I recycled a loom, a nine by twelve wood frame with nails all around, into a facsimile of Vincent van Gogh’s perspective frame. All it takes is four strings, strung from corner to corner and in a cross across the middle so that the large rectangle is divided into four smaller rectangles and four triangles. It has a centre line both horizontal and verticle, and the exact middle is indicated where all the strings cross each other. A basic guideline to help arrange the composition of a scene, and also to give lines of perspective.
Van Gogh practiced with his a lot, crediting it for helping his perspective immensely. These days, with phone screen photos and print outs, it’s easy to draw these lines right over a photo, mapping it out or even using a program to crop an image to your liking. However, it is still wonderful practice to draw or paint right on site, where nature or a street full of buildings can be confusing to put on paper. Van Gogh’s frame is easy to prop up, literally framing the scene as you like it, cropping out the excess space in your field of vision. It’s a great feeling to realize that you can condense all that information and focus only on what pleases you, and then you realize that, even within that frame, you are allowed to take out more of what you don’t find necessary to the feeling or message of the image. You are the artist!
Here’s my scene from a local picnic site. The photo shows the view as I could see it through the frame (without strings). Lot’s of trees, branches, leaves!
Below is a quick sketch. My frame doesn’t have legs yet so I had to hunch down on the picnic bench, adjusting my eyes to the frame rather than the way it’s supposed to work. My guide lines are faintly visible criss crossing roughly through the middle.
This frame helped quite a bit! I usually find that my drawings from photos are better than those done en plein air. That could be lack of practice, but I think I’ll practice a lot more with a nifty drawing frame to help me see the world.
Judy led the Pleasant View Painters through this lovely spring painting. They started a month ago, before kids’ classes took over Tuesday mornings. At the time it was actually hot outside! They finished on a snowy day, but there were indeed some green leaves and definitely liquid lakes.
Our adult art classes were exploring the proper approach to acrylic painting. The one on the right was a demonstration of a quick, one shot painting. The canvas was not prepared beforehand and the paint was not dry between layers. You can probably tell that the colours don’t cover bare canvas very well, and they leave very prominent brush strokes. The colours in the roses are weak and almost transparent. You might also be able to see some streaks across the painting that were on the canvas and not sanded out prior to painting. Only on the right side, where an extra layer of greens was added later, is the look of depth and saturation of colour beginning to grow.
The one on the left was done in class, after several layers of gesso were applied and sanded to prepare the board for paint. Three or four layers of paint were built up to make a vivid, realistic image. Finally, a coat of gloss was applied to settle in the colours and make the painting look finished (but also a bit matte for the camera).
This was a great learning lesson which extended over three weeks, beginning with a value sketch and ending with a finished piece. Check back tomorrow to see the class results.
Carolyn had the pleasure of being commissioned to paint a watercolour of this familiar local scene (the Dunvegan Bridge over the Peace River) to be presented to a famous Canadian. The new owners brought great joy and excitement to our Peace Country, and hopefully some of that feeling went back with them in this painting.