Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Painting Glass in Oil

This is a video of my previous post called ''Crazy Juice''. In it, I describe how to  paint glass on a white background. I talk about complementary colours, painting white and the first rule of thumb in painting, which is learning how to observe your subject.

You can also see it on You Tube in HD:
Crazy Straw: Painting Glass in Oil

Monday, November 29, 2010

Crazy Juice

11x14 inches, oil/canvas
When composing a subject with glass, I try to find  ways to enhance the special quality of glass which is its transparency.  In this case I chose to add juice and a straw.  The crazy straw is in homage to my daughter who would not drink anything without a crazy straw when she was younger.

Coming up next is a video describing how to observe and paint glass.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Introduction to Oil Painting

This is a still life study similar to one done in my introductory oil painting class at the Visual Arts Centre in Montreal.  In the accompanying video I focus on simplifying the subject first into basic relationships of light and shadow and then go on to explain how I finish the painting. The goal is to help inexperienced painters understand the thinking process that goes into the making of a painting. 

Here is the video:

Since I am never completely satisfied with the way colour gets translated into the video during production, I  thought it might be useful to see some of the slides from the process:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Field Study

oil/canvas, 11x14 inches
This is a quick study done with my Impressionist class last week.  The aim of the exercise was to create a tonal gradation in the sky with varying tones of blue and to get the sense of trees and fields with differing tones and hues of green. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Impressionist Painting Tutorial

Painting is a dynamic relationship between the mind, hand and materials. Words are not a natural part of this process.  As a studio instructor, I am always searching for ways to make painting more accessible to people.  This is a short video explaining the painting process used to make the painting Mes Deux Macs.  I have added a speech to text audio voice (not mine) to briefly explain the different steps.  Which do you prefer, a video of this sort or static images with written explanations?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mes Deux Macs....My Two Macs

11x 14, oil/canvas
I had to give this painting its title in French because of the double entente.  In France, the word Mac is slang for guy or boyfriend.  In Quebec the term is chum. The rest is up to you...

Seriously though, sometimes its a good idea to go back to the basics and paint something which is deceivingly simple, like a couple of apples.  It can be a humbling experience because they are always a challenge.  Here is a detail:

When I was a kid, macs were my favorite apples, in fact they were the only apples I would eat.  When my daughter was little, she only ate delicious apples.  I wonder where she got that from!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Painting Glass

 There are no special tricks or techniques when it comes to painting a still life other than a good sense of observation.  Study your subject and try to focus on  important visual elements that characterise it.  In the case of glass, it is transparency.  The most important thing to keep in mind when painting any subject is to let the work evolve.  Here are some process images from my last post that show how the glass bottles came into being.

1. The basic forms are drawn with paint and mineral spirits and colours are blocked in. The focus is on getting the right shapes and  tonal relationships.

2.  I continue to block in the colour and focus on tonal relationships. The interesting thing about coloured glass is that the cast shadows take on the colours of the subject which  they would not do with opaque objects.  The shadows are also seen through the subject.  This is what creates the sense of transparency.

3.  At this point, all of the colours are blocked in and I can start to refine the tonal structure.  I will also apply paint in a thicker fashion.

4.  The rest of the painting is constant refinement of colour relationships and tonal structure.  The background and foreground colours become more contrasted as I start to darken the edges and lighten the centre.  The bottles have all of their essential details.  All that is left is to strengthen the contrasts of the edges and internal shadows.  I consider this to be detail work and it can be very time consuming.

5.  The very last detail to be added is the highlight on the bottles.  This painting was done wet on wet, which means that I did not wait for the surface to dry before adding more paint.  Please feel free to post comments or questions.  BMF

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

He Just Doesn't Get It

oil/canvas, 10 x 12 inches
There are many reasons to paint the still life which is why I think artists have been drawn to it for such a long time.  Personally,  I will sometimes paint them for the challenge of trying to depict a specific form, colour or sense of light.  Sometimes I go back to them because I get tired of working with photos and I need to work from direct observation.  What is fascinating however, is how these inanimate objects take on a life of their own and start to communicate their own raison d'ĂȘtre.

The opposing directions of these two little bottles made me think of an argument or a breakdown in communication.  Funny how simple studio props start to personify the ideas that we are trying to express without intentionally starting out that way.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Contact Portrait Project

Melancholy Smile, oil/canvas, 11x 14 inches
Portrait painting was a great passion when I was in art school and I have often wanted to revisit it. My teaching practice has reopened that doorway and inspired me to try my hand at it again. I have decided to post these images on a different blog. If you are interested you can visit it at  Contact Portrait Project.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

White Teapot #2

oil/canvas, 9x12 inches

There are some paintings that just happen, they just paint themselves and then there are those that don't.  This one emerged with a bit of reluctance, but it emerged none the less.  It is another study in white, this time using the complementary pair of violet and yellow (with a touch of ultramarine and magenta). 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

White Teapot #1

oil/canvas 9x12 inches, 2010

White is a fun challenge for a painter. Since white is not a colour, but a value,  it can be rendered with any colour.  What is important is a good tonal structure. Another great challenge is to paint using a limited palette. I painted this old teapot using just ultramarine blue and orange with white of course and a small touch of yellow.  I structured the colour using the concept of warm versus cool.

Here is a detail:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Scherzo in Blue and Green

     This is a study in analogous colours for my Impressionism class. The cool colours and the misty atmosphere seem quite appropriate for the rainy week-end that we have had in Montreal. It is often difficult to completely finish a painting demo when I am teaching a class so I thought it would be interesting to show how the colours and composition evolve when I work in my studio.  See the video below.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Still Life: Scherzo in Yellow

11 x 14'', oil/canvas, 2010

I love to work with yellow.  It is the colour that I most associate with light. This is a study using the yellow family of analogous colours.  It was done with my Impressionism class.

When I studied art history at University of Toronto, one of my professors described Van Gogh's Sunflowers painting as a mastery of the colour yellow.  According to him, yellow was a difficult colour to work with.  Does anybody have a particular colour that they find hard to work with?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Significant Places Exhibition

 Significant Places is a series of landscape and floral paintings that represent the joys and challenges of everyday life. The landscapes are places that exist is the real world and in the imagination.  They are places that I know literally and metaphorically. The floral paintings represent a contrasting point of view or an alternative way of communicating the idea of the landscape.  Perhaps you have also experienced these places.

You can view the exhibition on my pages at the right.  Even better, come to the Galerie de la Ville and see my paintings first hand.

A New Day

 New Day, Miramar Garden

Dawn is my favorite time of day.  There is something fresh and pure about the start of a new day.  The rose in its beauty and innocence is the hope for the day to come.

Florida Beach House #1
I think that there is nothing more sublime then a sunrise over the ocean.  This new day brings both expectations and uncertainty.

Thursday, April 22, 2010