Friday, December 24, 2010

Recent Value Paintings at the Academy

Plush Bear Toy

Donald Duck Toy
The above are the most recent painting projects I've done in black and white value for the academy.
Jeff is letting me move on to actual color! My next project is to paint the exact same image (in this case, a ceramic cup and rubber ball) three times in three different color combinations but with exactly the same value so that when they are photographed in black and white they will look the same. I have a feeling that, as with all of my other assignments, this is going to be much harder than it sounds. Additionally, I am not allowed to photograph the paintings in black and white to check my progress along the way, but instead must wait until I'm ready for Jeff to check it himself. This is the kind of torture I'm subjecting myself to at this academy.
Jeff has been kind enough to let me move on to color without actually certifying that I'm ready to leave black and white because he knows that I must leave the academy at the end of April to allow me to accompany my husband on an extended trip. By leaving on my schedule and not Jeff's, I am acknowledging that I will most likely not have achieved the degree of perfection or professionalim, technically, that Jeff requires of his graduates, but I know that my skills will be dramatically increased from where they were before.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Recent Painting

Along the Avalanche Trail, Glacier NP
Despite the fact that I'm only painting in black and white at the academy, I nevertheless did this small painting (9" X 12"), started on site at Glacier National Park in Aug. and finished up using photos at home. Next spring my husband and I are taking off on a 5-month odyssey in our motorhome with a plan to visit several national parks around the country. I plan to leave the academy by then, finished or not with the full curriculum, and to use my new skills doing small plein air landscapes at each park. Still lifes, which I consider my primary interest, will be impossible to pursue while we're travelling. So, I'm dipping into landscapes. I do enjoy them very much, but there are so many great landscape artists, particularly in Utah, that I've always felt it was just too competitive a field for me. Regardless, I will do them and see how good I can get at them in those five months. I'm looking forward to it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Value Exercise

This is the first value exercise Jeff allowed me to do in paint. Moving along.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Recent Value Drawings at the Academy

Tennis Shoes - Value Drawing, Feb. 2010

"Art News" - Value Drawing, Nov. 2009
Above are two recent value drawings done at the Jeff Hein Academy. These were done with vine charcoal on Arches 90-lb. cold press watercolor paper.
I feel I'm learning a lot in my days at the academy. I spend five days a week there, 5-6 hours per day, and each piece takes many weeks to complete, mainly due to Jeff being very demanding. His standards: perfection. That's not tongue-in-cheek. It can be frustrating, but also what I (and most of us) need. The biggest weakness for most of us, working on our own, is not to demand enough of ourselves and to settle for less than we're actually capable of. Maybe that's the whole purpose of formal training, to have someone telling us - and demanding of us - that we can do better than we think we can. I'm regretting that I didn't do something like this academy earlier in my life.
I am giving myself about one more year at the academy. With the shortness of my time in mind, Jeff has given me permission to complete my value studies portion of the training in paint. I must complete five value studies to his standard with virtually no help from him. After that, I can move into color. I am getting very eager to move on to color. Still working on my first value piece in paint. Unfortunately, I picked a tough subject which is taking me a long time, but, as always I'm learning a lot. I hope to complete it in the next three weeks.
Here's a recommended book for painters who may read this blog: Harold Speed's "Oil Painting Techniques and Materials". As Speed says in his book - to paraphrase - all that can be taught is craft, not art. But that's big.... Most artists nowadays have not mastered craft, but we wade quickly into concept, some with greater success than others. However, craft alone can carry all of us a long ways. What's more, I think that, for many of us, it's really the craft that we've fallen in love with, as artists. Maybe that's why I'm having such a good time being an art student.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Value Drawing, Cone, Ball and Hexagon

Here is a recently completed value study done at the Hein Academy, where I've been attending since Oct. 2008. I'm getting virtually no painting done these days, spending 4-6 hours per day, five days a week at the academy.