Recently I was asked about cropping – why do it, how to do it, when to do it. Indeed, the question was: Is there a ‘formula’ for cropping?
I’ve written a previous post on using a viewfinder to help you crop your reference photo to get the best view to paint. (A reminder – try out a number of thumbnails!!) This post is about cropping your finished pastel painting.
I can’t say enough good things about cropping. Cropping is about trimming away everything from your painting until only the essential remains. Cropping has the potential to transform your work from ‘meh’ to ‘wow!’. Yet we don’t utilize this great tool often enough. Why not? Before I get to that, let’s look at why you might consider cropping.
Visiting my Mum and Dad last weekend, I was struck by the light and colour of summer flowers in a vase on the living room table. The thing that really got my attention though was the way the red coaster was visible beside the vase but disappeared behind it even though the vase was transparent. It then ‘appeared’ in two other places ‘on’ the vase. Well I wasn’t about to figure out why and how that happened but I did become interested in capturing the effect. This painting was so much about painting what you see, not what you know! So let me take you through the process.
If all you have is a limited palette, a lack of colour choices can stop you from painting some subjects. I’m here to persuade you to take up the creativity challenge with the pastels you have available – you may be surprised!
Take today’s demo – a box of tissues as its subject. It’s a lot of off-whites on off-whites. But say my palette only has a few colours to choose from, what do I do? Well let’s check it out.
I’m back in my studio after a wee getaway to Seattle and then Salt Spring Island. The DK Project is pretty much wrapped up so I can do what I like in my studio. But being able to do anything often means I do nothing! And so the blank canvas sits starring back at me. I’ve spoken previously about the usefulness of boundaries and restrictions in pushing creativity so I decided to set up a challenge. This time, it would be about breaking the rules.
I know how tempting it is to get right in there and paint when you’re excited about a subject. But hold on, did you do a thumbnail?! And what about creating colour studies, have you drawn up a couple of those?
I know I know, I hear you – it all takes so much time!! But you know what? A bit of time spent in preparation can save you frustration and disappointment in the long run, and also help you produce an exceptional painting!
So what are colour studies?
A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I was working on a BIG project that was going to consume a LOT of my time hence my skipping the round-up of December paintings and also missing last Tuesday’s blog. (Thanks to those of you who wrote me noticing that a blog hadn’t arrived in your inbox last week!) I’ve been given the okay to tell you about it. I can’t share all but I can give you hints. Curious? Let’s call it the DK Project.
Is it really December already? (Someone tell me no, it ain’t true!) Look out for my monthly picks next week. In the meantime, this week I made a video about why I don’t blend pastels.
I frequently get asked the question – Gail do you blend your pastels? OR Gail why don’t you blend pastels? In the video below, I set out to show, with sample swatches, why it is that I prefer to layer rather than blend pastels.
So you think you have no time to paint? One of the things I learned doing the 31 in 31 challenge last month is that there really is always a way to carve out time to create art.
I spend a lot of time on my computer these days, e.g. working on my blog, connecting with members of the HowToPastel Facebook group, or developing my online courses. I often feel desperate for and incapable of finding time to get in my studio, but having done the challenge, I realize that’s a crock! It’s easy to make excuses about having no time to paint. So what to do about it?
Today I painted even though I didn’t feel like it. The reason? This blog. The looming deadline acted as a spark and ignited my painting soul. And I realized how important it is to paint even when you don’t feel like it.
Painting isn’t easy.
Being creative isn’t easy.
It’s damn hard work in fact. And because it’s hard work, sometimes we just don’t do it!
Those who don’t create usually don’t understand how difficult painting is. It’s all, “What fun it must be to spend time all day painting” and “How lucky you are to spend time painting.” True for sure, but you just know the way it’s being said that those speakers think it’s an easy, laadeedah thing you’re doing.
I was on a deadline today – a post was due to be published! I wanted to show you a progression through one of my paintings. Problem was, I didn’t have anything to share. So I needed to get creative quickly. I set a timer and chose a limited palette by using a starter set. I decided on Terry Ludwig’s Best Loved Basics because I knew it contained a deep purple and I was going to need it since I’d be painting plums. Once I got started though I wondered how in the world it would be successful – I was missing colours I felt I needed!! But I didn’t have time to waffle about so I got stuck in and embraced the restriction of the limited palette. Have a look!