Painting 2: Finding Your Way

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    Painting 2: Finding Your Way

    Written by Ian Simpson

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    Contents

    Introduction: developing as an artist

    You and your course

    The painting course books

    Making progress

    The paints for the course

    Other items required

    Keeping sketchbooksWorking from photographs

    Notebooks and logbooks

    Visiting museums and art galleries

    Annotating

    Theoretical studies

    Reading and books for the course

    Keeping your logbook

    Amateur and professional painting

    Aims and structure of the course

    Your and your tutor

    The aims of this course

    The projects

    Project and tutorial plan

    Notes for students tutored by post

    A working pattern

    Student profile

    Your tutor

    1: Painting animals

    Introduction

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    Animals and sentimentality

    Painting moving animals

    An opportunity to combine oils and acrylics

    Painting from direct observation or drawings

    Theoretical studies

    What you will need

    Project 1: painting animals

    A painting to consider: Bacons Study of a Dog

    What have you achieved?

    2: Moving figures

    Introduction

    Deciding on a suitable subject

    Making a working drawing

    Theoretical studies

    Project 2: figures in an interior

    Deciding on a second subject

    Drawing moving figures

    Project 3: moving figuresA painting to consider: Weights The Day of Doom

    What have you achieved?

    3: Movement

    Introduction

    Creating a sense of movement

    Theoretical studies

    Project 4: movement

    A painting to consider: Severinis Suburban Train Arriving in Paris

    What have you achieved?

    4: Relating to other artists

    Introduction

    Theoretical studies

    Project 5: a personal statement

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    5: Introducing the extended project

    6: Art from artIntroduction

    Theoretical studies

    What you will need

    A note on the three projects

    Project 6: analysis of a painting

    Project 7: in the style of

    Project 8: extending a reproductionWhat have you achieved?

    7: Painting without paint

    Introduction

    Theoretical studies

    What you will need

    A Note on the projects

    Project 9: a collage

    Project 10: painting and collage

    What have you achieved?

    8: Painting from objects

    Introduction

    Theoretical studies

    A Note on the Projects

    Project 11: a single object

    Project 12: a landscape

    Project 13: the urban scene

    9: painting people

    Introduction

    Theoretical studiesA note on the projects

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    Project 14: a portrait

    Project 15: a nude

    Project 16: a portrait group

    What have you achieved?

    10: Abstraction and the abstract

    Introduction

    Theoretical studies

    A note on the projects

    Project 17: a minimal seascape

    Project 18: a grid paintingProject 19: constructionist painting

    Project 20: a painters mathematics

    What have you achieved?

    11: Themes and ideas

    Introduction

    Project 21: themes and ideas

    What have you achieved?

    Looking ahead

    If you plan to submit your work for formal assessment

    Skills

    Knowledge

    Invention

    Judgement

    Theoretical studies and the logbook

    The logbook

    Written work

    The assessment portfolio

    Allocation of marks

    Specific requirements for each grade

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    Introduction: developing as an

    artist

    In Painting 1: Starting to Paint I said that learning to paint was something like

    learning to ride a bicycle. I began Painting 2: Relating to Other Artists with a

    quotation from Sir Joshua Reynolds, the first President of the Royal Academy,

    saying that the popular concept of art-making was that it was 'a kind of

    inspiration ... a gift bestowed upon peculiar favourites at birth' but that in fact

    it is the 'result of long labour and application'. Eric Gill (1882-1940), a very

    versatile artist himself (a wood engraving and a marble relief by him arereproduced on page 76 ofBritish Art), dismissed, in a different way, the

    notion of the artist as a specially gifted individual. 'I don't and never did like

    'flairs', he wrote in his autobiography, 'How can you like something you can't

    get by trying?'

    But playing down 'flairs' and 'gifts' in the artist's make-up doesn't mean that

    individualism shouldn't be encouraged - far from it. From the very beginning

    of the Painting Course, in fact from the first paragraph in Painting 1: Starting

    to Paint, I have been encouraging you to paint 'what appeals to you'. Even

    earlier in the Introduction to the Painting 1: Starting to Paint course book I

    told you that 'While anyone can learn to paint, not everyone can be a great

    artist. Everyone however is a special kind of artist because each person is

    different'. In Painting 2: Finding Your Way I will be placing more emphasis

    on this 'difference' and on painting 'what appeals to you'. I will be asking you

    to start to think about how you relate to the many different kinds of paintingthere are and the different ways in which artists work. I want you to begin to

    examine your own beliefs and to consider how you see yourself as an artist.

