It was a little scary to paint the flowers with my brushes taped to yard sticks. I couldn’t decide, should I put a coat of Maroger medium on it first in case the brushes bobbing around on the end of yard sticks made a really bad blip? Because with the medium on the dry painting first I could easily wipe off a mistake. Then I thought Matisse probably didn’t use Maroger medium and if I want to try to paint like him I should skip it.
After I got going it wasn’t as bad as I thought but my brushes did go all off in places.
I never saw a painting by Matisse that I didn’t like. If I could copy his style that would be a real accomplishment to me. But I can’t just copy one of his paintings because mine would look like a bad imitation. I have to wing it a little because this isn’t something they taught at the academy. And also, every artist is different, so you’re supposed to do your own thing. I did try to find his style. I’ll keep working on it. Too bad he’s dead. I can’t shoot him an email and ask.
This close up shows a brush stroke gone wild in the red on the flower and in the blue that went over the stem.
Oops, the blue cut right through that stem. Should I fix that? I’d like to fix it but something tells me not to.
I don’t know. I guess this is the best I can do for modern art at this point in time. I made it as bright as I could. I’m pretty sure Matisse mixed his colors instead of using them straight out of the tube.
The background was easier to paint than I thought it would be and I like the blue, but now my dark green leaves look too dark and because I taped my brushes to yardsticks the blue and green smeared.
I might work on the leaves again today. You can see some smears in this close up. I’m not sure if I’ll go over the background again or not. Darn it. I should make that decision before I repaint the leaves.
I wish I could ask Matisse for advice. I don’t want advice from Picasso. hahaha What would Matisse say?
I meant to tint my canvas paper gray but it came out black. That will be ok. It might make my begonia look like a drama queen.
I think I’ll do the background blue because the petals are orange so that will be the complimentary color for some contrast. It might make the petals show up brighter. I’ll wait a day or so and put the orange on top of the white and gray. The white and gray in the petals is the underpainting. I need to underpaint the orange with white because the orange won’t show up on the black background because it’s a more transparent color.
For this painting I’m stealing from 2 great artists, Matisse and Picasso. At YAA they told us, “Only steal the good stuff.”
From Matisse I’m stealing the idea of taping my brushes to yard sticks and standing way back from the painting. It’s fun but slightly out of control, which doesn’t make it easier. And from Picasso I’m stealing cubism. I wanted to fill up the paper with a lot of flowers and I have this little plant, so I drew it from all different sides and at first I had it up on boxes for added height, then I lowered it to table level. So that gives me different angles too.
I’m going so modern I didn’t sketch it with charcoal first and didn’t plan the arrangement. I just started painting flowers and filled in the whole paper. Painting them a little larger than life makes it easier.
So, I still have to do the background at least once, maybe twice, put the orange on the flowers and decide if I want to go over the leaves again. I’ll see how they look on the blue.
Doesn’t matter how long this takes, it’s too hot and humid for me outside in plein air. And we have rain coming in.
This is a start. It was tiring to lug my art supplies out to the dune and I had everything in my beach cart, but so much fun to paint there. I was saying to myself, This is the life! All those years that I worked at jobs trying to make ends meet and never gave a thought to retirement, then when I started painting in plein air and the beach was far away, I wished I could hop in the car and be there. Then my daughter married a Norfolk guy and says she’s staying in Norfolk, I moved to the beach and it’s great! Norfolk and Virginia Beach are just one huge city to me. If I believed in karma I’d wonder what I did to deserve this, because it was a pure delight out there today. Even though it made me tired, I thought the rewards for doing something difficult are higher than the rewards for doing the easy thing.
My spot is so nice. Picture this. I’m in the only shady place in the dunes. I sat on the sand and leaned against a post. I leaned my painting on a post about 4′ away and spread my stuff out all around me. I found a heavy piece of metal to lean against my painting and had a foot on it too and the wind, which really picked up when I was there, didn’t blow it down. The wind felt good. It was sunny and not too hot. But the best thing is people didn’t notice me there. Only one kid saw me and they all moved on. Since I knew I was hidden I took my yardsticks and taped my brushes to them so I could sit back and paint from far away like my favorite artist, Matisse. That’s why this underpainting is loose looking. And that made it all the more fun.
Since I had my brush taped to a yardstick it went a little wild here and I accidentally smeared some green into the sky. When I tried to wipe it off it only got worse. I wanted to go over the sky again so I’m not worrying about it.
