Monday, May 4, 2015

HARBOR STUDY Original Oil Painting and Art Lesson by Tom Brown

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This is a quick study designed to capture just the essence of a scene. It's something very different. I thought it would be interesting to share today with other artists who follow my blog.

It’s an approach I sometimes recommend to artists when they are working from photographs and want to efficiently explore various color treatments before committing to a final painting. This approach involves working directly over black and white photocopies with oil paints.

That’s what I did for this study of boats in Balboa Harbor using the photo shown below that I shot during one of my plein air workshops. I began by making a black and white photocopy of my color photo. Then I mounted the photocopy on a backing panel and applied oil paints directly on it using a palette knife.

Using a photocopy eliminates the need to draw the scene, and allows me to go directly to using “spots of color” that I feel would make a powerful painting composition. The knife prevented any tendency to get caught up in details. And working over a black and white copy encourages more freedom in choosing the colors I feel might work best in the painting rather than being influenced by the colors the camera recorded. To finish the study I used a pencil to add a few final details like rigging on the sailboats.

This was intended to be an exploratory study but I really like the almost abstract look of this palette knife study and I feel it belongs in a frame as a finished piece of art in its own right.

In case you’re wondering about the archival qualities of this painting, I can tell you that I have a number of similar studies that were done years ago that have been hanging on my walls since they were painted. They still appear to be in the same condition today as the day they were painted. 

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