Drawing vs Painting

Hi everyone! I am a beginner who has maintained an on-again, off-again status while raising my kids. Things always got in the way and interruptions always won. Now the kids are grown and I am so ready! I'm happy to see Mark's videos, as the classes I've taken seem to be of the "non-instructive" instruction genre. Valuable to a point but somewhat frustrating.

The drawing I've attached is an exercise from Bert Dodson's drawing book. My current painting instructor says that the rendering is very " two dimensional" and nothing like what painting is like. Sure enough I find that with my first assignment (copying a John Singer Sargent portrait) I am far too caught up in blending and shaping with tints and shades than putting the paint on the canvas loosely. I would love to see some exercises that would help me to loosen up when starting a painting.
Any ideas?
Eliza
tjs

Comments

  • edited July 2013
    Hello and welcome! I can't really speak to the method that your instructor is following but the method here doesn't require that you have any drawing skills. It is also true that drawing is not painting and painting is not drawing. Those things being said, continuing with your drawings will help you because drawing regularly will hone your ability to render what you see accurately, appreciate differences in value and proportion, and sketch loosely. As far as painting loosely, I think that Mark would recommend not blending and others would recommend painting with larger brushes. But truth be told, I think that developing a loose painting style, if that's what you want, comes with the confidence and technical ability that you acquire by doing lots and lots of paintings. Same with drawing loosely.
  • Hi ecsmcnally, and welcome to the forum. I can tell you from my own experience that if you have managed to create some good drawings, then you are a prime candidate for really taking advantage of Mark's methods and having pleasing results. Your drawings are really great so I'd say you have found exactly the right place to take your art to a new level using oils. My advice would be to watch Mark's videos (all of them) and follow his suggestions as closely as you can. Whenever someone is having trouble, the forum usually ferrets out that the person had wavered from Mark's method somewhere. So set up your studio according to the plan, get the right materials together, get a color checker, stain a canvas and don't blend! Glad you found the forum, you'll find very helpful and insanely talented people here. Ask questions if you have them. Good luck!

    -Scot White
  • Thanks for all the suggestions, though i'm not sure what one does instead of blending. I've looked up close at some of Sargent's paintings and, particularly in faces and skin tones, the subtleties look, well, blended! I live across the park from the Metropolitan museum and can't wait to stop by to take a closer look.

    I agree with Kingston about charcoal and stick pastels. They're great to use in life drawing - great for fast, spontaneous, fluid lines. I watched how Mark filled in his silver cup painting from dark to light - very different from filling in the lines of a drawing. It's definitely a whole different thought process!
    Eliza
  • Hi Eliza,

    Blending is probably one of the most common topics on this forum and there are many good discussions on it. But the point is not to avoid blending at all costs, its for us students to avoid the temptation to blend as we lay in the colors in an attempt to "fix" something that doesn't look right.

    Martin
    ecsmcnally
  • Hi Eliza, welcome to the forum. Re Sargent and his "blending" Working into wet paint will usually cause a certain amount of blending when different colors are overlayed. An experienced hand can control how the paint goes down.
    The blending to avoid is smoothing out surfaces in an attempt to create volume and smooth transitions between colors of different value. Rookie mistake. If your colors (and more importantly) values are correct, much of the perceived need for blending is no longer required. Follow the advice above and Mark's methods (to the letter) and just proceed patiently. You will be pleasantly surprised at the results given the fact that you can already draw. Give the loose painterly thing time (look at Sargents prolific number of paintings - experience). Walk before you run, and most importantly - have fun.

    James
    tjs
  • Eliza

    Welcome to the DMP Forum.

    You asked
    i'm not sure what one does instead of blending.
    The placement of the correct value in the right place will allow the viewer to optically blend at a distance from the painting. Sargent is a master of this technique. Close up you see blobs of color, at a distance a detailed realistic portrait.

    Working in graphite or charcoal blending is a must to graduate the rounded shapes with shades of gray being the only variable.

    Denis


  • So should I understand that when one is painting a shaded area (like under a chin) for example, it is done by stroking graduated values next to each other? If you're not blending, how do you make that NOT look like just stripes or blob-next-to-blob? Am I really this thick??? Just call me The Rookie!! LOL

    Oh - additionally, I was looking at a book on painting that talks about how to lay out a thin under painting, though this (according to the book) is not a popular way to start any more. It says thin, water-based paint can help to define highlighted and shaded areas of the figure. Any comments?

    So much to learn!!
  • Eliza

    Check out Mark's portrait video. He places stepped values to create form and volume.

    Under painting see:

    http://forum.drawmixpaint.com/discussion/comment/20699/#Comment_20699

    Denis
  • edited July 2013
    There are two basic approaches to painting either direct aka alla prima as is taught by Mark and layering sometimes refers to as the Flemish method. Under painting shadows falls into the second category.
    tjs
  • Hey there Dencal! I assume you mean the portrait video that Mark's selling online? I didn't find any others specifically on that topic. I bought it - although it's pretty long it looks like a good one to own.
  • dencaldencal -
    edited July 2013
    Eliza

    Yes! Or any of his free videos or sample clips.

    I mentioned optical blending by the viewer. This is a good illustration:

    Instructions: appreciate the mosaic simplicity of the left view and the beautiful detail of the Mona Lisa. Now avert your eyes and walk to the other side of the room and look back at that simple mosaic.

