Sean Cheetham Day Two – Portrait Painting Tips from K.L. Britton

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The finished painting!

 

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Here is step one.  Day two was almost completely painting, with Sean walking around to help individual students with their issues, instead of simply demonstrating.  This is great for most people, because it gets from general, to what am I doing right?  I know I wrote this about yesterday, but it was VERY tough for me to work from dark to light and paint as I put down, I usually block in my lights and darks and then work into them, so it was a struggle!

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Here is with the shadow side of the cheek, not even completed.  I probably could have ended up spending 10 hours on this, frankly, because it was such a challenge.

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One of the main takeaways I got from the workshop was to create huge piles of your lights, darks, and for each area.  I did a huge background tone, and worked all my paint into it.  I did a huge pile of shadow face, and I worked into it.  Awesomely, I could have worked even further into it after I was done, simply because I’d mixed so much.  Same goes with lights, and this was invaluable for me to learn.  I usually paint very thin and end up spending a lot of time re-mixing a colour instead of painting.

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The finished product with some thumb shadow 😀  I am pleased.  It’s quite small, only 9×12, but it took the whole time to finish AND with a migraine the second day.

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Here is my set up as I tried to see what issues I had.  There is Natalia Fabia’s setup next to mine.

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Me and Natalia’s work in progress

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My awesome new friend Marian made this gorgeous painting on the right in such a short amount of time!  It was a very large canvas and so exciting to see her progress as we went along.

I’m glad to answer any questions you might have about the workshop, feel free to leave a comment! Thanks for reading!

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Painting Plein Air with Edge Pro Gear’s Sketchbook Easel – Los Angeles K.L. Britton

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Sunday was a beautiful, warm day in Arcadia at the Peck Road Park.  A group of us learning from SaiPing Lok (Simon Lok) went our to watch him demonstrate and give it a go.

People always ask about my easel because it takes approx. 4 minutes to set up.  It’s so portable and easy, and the magnetic canvases also delight.  But let’s get to the details.  After I set up, I put on my canvas, which I had already coated in a wash of ultramarine and sienna and was dried.  My canvas here is 6″x6″, a size that allows me to get really creative with composition without having to decide whether “portrait” or “landscape” mode would be better.

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Here is my finished painting, an outcropping in the lake with moutnains, reflections, and a tree.  “Local III – Arcadia” Oil on panel, 6″x6″

It was great fun to go out and paint with everyone, I feel always that I learn so much each time I actually pick up the brush outside.  But I am still not “there” (where I want to be) with my landscapes.  In my head, I go through the ideas of atmosphere:

  1. The objects farther away from you will have less contrast and less value changes than the ones closer
  2. The objects farther away from you will be desaturated compared to those in front.
  3. The local colour is important, but the colour of the light/shadows are just as important or more, and since the light is more or less consistent in your subject, make sure you are adding the light colour to each light mixture.

However, this still looks like a rock with some trees, and I’m not at all certain my water really reads as water.  It just takes more and more practice until I understand where I went wrong here, or what is just ever so slightly off!  I actually think my painting has a beautiful mood, a lot like what I was trying to capture with the soft mountains of Arcadia and the peaceful feeling of the lake compared to the city around it.

I did run into a slightly bigger problem with my Edge Pro Gear Sketchbook Easel today, though.  It was a warm day, and when I opened the easel to paint, the paint had slid around quite a bit, despite the fact I had even used a palette knife to keep in on.  Of course, the glass has no tooth for the paint to hang on to, but just a heads up that particularly on warm days, your paint can be moving around.  It was a pain to clean but it was still worth the little added effort compared to my other easels that take longer to set up.

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Check out Peck Road Park

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Beautiful

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On the way out, in the twilight, the moon 🙂

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Thank you for reading!!

 

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!

More paintings, because that’s how I roll. K.L. Britton Art Los Angeles

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The Sailor, 6×6 Oil on Panel – Available for purchase here.

One of my other obsessions is fountain pens.  This is a Sailor 1911 Extra Fine with a beautiful gold nib and it writes like a dream.  Had to paint it, of course.

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You can find the digital version of this study a few posts back.  I may do yet another – this stunning study by Sargent uses a very limited palette, almost a Zorn palette, and yet it conveys so much.  His is unfinished, and so is mine.  6×6 Oil on panel.

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My Sketchbook pro setup in the wild.  What an easy setup – I was on, painted, and cleaned up in under an hour!

Thanks for reading!

Oils for Days – The Edge Pro Gear Sketchbook Pro Effect ;)

So in recent news, I got my Edge Pro Gear Sketchbook on the 25th – and I love it.  That’s the long and short of it.  I’ve been able to use it for small studies and since they’re small, I’ve been doing tons of them.  Here is a selection of my first couple.

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My setup in the wild, on my beautiful Koreatown balcony.  I love the rich historical architecture here, and every sunrise and sunset is an incredible inspiration.  The huge advantage of being in L.A.? The weather is good 99% of the time.  Here is the first study I did on the 28th.  Yay.

The Details:

What I love about the Edge pro gear sketchbook

Portable, easy, strong clamps.  Easy remove palette, so I can stick it in the fridge when I’m not painting for a day.  The magnetic turp jar has never fallen over… It’s a world record!   It also contains a gentle cheese hole area where you can wipe your brushes, my brushes come out 90% clean, and I usually only have to soap them once to finish the job.

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What I don’t like about Edge Pro Gear Sketchbook, the bad review.

I really only have one complaint… maybe two!  My main gripe is just that my long handled brushes don’t stay on well.  Since they don’t hold on both sides on the tables, they are easy to knock down.  However, my standard handled brushes work great, and I’ve simply switched to a more portable setup with the standard ones!  Easy fix.  My other complaint is that I got a far, far better tripod than the one they sell for a fraction of the price.  My tripod is sturdy, reliable, and beautiful, and cost about $70 on amazon.  It’s more or less an off-brand.  The one they offer online only holds about 2-3 lbs, so if you want to use this tripod with the bigger Edge Pro Gear, you can’t.  The one I got weighs almost the same as the one they sell, but it holds up to 8 lbs – so I can use whichever setup I want when I get myself the larger Edge Pro for Christmas 😉

Overall, it has increased my productivity a millionfold.  I’ve finished more oil paintings in the last two weeks than I had in the whole blackout, where I was concentrating on drawing.  I am very, very pleased.

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Thank you for reading!