The whole experience was so much fun I don’t even care that sand got all over my painting. It’s not even artfully designed sand and I don’t care. I mean, how zen is that?! I’ll give it a few days to dry and maybe most of the sand will brush off. It won’t all come off but let that be proof for future art historians after I’m dead that I was really right down there in it. I’m like freakin Turner tying himself to a mast in a storm to capture the storm! haha I would never tie myself to a mast because I’d be seasick. It would be great if my efforts would show up in the painting when it’s finished. I want to go back and finish it soon but it might rain in a couple days after this dries enough to work on it again. I need to go over it again twice.
This is modern art. I don’t feel like standing in front of a mirror and trying to get a likeness. What if it comes out looking cartoonish? That’s ok. It could even come out looking grotesque and that’s fine too.
Do I need to “labor” over this? nah. Do I need to mix natural skin colors? Just use what’s left from the previous painting and is drying up on the palette.
It can be for fun on a rainy day when you just want to goof around. I taped my paint brush to a yard stick like one of my favorite artists, Matisse. In fact, it was so much fun I might do more.
Since I’ve been trying to do modern art when I’m stuck at home because of bad weather, I can’t tell if it’s improving my skill or not. I did get the feeling it’s affecting me in some way I can’t describe exactly. It’s a mental thing. I’ll probably go back to traditional style when the weather improves. I’m tired of the cold rain, almost drove to FL. but 95 is probably a mess.
The background fade from pink to blue is a silkscreen blend. The flowers are oil paint done with my paint brushes taped to yard sticks and painted while standing back from the paper.
Blends aren’t easy to do. It takes skill to make a smooth even blend between two colors. I didn’t do the silkscreen. I worked in the art dept. of a silkscreen shop long ago and saved some flawed blends from the overrun. I only have one blend paper left. They made good backgrounds for a lot of different art projects over the years.
The owner of the shop had us do a huge art project every year that he could give away to the customers at Christmas. We had to reproduce a painting by one of his favorite artists. That was in the days before printing technology was as advanced as it is today. The silkscreens process couldn’t reproduce a watercolor exactly but we tried anyway.
I’m not sure if taping my paint brushes to yard sticks ala Matisse is helping me become a better artist or not but it is fun so I want to keep trying. It makes my brush strokes a little rough which is ok for this project.
This is the unfinished painting on my easel with my $5 flower pot. It was nice to go to the garden supply store and buy the little daffodils. I picked the one that looked like it had the most buds and sure enough, more and more buds are opening.
You can see my palette on the table with 3 greens mixed and thinned with turpenoid. Working the paint is an important step if you want to try the yardstick painting technique. Sometimes artists just like to switch up how they’re painting to keep it more interesting. It’s how to improve your art over the long run, try new things, learn from artists you like by trying to paint like them, and it keeps an artist from getting stuck in a rut doing the same thing all the time. It’s a challenge.
If the paint wasn’t thin it wouldn’t flow off the brush as easily as I like it to and painting with the yard stick brush extenders might be more difficult. I add turp slowly and keep mixing with the palette knife until it’s smooth and even. Then I need to go over it twice because the paint is more transparent. I don’t know if it shows up in this photo, but one coat of paint didn’t cover the silkscreen ink well enough. I had to do the second coat of paint to make my flowers as bright as I could get them and make the leaves show up better.
This was a fun project. I looked at the lichens close up and then refocused onto my black paper which was a yard away to paint. I had my brushes taped to yardsticks like my favorite artist, Matisse did. It’s a challenge to keep the brush under control from that distance and I think I’m getting better at that.
If you tape your brushes to yardsticks you have to give up some control though. Smears happen, or blips that you might not see ordinarily when painting. That’s part of it so if you give the yardstick paintbrush extenders a try don’t worry about making blobs, smears or blips where you don’t want them. It’s kind of liberating. That’s why it’s fun.
Lichens have some tiny holes in the center of cone shapes. They also have a leafy texture and a more flat texture.
I didn’t sketch them first with charcoal, I just tried to observe then it was almost like doing calligraphy from far away. It’s not easy to find your place in a clump of lichens focusing close up then looking away to paint. A couple times I got lost and faked it a little. I said to myself, “wherethehell am I?” But that’s a normal feeling for me. hahahahah not scary.
I made the bark texture with my modified fan brush. I tried to keep it neat but the paint that went in the wrong place and the different textures give the art viewer’s eye something to focus on.
The colors aren’t green enough in my photos. I tried taking the pix outside in natural light and the greens looked too gray. These shots are from indoor light and the greens are too warm. But you get the idea.
We’re in a winter weather cycle around here. Either it’s cloudy rainy or snowy or else it’s cold and windy if the sun does come out. The good days for painting in plein air are few and far between.
