Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Hanley Ranch Opus 1



Painting With Feeling

Hanley Ranch Opus 1 12 X18




The painting that I am sharing with you today is of the family home on the Hanley Ranch located just outside of Medford, Oregon. It is a place that I recently discovered when I was looking for a location for a plein aire workshop. When I saw the Hanley family home it spoke to me about the feeling of being left alone after years of love. Painting a "feeling" is the highest form of expression because it reveals the heart of the artist. Most paintings are of things such as trees, rocks, a vase, a river, or buildings. An artist can change the effect of light or the composition in a painting to make it more compelling and interesting, but a "feeling" is what the great masters were trying to capture. We will discuss how to do this in future blogs.

Five Key Questions to Ask Yourself as you Critique your painting:

A student recently asked me, "How do I critique my own painting? What should I look for, and what do you see when you critique paintings?" Critiques are difficult to receive and endure for most artists. Artists generally don't like to hear what works and what is missing in their paintings. However, like all disciplines, we must learn from others. If you want to create powerful paintings that speak to the viewing public, it is important to listen to what others think.

In my 12-week Power to Create course, I spend 3 hours each week critiquing students' artwork that they painted as assignments for the week. After a several weeks of participating in the critiques, students in the class begin to understand how to look objectively at their paintings and the paintings of others. Here are the top five elements that I look for when I critique a painting. As you read the information below, look at one of your paintings and follow along, asking yourself these questions.

1. Message: The first thing I ask is "what were you trying to say with the painting?" so that I can confirm whether I got the idea or not. If the message is not clear to the artist, how will the viewer be able to understand what the artist is trying to communicate? Also, is the focal point clearly identifiable, does it support the message, and does it draw the viewer into the painting?

2. Composition: I look to see if the composition in the painting attracts the viewer's attention, directs the viewer's eye to the important areas of the painting, and keeps the viewer's interest involved in the painting. The composition must be simple regardless of the size of painting. Composition is merely an element of the total effort, and must remain subordinate to the representation of the subject and message.

3. Value: I determine whether there is an adequate variety of intensities of value. The value is the degree of the darkness in contrast to the lightness of a color on a value scale from white to black. By squinting, I make sure that the painting has clear and identifiable value changes.

4. Edges: Is there a variety of brush strokes and edges that define the distance of objects and content in the painting. Soft edges are found on the sides and at the back of the painting, while crisp and sharp edges are seen near the focal point and on objects, as they get closer to the front of a painting.

5. Light Source: I am surprised that many paintings are missing a defined light source that indicates the direction that the light is coming from. When painting outdoors, an artist must choose a source of light and keep it in place, to prevent the mistake of "chasing the light" as it continues to change with time, causing the painting to become flat.

Of course, there are many more key elements, but this will help you to look more objectively at your paintings. We will discuss all of these topics and many more during our Fall Workshops. I invite you to attend a weekend in Mt Shasta that will inspire you and change the way you paint forever.

46 Comments:

Anonymous Mona (Bear) Davis said...

Thank you for the tips about "how to criticizes" ones paintings. I would love to attend at some plein air classes, but right now my wallet is a nice nest for moth...ti hi.
Anyhow, I've got to study yours and others and try to figure it out on my own and be out there and practice and practice and wear down those brushes. But I have a question though: How do you transport oil paintings when they are wet?
I hope you can answer me even if I am not a paying student of yours. Bear hugs.

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Blogger Jo Castillo said...

Thank you for this helpful post. It makes me think!

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Blogger Magento themes said...

Very heart touching points.When we are looking at some paint, we can just say how it looks.But an artist can say all the above points.You need to have strong heart before giving critique to your own piece of art.It not easy for all.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

i recently discovered your work (via "CreateTV"), and am now totally enthralled by it!
Following the links around, i wound up here to your blog. Just want to give 'props' and say THANKS! As i'm just starting my journey in this world of oil painting, i find your blog (and recently purchased video) very helpful. Thank you for bringing some light -to this often dark world!

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Anonymous abstract art for sale said...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Stefan!

Question: Do you sell prints of any of your paintings?

FYI: the "DVD's" link at "TheGrandView.com" is broken..

Thanks for doing what you do, and for sharing your wisdom and experience with us all!

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Anonymous Vincent Roxas said...

Banzai to you! I'm not a great painter but I'm trying hard to make it better. I was really amazed on what you have painted or shared with me. It's awesome. I want to see more.

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Anonymous Susan said...

Imiss seeing you on the Create channel. I love your work, your inspiring comments and lessons. Maybe one day I will be able to get to Grandeview.
Thanks, Susan Stork

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