    The Painting 2: Finding Your Way course assumes that you have successfully

    completed Painting 1: Starting to Paint and Painting 2: Relating to Other

    Artists and that you can devote at least 7 hours and more probably, on

    average, 10 - 12 hours a week to study on your own. The working pattern

    established in the first two courses, of practical projects which are completed

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    in time for your attendance at tutorials or for sending to your tutor as part of

    an assignment, is similar in the third. The course is planned with ten tutorials

    (if you are tutored face-to-face) or five assignments (if tutored by post) just

    like the first two courses.

    Painting 2: Finding Your Way continues your studies from the previous

    course but it has its own identity which I have already mentioned. It

    encourages you to think more about your own particular view of the world

    and how you intend to recreate it in paint. In the previous two courses I have

    constantly asked you to try working in a particular way or to investigate a

    particular subject. In this course I will be encouraging you to become more

    self-reliant and independent. There will however be specific things I want youto attempt but more choice of projects and a wider use of painting mediums

    possible.

    One of the features of Painting 2: Relating to Other Artists was that you were

    required to spend a longer period of time developing an idea for painting

    than previously. There was also one project which extended throughout the

    course so that you had to keep it in mind constantly. In Painting 2: Finding

    Your Way you are expected to spend approximately the same amount of time

    on each project as last year - four weeks - and there is an extended project

    which will take you considerably longer than this.

    The first three sections of this course book, like many in Painting 2: Relating

    to Other Artists, have particular paintings by distinguished artists that you

    are asked to consider. There are also illustrations by OCA tutors and students

    which I am certain you will find stimulating and a source of inspiration.

    To obtain the most from this course you will need to follow-up the references

    to artists, past and present. In the next section, 'You and Your Course', I will

    be reminding you about ways in which you can find out more about artists,

    both those artists referred to in the text and others.

    The amount of time you will need to spend on painting and other study can

    only be described in vague terms because it is difficult to estimate, for

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    example, how long the study of other artists, mentioned above, will take. To

    an extent it will depend on your access to books, museums and galleries and

    it will also depend on your reasons for following this course.

    We recognise that, for some students, the primary reason for doing the course

    is the practical work. This work alone - and some may feel it is all they have

    time for - we estimate will take you about 7 hours per week. Although it is

    only through the practice of painting itself that you can improve your skill as

    a painter and try out your ideas, one of your important sources of inspiration

    should be your knowledge of other artists' work. This involves you in looking

    at reproductions or preferably actual pictures, learning about them and

    developing an attitude towards them. These theoretical studies are mostimportant. They provide comparisons for your own work and working

    methods, help to develop your judgement and will raise the level of your

    achievement as a painter. The practical and theoretical work together we

    estimate will take you, on average, 10-12 hours a week but even if you only

    spare 6 to 7 hours a week we strongly recommend that an hour or so of that

    time should be given up to broader Theoretical Studies and the development

    of a logbook.

    If you intend to register for assessment, concentrating solely or almost

    entirely on the practical work will be insufficient. You will be required to

    submit for assessment a logbook which, together with your sketchbook(s) and

    notebook, will play an important part in enabling the assessors to form an

    opinion of your overall achievement as a student. These books make it

    possible for you to be given credit for good ideas - even when these haven't

    been developed into completely successful paintings. There is moreinformation on the logbook in the next section.

    Many of us have a tendency to skim over the introductions to books - and

    course books are no exception. If you happen to have skimmed this far, please

    go back and read carefully through this Introduction. The next section 'You

    and Your Course' must also be read carefully. Don't start the practical projects

    without first having read it. It contains information which is indispensable if

    you wish to have your work assessed. For those not intending to register for

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    assessment it is also very important if you wish to gain the maximum benefit

    from this course.

