Australian Fine Artist

Painting Nudes 2017

The First of Five Workshops with David Chen

Learning to paint nudes, like learning still life, is an important part of training as a painter. It teaches observational skills, how to recognise patterns, form, colour and tone. Once you master these things you can look at any subject and be able to interpret it into painting.

A common problem that artists face when painting is painting continuously and repetitively around edges. this effectively isolates your subject from the background and surrounds. It then loses context.

Repeating brush strokes creates a ‘stiff’ and boring result, so knowing where to break lines so that your focal point or main subject connects with the area around it is important. The solution lies is learning where it is best to break lines and change brush direction.

Emphasis Versus Subduing Areas

Here are some artists to look at for examples of what I am referring to:

  • Van Gogh (1885-1889)
  • Cezanne (1885-1890)
  • Gaugin (later works)
  • Degas (figurative studies)
  • Lautrec (figurative works)

Looking closer at the works by these artists will show you where they have used edges and lines. In some areas they butt one colour up against another to create the impression of an edge, in other areas colours run into each other and brush strokes change direction to soften and de-emphasize that spot. In other areas there is an intervening ‘line’ of colour sometimes left from the underpainting, to create a harder edge and draw the eye, creating a focal point or area of interest.

Basically, you can’t just paint the background around a subject and expect to see a unified and coherent painting. Unless you want your main subject to look like it is isolated from its context, this is not the way to pull everything together.

This basis of what is also called “lost and found edges” is an important part of creating not only figurative or still life paintings, but also any other subject. In a seascape for example, you want the rocks and waves to look like they are all on the same beach, that they meet and are wrapping and working around each other. In a landscape you want the trees to look like they are connected to the land and the sky to look like it meets the hills, not a composition that looks like one is a cut out that has nothing to do with anything around it.

So when facing painting the human figure or a still life next time remember this:

“Treat your portraits like a still life and your still life like a portrait. Create the illusion with colour for more interesting results.”

Below is my painting from the session before and after David did a couple of adjustments. He was pleased tha I am moving away from what he calls ‘potato’ colours in my skin tones. I also experimented with more paint in areas to add texture, which is something I am trying out with my seascapes and landscapes as well.
The human form is something that I have been working on for a few years, and it frankly isn’t my best subject, but I am prepared to keep at until I can see a level of understanding I am happy with.

Essay for Bachelor of Fine Art and Visual Culture 2017

According to Greek mythology, Helen of Troy, the legendary ‘face that launched a thousand ships” was considered one of the most beautiful women in the world. In Homer ‘s Iliad, which covers only a short period of the siege of Troy, Helen represented an understated but essential part of the story. Plato, who both admired and ridiculed Homer for his writing of the Iliad, wrote about his standards for beauty and character especially for the ‘ideal individual’ in a city-state, and it is by the employment of these principles that continuing admiration of the beauty of Helen of Troy will be analysed. Examples of visual art will support this investigation, but it is her portrayal in the Iliad that will underpin the argument for and against her beauty. A broad investigation of Helen’s complex character, and how she has been depicted for centuries, will result in a better understanding of her by exposing her inward and outward beauty, or lack thereof, according to the ideals expressed in Plato’s The Republic and Symposium.

puget-1683-86

Figure 1. Pierre Puget. (1620-1694). The Abduction of Helen of Troy. 1683-1686. Bronze. 97.2×48.3cm.
The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Michigan, USA.

According to myth, Helen was the daughter of Zeus, and it was this relationship that prompted the first of her abductions. Her first abductor Theseus, king of Athens wanted her as a sexual conquest before leaving her to attempt to steal Persephone from Hades. On her return to Sparta, a number of suitors pursued Helen, until Menelaus was chosen to marry her by her father (Bell 1996). This foundation to her story reveals Helen as a chattel or prize to be won and conquered, which at a young age could explain her beha­­viour in later years. It leaves unanswered, however, the question of how much Helen used her beauty to manipulate those around her and how complicit she was in her ‘abduction’ to Troy. The story of Helen, which continues through several ancient Greek myths, presents an ambiguous character that seems to change from one story to another.

greek-5thc-bce-vase

Figure 2. Drinking cup with the departure and recovery of Helen, late Archaic Period. Ceramic. 5th Century BCE. 21.5cm.
Greek. Museum of Fine Art, Boston.

