For inspiration and to learn from the masters, I do 30 minute quick colour studies in watercolour in a sketchbook Iâve dedicated to painting practice. By putting down broad shapes of shapes of colour and noting in the areas of dark and light, I learn so much about why the artist chose the colours they did and the composition choices they made. The study above is from John Everett Millaisâ, The Blind Girl, 1856. What I found interesting was the depth of shadow around the figures and the amazing translucent skin which I didnât get with the same depth at all in one quick sitting. Also, the way the main shapes and deeper values in the figures and sky along with the double rainbow leads our eye from the figures and out the right hand side of the painting and back in through the sky, then led down to the birds back to the figures. Itâs also the lovely intimacy between the older girl and the child, they way she leans her head back under the older girlâs chin and the way their hands are clasped in her lap. Even the angle of the childâs gaze and her raised hand takes us into the movement of the composition and the quiet moment between them.
Artists, like musicians and other creatives, need to practice to learn, push their skills and understanding of mark making and communicate what they want to say. It doesnât always happen, but what I strive to do is draw from life or from my favourite figure drawing site, pixelovely, for a half hour as a warm up to a dayâs work. Adding in the painting studies on alternate days is another way to warm up for me as well as learning from those master artists I love and feel so inspired by.
See full post here: ardent, patient, persistent2014-06-11.