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Painting Workshop 19
 

Demo Painting

"The Dinghy" 11x11" Oil on Canvas by Richard Robinson

 

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This Month's Challenge

Focusing In

Following on from the previous workshop which explored how to paint more loosely, we're now going to look at staying loose in the background but really tightening up in the centre of focus. It's a style reminiscent of some classical portraiture in that there's just one central focus area and the rest is supporting colour, but in this instance we're really having fun splashing paint around. You will find that adding little points of detail like the stones and shells in the foreground can make sense of all that loose paintwork. I hope you enjoy the video and have fun exploring this concept.

Workshop Challenge

Feel free to follow me step by step in painting the same scene or use the photos below or your own resources to design a piece that is more your own. You can paint this any size or shape your like using any medium. Either way the main learning goal for this workshop is to focus on contrasting a highly detailed central focus area with much more loosely applied background paint. Happy painting!

Click image to enlarge.    
Resource Photo - click to enlarge
 
Resource Photo - click to enlarge
     
Resource Photo - click to enlarge
 
Resource Photo - click to enlarge
     
Resource Photo - click to enlarge   Resource Photo - click to enlarge
     
Resource Photo - click to enlarge
 
Drawing the Dinghy

Drawing is usually the beginner painter's biggest problem.

Imagining a boat within a box drawn in perspective is a good way to get the shape right, as well as the correct shape of the reflection. Note the centre line which is very important to establish and the fact that the holes for the oars line up across the boat.

In the demo video I show you the cheat's way to get the drawing right every time.

 

Here's a video explaining how to analyse colour and value with a colour checker:

Can't see this video? Watch it on Youtube

Get the Ultimate Painter's Tool.

Here's a video briefly showing the process of this type of painting:


Can't see this video? Watch it on Youtube.

You can learn more about brushwork at the Painting Academy.

Note: If you can't see the videos on this page (above) or on Youtube, I can't help with that sorry - there will be something wrong with your computer settings, but I'm no computer wiz. You would need to contact a computery person to fix that problem.

 

Gallery of the Month's Workshop Challenge Entries  






Painting Critiques

Student Painting

"Dundy Lighthouse" Oil on linen, 14 x 18" by Þorgrímur Andri Einarsson

The mood of this painting is the first thing that strikes me Þorgrímur, because you haven't just painted a scene, you've captured a feeling, or at least you've reduced the gamut of feelings this painting might elicit in a viewer, narrowed it down and pushed us in one direction. Thanks for reminding us again of the power of a limited palette, or a colour 'gamut'.

I love the contrast of the crisp detail in the ladders and fixings compared with the big soft gradation in the background, and that's really what this workshop was all about so congratulations on fulfilling the brief to the letter. Great to see the subtle vertical shift in hue that you managed in the background from reds to blues to yellows as you lightened it at the same time - good control of colour there. The way you softened the edges of the foreground ripples is pretty masterful too as it pushes us back into the focal area - great!

The only thing I might look at changing in this painting is to add the faintest hint of a boat in the distant mist on the right to add to the narrative. Good stuff.

 

Student Painting

"Dinghy..." Acrylic on Paper, 13 x 9" by Silvana M Albano

Good work Silvana - great to see you've really explored the idea of tight vs loose painting with all your crisp detail in the boat constrasted with the almost abstract background. Your colours are strong but with enough grays to lend them subtlety and I have to congratulate you on slightly toning down the reflected boat colours which is something I failed to do in my demo painting as I mentioned in the video.

It looks like you played with the idea of adding ripples on the water with a fine brush but wasn't too sure about it and fudged them a bit on the left which seems to flatten out the illusion of space there. Using a large brush with its bristles spread could achieve a similarly detailed effect but without the struggle. You can do that by loading the brush with paint and then pinching the bristlesnear the ferrul and splaying them a little, similar to the interesting effects you've achieved at the top of your painting. Speaking of which I think it's a nice touch to have balanced that empty space with a little darker interest as you have done along the top. Nice splatters too! Keep up the good work.