Although not the central character in Homer’s Iliad, Helen is portrayed as the main cause for the Trojan War. In it, she sometimes appears to regret her actions whilst simultaneously ready to relieve herself from responsibility by blaming the gods (Groten 1968). In Book 3 of the Iliad where the most significant hint of the character of Helen is indicated, Ryan in his paper Helen in Homer points out how she used her beauty to sway the opinions of Priam and of the elders of Troy. Helen later confronted Paris wishing he had died in battle with Menelaus, before allowing him to seduce her. Even at her most noble, she regularly turned events to her advantage by using her beauty to sway men (Ryan 1965). Homer never makes clear Helen’s complicity in her abduction or how genuine her sorrow was for the consequences of her actions.

de-lairesse-1685-90

Figure 3. Gerard de Lairesse. Helen arriving at Troy, where she is led by Paris to Priam’s palace. 1685-90. Oil on Canvas.
Musée Du Louvre, Paris, France.

Visual artists, beginning in ancient Greece, have shown us many faces of Helen of Troy, either as the victim or the defiant woman who runs away with a younger lover but generally outwardly beautiful. Whether her character was flawed, or Aphrodite beguiled her, is often irrelevant to how she is rendered (Blondell 2009). In the accompanying examples Helen appears both complicit and victim in her relationship with Paris indicating artist’s varying views of her. These contrary viewpoints that have persisted into 21st-century movies continue to confuse viewers about Helen’s place as victim or conspirator in the Iliad.

david-the-loves-of-paris-and-helen-1788

Figure 4. Jacques-Louis David. (1748-1825). The Loves of Paris and Helen. 1788. Oil on Canvas. 70.87×56.69”.
Musée Du Louvre, Paris, France

molinari-abduction-of-helen

Figure 5. Antonio Molinari. (1655-1704). The Abduction of Helen. Undated. Oil on Canvas. Size Unknown.
Northampton Museums & Art Gallery, UK.

In The Republic 378a Plato places ethics above all, saying that deceit, cowardice, and ungoverned passions should not be in the place of good character. HIs objection to Mimesis in the Iliad is because those playing parts, like that of Helen, will become like them in real life making them intolerable to the ideal state. Plato goes on in Book X of The Republic to justify his call for the banishment of Mimetic poetry and art, by stating that it is dishonest or removed from Truth. Aristotle, in contrast, saw the Mimetic as a useful method of learning about the human experience. For him, poor character and moral choices were methods of instructing the audience about the consequences of life decisions (Cannatella 2006, 10-11). Plato, however, required the characters in poetry such as Helen to lead by example, instructing high moral standards rather than being imperfect copies of transcendental Forms of Beauty and Truth.

2004-movie-paris-and-helen

Figure 6. Paris and Helen. 2004. Directed by Woflgang Petersen. Still from the Movie Troy. Warner Bros. USA.

Plato’s theory of Forms, further states that whatever humans create is only an imitation of the True Form. The characters in Homer’s Iliad were poor copies of the Truth, driven by extreme emotion and able to corrupt the rational and decent part of the human soul (Republic 605c). Not unlike modern day mass media and the cult of personality, in the form of the Kardashians for example, Plato was concerned with outward appearance, dubious character and emotive rhetoric displayed by characters like Helen in the Iliad replacing proper thinking and analysis.

   rosetti-1863  screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-12-06-10-pm  

Figure 7A. top: Dante Gabriel Rossetti. (1828–-1882). Helen of Troy. 1863. Oil on Canvas. 31x71cm. Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany
Figure 7B. Below: Kim Kardashian. 2016. Photograph. © Celebrity Gossip and Entertainment News.

Plato insists that the results of arts should be didactic, seeking to serve humanity. In this regard, the representation of Helen as a central character to the Trojan War both in the Iliad, and in the arts since then, often reveals a character that is shallow by highlighting physical charisma, and incomplete by lacking balanced Beauty (Homer 1987, 68). Beautiful pleasures are free of pain, based on things that are beautiful and are always Beautiful, and are moderate, or measurable and according to the Oracle at Delphi, ‘the most beautiful is the most just’ (Eco 2010, 37). Therefore, Helen’s description in the Iliad aligns more to a contemporary definition of physical attractiveness rather than Platonic Beauty.

de-morgan-helen_of_troy
Figure 8. Evelyn De Morgan. (1855-1919) Helen of Troy. 1898. Oil on Canvas. 38.75×18.75”. De Morgan Foundation Storage.

