Posts Tagged ‘#Michael Orwick’

This is the second week of our course work held with Michael Orwick on The Value of Design offered by the Oregon Society of Artists. We are still focused on design and are now using a minimal set of oil colors. Our attention this week is on values, that is the lights and darks that will be used in our paintings. Our emphasis is not color. I used four recommended oil colors, that is Earth Red, Ultramarine Blue, Titanium White and also used some Indian Yellow in the preparations of the following “underpainting” to show my intended values.

Oil on composite board

For the first painting above, I used a small piece of composite board, 8″ x 10″. My goal was to show the moonlight and how it is reflecting on the ocean in front of our winter place. The light of the moon strikes the water in the early evening.

Ink, gesso and brush followed by oil paints, 16″ x 20″ wooden birch board

In this second painting, I used a two-part approach on a wooden birch board. First, I sketched the setting using black ink and a brush. Then I gessoed in the light. Once I thought I had what I wanted, I used oils to suggest additional values that I would like to paint in to the picture. This is closer to my more natural way of thinking of paintings.

The earlier ink and gesso looked like this.

Oil on Birch Wood Panel, 12 X 12″

The third design, shown above, is based on the Afghanistan photo and focuses on light and structure while using what is a rather complicated photograph of a settlement in Kabul for my inspiration. In this case, I started with earth red and added blues, as needed. It will be fun to consider how I will paint over this to emphasize the necessary details without overburdening the painting.

Oils, 16″x20″ birch panel

This fourth painting, based on a photo that I took while hiking Mt. Hood, Oregon, is the one that started out as an H design and is now modified in a larger U-shape to focus almost exclusively on the light and shadows of the background mountains, while still hopefully implying that the observer is tucked away into the woods and hills, looking out at the mountains.

This painting has frustrated me the most. I may still ditch it, but am following through for now since I am doing this for a class session and am supposed to be learning from it. My frustration stems from not being perfectly happy with the design. I prefer, in many ways, an earlier sketch that I made and may go back and paint it from this other perspective. Or maybe I will end up doing both?

Earlier sketch of the same place done with ink and gesso, on paper.

In all fairness, however, I would like to add that I do not think that the design that I am painting is necessarily the problem. I may have to go back and capture the light better, like I was doing when I started off. I lost some of the spirit of the painting when I moved to “adding” colors while shaping the mountains. Below shows how my underpainting started off, prior to my adding and painting in earth red. I prefer this to the final underpainting that I made. Perhaps Michael might help me figure out where I fell off the rails with this one?

Earlier design using subtraction method, supplemented with gesso for light.

To summarize, I experimented with several things while working on my underpainting and emphasizing value and structure.

  • I changed the emphasis on the oil colors chosen for the value paintings, to see whether it will help me focus on the values rather than the colors;
  • In some cases I used what Michael Orwick calls a subtraction method of taking paint away to set values; in others, I used addition by adding values to base paint, putting in darks and lights as needed. Although both ways are effective, I personally found the subtraction method more interesting;
  • In the case of the bridge painting, I experimented with using ink to sketch the drawing and gesso to define the light, then painted oils over this design, using additional oils both brushed and rubbed on to the surface, as needed. I really enjoyed working on this as a way of emphasizing light and reflection.
  • Fourth, and finally, I am doing several paintings at once to encourage me to keep looking at the design and to not get too involved in finishing the painting.

It is helping me to go slowly through these exercises and to remind myself what I am doing at this point of the painting. I am focused on structure and value. This approach is a bit like doing physical exercise, where it is usually helpful to take some time out and consider one’s physical positions while doing the exercise, rather than simply aiming to finish, come hell or high water.

In all, I am finding this to be a whole lot of fun.

End of second week.

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Below are photos, sketches and paintings that I prepared for our zoom class called The Value of Design taught by Michael Orwick offered through the Oregon Society of Artists.

Note: First week of morning class beginning 6 January, 2020, a day in American History never to be forgotten.

Personal photo, Willamette River, Portland Oregon, 2020

This first week is focused on design, primarily using photography, thumb sketches and Notans. Below are four perspectives on future paintings that I propose to work on for this course using these techniques.

Perspective 1: “The Bridge”

Biking on the Steel Bridge of Portland looking winter north up the Willamette River, soft pink and blue pastels interrupted by soft grey circular shape of the bridge. Heavy machinery, bridges and equipment come with the natural territory of major rivers around here. I am wondering how many buildings, ships and types of equipment to include, and what their purpose might be. Reflective colors bounce across the water leaving impressions of shifting currents as light streams past. The shadows and reflections on the water are deep from the big boats and buildings.

Black and white photo rendition
Ink Pen Sketch on Paper
Softer ink tones added

Ink and gesso
Brushed ink with gesso
Three “Bridge” Notans in a collage, painted with ink, pen and brushes

Perspective II: “Unity”

Children play a game in Mumbai, India, on a busy street. Their feet touch, defining their play area. The sidewalk patterns mimic the shape of children’s feet and legs, demonstrating land ownership and unity.

Street pattern mimics the design created by the boys’ touching feet, emphasizing their coalition.

Personal photo, Mumbai, India, 2006
Notan, Ink withBrush and Pen on Paper
Notan using Ink with Brush, Pen, and Some Gesso

Perspective III “Outward”

Personal photo, Mt. Hood, Oregon, 2020

Hills present through the trees, with their soft, undulating blues. Dark evergreens make calligraphy painted with a big black brush, light piercing through the big H defining intimacy of location. It is a hiker’s perspective.

Ink and gesso perspective, some brush, some pen on paper
Three Notans in a collage, hand painted ink and brush
My Favorite Notan from this Perspective on Trees. Ink and brushes, some Gesso

Perspective IV “Upwards”

This photo taken in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2003 during a UN mission, census planning.

Settlements build up the hills as families relocate out of the rubble from heavily war-torn areas below. Homes in old area made from locally produced brick, mud and cement, walls remembering a more traditional construction. Homes above, cemented on to the hills, many without electricity or septic systems. Some sudden bursts of color on home exteriors, blue pastels.

There is a woman in traditional blue burkah, children walking alongside her, others communing on the street encircled by trees and mud puddles on major dirt road.

Hill homes simulate rock rubble, seeming like natural landscape, but not quite. Homes and land are a soft, brown, natural tone, a common overlay of communities, past and present.

Personal photo, Kabul, Afghanistan, 2003
Black and white photo, edited
Scribble Pen and Ink Sketch on Paper
Collage of 3 Notons, Ink and Brush

My favorite notan of this perspective:

Ink and brush on Paper

Other Thoughts on Perspectives for this Class

There are a couple other photos of our island home providing ideas for possible paintings and here they are, along with the Notans thus far completed using ink and brush on paper.

End of first week of class.

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