Saturday, February 27, 2010

Take that!

Here's an Emile Gruppe painted on Rocky Neck in Gloucester, I think that's Smith's Cove in the background.

This evening I think I will amuse myself by listing some of the most common mistakes amateur and beginning painters make. of course I am, of course, not talking about you, your friends or anyone else you know. I mean those other people.

  • Too little paint on the palette resulting in stingy mixtures.
  • Trying to push their paint around on the canvas until it looks right, rather than decisively mixing and placing their notes.
  • Quitting before they have worked through the problems on the canvas.
  • Painting with too few values.
  • Trying to make the painting out of turpentine rather than paint. This comes from prior watercolor experience.
  • Putting excitement about the subject ahead of design. Failure to arrange the painting effectively.
  • Wobbly inadequate easels made of aluminum and bobby pins with paper palettes and xanthin gum.
  • Painting with student quality pigments . Using hues instead of real colors.
  • Patented sure fire systems developed by prating blackguards, cookbook style methods and painting systems often found in books with the phrase "free and easy" in the title.
  • Over reliance on painting the day rather than deciding how the painting should look.
  • Insufficient knowledge of and interest in historic painting.
  • Total unfamiliarity with the difficulty involved in making good paintings
  • Excessive concern with gear ie. parasols, weird pochade (pronounced pochade ) boxes, carts and foolish wagons.
  • Over-reliance on Walter Foster books.
  • Idolization of one local artist mentor over all other input.
  • Painting landscapes exclusively from photographs in the studio.
  • Believing that there is nothing to learn, that everything they need to know is already inside of them needing only to be expressed.
  • Over belief in talent and under belief in long term effort.


billspaintingmn said...

I'm guilty of some of this stuff, but not all of it!
1st: I collect Walter Foster books
as a hobby. I find them at yard sales so I get them.I look through
them, but don't rely on any of it.
2nd:I recieved a load of paint from an artist that gave it up. Some tubes say hue, or winton. I use it because I'm broke!
My brushes are cheap and probably crap!
I draw with pencils I steal from the lumber yard front desk!
I have an aluminum easle that I hate!
Well Father Stape, I feel as if I'm at confession, and I'm not even catholic!
What should I do!?

Philip Koch said...

I've been meaning to as this for months. You always comment that pochade is pronounced "pochade."
Does it really rhyme with "shade?"? That sounds so awkward to my ear. Could it possibly rhyme with "cod?"
I just feel these matter are so pressing they have to cleared up so I can sleep peacefully once again.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Repent! And take the pencils back.

Stapleton Kearns said...

It rhymes with szhod.

jeff said...

I tried to paint with one of those pochade boxes and it drove me nuts.
No room to mix paint and they are top heavy.

I have two french easels, one half and one old full size. They work fine.
I don't use umbrellas and if I did it would mean carrying an extra gizmo to stick in the ground.

I don't know why people put them on their easels as if a wind comes up it's going to take off.
The only fancy thing I have is a deep sea fishing hat which I have found to be a great landscape hat.
Extra long brim and a flap that covers the neck (bugs and sun) and it's in a neutral color.

I also have a Take it which is the best landscape easel there is.

bill buy some pencils and six tubes of good paint.

billspaintingmn said...

Ha Stape! I thought you were going to say,"Repaint you thinner!"
They set the pencils out for paying customers like me. So steal was not the right word.

willek said...

I love the clouds in that Gruppe. Lomething like some Paynes I have seen. A red sun setting behind the painter in that picture. I usually would pass that up because that light flattens everything. But it looks great here and there is plenty of recession.

Gregory Becker said...

You crack me up Stape.
Each and everything you mentioned I am guilty of at some point.
All of those tug at me in a tempting way. I am aware of them though.

Philip Koch said...

I'm totally on board with Jeff's comment here. I thought the pochade box looked cute, succumbed to its charms, and bought one on line. It arrived and it is adorable, but for the life of me I couldn't imagine trying to actually mix colors in such a tiny space. Maybe when my collection of Barbies grow up I'll let them paint with it. There's a bunch of respectable painters who use the pochade boxes I know, but they mystify me.