I tried to paint like Matisse again by taping my brushes onto yardsticks and standing way back from the paper to paint. It’s fun! I had some problems with this painting, though. Not the yardsticks, the pink.
It’s impossible to mix this color. I tried every combination of the colors I had and put the painting aside because it was dull. That’s the one drawback about oil paint. When you mix colors you lose chroma (brightness). Eventually I went to the art supply store and bought a tube of “amethyst” by Michael Harding for $24. An expensive tube of paint, but I’ll need it in the spring when I try to paint some redbud trees.
You can avoid losing as much chroma as you might if you only mix your colors on the palette with a palette knife instead of mixing colors on the canvas with a brush. You also need a brush for each color. And you can avoid losing as much chroma if you build up layers of transparent glazes and let the viewer’s eye do the mixing. But the modern art way of avoiding loss of chroma is to not mix the colors at all. Just use the paint straight out of the tube!
When I put the painting on hold for a few days and went back to it, the petals and leaves were different so I had to kind of just wing it on top of my underpainting. This close up shows some fun leaf squiggles, smears and lines and blobs.
For the art viewer who likes to look at brush strokes, you might be able to see my layers, first the thin layer of underpainting and on top of that the thicker paint of the final layer.
I realized how I’m making the veins in the paint. It’s something I do without thinking, and big round brushes are ideal for this. You load up the brush with paint then go at it from the side of the brush, rolling the brush as you draw it across the paper or canvas. I hope you know what I mean. I should get someone to video tape me doing the brush roll thing, maybe you already do that if you paint. When I realized I was rolling the yardstick I thought I’m getting the hang of this.
This is the unfinished painting on the easel with the flower. I went larger than life. Larger is easier especially when you have your brushes taped to yardsticks.
I’m trying again to paint like Matisse by taping my brushes onto yard sticks and standing back from the painting. When I start to paint like this it’s always awkward for a few minutes because it’s hard to control the brush from a yard away, then it gets a little easier and it’s fun. I can’t tell if it’s improving my skill or not. I’ll have to try it a few more times then look back some time in 2021 and compare my paintings, see which ones to keep and how they look compared to painting at a normal distance.
This is a focal point, green dashes next to red lines on the dark background where some of the black paper is showing through.
I went over the whole paper twice. The poinsettia I painted last week was only one layer of paint and finished in one day. This time I painted the flower, and the gray blue background. When I stopped and looked at it I thought it wasn’t bright enough. The alizarin crimson is a transparent color and one coat didn’t cover the black paper enough. You can see the layers of reds in this photo. I waited for it to dry one day before going over it again.
Here’s a little hairy red smear that doesn’t need to be fixed on top of a red smear over green. oops,
If you don’t mix your paint colors on the paper by deliberately blending with your brush, you can get some overlap of complimentary colors with wet paint smearing together and you don’t instantly get a muddy color. Just leave well enough alone. I hope that makes sense. It might give the viewer’s eye something to focus on if they like to look into the brush strokes.
This is another focal point, bright next to dark, red next to green, small next to large strokes.
This is my unfinished painting on my table with the flower, my sewing machine behind it.
I’m blocking the sliding glass doors to my balcony with the table but this is a North light so the shadows don’t change all day. It’s not a direct light. The balcony of the apartment above mine is blocking the light then there’s trees on the other side of a fence also blocking the light. It looks like plenty of light in this photo but I felt like I was painting in the dark. I could hardly see what I was doing until I had the background started, especially on the black paper.
The reds in the photo aren’t the same as real life, but you get the idea.
I was having some fun painting like Matisse by taping my brushes onto yard sticks and standing back from the painting. You have to give up some control over the brush because it goes where you don’t want it to go but that’s ok. It gives the painting a loose modern look. Fast, loose, unfinished, spontaneous, that look is what the modern art world prizes the most. A finished painting is looked at as being “labored over” which is ungood. I’m not really feeling pressure to paint modern. I’ll go back to doing finished paintings. I got so modern painting this yesterday, I didn’t even sketch it first, just started slapping paint on paper.
This is a close up of the flower’s center features, I’m not sure what you call the little parts, and a stem.
I painted it on the back of a figure drawing that was on black paper. I’m enjoying painting on paper and I like to use both sides. You can see the black paper showing through here. Then I wanted to tone down the black a little so I went into the background with gray trying not to mess up my edges and smears of the reds. In traditional painting you paint the background first but in modern art you can do it last if you want to.
I might give this another try on another piece of paper. Look, Ma, I’m a fauve!