An important point is that Plato’s definition of Beauty is not how it is understood today. Kalon, or Fineness according to Plato translated as pleasing through hearing and sight (Plato 1997). The Beautiful, or Devine Beauty or Eternal Beauty is unchanging, only accessible to the intellect. Consequently, any representation of beauty in a tragic poem like the Iliad would be a poor and untruthful imitation of the real Form of Beauty (Symposium 211d). In Symposium 211e Plato describes Absolute Beauty as beyond the physical or mortal and more akin to True Virtue, which he saw as Authentic Beauty. Symposium 210a-220b goes on to include the Ladder of Love that raises humanity from love of superficial beauty to the understanding of true heavenly Beauty (Plato 360BCE). Pythagoras’ theory of a cosmic harmony was influential on Plato’s assessment of Kalon (Beauty). The concepts of the Golden Ratio, or Ideal Measurements, were important in Classical architecture and sculpture in Athens during the 5th and 4th C BCE in regard to beauty. The Parthenon is the best example of this theory. Harmony, Proportion and Justice were underlying principles for Plato’s ideal city, state and population (Janaway 2005). These concepts that defined and measured Kalon (beauty) according to Plato, are on a philosophical level beyond the physical allure of Helen of Troy.

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Figure 9. Athanasios G. Angelopoulos. 2011. Parthenon: the Geometry of the Facades.

Socrates’ three versions of beauty were: as a suitable or fitting thing, beauty as something that is fitting or suitable for a good purpose, or that which is pleasing to the eye or the ear (Grube 1927). In The Republic, Plato responds by stating that beauty can be relative and ugly in comparison to Absolute Beauty, which is akin to the mind, and not the senses, existing outside the changing experience of mortal humans. According to Plato to be Beautiful there must be proportion and balance in the body and the mind (soul). A beautiful body cannot hold a corrupt or inferior soul. If the soul or mind is corrupt, then the individual cannot be Beautiful.

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Figure 10. Helen of Troy (Die Schone Helena). 1956. Written by Bill Wrobel. Movie Poster. Warner Bros. USA.

The myth of Helen as the beautiful victim in the Iliad has persisted into modern folklore without substantial analysis of her character in many cases. She deserted her husband and family with an already married Paris, taking substantial wealth with her. She also stood by whilst war raged because of her actions, bewailing her situation and selfishly thinking about how everything reflected on her (Soble 2006, 87). Absolute Beauty that co-exists with virtues like courage or wisdom, and higher levels of Love and Truth in the realm of the unchanging eternal, are sadly lacking in these examples, underpinning her characterisation as sexually desirable and emotionally puerile but not Beautiful according to Plato.

sandys-1867

Figure 11. Sandys, Anthony Frederick. (1829-1904). Helen of Troy. 1867. Oil on Panel. 34.8×30.5cm.
Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool

The image of Helen of Troy has persisted into the 21st Century and concepts of beauty have changed many times (Maguire, 2009). Quintus and Isocrates related beauty to a symbol rather than a physical thing or person, so the beauty of Helen represented the beauty of Greece. Johann Winkelmann (1717-1768) later described the cultivation of Platonic Ideal Beauty in his model for an emerging national identity, and as the origin of Classical Greek greatness. Plotinus (204-270CE) perceived beauty as something that exists apart from the Beautiful, as it is forever changing, and possible through the achievement of oneness within the self (Hall, 2013). Later arguments by David Hume (1711-1776) and Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804) about standards of taste and subjectivity during the Enlightenment would further confuse concepts about beauty (Gracyk 2004). This led to contrary modern impressions of the beauty of Helen of Troy

Ultimately, various descriptions from philosophy and the visual arts provide various depictions of the beauty of Helen of Troy. Plato, when describing his thoughts about True Beauty imparts a vision of Helen as a complex character who used her attractiveness to beguile and manipulate men for her own purposes. According to him, when condensed to a simple formula, True Beauty exists as a Form which the physical can only imitate; it must be balanced and incorruptible and always Beautiful. Therefore, if Truly Beautiful and incorruptible, the character of Helen in the Iliad could have resisted any cajoling or beguiling by the gods. Additionally, if the gods had nothing to do with her actions, by lacking virtues such as wisdom, truth, and courage, she proved she was an inferior and mortal copy of Authentic Beauty. That being the case, according to Plato’s The Republic and Symposium, the mythical Helen of Troy characterised in the Iliad by Homer was physically alluring but cannot be considered Truly Beautiful.


 

References:

Bell, Robert E. 1996. About Helen of Troy. Modern American Poetry. In Women of Classical Mythology: A Biographical Dictionary. http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g-l/abouthelen.htm.

