Handy Hint: Cropping

Author: gwendoline  |  Category: Concepts

Explore the possibilities of your old photographs by using the following method.  Cut 2 “L”shapes, one inch wide  from an A4 sheet of paper.  Use them as a border around your photograph and slide them into various rectangles or square, moving them around the photograph to create a new view of the image.  You will be surprised sometimes, by how many paintings you could create from the one photograph.  Small cameo studies within the one scene can often be discovered.

Concepts and Rules to follow….

Author: gwendoline  |  Category: Uncategorized

Last week I talked about inspiration and I would like to further that with ‘how to carry a concept’ into your work.

Whatever subject you have decided upon, choose what will be the focus: the point of interest. Imagine that you are looking at a stage at the theatre. You have a lead singer, the chorus at the back of the stage, the orchestra pit at the front. If you turn all the lights on, you no longer have a focal point which would be the lead singer. You are given no direction of where to look. However, with control of the lighting, we can direct the audiences eye to what our focal point is. Hence, that is why the lighting on the stage is so strategically placed, and this needs to happen in your paintings.


A few rules to follow which will work in your paintings :
.Work out your composition and find the lead lines that take your eye around the painting. Spend time getting the placement of the objects in your painting correct.
.Adjust the value and warmth/coolness to show distance in your painting.
.Always place your darkest tonal value against your lightest tonal value around the centre of interest, which is always the lightest area. The biggest contrast will attract attention first.
.Make the area around the focal point slightly warmer and the peripheral areas cooler (not cold).
.Keep your darks thin with paint and fatten the paint on the lights.

.Mass your dark areas together so they don’t get too detailed.

.Leave some areas of the painting less finished than your focal point.

.Work out your colour scheme.  Use a triad or complementaries.  If you have a warm painting, then add a little cool colour throughout.  If you have a cool painting, then add a little warm colour throughout.

.Use less white and more light colours to gain light.

.Consider the tonal value and colour brilliance of neighbouring paint.  Each piece of paint should be a leading tone to the next piece.

.Start each new work with the view of making a beautiful painting.

 .Make some sharper marks around the focal interest, and softer edges throughout the peripheral areas. A soft edge can show distance and is also a turning edge, showing continuity. A hard edge gives accents to the painting and anchors an object to the ground.

 .In order to learn more about painting, you must take risks to see what happens.  Worrying about the outcome of your painting will inhibit your learning…..take time and enjoy the journey.





Some pages from my sketchbook…

Author: gwendoline  |  Category: Sketching

People Painting People, 22 & 23 May, 2010 – Victorian Artists Society

Author: gwendoline  |  Category: Exhibitions

Portrait week at the Victorian Artists Society, 430 Albert Street, East Melbourne is coming soon.  Book early to ensure you get a place.

Two events:

18th May Opening Night – Nada Hunter Award:   Demonstrations by two leading artists, sitters to be drawn from the audience.  Portrait Exhibtion on for the Portrait Week (17-23 May). 

22nd – 23rd May Afternoon – People Painting People:    VAS Portrait Painters will be painting self-sponsored prominent men and women achievers.  3-4 painters per person and sitters will choose their own painting to keep.  I will be painting both days.

For bookings telephone:  9662 1484     DONT MISS OUT!!!

Finding inspiration

Author: gwendoline  |  Category: Concepts

Inspiration is sometimes elusive.  Tossing ideas around for subjects, trying to find a theme.  Sometimes we wrack our brains to find a subject, but usually the answer is already infront of us.  “It’s not what you paint, but how well you put it down”.

  Even experienced artists, have blank moments.  Taking the subject out of the equation, the more practice we do as artists, the likelihood of us becoming better for it, even if it means learning from our failures.  Looking at exhibitions, perusing art books, there are an abundance of painting ideas waiting to be reinterpreted in our own styles.  Being in a studio each week with a group of artists, all looking at the same subject, interpreting our observations onto our canvas, the outcomes differ, no matter how much we try to be true to what we see.  This could be seen as ‘lack of skills’, ‘varying degrees of ability’, ‘striving to stylize our work’, but as in handwriting, we write the same words, but the writing varies….the slant of the writing, the pressure of the pen, the angles or curves of the letters.  There are rules which if followed can make a good picture, just as when a comma is in the right place, it can make a sentence read correctly.  Our handwriting, as well as our brushwork differs from eachother, hence the variation in the outcomes.

  When beginning a painting, I always pause before I start, and think about my concept for the work.  Painting is not merely a representation of what is infront of you, but what you will emphasise and what you will say less about.  It is a question of how you will communicate the subject to your audience.  Asking oneself what appealed when choosing the subject, will usually lead you to what focal point you should emphasise.

  Remember, you should be trying to achieve atmosphere (light and shade) (warm or cool) and distances, whether it be a few kilometres in a landscape, or putting one flower behind another only centimetres away – you must  create distances.  I always try to envisage the finished painting before I start – the dynamics of it.   It’s like wanting to see a vision more powerful than the one that is before you, being convincing about the atmosphere in your work.  Sometimes I find it helpful to look at some of my favourite artists’ work before I start, which tends to set a goal of what I hope to achieve in my own work (I’ll look at John Singer Sargeant or Philip Laszlo’s work if I’m painting portraits).   Dont look too far and wide for inspiration, check out other artworks and see what subjects other artists have done, if it’s a still life, look around your home and find similar objects to paint, if it’s a landscape, reconsider the sizing of the back/middle and foregrounds of your photos.   

 Most importantly, keep your eyes open when you are out and about….consider everything to be a painting subject and you may start to think and see a little differently. 

 Good luck !  Hope this discussion has been helpful.  Comments welcome.