Applying the color question?

Hi, I wanted to get some input on an issue I seem to have when it comes to doing the gradation from light to dark on a cloth fold or skin area like a cheek. If I make strips of color with each step I have premixed I have a hard time not rubbing them together, or just (pardon Me), blending. I don't know how to handle that. John

Comments

  • John

    The more experienced Carderites have come to regard blending as something of an indiscretion and aim for a more painterly style, without smooth transitions between values and hues.

    Many master paintings look like polished images from a respectable viewing distance but on closer inspection are daubed patches of color that can only be described as being loosely applied (hard edged, gapped, overlapped).

    Mark in his early teaching indicated that blending can be done in moderation on smooth objects to elucidate form. I can't recall Mark saying anything specific about blending recently (?).

    In practice though quite a lot of blending goes on in small patches when applying adjacent value steps. I find it impossible not to smooth the gradation.

    Clearly, if your aim is a realistic image at close range inspection then blending is the go. However, most paintings are viewed in less than studio lighting and at a distance of six feet or so. The eye and brain of the observer then seems to do the blending of painterly images.

    Denis
    sue_deutscher
  • John

    I have a perfect example of how we blend visually that I posted in 2009.

    Click on the image to enlarge.
    Take a close look at the left hand portrait.

    Then when you have absorbed the mosaic simplicity of the left image, avert your gaze and step back about 10 to 15 feet. Focus on the two images again.

    Denis
    Mona.jpg 113.1K
    Martin_J_Crane
  • Denis,
    Thanks that helps me understand, I will try to put it in practice, as I do want to have the more painterly result when I finish. I always really like to step up to a painting and just see the color as it was laid down.
  • edited February 2013
    If you look at each stroke of color as a shape and lay it in filling in that shape of that color and LEAVE IT ALONE then you don't blend. :D
  • Hi Jag,
    Are you talking about laying in one value, then the next and you would like to blend (rubber together)? If so, then lay in the first value leaving rough edges. Paint next value, pinch wipe brush with a paper towel (kitchen Roll), then blend both together. Try pat blending. One thing about pat blending, if you do too much you can over blend.
    It's best to place in all your values per-area with a little rough edges. ex -If you're working on an apple, place all values down first. No blending. If colors happen to run into each other, then its easy for you to blend after placement.
    Pinch wipe brush, and start with first two colors, and blend lightly between values by patting to infuse both colors together.
    I hope this helps. If not then I'm sorry.
    :)
  • You just blend at the end, step two into step three, but not step 2 into five. It's okay for close steps to blend, but if you blend steps too far apart you get a new color that is not natural.
  • GaryGary -
    edited February 2013
    Jag, I think this blending issue has at least two parts for me.

    First, I want to mix the color I'm looking for on the palette and then put that color on the painting surface in a specific spot (as compared to folks who blend colors right on the painting surface). Having done so, I don't want to over blend to the point of losing that specific color.

    Second, blending is a matter of personal choice given how loose, painterly, you want your painting to look like from whatever viewing distance you chose. This can vary with with individual elements in a painting to whatever degree you wish them to. For example, for an entire painting, you may see most individual pieces of paint from a viewing distance of five feet but beyond that the level of detail diminishes quickly. Or you may be able to see only larger unblended pieces of paint from five feet but none of the finer, smaller but unblended brush work.

    Seeing those details (or lack thereof) is why many of us have mentioned when we go to an art gallery, we often try to get closer than really allowed so might see the individual pieces of paint or details of the brush work. High resolution pictures of paintings such as those in the Google Art Project really are an eye opener as you zoom in on them. Lastly, it's also why many have mentioned stepping away from your surface frequently while painting to see if your achieving the degree of looseness (among other reasons) desired.

    Long attempt at an answer! Here's the bottom line - put the paint down on the canvas, step back to the viewing distance of your choice and then make the decision about how much blending something may or may not need without losing that color. Your choice, your style! :)
    opnwyder
  • Thanks a lot, everyone. It is a great help. Besides learning to mix steps correctly one has to learn how to apply the paint. Its probably something that we should already know but its not all so evident.
  • No Jag.....how to apply paint is not something 'we should already know'...it's not evident, it's learned by the doing! :)
  • Gary said:

    Jag, I think this blending issue has at least two parts for me.

    First, I want to mix the color I'm looking for on the palette and then put that color on the painting surface in a specific spot (as compared to folks who blend colors right on the painting surface). Having done so, I don't want to over blend to the point of losing that specific color.

    Second, blending is a matter of personal choice given how loose, painterly, you want your painting to look like from whatever viewing distance you chose. This can vary with with individual elements in a painting to whatever degree you wish them to. For example, for an entire painting, you may see most individual pieces of paint from a viewing distance of five feet but beyond that the level of detail diminishes quickly. Or you may be able to see only larger unblended pieces of paint from five feet but none of the finer, smaller but unblended brush work.

    Seeing those details (or lack thereof) is why many of us have mentioned when we go to an art gallery, we often try to get closer than really allowed so might see the individual pieces of paint or details of the brush work. High resolution pictures of paintings such as those in the Google Art Project really are an eye opener as you zoom in on them. Lastly, it's also why many have mentioned stepping away from your surface frequently while painting to see if your achieving the degree of looseness (among other reasons) desired.

    Long attempt at an your answer! Here's the bottom line - put the paint down on the canvas, step back to the viewing distance of your choice and then make the decision about how much blending something may or may not need without losing that color. Your choice, your style! :)

    Fantastic explanation .
  • Good explanation Gary. One method used by many it to make your color application a little more refined or tighter (smaller), blending carefully in the center of interest. Then use larger applications of local color on the rest, looser. This process will draw the viewer to the center of interest.
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