Cannatella, Howard James. 2006. “Plato and Artistotle’s Educational Lessons from The Iliad.” Paideusis 15 (2): 5-13. Journals.sfu.ca/pie/index.php/pie/article/download/73/21.

Eco, Umberto. 2010. Umberto Eco on Beauty: A History of a Western Idea. UK: MacLehose House.

Gracyk, Theodore. 2004. “Hume and Kant: Summary and Comparison.” Philosophy of Art. http://web.mnstate.edu/gracyk/courses/phil%20of%20art/hume_and_kant.htm.

Groten, F.J. Jr. 1968. “Homer’s Helen.” Greece & Rome. 15 (1): 33-39. Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Classical Association. http://jstor.org/stable/642254.

Grube, G.M.A. 1927. “Plato’s Theory of Beauty.” The Monist 37 (2): 269-288. Oxford University Press. http:www.jstor.org/stable/27901113.

Hall, Manly P. 2013. “Plotinus the Beautiful.” Doctrines of Neoplatonism: Five Audio Seminars with Manly P. Hall. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vphl4fz3ny4.

Homer. 1987. The Iliad. Translated by E. V. Rieu. Kent, UK: Book Club Associates.

Janaway, C. 2005. ed. Gaut, B et al. “Plato.” In Routledge Companion to Aesthetics. London: Routledge. 3-14.

Maguire, Laurie. 2009. Helen of Troy From Homer to Hollywood. United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.

Plato. 1997. ed. J. M. Cooper. Complete Works. Indianapolis: Hackett.

Plato. 360BCE. Translated with Comment by R.E Allen. The Dialogues of Plato. Volume II. The Symposium. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. http://website.education.wisc.edu/halverson/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Symposium.pdf.

Plato. 360 BCE. Translated by Benjamin Jowett. 2009. Symposium. http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/symposium.html.

Ryan, George. J. 1965. “Helen in Homer.” The Classical Journal 61 (3): 115-117. The Classical Association of the Middle West and South Inc. http://www.jstor.org.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/stable/3294509?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents.

Soble, Alan. Sex from Plato to Paglia: A Philosophical Encyclopedia. Volume 1: A-L. London: Greenwood press. 87. https://books.google.com.au/books?id=IMTEiTtqqPcC&pg=PA87&lpg=PA87&dq=plato’s+opinion+about+helen+of+troy&source=bl&ots=s4bUUxmeEP&sig=vHn9EzBY_accCcV3OulYLtW7RLs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjL6ZSw2IHRAhUBu7wKHQXPBYUQ6AEISjAI#v=onepage&q=plato’s%20opinion%20about%20helen%20of%20troy&f=false.


 

Bibliography:

Austin, Norman. 1994. Helen of Troy and her Shameless Phantom. London: Cornell University Press. 9-16. https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=FtIVmTOO_S4C&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=helen+of+troy+summary&ots=OcXz8Eo3Er&sig=THD37b0GGdd8DLyeuJ_GNMRolqM&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=helen%20of%20troy%20summary&f=false.

Blondell, Ruby. 2013. Helen of Troy: Beauty, Myth, Devastation. UK: Oxford University Press. 194-195, Preface. https://books.google.com.au/books?id=S_l6oYzGt1AC&redir_esc=y.

Ceccarelli, Serena. 2005. “Launching a thousand ships: The beauty of Helen of Troy in Isocrates.” Masters Thesis, University of Western Australia.

Dammann, Elisabeth Schellekens. 2007. Aesthetics & Morality. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. 95-108, 134-135.

Danto, Arthur C. 2000. “Beauty for Ashes.” In Regarding Beauty: A View of the Late Twentieth Century, edited by Neal Benezra. Washington DC: Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Gerden.

Doran, Robert. 2015. The Theory of the Sublime from Longinus to Kant. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. https://books.google.com.au/books?id=B9koCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA78&lpg=PA78&dq=kant+and+the+iliad&source=bl&ots=PLQzlz6zfl&sig=6WizQ8bkHZeD7sp_GAfaB3k7QV0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi3odbiw4TRAhUHJpQKHTJIDFcQ6AEIJzAC#v=onepage&q=helen&f=false. 144, 154, 280.

Gross, Rebecca. 2015. “What Is The Golden Ratio? What You Need to Know and How To Use It.” https://designschool.canva.com/blog/what-is-the-golden-ratio/.

