May
12
2010

Creating A Classic Still Life by Wilson Bickford

 

Still life is one of my favorite subject matters. For me, it's the challenge of capturing the realism of the objects involved. Quite often, I will utilize the Old Masters' "indirect" approach of laying down a "grisaille" underpainting, then layering glazes and applying final highlights. There's no question that this is a very effective method which yields very convincing results.
However, there are times when I take a more "direct" approach, as in the sample shown herein.
This painting was rendered "alla prima" ( basically wet-on-wet ) on a Black Acrylic Gesso primed canvas. I used no preliminary sketch, but rather laid out the objects and composition with a flat brush as I went. I simply roughed in the shapes and defined and refined them as the work progressed.
I knew in advance that I would want to glaze certain areas to bring out richer hues, so I added an Alkyd medium ( Liquin ) to my paints, which literally dried my canvas over-night. The next day, I was able to add glazes and brighten highlights to bring it to the finished degree you see here.
I used Jerry’s own SOHO OILS for this work. If you haven't yet tried them, you should.
Remember that when rendering still life, it's very important to show a broad range of values; lights, mid-tones and darks. Notice how I emphasized some really dark passages, but balanced it with some very light accents (and all the tones in between).
Also, note that by suggesting "reflections" of the fruit and crock, a table surface was only implied and not actually spelled out to the viewer. It wasn't necessary because I was able to make the viewer "see" it and "sense" it, even though it's minimal in the interpretation. Ah,... the power of suggestion!
www.wilsonbickford.com
May
12
2010

Tips on Composition of a Painting by Tom Jones

 


Composition is a very important part of the painting process. A good composition makes your painting more pleasing to the viewer and will enhance your chances to sell more paintings. Let me start by suggesting that you use a pencil to draw a very light vertical line down the center of the paper and likewise, draw a line horizontally through the center of the paper. This will help you avoid placing objects of importance in the center of the painting. The other reason for the lines is to help you from ending or starting object at those lines such as a horizon line or the edge of a tree or building.

(Example) Avoid having your horizon line in the middle of the paper, but rather have it no more than one third of the way from the top or bottom of the paper. An example for the vertical line is do not have the edge of a tree or building stop or start on the vertical center line.

Have the painting set up so you have three planes: something in the foreground, middle ground and background. This gives the painting depth and allows the viewer to walk into the scene.

When painting each corner area should be different. This avoids repetitiveness. When painting or repeating objects, such as buildings or trees, have different shapes and colors. As an example, when painting two trees in the foreground, have one warm in color and one cool. Have one thick and one thinner or one slightly closer in the scene. Overlap buildings to improve interests and design. Add life to the scene with people, animals or birds. Place your center of interest slightly left or right of the center line and slightly above or below the horizon line. Try to have objects such as the tops of trees or sails go out of the frame. Clouds also should go out the sides or top of the frame. This will give your painting a more realistic and professional appearance. When placing objects in the foreground, have trees and fence posts end above the horizon line as this will give you more depth and better perspective in the scene.

After completing a painting take a few days or even a week to study the painting and turn it sideways and upside down. This will help you see little things more clearly. Ask a couple friends and fellow artist to critique your painting. By following my suggestions in this article over and over you can't help but to become a happier and more skilled artist.

You may send comments or questions to me at by email at Tom@TomJonesArtist.com
And please check out my interactive web site. TomJonesArtist.com
May
12
2010

Good Night, Sweet Prints by Wilson Bickford

Okay, ........so I know I'll probably ruffle a few feathers with this week's entry, but I'm just going to state my own personal opinions regarding art "prints". I've never been an advocate of the print market and here's why.
Is it just me or has greed taken over the print market? And I don't mean just recently, because it's always seemed that way to me.
The concept is simple enough; take an artistic image and reproduce it for mass sales at a more affordable rate to the common man.
But I fail to see the sense of charging $400 - $500 for a sheet of paper with an image of a painting on it. Especially when there are 2 or 3 thousand of them in existence.
Now, the consensus is that, "The price of the print is relative to the price of the original." The bottom line is that it's still a sheet of paper with an image of a painting on it. I can't get past that, I'm sorry.
In the old days, we had offset lithography as the main means of reproducing artwork. To get the "best price per unit," the artist had to order a very large quantity of said image. I know of several fellow artists who have stacks of prints left in storage, having sold 20 or 30 out of 1,500. Why? Because with that many around they are not really considered rare anymore and they were priced too high.
With the advent of the Inkjet printer and "Giclee’s," it seems anyone with a desktop printer is trying to make their own prints now. Of course, the advantage of this type of printing is that you can print 1, 50 or 100 and not be forced into a huge lot. You can literally "Print as you go." But, as a result it seems there are nothing but "open editions" whereby this image can be printed indefinitely and exhausted until there's no demand left whatsoever.
Does THAT add to the value?? Knowing that it's possible to replicate an unlimited number of copies kind of takes away the appeal, doesn't it?
Well, at least it does for me. Hey, it's just a sheet of paper with an image of a painting on it!

www.wilsonbickford.com

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