Thought I'd include my complete works in a single thread over a few days. There aren't many, so it won't take long.
1993. Started oil painting lessons after work. Australian 'tonal impressionism' he said it was. No sketching threw me, because I only knew drawing. Just monochrome to start with to understand key concepts. The first studies were done upside down to abstract them because I'm not going to be painting objects, i'm just painting - tone, shape, edge. No sketching - it threw me because that's all I knew. Out of my comfort zone. which. is. the. place. of. learning. Learn to embrace that emotion, it's the feeling of learning. Counter-intuitively, we often grow up avoiding that emotion - clever kids especially - no really clever kids more than those that struggle - because we're addicted to success. So Des Johnston taught, and I faced my fear of failing to look talented, did it his way, and learnt.
- Cover the whole canvas - half close your eyes and simplify down to 2-3 tones.
- Make sure the tonal difference is right - that it captures the light the same as the model. The distance between light and dark should be the same. There's the drama.
- Paint from about two metres away. Don't stand at the easel - see what you want to paint, step up and make your mark and stand back again. Half close your eyes until it looks the same as what you are painting. Paint the next biggest difference. Stand back again.
- Look from model across to painting. Tone? Shape (or the negative space?) Edges?...
- No details. Don't get carried away on details. Bring the whole painting along together.
- I should know where the focal point is: it will usually be sharpest edge or point of greatest contrast. That place will be in complete focus - and generally leave the rest blurred and understated.
After several studies I finally got to use colour. But only two. A limited palette: titanium white, burnt sienna and prussian blue. Same technique except adding questions about colour. That's all. I was so amazed at how much you could do with those two colours and white.
After I completed that study I set this up at home above the fireplace with the same limited palette: titanium white, burnt sienna, prussian blue. My first original oil painting. #1 Still life - limited palette=
Very similar to Mark's approach, so you can see why I'm drawn to him as a teacher.