Week 14

Today we started a new painting of a still life. My first demonstration was on how to use a grid of squares to transfer an image from a photograph to your canvas. The important thing to remember here is that it is much easier to us squares than rectangles for your grid. 

For my second demo I focused on how to create the illusion of transparency and reflectivity. They are two sides of the same coin in some important ways. The most common mistake I see people make is to think they need to make the paint they are using more transparent in order to make the object they are painting look transparent. While sometimes this is an acceptable technique I think it is fundamentally wrong-headed.

The material quality of the paint does not need to change in order for us to create the illusion of transparency or reflection. You need to stop thinking about what you are painting and trust that if you paint what your eyes see, it will end up looking like the things you are wanting to represent. So we are not trying to paint a transparent bottle, we are trying to paint the colors, values, textures etc. that we see in the image. If we can reproduce the information in our photograph accurately it will look like a transparent bottle. This is an important shift in perception. 

So we paint this just like we paint anything else. Big to small - general to specific. We start by blocking in large areas of color and value. We will get into more details next week - like the little shiny highlights on the bottle. Practice some self control and don't allow yourself to indulge in those juicy little details quite yet.