Saturday, April 2, 2011

A barn demo

Here are sequential photographs of a demo I did for my workshop in Rolling Fork Mississippi this week. It is a 16 by 20. I started out with a few guidelines delineating the major forms. I did these in cobalt violet, my favorite color. That's a good color to draw in, since when you are sketching out a painting you are finding your darks (at least on a white canvas).

I went at this one in a system I call colored rice, that is I am making the painting from little strokes of color. I learned this by studying Willard Metcalf. Childe Hassam worked this way too. It gives a light feathery look that I feel works well for spring scenes.

I rapidly lay my color notes in, leaving white spaces between each stroke, they look like white ricer. Then I come back and hit those white spots with a different color. That gives me broken color. No two adjacent strokes are quite the same color although they are often the same value.

Here is the piece at the end of the session which lasted a little over two hours. I have been beat up so many times painting barns that I sometimes joke I am a barn loser, however this one came of OK.


Unknown said...

Barn loser... I get it (finally)
I just love it when you post these paintings in process. They are not only interesting, but really informative.
And this is a darn nice painting for 2 hours. wow.
Have you had any fried okra yet?
Fatback? Catfish and hushpuppies?

Libby Fife said...

I do like the process posts. The whole result does look like everything is fluttering.

Mark Heng said...

Aha, so that's how they do it! Leaving space for broken color- It's like a magic trick- When you know how it's done, you wonder why you didn't think of it before. Stape, you make it look easy. Very inspirational tutorial.

Steve said...

Thanks for this great sequential demo.

At this point in your long career, as you confront yet another agricultural outbuilding, it probably fills you with a sense of "barn again."

Marsha Hamby Savage said...

Totally enjoyable to see your process. Your humor is contagious and I love it! Great job on the barn and you are right, no loser this time.

Mary Byrom said...

Very nice spring feeling Stapleton. And its very green down there ...I'm still doing snow paintings in my neck of the woods. Your thoughts on this please...the pale green fluttery things you put in the sky are to integrate that area and make the blue not so blue? (Though there is a lot of green in the picture already)...?

billspaintingmn said...

Stape! The colors you chose for the roof along with those broken strokes is a nice fresh way of painting this.
Also informative.

Gregory Becker said...

I love that your brush strokes were so consistent throughout the painting. Was that a big emphasis in the demo?
Btw I sold my first painting. I sold a drawing and I am starting to get commissions.
Sorry I havent been in touch sooner but I've been busy painting. I've been on kind of a roller coaster as well. Ideas are really flowing and I dont want to interrupt the flow by hesitating. Talk to you soon.

Antonin Passemard said...

Wow! Thanks that is a very good exemple of the multi-directionnal brushstrokes. Just like pissarro in his transition with early impressionism and neo-impressionism. Not many painter paint like that today especially at your level. It is such treat! This is a making of great impressionist art.
Thanks Stape!

Pam Holnback said...

I think of it more as barn chasing. Thanks for posting the steps.

Judith said...

Thanks for posting this step by step . I really like the effect of the rice painting approach. It has such a fresh lively feel to it . Lovely .

Love2paint said...

I love it Stape, reminds me of Berthe Morisot.

Anonymous said...

it is wonderful to see this process especially for landscapes. i have often tried landscapes but get lost in corners of the painting.

MCG said...

It's odd sometimes how your blog coincidentally intersects with something thats happened in my art adventures. Yesterday morning I was looking at a painting by NC Wyeth called Harveys Run circa 1912. It's quite different from a lot of his better known works not only in style, but in manufacture. No big bold patches of color, it's quieter, lacier, almost fragile. I looked at a lot of the brushwork some strokes are very tiny, rice like. It's not a small painting. Must have taken forever. Last evening I was considering how he went about making made it, and then tuned into your post. Seems like this method :]

Stapleton Kearns said...

No but I did have some gumbo with crawdads in it and lots of sweet tea.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. I am fluttered.

Stapleton Kearns said...


Stapleton Kearns said...

That too is a bad pun.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks to you also.

Stapleton Kearns said...

They are burnt sienna in the painting.They make the sky vibrate and tie it in to the treatment of the landscape itself.

Stapleton Kearns said...


Stapleton Kearns said...

Congrats on the sale. Yes the point was building the whole painting using colored rice. I taught a different layout technique each day.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you. I do a lot of old timey things.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I guess I am a barn chaser.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I think it is good sometimes to paint in different techniques to get different moods.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Love 2;
OK, if you say so.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Keep those corners simple. you get them almost free.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I find the colored rice technique is very fast.

Pat Walker-Fields said...

Stape is a born teacher. If you have not taken a workshop with Stape, you are missing a grand opportunity. He holds nothing back.. he is a very giving instructor. We had a wonderful week in Rolling Fork, Mississippi.

spike said...

Thank you. I have had trouble with the rice technique and this illustration of how to bring it together - with the white space - will eliminate a bit of the "muddy" I occasionally get. Pick a color, pick a tone, apply distinctly, move on. Thank -you.

hmuxo said...

This is such a wonderful painting...your post was so informative and interesting..thank you for sharing!! The colors and brushstrokes are great!!

Marian Fortunati said...

Really enjoyed seeing this way to approach the painting. I hadn't seen it before. Of course I always love your work and the process photos were fascinating.