Havelock, Eric A. 1963. Preface to Plato. London, England: Harvard university Press. https://books.google.com.au/books?id=oOT8FKI4sd0C&pg=PA20&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=2#v=onepage&q&f=false. 12, 20-22, 28-30.

Pina , Stephanie Graham. 2014. “The many faces of Helen of Troy.” Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood. http://preraphaelitesisterhood.com/helen-of-troy/.

Plato. 2009. Translated by Benjamin Jowett. The Republic. c.360BCE. http://www.classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.11.x.htm.

Sartwell, Crispin. 2009. What is Beauty 2, 9:02. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT5dATwiHYk.

Sartwell, Crispin. 2009. What is Beauty 3, 7:45. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT5dATwiHYk.

Sartwell, Crispin. 2009. What is Beauty 4. 9:31. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT5dATwiHYk.

Sartwell, Crispin. 2009. What is Beauty 5, 8:20. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT5dATwiHYk.

Stevenson, Leslie. 1974. Seven Theories of Human Nature. UK: Oxford University Press.

The Many Faces of Helen of Troy. 2014. The Artstor blog. https://artstor.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/the-many-faces-of-helen-of-troy/.

Tichner, Seth. 2010. “Plato Idealism & Aesthetics.” YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AklabAxx5Qs.


Illustrations:

Figure 1. Pierre Puget. (1620-1694). The Abduction of Helen of Troy. 1683-1686. Bronze. 97.2×48.3cm. The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Michigan, USA. ww.davidrumsey.com/amica/amico751757-40671.html#record.

Figure 2. Drinking cup with the departure and recovery of Helen, late Archaic Period. Ceramic. 5th Century BCE. 21.5cm. Greek. Museum of Fine Art, Boston. http://www.bridgemanimages.com.

Figure 3. Gerard de Lairesse. Helen arriving at Troy, where she is led by Paris to Priam’s palace. 1685-90. Oil on Canvas. Musée Du Louvre, Paris, France. https://artstor.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/the-many-faces-of-helen-of-troy/armnig_10313469901/.

Figure 4. Jacques-Louis David. (1748-1825). The Loves of Paris and Helen. 1788. Oil on Canvas. 70.87×56.69”. Musée Du Louvre, Paris, France. http://www.jacqueslouisdavid.org/The-Loves-of-Paris-and-Helen-1788.html.

Figure 5. Antonio Molinari. (1655-1704). The Abduction of Helen. Undated. Oil on Canvas. Size Unknown. Northampton Museums & Art Gallery, UK. http://www.artuk.org/artdetective/propose-a-discussion/painting/the-abduction-of-helen-49922.

Figure 6. Paris and Helen. 2004. Directed by Woflgang Petersen. Still from the Movie Troy. Warner Bros. USA. http://theredlist.com/wiki-2-24-224-267-view-fiction-profile-helen-paris.html.

Figure 7A. Dante Gabriel Rossetti. (1828-1882). Helen of Troy. 1863. Oil on Canvas. 31x71cm. Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany. http://www.bridgemanimages.com.

Figure 7B. Kim Kardashian. 2016. Photograph. Celebrity Gossip and Entertainment News. https://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2016/08/kim-kardashian-wants-to-turn-into-a-human-barbie/.

Figure 8. Evelyn De Morgan. (1855-1919) Helen of Troy. 1898. Oil on Canvas. 38.75×18.75”. De Morgan Foundation Storage. http://www.demorgan.org.uk/Helen%20of%20Troy.

Figure 9. Angelopoulos, Athanasios G. 2011. Parthenon: the Geometry of the Facades. http://athang1504.blogspot.com.au/2011_05_01_archive.html.

Figure 10. Helen of Troy (Die Schone Helena). 1956. Written by Bill Wrobel. Movie Poster. Warner Bros. USA.

Figure 11. Sandys, Anthony Frederick. (1829-1904). Helen of Troy. 1867. Oil on Panel. 34.8×30.5cm. Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool. http://www.bridgemanimages.com.

Copyright 2017 Janice Mills. Reproduction is prohibited without written consent by the author.

Advanced Seascape Painting

Final in the Series of Five Monthly Workshops with David Chen

Loosening up Versus Painting Against the Contour

If you are like me, and admire the work of the Impressionist painters, you may look atyour work and think that it looks too ‘tight’ and wish you could ‘loosen up’ your method of painting.

Like me, you may also be confused as to how you go about doing this. This is where the concept of loosening up is usually confused with the method of painting against contours.

