Here are more recent demos from my Thursday landscape class. I sometimes think ahead and prepare my demos to make sure I don't crash and burn. Other times, I take requests –often students have questions about specific issues that their trying to figure out in their own projects– and try to do my best on the spot. Riskier, but that makes it interesting too. Sort of like improv comedy. Except it isn't funny.
The pic at the top is my latest demo, done just last night. Among other things, I wanted to emphasize two things. The importance of paying attention to brushwork, and keeping temperature shifts between light and shadow subtle and under control. I used a pen sketch out of my sketchbook as my reference, so the colors are invented. Which was not a big deal in this case - both the tree trunk and the ground are kind of gray so there's no critical local color to worry about.
China Camp, I think? Gail was working from a photo and asked me if I could do a demo with it. My first reaction was, "hell no, that looks like a recipe for a crash and burn demo!" I didn't say that, but I thought it. Then upon closer inspection, I decided to give it a go. The clutter in the middle really was the only tricky part, and that was all in the drawing. Once I resolved that, the peripheral stuff was just back drop for the main dish. I believe that "strategy" of defining a few recognizable elements in a grouped clutter and leaving everything else loose, is what I focused on in the demo.
Here's one from a few weeks ago. I decided to do a street scape out of my head. The main theme here was how to simplify complex stuff like cars. I demonstrated how atmosphere and edge control can be used to accomplish this. It isn't about how to paint cars. It's about how to edit. Or more precisely, how to think in order to edit effectively. As you know, there's a whole lotta thinking required when you're painting but most of it has good logical reasoning to back it up.
Fog demo from two weeks ago. It's all about atmosphere, baby~ Organizing your values logically, I dare say fog isn't hard to paint (compared to some other climate conditions, that is). What's difficult is shaping the trees so that they're both interesting and convincing. Mine is just hastily done (these class demos are done in 30min to an hour usually) so it doesn't quite work, but another couple of hours would do the trick.
It's true that sometimes, reading or hearing about the hows and the whys of painting doesn't translate to problem at hand, even if the information makes perfect sense to us. But seeing it done right in front of our eyes is a whole different experience and we hear lots of "Ohhhh that's what you meant!" After all, painting is a process. A picture really is worth a thousand words!