Painting the Interior

For February 29, 2024

Painted Interiors Involve:

Angles, Rectangles, Flatness
Space & Depth
Subtle Color, Light, & Transitions

They’re also a favorite subject among contemporary painters

Try to do this from life if you can…same place, same light, same time of day. Digital reference is fine too.

Use a straightedge to check, but not draw, your angles, and expect to adjust them throughout the work. They have this strange way of shifting by themselves.

Click any image to open or close slideshow

One-point perspective * is fine for an interior.

Find the vanishing point and let all non-verticle angles converge to that point (I’ll explain when we meet next week). For now, the video above will get you started the the still images may inspire you.

You’re completely welcome to continue with last week’s work instead.

Upload up to two works anytime before next Thursday.

Good Luck!

* One-point perspective is a drawing method that shows how things appear to get smaller as they get further away, converging towards a single vanishing point on the horizon line.


Previous Assignments

Good Job with the Limited Palette.

Now Keep Going

For February 22, 2024

You probably noticed how blocking in with a handful of colors helps you move quickly.

It can also feel inadequate.

That’s fine; this stage is temporary. The goal was to cover your canvas in a few minutes and establish a basic tonal structure.

Now you can give it some color.

Have all your colors on the palette but resume work in the same way. Whatever you decide re-paint, begin with the same color combination as before.

When you’re satisfied with the match, add any colors you feel will bring the work closer to your reference, a little bit at a time.


Here’s s warm flesh tone as an example:

Yellow Ochre Light
Alizarin Crimson

A little boring, but fine.

Let’s kick it up with a touch of Burnt Sienna or Cadmium Red (Cadmium Red shown here)

Want to cool some of it down?
Add Raw Umber.

Or Viridian to cool it more.

If you go too far with any of these changes just blend the paint to get closer to your original color.

You can rework your canvas wet into wet or wet over dry. The advantage of wet into wet is it’s more forgiving.

I’ll go more into this when we meet next week but this will get you started.

Again, you’re revisiting your current work but being more specific with the color.

Upload with your One Share link before next Thursday, up to two works.



Painting with a Limited Palette

For February 15, 2024

Working with limitations from time to time is a great way to learn. Because it forces you to re-think.

Painting with a handful of colors, as in the examples below gives you speed, and consistency, and gives your work a harmonious look.

Think of it as a glorified drawing. It’s a small step from what you’ve done in charcoal and graphite.

Try this four-color palette with any subject you like.

Ivory Black
Raw Sienna
Alizarin Crimson

Add a fifth color of your choice, depending on the subject.

The goal is to concentrate on values, modeling, and edges to create the form. You’ll find mixing and matching colors will happen more quickly and easily.

You’ll discover that hue is not as important as you thought.

We’ve done this exercise in previous classes and the results have been marvelous.

Use your One Drive Upload link to upload anytime before next Thursday.

Let’s Draw!

What’s wonderful about the vine, charcoal & graphite como, aside from the look, is how it teaches painting as well as drawing.

Because you’re using tones instead of lines. Creating form with variations in light. This will strengthen your grasp of values.

And if you do it right your work will have a timeless quality.

Put a wicked sharp point on your graphites and charcoal pencil (see video below). The vine can have a flat side, or a wedge, which gives broad strokes for massing.

Keep all three pencils (or more if using different grades of graphite) in your non-drawing hand. Keep the kneadable eraser close.

Erasing usually over-lightens so be ready to darken, with graphite, areas you just erased.

Use a finger, tissue, or both to blend. Just don’t go overboard or your work will look pale and unfocused.

Use your One Drive Upload link to share anytime before next Thursday.

For our last class of January 2024, we’ll discuss the standing figure.

If you’d like to try painting one, refer to the video below (which of course is of a marble figure) as a guide. There’s another video, part 1, on the way.

Pay attention to the angles. How right the left shoulders relate. Same for right and left hips. If you straighten your figures too much they’ll look stiff and unnatural.

Put most of your attention, as well as your paint, on the interior of the forms. This will give solidity to the figure.

The outside edges, even if they appear firm, can be weaker.

Start bold and abstract then refine along the way. When you’re in the home stretch you can thin the paint and vibrate the color (alternate between warm and cool tones.)

Another option is to take your current still life even further. I’ll be happy to take a look.

Upload to your ASL Microsoft One Drive before Wednesday, January 31. Thursday begins a new month.

Have a great weekend!

For January 25, 2024

Realist painting involves focus and plain old stubbornness.

If you’ve learned to develop all parts of your work together then consider letting that go for now.

Put all your attention on one area to start. You may feel impatient or that you’re wasting time. Ignore that feeling and stay put until you see real improvement.

Then move on to another area. Develop that then look for any weaknesses in the first area. In this way, you raise the bar on yourself.

Later on you can harmonize all elements and you can loosen parts up too. But you need to get some clarity going first.

Work thinner now but continue layering up the paint in the highlights. Be uncompromising with your focal point; the rest can be painted more suggestively.

Shadows can start a touch darker to get some punch in right away. Just lighten them later.

Rework any clumsy-looking passages. Correctness isn’t enough; go for a look of ease too.

Please use your Microsoft upload link to share your work.

Have a great weekend!

After Wyeth,  Spring Fed, detail, 2021
Oil on Canvas, 8 x 10 in.

For January 18, 2024

Painting Metal objects feels like you’re climbing a staircase, descending, then climbing again.

Like glass, they reflect a great deal of light.

Unlike glass, they present a broad range of tones, from near-white in the highlights to near-black in the shadows. There are crisp edges vs soft ones throughout.

There’s a lot of restating of lights and darks (which tend to weaken as you work the paint.) So expect some un-doing and re-doing in this process.

Up and down we go…

You can usually find subtle complimentary color shifts on the surface, such as reds alternating with greens.

As always, listen to your eyes.
But don’t believe everything they tell you.

Part 2 is about working with thin washes of paint to give the work luminosity, subtlety, and finish. Light passes through the transparent paint layers and gives the work a glow.

Use a mix of 80% Gamsol to 20% Stand Oil for these washes. You’re painting with mostly medium and just a touch of paint.

For security, please use your ASL-Microsoft upload link when you’re finished.
And if you’d like to explore something else,
try a White on Black Composition:

Start monochrome, neutral, not too warm or cool. Then add subtle temperature shifts to the wet paint.

Jeanne Tangney,  Macintosh, 2021
Oil on Canvas, 8 x 10 in.

Few subjects are more inspiring, relatable, or fun to paint than still lifes of food.

Sometimes known as Bodogones (Small Kitchen Still Lifes.)

There are no special tricks to this genre. It’s not to be feared or taken lightly. As with all subjects, these present a few challenges.

For example, you might be more drawn to the color or texture than you should at first.

Or you may be so taken by the beauty of a luscious red apple that you’re not focusing on modeling. It’s important to feel, as long as you don’t get carried away.

When painting a form composed of smaller forms, like a bunch of grapes or a stack of pancakes, mass all forms together as one (see the example below).

Just remember to focus on the values, structure, and light in the beginning.

Substance first, gorgeousness later.