Sunday, July 25, 2010

I decided to do a crit tonight. I know I said I would do more selected seminal posts, but I got a complaint that I was doing reruns. I did wish to point those early posts out as they are different and a necessary percuser to what I am writing now. So I would advise you to read the earliest parts of this blog, that is where the very technical and the explanations on edges and form, paint and brushstroke posts are. I also did a bit of analysis of the design moves of some of my artistic heroes. I am going to move on then, I don't want to do reruns. If I was not as useful as usual I apologize.

I received this image from an artist who lives in a far away land. I have a number of comments to make on it. Bullets!
  • The rows of whatever that is (radishes?) growing across the foreground lead the eye rapidly across the painting and against the rabbet on the right, instead of leading the eye into the picture.
  • The perspective in the house is off, at least the roof line. The lines of recession should be to a vanishing point that is the horizon and that is our eye level. Everything that is above our eye level will slant downwards and everything below our eye level will slant upwards.
  • The shapes in the mountain in the middle are too similar and need more variety.The shadows back there seem too heavy also. The darks back there are as heavy as those in the foreground.
  • I think the chroma should drop out of those greens as they recede. The lawn to the left of the house is a strong as the foreground greens. There is an old saying that yellow is on the tip of your nose, red is in the middleground and blue is in the distance. I think you need to neutralize the greens with a red as they recede.
  • Every note in this painting seems saturated, I think it would be a better picture if some notes were, and some were not. All color is no color. Good color is not a matter of the most color, (all color is no color) but of cunningly selected and applied color.
  • The sky is too blue. The light in a sky comes from the yellow and red notes flying in there too. You can almost always get enough blue into a sky, it is the other two colors that make skies have light.Perhaps you might have underpainted it with a warm color and then threw a little blue down into that.
  • The thing I most want to point out though is the paint handling in the sky along the left hand top of the mountains. That series of brush strokes echoing the line of the mountains kills the illusion of the sky. They need to either be invisible or pulled in strokes away from that mountain. That gives mean idea tomorrows post. I will write about how to handle a passage like that and work up a little paint demo to go with it. I remember learning that long ago and I don't remember ever writing about it.It is an important little part of handling in landscape painting and it comes up a lot.
I also received this e-mail;

I feel I’m against this big wall of “What to Paint?” This is mainly because, I want to sell my paintings not just do one painting after another. My heart goes out for still life and some Persian Modern/Easter paintings (I was born and raised in Iran until I was 17) and I am not too big on outdoor landscape paintings. I feel there is a very little market out there for Still Life or my Persian Paintings and most people buy landscapes and landscapes of places they know .So what is your advice for this confused Painter?

That's an easy answer to give. If you don't paint what you want, you probably won't paint it well. You say you like still life, perhaps you should be painting that. Still life painting has supported many artist, it is a dependable genre that never goes out of style. Still life is also an excellent way to build your drawing skill.

I would not assume that a landscape is the only thing that people want. You don't have to sell the most people, just a few. After landscape, still life is the most popular genre with buyers. I agree though, they may have an aversion to Persian.

Think about what sort of still lives people might want in their homes. Flowers are always good, people often like still lives containing kitchen or culinary subjects for their dining rooms. There are "genre" painters of still life too, I know an artist who has built a long career painting his collection of antique toys, and another who collects and paints colored glassware and bottles.

Buyers usually are fond of still lives that look real to them. The most salable still lives are generally tightly painted and illusionistic.Carefully rendered still lives are usually the most sought after. I think most of your customers will be women, so you might think about what colors and subjects women might want when decorating their homes. Many still life painters work in sight size. Do you know how to do that. There is a good market for smaller still lives I have noticed.They need to be nicely framed, still lives are generally a decorator item. People have an expectation of a formal sort of painting, that may seem a little unfair, but generally that is what they want. A small still life is often seen as a decoration for a formal dining room or hallway in a more traditional home. There is also a market for large tightly rendered highly colored still lives that are more "contemporary". You probably know the kind of thing you like, if you make it there are probably others who will like the same thing.

Do you know what type of paintings sell best? Good paintings. Take care of your art and it will take care of you. If you are having trouble with sales, don't think "how can I make more salable paintings?' Ask yourself "How can I make better paintings"

We are coming into the time of year when people begin to turn their attention to their homes, in the early summer it seems they are a little less likely to do that, perhaps they are in vacation mode or concerned with other things. I work hard to get my galleries stocked for the upcoming fall, that is often the best sales time in the year. Although that may vary depending on where you live. I always think that the longer the year runs the better sales will be. Early spring and the beginning of summer are often slow. So now it is essential to get those galleries stocked. You can't sell from an empty cart.


Eden Compton Studio said...

Thanks so much for these posts Stapleton! I find them very informative and helpful and I like the reruns! I've started reading your old posts and plan on going back through all of them.

DJ said...

Hmmm...Re-runs?? Must not be an "I Love Lucy" kinda person. They prolly just don't like antique ovens, Stape.
Good is good, no matter how many times you post it.
And if I remember correctly, it's YOUR blog.
I better go, before I get ugly.

