I was recently fortunate to see an exhibition of the Italian artist Giorgio Morandi’s (1890–1964) paintings at The Phillips Collection, in Washington, DC, and I learned a great deal about the artist’s paintings by reading the wall text. Rather, he used them as visual reference points for a study of the abstract forms.
Sometimes it really feels that the power of art is just beyond words, which is incredibly frustrating for a person like me, who loves to write about and discuss art. That power—the power of abstraction—is what pushed us to create our latest free eBook on abstract art ideas.In Abstract Painting Techniques: Learn How to Abstract Paint with Any Medium you will discover abstract art tutorials and exercises, as well as strategies for how to shake up your work rhythms to get the most out of every studio session, and tips on how to paint abstract work that feels like a natural extension of your creativity.
Moving In by Steve Huston,16 x 20, 2001. Courtesy Eleanor Ettinger Gallery.Alaska-born artist Steven Huston knows that when there’s no mammoth sports arena or cheering crowds, an athlete on the field of play can easily turn into an oil painter’s ideal model. “I wrestled throughout junior high and boxed for a while, and I’ve always been interested in ‘mano y mano’ sports,” the artist explains.
London Fog, 2009, watercolor, 16 x 8.All works by Thomas Schaller.I judge a successful cityscape painting by whether or not the architecture, the weather, and the figures—everything in the painting—combine to transport me somewhere different. If that happens and the barrier between my reality and the painted alternative gets a little blurry, letting me see different sites and locales as though I were actually there, the painting is a winner.
I recently took a life drawing class and showed my sketches to a friend, who’s a super-skilled painter. I was reluctant to share them, but when she looked at my final sketch–in which the model had her hips contrapposto but twisted slightly away from me with one arm across her chest and the other hanging at her side–she said what I had been thinking all along: “That’s a tough pose.
Knowledge of anatomy is essential for artists who want their figures to appear realistic and natural. But we are not surgeons or medical professionals! Artists are not, and should not be, slaves to anatomical correctness.Académie d’homme by Pierre-Paul Prud’hon,ca. 1800, black chalk heightened with white,23 5⁄8 x 18 1⁄8.
There are subject matters that are fairly easy to take in and those that need more time to understand and a willingness on the part of the viewer to move out of his or her comfort zone. Works that artistically represent intense events–like violence or tragedy–are especially powerful when they merge they way they are created with what they are representing.
Photo reference paintingPainting from photographs is, for many artists, a matter of convenience. Such issues include getting tunnel vision or adhering too closely to the photo so that end result looks stiff or unnatural, and losing the subtle play of light and shadow on a form or object.How to draw a picture from a photoDrawing from photos can be intimidating if you don’t know where to start.
If Id been born a century earlier, I think I would have loved menageries. They sound quite romantic, dont they? And it probably would have been the only time I ever stood face to face with exotic animals from distant places.A successful horse drawing is often a matter of getting the legproportions of the animal correct.
How to Draw People with Power, Dynamism, and AccuracyDrawing people is one of the most rewarding as well as one of the most challenging artistic pursuits. Certainly there are details to consider—drawing hands or features—but it is best to start with gesture and proportion first.To draw people, artists must first develop their observation skills.
Overlay by Ali Cavanaugh, 12 x 12, watercolor painting.As a wannabe artist, I have a lot of years ahead of me to invest in perfecting my painting. Knowing this, I often think about the medium I will choose to work with—what will grow with me through the years, show me new and interesting things, and challenge me overall.
Studies of Heads and Handsby Hans Holbein the Younger,pen-and-ink.We all know that a strong foundation in drawing can make a significant difference in all levels of art making. Drawing well takes time and effort, but the payoff is well worth it.I recently read a blog post by animator-cartoonist Ben Thompson, whose blog at NoRightsProductions.
You can go the less extreme route, of course, but there is something to be said about a studio painting session in which you don’t pick up a brush. You don’t make any sketches. I find myself doing this again and again when I discover a new artist or a body of work from a painter or draftsman that I thought I knew plenty about.
Artist Quang Ho seeks out a natural, effortless pose with hisportrait painting models. Photos by Manuel Rodriguez.I’m a lounger by nature. Why stand when I can sit? Why sit when I can curl up on the nearest comfy couch? This has made my posture the bane of my grandmother’s existence, but it has put me in good stead with artist-friends who need a model that doesn’t stiffen up.
Still Life with Apples by Paul Cezanne, 1879.That’s a bold statement—even from Paul Cézanne—but the artist was true to his word. But the subject matter that propelled such success in the artist’s career was oftentimes relatively humble—still life paintings of apples, figures in the landscape, and kitchen scenes.
Back II (Joshua) by Martha Mayer Erlebacher,2003, oil on canvas, 42 x 42.The human body is beautiful—as a whole and in its parts. But the body is a complex machine with, again, many parts and an infinite variety of positions in which it can sit, stand, and lay.I love learning more and more about how to draw the human body, but it is a tough process too!
Landscape Painting BasicsLandscape artists are truly blessed. But a finished landscape oil painting—when done well—has the power to almost transport its viewer, and that is why a landscape artist will always continue to create paintings of landscapes.Follow Artist Daily’s Landscape Painting board on Pinterest for more inspiration.
Woman with Bird in Her Hairby Betye Saar, 2010, mixed media collageon paperboard,13 1/2 x 12. All works courtesyMichael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, NY.When I see an artwork behind glass or on a pedestal in the hushed atmosphere of a museum or gallery, I try always to remember that the object–a sculpture, collage, drawing, or painting–started from two hands, humble tools toiling in the hopes that something vital and powerful would come out of all their labor.
On Hamiltons Prairie by Rose Frantzen,32 x 40, oil painting.Rose Frantzens work has been on my radar for a while and even more so after I saw her oil painting portrait show years ago at the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, which featured 180 paintings of the residents and neighbors from the artists hometown of Maquoketa, Iowa.
Its probably half-endearing (hopefully?) and half-annoying that I think theres no better way to start off the weekend than with art. But you know what I mean! As the chillier part of the year gets into full swing, I think we are all getting cozy in our studios with our art, and for me, nothing sounds more appealing than curling up and working in my sketchbook.
Going from the cylinder man to a fully-realized figure is a matter of many things,but one is definitely an ability to turn the form with shading and gradation.Using a pencil feels so simple, doesnt it? I mean, its the first thing we learn to write with when we are kids, so what could be more familiar and comforting than that?