Today I painted from life, and as usual, I like to experiment in my sketchbook. After all, that’s what the sketchbook is for, to put down thoughts, experiment and grow as an artist. I have been pushing myself to use bigger brushes, bolder strokes, and brighter colors. Stand as I paint, charge the canvas and make each stroke count. So today I stood back quite a bit as I painted from life, and my palette was very bright, consisting of lemon yellow, cad orange, cad red lt., quin magenta, pthalo blue, and emerald green plus, plus white.
I have been reading. A lot. More than just looking at the art of the great painters, but trying to understand what they thought and saw in order to paint a picture. Harvey Dunn, a great painter and teacher, was never one of my top favorites as his brushwork wasn’t super slick, but as I get a little bit older I’m understanding his genius. Here is some of his wisdom.
“Paint a little less of the facts, and a little more of the spirit. Look a little at the model and a lot inside. Paint more with feeling than with thought.”
As I started I was wondering if this palette of “skittles” colors was going to be to over powering, but as I remembered my grays and brown mixtures, and kept my brushes separate, I was actually surprised at the result.
The colors tend to have an outdoor feel, much brighter, and as I painted I stood back, and tried not to allow myself to get a small brush and start painting tiny details but instead capture the spirit of the model.
Dunn had another saying when trying to convince students to use larger brushes.
“Use a big brush for the face and hands — you can get a finer line with an inch wide brush than you can with a tiny hair. And little ones for the sky. It sounds funny but try it.”
I learned a lot today, about color and using larger brushes and capturing the spirit of the subject, and not just thefacts.