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    Project 17: a minimal seascape

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    Merete Bates (OCA tutor): Three sea studies. Pastal on paper.

    Each approximately 18 cm x 25 cm

    Make several studies based on a seascape, with just the sky and a flat calm

    sea. You dont need to visit the seaside - visualise the sea and sky and make

    the simplest statement you can. When you have made, say, six differentstudies, develop one into a large painting.

    At first this may seem a very limited project but it will show you, for example,

    how difficult it is to decide on the best division of the painting rectangle by

    the horizon line and compel you to explore how colour can best be used to

    create the illusion of the flat receding sea. Can it, for example, possibly be

    painted in a single colour? The colours you use need not be based on nature.

    Try different colour combinations for sky and sea.

    In The Story of Art the painting by Nicolas de Stael, Agrigento shows how a

    few simple shapes and colours can be used to evoke a landscape with a strong

    feeling of light and space.

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    Project 19: constructionist painting

    Some abstract painters develop a system for their paintings. FrancesSpalding, in British Art since 1900 (pages 176 - 184) describes the work of some

    such Constructionists. She points to the underlying logic, often of a

    mathematical kind, which these artists gave their work in the hope that this

    measure and order would infiltrate the environment to good effect.

    You might consider making a relief (which many of the Constructionists

    made instead of paintings) using card or thin pieces of wood or metal. You

    could however try to develop a system for painting. This could, for example,

    be based on proportional divisions of your painting, restricting certain

    colours to particular areas. You do not have to limit yourself to a grid of

    horizontals and verticals. Circles, curves and zigzag shapes, for example, can

    be developed into a personal measure and order.

    Make at least four studies and develop one into a relief or painting.

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    Project 20: a painters mathematics

    Priscilla Fursdon: Studies for the project A Painters Mathematics

    The Spanish painter Juan Gris (1887 - 1927) gave a lecture at the Sorbonne in

    Paris in 1923 called On the Possibilities of Painting. It appears in the

    appendices toJuan Gris - His Life and Work by Kahnweiler (Lund Humphries,

    1947). The whole lecture is a tortuous read, but the following are the main

    points.

    true architecture cannot be broken up into parts which combine, like

    oxygen and hydrogen do to become water. A motor car is not

    architecture. It is merely a construction.

    painting is flat coloured architecture and not construction.

    it is based on the relationship between colours and the forms which

    contain them.

    how do forms correspond to colours? flat forms have two properties: size and quality.

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    examples of qualities of form are: circle, equilateral triangle.

    quality does not change, but size can.

    colours also have two properties, quality (hue) and intensity.

    hue does not change but intensity can.

    Gris, using his terms defined above, went on to make a number of statements.

    1. The size of a form is not of great importance; colour intensity can

    substitute for size. Hence, if there are two forms of similar quality but

    different size (such as two squares, one larger than the other) and these

    forms are of the same hue (e.g. red) the smaller one will seem as large as

    the other if its intensity is greater. [This, of course, only applies to slightdifferences in size!]

    2. Some colours are luminous and expansive, others darker and more

    concentrated. Some forms are expansive (e.g. curvilinear ones) as

    opposed to concentrated (rectilinear) ones.

    3. Some colours are warm (tending towards red) others cold (tending

    towards blue). Forms are colder the more geometrical they are. Freely

    shaped forms are warm.

    4. Some colours (earth colours) are heavy and dense. Some forms have an

    accentuated sense of gravity - symmetrical forms are heavier than

    asymmetrical ones.

    5. Opposition of colours equals contrasts of forms.

    Gris called these statements a form of painters mathematics which can

    establish the composition (in his terms the architecture) of a painting. He

    proposed that a painter could assemble a variety of elements in his paintings

    and balance them by applying the analogies in the statements above.

    It is interesting to read that he went on to say that abstract forms arranged in

    the above way could then be turned into representations of objects. The

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    power of suggestion in every painting is considerable. Every spectator tends

    to ascribe his own subject to it. One must force, anticipate and satisfy this

    suggestion.

    Once you have grasped what Gris is proposing, try out what he states in 1 to

    5 above and test in several stud...