Saturday, January 10, 2009


I did get out to paint plein air today but I have it posted on a private blog for critiquing so just some sketches today of chocolates. I've given myself the evening off practical work for more study and note taking.

I've been carefully studying other artists landscape work and in particular their brushwork. Sargent is a wonderful example of outstanding brushwork. It all seems to be about suggestion and letting the viewer create their own interpretation from the information given. This is the painting of Sargents for which I had been searching (Thank you, Karen, for finding it. Jeanette, the one you gave me is very similar and is as good an example) which shows how he masterfully demonstrates this suggestive quality (I had in particular been drawn to the silverware on the table). One of the books I recently brought says that you should paint according to what your eye sees - if your focus is on one object that is what should have the most detail while the peripheral objects should be more suggestive with only as much detail as is necessary to reveal them as they would appear in your field of vision.

I've also been reading, both in books and on blogs, about minimising the tonal values in a plein air landscape to 4 or at most 5 in an attempt to simplify the landscape. Severtal artists advocate doing a thumbnail tonal value sketch and also a thumbnail colour study. Kevin McPherson (Landscape Painting Inside and Out) suggests using a large brush and doing 2" x 3" thumbnails using the the closest colours to the landscape. Vicki McMurray (Mastering Colour) also suggests colour thumbnails to check the balance of the picture. Both if these, I feel are things I need to include in my practice as I am sure they simplify the actual painting process. Lots to chew over and absorb!

Some wonderful snapshots on my drive in to paint today - the soldier sitting on a chair in a tented camp with towel draped around his shoulders, his friend giving him a haircut and there were boys playing cricket in our street, the wickets set up either end of a very short "22 yards" were concrete blocks!


Anita Davies said...

Delicious sketches Anita!

Dianne Mize said...

Anita, your chocolates are so wonderfully drawn they're making my mouth water.

Jeanette said...

Landscapes are a challenge to me, but it is very useful to study others and I do so as well to see what I can glean out of them. Sargent's work is heaven.

Chocolates! Oh no...I couldn't. Well, ok, just one then. :) They look very tempting. I have a chocolate cp or painting in my head for years. One day it will come out.

Funny how boys everywhere will find a place for sport. Here its road hockey, with nets either end of the street and if a car comes they scoot over and move the net!

Anita said...

Anita - thank you! Getting back into sketching as part of my daily art practice.

Dianne - thank you! I seem to do a lot of food based artwork. *sigh* I think its an addiction!

Jeanette - the challenges are what makes us grow, I believe. I'm sticking to the process with the conviction that eventually something has to work!

vivien said...

delicious! how did you leave them alone long enough to sketch?

I totally agree about the focus - to have every element in sharp focus simply isn't how the human eye perceives a scene.

Anita said...

Vivien - its simple, draw chocolates you don't like! I did the Quality Street one from memory - now that wouldn't last long enough for me to draw it!!! My faves!

all artwork is copyright of Anita Murphy 2006/2007/2008/2009