Like Jeff I soldier on with French easels. And I can't imagine dragging an umbrella out into the field with me- there's just too much to carry as it is.
Never got around to trying the Gloucester easels and at this point I've become so rigid and inflexible I probably never will. I know the mighty Stapleton has great loyalties in this direction.

R Yvonne Colclasure said...

Have you been watching me? I swear I am trying to break all those bad habits. I wish you were watching me, you could rap my knuckles with a paint brush when I digress. I think I will print this out and tape it to my french easel. Thanks for being tough, I need it.

JT Harding said...

Looks like I'll be donating my Bob Ross landscape paint set and DVDs to the local charity! said...

"Willek" is being quiet here, but he is master of the pochade pronounced "pochade"(I am laughing hysterically here once again It takes so little to amuse me). He's done really fantastic pieces using it.(He may even be famous for them some day.) I have a cigar box set up and I have managed to do a painting in small room in a far way place when I couldn't stand not painting any longer. It's better than nothing.

I also love lists like this. It keeps me on the straight and narrow and saves me from myself.

"repaint you thinner"! I'm going to use that one again, Bill, and you'll get all the credit.

Philip, have you ever heard Londoners pronounce Degas? It sounds like this; "DAY gass". You can imagine how they say Manet and Monet.

Darren said...

"Repaint you thinner!"
That's classic!

willek said...

Willek responds...

I love using my little cigar box "kits/thumb boxes/pochades" I have made up a hundred of em and I give them away. I can do an 11x14 comfortably on my cigar box and it carries 7 to 8 tubes of paint. I can carry it and use anywhere and I can paint on the corner of Dartmouth and Newberry Street without anyone taking notice and I can paint on a really bad stormy day from behind the steering wheel with the symphony and the heater going.. I can carry the whole shebang including paper towels and panels to paint on in one hand. I use 4"x5" primed masonite supports to work out new ideas. No silly black and white value studies for me, I can work out a little picture in ten minutes, in color, or I can do five versions of an idea. I have two of them set up ready to go in my upstairs studio long with two french easels. My Rockport easel is set up in the shop downstairs. I have two or five pictures going all the time and hop from one to another. (Attention Deficit?)

Carol Nelson said...

So entertaining is this blog. Prating blackguards, pochade (pronounced pochade), and Repaint you thinner!
You could have mentioned the crucifixion of the word giclee too. And chiaroscuro.
At one time or other, I think I have committed all the transgressions listed.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Have you ever used all those easels at once while wearing the hat?

Stapleton Kearns said...

That may well be the cleverest thing ever said on this blog. You sir, get the gold star!

Stapleton Kearns said...

The whole painting is the sky. The rowboat in the foreground provides a countering line to the sky and the boat is fluff.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Might make a great neck tattoo, but it is kinda long!

Stapleton Kearns said...

For your charcoal drawing outside a Gloucester easel is probably overkill. It probably isn't important to look cool is it?

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you I am glad you found it useful.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Hang on to them, I will send John Gnagy around to pick them up.

Stapleton Kearns said...

What happens to all the cigars that come in those boxes, you all aren't just throwing them away are you?

Stapleton Kearns said...

I agree. I should have thought of that. its mine now though!

Stapleton Kearns said...

We all move on to ever more sophisticated transgressions.

Judy P. said...

Yes, I am guilty of everything in this entire list- that's because I don't know what I'm doing, the first feeling I get in front of my wobbly easel is deer-in-the-headlights panic! I was proceeding to depression, but then I read 'repaint, you thinner!' Then I laughed, and told myself 'just keep painting, stupid'. So I am.

Unknown said...

Philip, you collect Barbies?
(I'm back from the snowy mountains of Virginia, just now catching up. This was most entertaining.)

Richard J. Luschek II said...

I used to have an umbrella for my french easel. I enjoyed it, but coincidentally during a bad day of painting, I accidentally hit it on a tree about 32 times and it was seriously damaged.
If you do get an umbrella, make sure it can withstand a beating.

Chad said...

I love that last comment... the sofa is a far cry from the pool!!

Julie Petro said...

Thanks Stape. This list has been printed out and is handing next to my easel (a nice big solid wooden thing - at least I got that one right!) I need to remember nearly all of it.