This first image is the first painting I did on day one of the workshop. It's not a great photograph because I ran outside and propped it on a wall to shoot it without a tripod etc, so I'd have something to show you. Below are shots from the day.
Keith Hiscock is a very well known Victoria artist. He paints beautiful landscapes and still life pieces. You can find him on Facebook. This is Keith's quick sketch to place the positive objects in the still life set up.
He then switched to the negative space and blocked in a thin layer of a mixed black.
Keith demonstrated switching back and forth between the positive and negative spaces, helping you to really see, and to start setting up a variety of edges. Hard crisp edges at the focal point and soft or lost edges as you move away from the focal point or blend into the background.
Here's Kerry Fleetwood, an FCA friend, and a very talented artist, who I painted beside during most of the workshop. As you can see, Kerry was really picking up on everything that Keith was saying. Her paintings were beautiful!
Artists hard at it. You could have heard a pin drop!
Here's Keith giving Kerry a few pointers.
I learned some great concepts during the weekend, that I feel over time, will make a big difference to my painting technique. Among the many pointers here are a few that particularly spoke to me, for improving my work:
- when developing the painting, switch back and forth from positive to negative space, helping you to form shapes accurately and to really see.
- I found that this push and pull between negative and positive also allows you to paint back and forth over the edges of negative into positive and vice versa, rather than painting up to the edge of an object, helping to start making decisions on your edges as the painting is in progress.
- As my painting evolved and I had recorded on canvas the necessary information, Keith encouraged me to stop looking at the set up and focus on the canvas, making decisions as an artist, directing where the painting would go, rather than recording the image. I had all my values down and the placement and composition was where I wanted it, so I needed to stop looking at the set up. This point is going to have a big impact on my painting. I'm one of those who tend to overwork things.
- At this last stage is where I tried to really focus on edges. Sharp well formed edges at the focal point, soft and lost edges moving away from the focal point. In the case of the leaves in my painting up top, a few leaves were defined and the rest blurred at the edges so they started to disappear. This was really fun for me. I've only been painting in oils for about 6 months, so being able to play with the edges like that is quite exciting.