Palden Hamilton Weekly Teaching Blog

Nov. 16 2016hai_ous_boat

Nov.7th 2016 Palden Hamilton  Go Back to Weely


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Hello Class,

Just wanted to send out an email to recap some of what has been going on in class. I try to make a point to illustrate the concepts I teach through mini-demonstrations, as there is a lot in art that can be more easily shown than told. I also want to convey that I practice what I preach in terms of my reliance on Simplicity and my progression from large to small, general to specific, basic to complex, etc…
The first image is the peach demonstration I did before this past class, and continued to work on in the first 15 minutes of class. The progression could be broken into:
1. The drawing, the ever-important foundation of representational painting
2. The block-in, during which the color and value relationships are being honed through observation, thinking about light and shadow, and frequent adjustments

3. The chiseling out of ever more specific forms, making sure color and values stay organized (without muddying)

The second image is of a study I did the next day with you in mind. In all these images, the setup is the first consideration: Are the forms readable, is there a clear light and shadow scheme, am I engaged in the subject matter, etc…? Sometimes this can set the stage for later success or struggle.
I am drawn (as in the work of Jon Redmond) to simple setups, especially in a learning/class scenario. Once one can learn to paint these with strength and subtlety, this will inform more complex pieces. A still life is the ultimate controlled setup in which to tackle the complexities that exist in the visual world…
Local Color (the inherent color of an object, for instance “green” apple) is never the full story. Perceived Color (the color that we are trying to capture in paint) takes into account the temperature of the primary light source, ambient light, the atmosphere of the environment, etc… It’s a mind-bending experience to attempt to capture this. It requires visual scrutiny, and at times logical thinking.
Take, for instance, the shadow side of the teal box in the below study. Using teal out of the tube might be a starting point, but over-reliance on local color will result in an illustrative, cartoonish, perhaps amateurish rendering. When actually looking, I saw that this color was very complex. At times, this shadow plane was
– influenced by the ambience of the room, and subsequently shifted toward purple
– influenced by the reflected light from the table, and subsequently shifted yellow
– deeply recessed from all light, turning a murky non-color
These effects occur in plein air and figurative genres, but are easier to isolate, identify, and learn from in the context of still-life…
The third image is from our afternoon class: Our setup and my drawing demonstration.
Note, again, the setup: Sofia (our gracious model) is posed against a paneled backdrop, which cuts out confusing ambient light. A strong, singular light source illuminates the form. The setup therefor looks like a painting before the painting is even begun, making the artist’s job more manageable.
My drawing is quick, but remnants of all stages are apparent: It starts with the gestural, changing, rough beginnings of the bottom half, and gradates to refinement and delicacy in the upper half. With charcoal we can isolate drawing and value, which are the foundations of form. Note that I’ve simplified light and shadow on the dress, face and hair to a two-toned arrangement. No need for a myriad of tiny value shifts. Asimplified dichotomy of light and shadow is often enough.
Hope these images and descriptions are of use. I’m enjoying the class’s warmth, ability and effort, and looking forward to seeing you on Thursday
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