 

Student Painting

"Dinghy" by Martha Lever

Wow just look at the energy in this! Your brushwork has really caught my eye - the whole canvas is alive and vibrating with it. Great to see you've even mixed your colours on the canvas sometimes giving us some truely juicy paintwork to revel in - something that looks easy but can be a real challenge if you're used to mixing colours thoroughly on the palette before appying them.

Some of the accuracy of the drawing was unfortunately sacrificed for your vivid brushwork, particularly in the oars and the shape of the back of the boat where the right side is longer the the left and their reflections have gone astray as well, but other than that the interior of the boat is sound and your seagull looks pretty healthy too. With brushwork like this you could consider foregoing accurate rendering altogether and allowing the forms to attain a playful expressive quality all their own. I look forward to seeing what you make out of the next workshop which pushes the expressive qualities of paint even further. Great work Martha.

Student Painting

"Workshop19" WS Oils on Canvas 12x12' by Darya Vassina

Nice design Darya leaving space on the left for the gull to peer into and balancing the canvas delicately with the dark wave face on the left and the beautiful crisp detail of the wire. Making the top third of the background quite dark to accentuate the light on the gull was also a very nice idea which is helping to balance the dark post. It may just be the exposure of your photograph but that post does look unnaturally dark which agrees with my resource photo but falls short of natural lighting - one of the pitfalls of working purely from photos.

The form of the bird is quite convincing in your sensitive treatment of light to dark ('modelling') but you have rounded his corners off a bit (he looks more angular to me) so tha has weakened his presence and believability a little. Be a little more careful too in the shadowed belly to keep the values close together because that's creating some confusion of form there at the moment. It's a very common error to make reflected lights too light. They belong in the shadow family.

Your brushwork is really quite lyrical and appealing especially with its contrasts of soft and sharp edges - nicely done, and that sharpest of accents on the beak is the crown jewel. I noticed you bent the wave around his tail rather than letting it overlap which doesn't seem like a good idea to me since overlapping forms helps us so much in establishing depth. Overall a very pleasing painting - would love to see it finished in a nice frame. Great work!

 

Student Painting

"Not Another Dinghy!" Acrylic on Canvas Board' by Pauline Le Merle

A very striking piece Pauline and very graphic with its inky darks and vibrant colours. I love the diffused background contrasting the sharp as steel details in the boat - very punchy, and you haven't let the drawing lapse at all there although the bird has been rendered a little more roughly. Similarly for those stones to sit right you'd need to pay more attention to the shape of their bases and reflections.

Design wise it might have been nice to extend the darkness in the water horizontally across behind the gull's head to give him even more pop and if you had added the soft halftone between the light and shadow on his neck he would have looked more rounded, less flat. Actually you've done such a dramatic job of the rest of the painting you could probably take out the seagull altogether without much trouble. Very bold work! Thanks Pauline.

 

My final painting

Demo Painting

"The Dinghy" 11x11" Oil on Canvas by Richard Robinson

"Sea Life" 12x11" Oil in Canvas by Richard Robinson
Purchase the fine art print here >>
(This is my first painting of the scene painted en plein aire - I actually prefer this one).

Some other paintings using the same concept:



"Lady Isla" 13x12" Oil on Canvas by Richard Robinson



"Smooth Sailing" 10x10" Oil on Canvas by Richard Robinson



"Seagull" 8x10" Oil on Canvas by Richard Robinson





brush

Get the Demonstration Video

 

Demo Painting from workshop

Painting Workshop 19
'The Dinghy' : Focusing In
 

Following on from the previous workshop which explored how to paint more loosely, we're now going to look at staying loose in the background but really tightening up in the centre of focus. It's a style reminiscent of some classical portraiture in that there's just one central focus area and the rest is supporting colour, but in this instance we're really having fun splashing paint around. You will find that adding little points of detail like the stones and shells in the foreground can make sense of all that loose paintwork. I hope you enjoy the video and have fun exploring this concept.

 
 
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