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Beginning with Encaustics

If you love to experiment and mix together different media, and play creatively, then encaustics are a great medium for you.  I enjoy doing both collage encaustics and pure painting with the medium. This bee to the right was one of my early encaustics that incorporates pages from a book, an atlas and some origami…

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The Value of Color, the Color of Value

The relationship between value and color in oil painting is tricksy, GM_20160525_200706 Here is a photo of my limited palette alternating between grayscale and full spectrum. Notice that the colors have an intrinsic value; that is a very helpful trait when mixing colors and structuring your painting with a strong light and dark design. The colors are Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Red Light, Indian Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Light and Titanium White. No black, no greens, oranges or purples, nor any earth tones such as Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre. yet important. This exercise is designed to help you understand the intrinsic values of pigments, and to key your colors to the underlying values in a painting. Value is cake, color is frosting. The value gives your painting its underlying structure, color is the pretty stuff on top.

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Painting from Photographs

Here are a few guidelines and suggestions: Step one:  Choose a good photo.  A good photo for this has: Meaning for you. A strong dark and light structure.  This is vital to painting a good painting. Not lots of detail. An unfocused photograph might be better than a hyper-realistic one. A good design and abstract form. Cropping and composition that follows the standard rules for composition. Step two:  Play with the composition, do some sketches using the photo to make different paintings.  try out two or three compositions from the same photo.  Always draw the sketches in the same aspect ration and orientation as your canvas. Step three: Transfer the…

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Discovering Abstraction

A student asked me where abstraction comes from, and how to do it.  When I was twenty two, a wise old painter told me that all painters become asbstract as they age: I scoffed and said never, ever.  Now, here I am, working on abstract painting.  The good news: it is tremendous fun.  The bad…

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Schematic for building a drawing…

Here is a schematic metaphor for of building a drawing or painting… each of the layers is a different lesson in my classes. Not all of the layers are needed for every drawing or painting, but I work with most of them in my practice, and find that student’s drawing skills jump forward with each one. Here is a pdf of Assembling your Drawing Toolkit, since it appears much to small for legibility here. The layers I find most useful are Design– how the image will be cropped and interact with the edge of the artwork.  Negative space is a huge part of this process. Mapping–schetching lightly where the drawing will happen,…

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Upcoming Classes and Workshops

Please join me for this spring and summer’s teaching and learning: SCALING UP PLEIN AIR: OIL PAINTING WORKSHOP Event Dates: 4/22/2016 – 4/24/2016 Location: Mendocino Art Center Website: Join Ann in focusing on confident and authentic plein air and studio landscape work. The class will address solid compositions, and clean color harmonies.  We will…

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Plein Air in a new direction

Here is a new genre for me:  I call this painting Imaginary Plein Air.  It is imaginary because it is a painting done of a place underwater and impossible to paint en plein air.  The Valley was flooded in the early nineteen hundreds in spite of John Muir’s opposition. Hetch Hetch Valley can still be seen,…

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The Story of a Painting

This motif, Vernal Falls in Yosemite Valley, is a favorite composition of mine.  I have worked with it, plein air and in the studio for many years.   The original plein air work has been lost to time– the first sketches had powerful parts, but did not survive in the harsh environment of the studio.…

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