A few studies – and videos. Painting Tips and Tricks

How to get your painting to show the focal point you want – or how to deal with competing focal points.

Here is a small, 6×6 painting of a couple roses:

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In order to make the front rose into the focal point (actually, if you look at the back roses, they aren’t even roses, just some brush strokes!) I deliberately darkened and muted every single mixture I used for my back roses.  The front is brighter, higher saturation, and more detailed, which is why your eye naturally sees it as the focal point.  Always keep this in mind when you’re having trouble with a busy painting.  I also have the entire process of this painting published on youtube at Los Angeles Academy of Art‘s feed:

These videos show the full, uncut process of how I mix my paints, and how I put them on the canvas in the most easy way possible.  All done on my Edge Pro Gear Paintbook which I adore.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

 

Thank you for reading!

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The Lake – Daily Art Tips by K.L. Britton Los Angeles Artist

This weekend was a busy one.  I wanted to get some good outdoor painting in, that’s somewhere you can really learn about the properties of light.  When the sun is rising and setting, it gives a warm, yellow glow.  When this happens, the shadows become much, much cooler.  Think of the way the sunset is – you can see the clouds closest to the setting sun are still lit by it, a bright yellow, and that contrast with the greys, purples, and blues of the shadows of the cloud (as well as any pink turns and highlights) are what give that striking feeling to the sun.

As the day goes on, the sun gets a little less bright yellow/orange.  It’s still a warm light, all sunlight is, but it changes hue during the day.  This is a very great time to work outdoors, during the day when the light is more steady, to get practice painting cool shadows.  Objects and items are almost perfectly their local colour at these times.  All you have to do is cool down the shadows by adding some ultramarine. 😀

If you’ve ever tried to capture a photo of the sunset, you know it’s not the same.  It’s always too light, too dark, too over or undersaturated.  Only when you’re painting outdoors can you really capture those light patterns and the patterns of other natural lighting.

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You can see here how warm the sun is in the beautiful gardens.

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But here you can see, the local colour of the fixture was “grey.”  Instead of making a “warm” grey, I made a cool shadow colour, giving the indication of a warm light by being a relatively cool shadow colour.

In painting relativity is everything.  It’s ok to use a cool colour in a warm light, but make sure your shadow areas are even cooler than that, so the eye will perceive the light areas as “warmer.”  If you think about this in the case of mixing skin tones – you can start with almost any tone that’s the same value as your subject – because your relative and surrounding colours can make it loook relatively cooler, warmer, brighter, etc.  I have done skin tones with white and a touch of cadmium red or alizarin crimson.  I’ve also done just white with orange – as long as the shadows were warmer or cooler based on the light, it came out like skin.

Thank you for reading!

What I do in my Spare Time – Daily Portrait Art Tips by K.L. Britton Los Angeles

Every now and then I get an idea that I want to do a painting that challenges me.  Sometimes it’s a still life, sometimes a figure, sometimes a portrait, and I know it’s going to take a bit longer to get everything in the right place than usual.  One such is this portrait.

When we paint someone or something we know, we tend to fill in the blanks or make guesses based on what we “know” about that person or thing.  For example, I could say I know that this portrait’s eyebrows go at an upward angle with little curve, however when we’re painting or drawing, it’s really essential to let go of all of those pre-conceived notions.  While you may think oranges are round, they’re a series of angles that form a not-perfectly-circular form.

For these kinds of challenges, where I know in advance I will be possibly messing up – I do a sketch.  This isn’t really a “drawing” drawing, it’s more of a quick idea with only as much detail as I need to figure out what challenges I will face when I actually paint.  In this case, I had started the face too wide, the shadows too far from the center of the face.  It’s these kinds of mistakes I would run into when painting, but at that time I may not be able to put my finger on what’s wrong.  Since drawing is the foundation of painting, it’s always best to start with a sketch to check your idea.  Figure out what bothers you before you’ve invested a day into an under-sketch.  Then fix it, and remember to keep an eye on it when painting.  It makes the process much faster!

How to Draw Portraits art tips by contemporary artist K.L. Britton

Here you can see my lay in.  I already corrected the eye on the left that went out too far.

How to Draw Portraits art tips by contemporary artist K.L. Britton

You can see some of the issues have been corrected here – the right (our right, his left!) part of the face has been moved in, the eyes have been corrected, even the nose’s bottom has moved up quite a bit.  All of these are things I’ll look for when I paint.

How to Draw Portraits art tips by contemporary artist K.L. Britton

Here I’ve made several more adjustments.  I’ll probably keep working on this sketch just for fun, but for now, it’s shown me what I need to look out for in the future.

Thank you for reading!

Studies for Days – the Nose Knows – K.L. Britton Art

Yesterday’s adventure involved watching a movie while painting a nose study.  Why a nose, you may ask?  Because in my original painting of this portrait, the nose and right eye both came out a little off.  Instead of shying away, I’m practicing, and when I put it all back together again, maybe it will improve my results.  This is also what I teach my students in my personalized online art classes.  

You’ve got to start with the basics, and then take the time to put them all in the right spot.  The struggle with my beginner students is their desire to put all the details in, and ignore the overall picture.  Often, this will lead to one very realistic eye in the right place, one less realistic eye in the wrong place, and the other features breezed over  in a game of face roulette.  Learn how to do the details (eye, nose, lips, etc) and then take your time putting them together.  Check in a mirror, check in a thumbnail, step way back to check, and then check again.

K.L. Britton Art tips Noses Oil on Linen

Thank you for reading!!