    The right values does most of the heavy lifting in creating form and structure.
    The details are largely cosmetic additions to emphasize focal points and form the light flow.

    A second powerful example is an artwork in the cafe of my local art gallery.
    Open these up by clicking on them. Such stunning shaded subtlety with a few coffee cups. What magic.

    Denis
  • Kingston

    Thanks. Yes there is a chuck close classic in the Australian NGA. I make a pilgrimage every couple of years to see it. I even painted a Monet and went to Melbourne to see his work. Heck on my wall is a study of Elvis Presley (2300 dots) done by Denise Landis http://deniselandisworks.wordpress.com/tag/pointillism/

    Denis
  • KLongKLong -
    edited August 2013
    I'm finding that if you follow Mark's instructions that you actually do end up "drawing" with oil paint. For the fabric I concentrated on only 2 square inches at a time laying the value as if the 2 square inches was my final painting, it amazed me how each square flowed into the next to create something more. I'm still learning about blending. With the fabric I over-painted the darker values and brushed them back with lighter values. My first attempt at skin tones I panicked and over blended trying to create something that I thought looked more like skin but actually wasn't in my reference. In retrospect I should have left the original laid down values alone and worked the lighter values into the darks vs. taking out my "magic blending brush".

    Mark_Carder
  • So should I understand that when one is painting a shaded area (like under a chin) for example, it is done by stroking graduated values next to each other? If you're not blending, how do you make that NOT look like just stripes or blob-next-to-blob? Am I really this thick???

    Once you lay the "stripes" of color in, the blending is easy, and takes little effort. A few strokes along the division line is all it takes. That is the beauty of wet in wet.
    tjs
  • edited August 2013

    Thanks for all the suggestions, though i'm not sure what one does instead of blending. I've looked up close at some of Sargent's paintings and, particularly in faces and skin tones, the subtleties look, well, blended! I live across the park from the Metropolitan museum and can't wait to stop by to take a closer look.

    So should I understand that when one is painting a shaded area (like under a chin) for example, it is done by stroking graduated values next to each other? If you're not blending, how do you make that NOT look like just stripes or blob-next-to-blob? Am I really this thick??? Just call me The Rookie!! LOL

    To help you understand I need to go back to the comment made by your instructor about the rendering being "two dimensional"
    I can see in your drawing that you have a good understanding about what the shapes of a face should look like, where they should be placed and you have good proportion.
    Your drawing looks " two dimensional " because there aren't enough value transitions from light to dark areas. I see two, perhaps three value steps at the most but in order to convey the illusion of volume you will need at least 5 steps, or as many as it takes in my own opinion; to successfully render the convexities of the face in this case.

    valueSTEPS

    Being able to do (B) will help you a lot when painting and if you've noticed all the little rectangles are just like dabs of paint that are right next to each other creating a blended effect without any blending whatsoever.
    In his paintings Sargent seems to use just a couple of value steps in some areas and in areas like the face he seems to have more, if not the same amount of values steps; than the ones in example (B).

    So in short :-B the answer to your question, "So should I understand that when one is painting a shaded area (like under a chin) for example, it is done by stroking graduated values next to each other?" is YES

    Hope this helps
    dencalRosanne
  • We are rough on ourselves. It is hard to walk into a gallery and say i want to paint like him or her. I compare this to hearing Beethoven and taking a piano lesson and being rough on ourselves because we do not sound like Beethoven. Immerse yourself in the process the artist used to get the desired result and have fun. Draw a lot it because it is a lot easier to correct your mistakes on paper than on canvas. Try not to be so hard on yourself over the details and it will come. I am no expert but believe preparation is a lot longer process than execution.

    Have fun and post some drawings...
  • Welcome Eliza. You're lucky to live in such close proximity to the Met. It's a 1 hour train ride for me to Penn Station. They had 4 or 5 Sargents there when I was there a few weeks ago including Madam X. I wish they had them in a larger room, as further back you see no brush strokes or blending. Up close you see everything. They are all large and stunning. Watch as many videos as you can. You may want to check out the no blend challenge thread in the General Discussion forum. You draw very well and that should be a huge advantage for you. As far as your art course, if there's one thing I don't appreciate is paying for instruction and receiving very little of it.
  • True, newb, the galleries at the Met make it really hard to see the brush work in Sargent's paintings. For those where they were a bit more readable I took as many non-flash photos as I could to study how he used color that wasn't blended. Unfortunately Lady Agnew of Lochnaw wasn't there. I'd need to go to Scotland for that one!

    I actually felt a bit "ripped off" with that class. I've learned more from watching internet videos for free than what I did with the $200/4 class course I took. The good thing about the class was that it gave me a challenge I've been working on all summer (even after the class was over) when I have blocks of free time. I'm definitely learning about lots of things: mixing colors and values, painting volumes, brush techniques, etc. But at this point I'm still practicing with facial features on scraps of canvas and not yet committing to the sketch I've drawn on the "official" canvas quite yet.

    Mark: I do have a problem however, with your portrait painting video. The dark rug under your glass palette makes it impossible to see the darker colors you are starting out with in the mixing section. I'd really like to be able to see that better.

    Also: with the assignment I have of copying the Sargent portrait, each print I have to copy from, whether it comes from a book or a computer printout, offers a different spin on flesh colors; one pinker, one yellower, one a mixture of pinks and yellows. Am I wasting my time trying to "get it right"? What should I be aiming for in terms of completing this project?
    Eliza
Sign In or Register to comment.