Debra D Russell said...

Thanks so much Stap for reiterating all you teach! I for one can only think of a hand full of really great nationally known artists that may not benefit from hearing it again! The rest of us need to hear it over and over just to keep it fresh in our minds as we paint. I've been reading your older posts and find something in each that triggers a change in a way I've been painting. Blog on my friend....

janice skivington said...

Thanks for your old post listings. this is helpful, as I run down the list, see that I might have missed something or just need to reread a point, Values! Edges! that I am able to understand better now a year later than I was the first time.
sometimes, you have to keep trying something your self for a while for the explanation to sink in.
I am looking forward to the sky, mountain painting instruction. Seems that I always make skies too blue too- who doesn't want to paint on a beautiful blue sky day?

Philip Koch said...

Good advice on the mountain painting and also to the painter who wants to do still life but isn't confident that's a good way to go. Stape remains mighty.

Pam Holnback said...

They say that you have to hear something 9 times before it sinks in. So, we need many more repeats!

Robert J. Simone said...

Huh, complaints about re-runs, nothing wrong with re-runs, it's summer ain't it. It's re-run season! I figured you were looking at a lot of stuff sent in for critique and decided a reset of fundamentals was necessary...but that comes from someone who has read Carlson at least 25 times, too.

The saying about yellow on the tip of the nose, etc. Is that the same as saying warm colors advance and cool colors recede? I ask because a very famous artist stated in his book that this saying is "simply false". I think I disagree....

Connie said...

Wonderful advice that we certainly need to hear over and over again. Sometimes I have received tips that I just "was not ready for", but found them to be relevant as I added new painting skills. I look forward to your posts each day.

barbara b. land of boz said...

Thank You for the best re-runs I have seen in a long time. I have read your entire blog at least twice, and some topics over and over. I tell other artists and anyone else that will listen, that this is the go to place for information that will take you a lifetime to learn on your own. My skills, way of thinking, and level confindence has grown a great deal since I found your blog in 2009. As I have said many times...Keep on keeping on Stapleton, you are useful and greatly used by many!

Susan McCullough said...

Actually Stape I'm very fond of re-runs- it's the best way to pound information into my puny little brain!

Karla said...

I too have greatly enjoyed the "re-runs". It is nice to have the best of the best pointed out. I still find myself asking "why is this guy doing this blog?" When I first started reading I kept waiting for the comercial wanting to sell me something, but I have come to realize it is just a really nice person sharing his wealth of knowledge. Now I know where your daughter the social worker got her generous spirit.

I'm sure this person was probably just having one of those days. Just remember there are 100's ( I assume) of others who are grateful for whatever you write.

Jerry said...

No problem here with re-runs! I can never receive too much good advice. But I have a query about one line in your second crit: "Many still life painters work in sight size." What does this mean?

Chris said...

You have absolutely no reason to apologise, all your posts, old and new, are gems of wisdom and wit.

Long may we all learn and laugh with you.


billspaintingmn said...

You drive this bus anyway you want Stape!
Revisited is a good thing.

Lisa McShane said...

Trust me, some of us have been hanging on your every word. Or at least many of your words. The crits are fine, but keep on with the other too.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks. The early posts are real painter knowledge an less philosophy.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I have never watched a soap opera. I grew up without television and don't have one now.KILL YOUR TELEVISION! I can give you no better advice.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks. Reiterating is so easy...

Stapleton Kearns said...

Janice; Had you read those posts before. Were you one of the 11 people reading the blog at that point. The first month I had 20 visitors! I expect to run 17,000 this month.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Mighty wordy. Thanks

Stapleton Kearns said...

If you yourself say something you WILL remember it. I have students repeat back to me what I have said at workshops.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I know who you mean. However at this point it seemed like a simple way to characterize aerial perspective the yellow drops out first and then the red as the distance increases. I know it is not always true, but for learners it is a workable model.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. That happens to me when I reread Carlson.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. I want to be useful.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I have to read something over and over to digest it.

Stapleton Kearns said...

No commercial is forthcoming, I avoid that. But I do workshops,but I soft peddle(pedal?) that. You wouldn't think I was so nice if you really had to deal with me. It is easy to be nice on the net. There is an old cartoon thsat shows two dogs at a computer. One is saying to the other, "The great thing about the internet is, no one knows you are a dog!"

Stapleton Kearns said...

Sight size is a painting method, there is now a book out on it by that title. You can get it on Amazon. I may have to write a post on that.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I think I will eventually run out of things to write. But not for a while.

Stapleton Kearns said...

thanks, you are always encouraging.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I think I will write another post tomorrow.

Karen Thumm said...

Reruns? Well, for some of us they're first runs. I've only recently come to your blog and love reading it. I appreciate the links to older posts that I would have missed otherwise.

Please do more of these "reruns"!It never hurts to be reminded of stuff we once knew but might have forgotten, especially us older folks.

willek said...

The edge review was timely, Stape. Thanks.