Sunday, June 04, 2006

Journal Number Three with Pictures!

Erika Atzl
Internship Journal Number Three
June 3, 2006

Robert teaches his students to apply the paint in a basic way of gradually applying the paint more and more thickly as it builds up in intensity of light. These paintings are flecked with sudden jumps from the intensity of the midtone to the highlight. As you can see from even his own paintings, he often keeps his highlights as a simple dash, making the highlight absolutely unmistakable and intensely vibrant. From there, the only alteration to the highlight would be what he calls “tickling” the paint, keeping the paint stroke full of “action” and completely vibrant at the same time. This mimics the natural movement of the eye. We are not copying from a lifeless, stationary photograph with clear delineated edges, but drawing a living, breathing, moving model. As such, the eye takes in information more discerningly.

In every good painting there should be something called a “center focus.” This can and should be achieved in two reasons and for two ways. Whether literary, visual, or theatrical, the most obvious way to achieve a center focus is by subject matter and composition. For example, if the painting or photographic portrait is commissioned to have the main idea of “I have a beautiful and alluring wife” then the subject matter will be of the woman, and it will be composed in a way that she is likely near the center of the painting, the most exciting colors will be perhaps a part of her clothing, and she would be the most dramatic shifts in light. Pretty obvious. But paintings like Liberace's mimic the the physiology of the eye. 

Generally speaking, we are not aware of zones of increased fuzziness around the central image we see. The reason for this is that the eyes are constantly moving, bringing first one part of the visual field and then another to the foveal region as the attention is shifted from one object to another.  When the eye looks at an object, let’s say the leaf on a tree, not only does everything else goes slightly out of focus, but the actual edges of the object itself are never entirely clear unless the eye is looking straight at the edge. Therefore, the most beautiful drawings often include a variation between a trembling line and a carefully delineated line, just as the eye itself skips around adjusting to the form, noticing some details and overlooking others.

Experiments in highlights:
A choppy style of highlighting.

Blending and diffusing the highlights.

The Cherry Painting

Monday and Wednesday were the normal 9 to 5 days in Danni’s studio at her house. I’m currently working on a painting of some cherries I picked from a tree in her backyard. They’re lying in a green dish, which conveniently is the complimentary color of the red cherries. Most interestingly, they are under the light filter of a green satin cloth hanging from the ceiling and directing the light down in a tube onto the still life. A combo of warm light, reflected off of a cool surface, the shades are drawn elsewhere to keep the main lights on the still life cool, and to avoid Southern exposure. -Ingenious.

The Self Portrait Projects

She’s also assigned me the self-portrait I told you about last week. The “yard long painting with my life-sized face must have the following: a scene of the room behind me, with a mirror reflecting the back of my head as I paint (requiring three upright mirrors)… WITH my hand doing the actual painting. That was really hard. 
Composition of this complicated setup.

She keeps telling me to stop with all of the crazy jumps in color, because in life she says that “shadows don’t just jump from red to green like that.” But she always commends me on the fact that I’m not afraid to use color like I was only a year ago. We laugh frequently on how I tend to go overboard with any painting advice that she gives me.

No more crazy jumps from red to green. Haha.

My Freetime Piece

And here’s the development of a painting I’ve been experimenting with also in my free time -My friend eating snow off of a branch. These are the only photos I have of it, before I turned the snow into a puff of warm breath on wintery air. I like to watch the stages of the painting, and I think you might too. 

1 comment:

Jenny said...

one word:

it's amazing how you can tolerate going in a million different directions all at once. i couldn't possibly manage to do all those different paintings all at once like you're doing, let alone stay sane while getting opposite advice on the same subject from two different teachers. you are the queen of multi-taskers. :)

and i looove all your paintings, you're so good, erika.