”. Paraphrased. He nailed directly on the head one of my biggest combo-insecurities.

I am terrible with names and dates, and I don’t like looking dumb at parties. I learned from this that I should not care so much what others think.

I got a C- in that class. 

2157 Trees. In 1999 I painted an imagined tree pattern on the imagined drapery and then used a rough calculation to describe how many trees there would be here. I also counted the ones depicted "outside".

I’ll finish with a really good thing that my Book Arts instructor told me. Paraphrasing: “Be ready for success. Don’t get stuck and depressed. People will simultaneously want you to produce what you’re well-known for, and be disappointed that your work isn’t developing.” She thought I would be famous, knew some people who were famous, and famous famous famous.  Famous etc famous. Basically, I had to stay true and genuine to what I needed to make, to my forms of expression. My muse is a changing thing.

Should I stumble upon a super-successful trick, I shan’t remain a one-trick pony! Oh, and I got an A+ in that class.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

copyright Natasha Henderson

Every month at Fleurbain we are offering our Facebook “likers” the chance to upload an image, with a short description about it, to our wall. We will add the image and photographer’s credits and story about the picture to this site. Eternal immortality is the best reward.

Our theme for this month is: Fire and Ice. Do you have some wonderful shots that could fit into this theme? Do you want to wander out into the snow or hot, hot sun and take a pic to share? Here’s one to start us off:

A winter walk last February... in the Mount Royal Cemetary. A still and beautiful, COLD day it was. Photo by Natasha Henderson, Montreal.

So picture it, get in the right frame of mind, and give it a shot… and tell your friends! Have some fun this December with Fire and Ice.

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