In this final workshop for the semester, this very portant method, that will help your paintings to gain some of that more immediacy and freshness, so often seen in the finest impressionist artworks, can begin to be understood and applied.
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Portrait Painting for Artists

Session Number Five of Five Workshops with David Chen

Basic Values

When you design a portrait you need to use enough values to help the subject to stand out. Values used correctly, help to bring out your sitter, and push the surrounding area and background back. By abstracting the surrounds with the right values, you can hint at the professiona or personality of the person without allowing everything around them to dominate the painting.

How this is achieved, is by careful use of just enough changes in values.

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Advanced Seascape Painting

Fourth in the Series of Monthly Workshops with David Chen

Relating Objects in the Background to Those in the Rest of Your Composition

Most of us are aware of the concept of the foreground, middle and background divisions in compositions. These planes help the artists to create depth in a scene so that the viewer gets the impression of looking into a painting, not just at a two dimensional flat surface.

When creating these planes, however, we need to think about the relationships between items and objects in each of these areas. without a flow, or reltaitonship in a painting, we end up with a load of disjointed and unrelated objects that have no ‘conversations’ going on between them.
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Workshop Number Four of Five 2016

Tutor: David Chen

In this session we discussed the difference between painting portraits using high key colours in contrast to low key, and where these methods have been and are used. Since the Impressionists began using colour so much more dramtically, and the invention of many new colours during the 19th and 20th centuries, high key, or colourist paintings have become the trend for painters. This is in contrast to the low key, and dramatic portraits of artists like Rembrandt, who used a limited palette, a strong single light source from a window for example, and dark simplified backgrounds.

Modern painters often use the wet in wet technique to complete portraits in a single sitting, and the strong use of light and shadow is dismissed for use of colour. This can sometimes mean that the dramatic shadows in paintings of the past is missing, resulting isn a ‘washed out’ look.

Building up a painting by creating a tonal underpainting in a single colour (like a burnt sienna) means more time to create and complete a work, as the undertpainting needs to be allowed to dry bofore the colour layer is added. A telented colleague of mine Cathy van Ee uses this technique very successfully.

To see some of Cathy;s work go to her site at: http://www.vaneegallery.net.

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Advanced Landscape Painting

Painting Workshop with David Chen

Understanding the Use of Intense Colour and Grey Tones

I sat in on an extra workshop this weekend, and this extra session was very helpful in pushing my use of colour. As a mainly tonal painter, my paintings tend to not push colour to extremes, I paint in a manner that uses a realist/impressionist crossover so my application of the paint can be conservative in a lot of areas.

The reason why I, and other artists, attend workshops like this one, is that they give you a new perspective and challenge you to go outside of your comfort zone. For me it means using more paint, lashing it on with broad strokes, and looking at my subject with new eyes. It means taking reality and bending it to my will, and creating a new vision. This may mean replacing one colour with another one, or several others. It may mean adding or deleting things from what I am looking at. It pushes me to be a creative painter and not just a copier of the real world around me.
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Venue: Frankston Chisholm

Tutor: Bill Hay

 

The way we light the model for life drawing makes a huge difference. Like portrait drawing and painting, the light and shadow creates drama, and helps to form the contours of the body.

Famous artists have used dramatic lighting to create some of the most impressive portraits and nude studies in art history. Two examples of lighting used to its best are by artists Vermeer and Rembrandt. Vermeer used light through windows, seatng or standing his models so that the light cast strong highlights on to them. Rembrandt painted haunting portraits by keeping one side of the face in shadow and in the case of his self portraits, placing a dark background around the face.

(NOTE: Drawings of nude male figure follow in this article)

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Venue: Frankston Chisholm

Tutor: Bill Hay

 

Creating form when drawing the body is mostly done by using the light source and tonal qualities created by light and shadow.

For this session, we started with some usual line drawings and then advanced on to creating a tone over the surface of the paper to draw into and then erase for highlights. If you have never tried this method before, it is a quick way to create interesting drawings that have more than just lines to depict the curves and proportions of the human body.

(NOTE: Drawing of nude female figure follows in this article)

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Advanced Seascape Painting

Third in the Series of Monthly Workshops with David Chen

Creating Emphasis – Edges and Lines

There are several ways to create emphasis or direct the eye to a focal point in a painting. The variety of edges in your painting is one of these methods. Soft edges allow the eye to move on to another area whereas sharp edges automatically attract the eye and this is where you want your focal point. Another way of describing this method is ‘lost and found edges’.
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