Sunday, January 21, 2018

Shapes Before Subject

Block-in for In the Winter Spotlight
In the Winter Spotlight, oil, 11x14

When I choose a subject to paint, it’s almost never because I want to paint THAT particular subject. I don’t go outside thinking “I want to paint a Juniper tree” or “a clump of snow with grass coming out of it.” It’s usually something else that tugs at my artistic voice. It could be the light. Or the shadows. Or it could be a pattern of textures or edges that I can envision creating in pastel or oil.

But my first order of business before I attempt to visually create what appealed to me, is to find the shapes in my composition. To hear the word “shapes,” it sounds easy enough. After all, as kids we start hearing about shapes by the time we’re in kindergarten. But to look at a busy landscape and boil it down to a few shapes is much easier said than done. We can look at an artist’s work after the fact and see those shapes pointed out to us, but it takes practice to learn how to create that combination of shapes on your own. And it can be overwhelming when the subject is chock-full of busy detail.

Shown in this post are two paintings, along with their block-ins. As with most all of my paintings, they both required some compositional searching, editing, reproportioning of shapes, and a bit of value restructuring.

Block-in for Warm Summer Day at Multnomah Falls

Warm Summer Day at Multnomah Falls, pastel, 14x11
(Available at The Artful Deposit, Bordentown, NJ)

In workshops that I teach, I find that many students are more interested in how I finish a painting than how I start a painting. But the truth is, what makes a painting successful at the finish, is what I do at the very start…which is all of those things I do before I make single mark on the painting. Sometimes this process comes together logically, and it’s just a matter of going through the steps. Other times it takes searching and working my shapes like a puzzle. I can honestly say that my own skill level increased when I began to understand how to plan out a painting in this way at the start.

Students are often determined to take home successful completed paintings at the end of a workshop. But what if you instead took a few days to work intensively on just this important skill that’s required at the start of each painting. And if you did indeed improve it, your overall skill level as a painter is sure to get a boost!

Okay, so you probably know where this is headed, so let me just say it…

It just so happens that I’m teaching my Composition Boot Camp at two upcoming workshops this year:

Fresno, CA – Feb. 15-17, A Sense of Place Gallery (Studio Workshop)

and

Bend, OR – May 22-24, Cascade Fine Art Workshops (Studio & Plein Air…we’ll apply this to field studies, too!)

(Details for each are below.)

In this workshop, I explain in detail my process for how to “see” shapes in the landscape, and how to edit those shapes.

And if you’re not able to attend, I still encourage you to set aside some time on your own to practice this skill. Try composing and editing “shapes” for your paintings, rather than “subject matter,” in small thumbnail sketches. (Hint: SQUINT!!!) Then block in paintings from your thumbnails instead of directly from your source photo. Take several days to practice only thumbnails and block-ins. I know it doesn’t sound glamorous, but it’s certain to help you see your paintings in terms of shapes, and ultimately improve how you can lay the foundation for successful paintings!


UPCOMING WORKSHOPS

Fresno, CA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Feb. 15-17, 2018
"Composition Boot Camp"
A Sense of Place Fine Art Gallery
Contact: Ginny Burdick, gburdick@sti.net, 559-392-6775
$375

Providence, RI - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
March 23-25, 2018
"Painting the Poetic Landscape"
Providence Art Club
Contact: Angel Dean, angel@providenceartclub.org, 401-331-1114 ext. 16
www.providenceartclub.org
$425/members; $525/nonmembers (nonmember fee includes lunch each day)

Centralia, WA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
April 20-22, 2018
"Painting the Poetic Landscape"
$400

Bend, OR - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop 
May 22-24, 2018
"Composition Boot Camp" (studio & plein air)
Contact: Sue Manley, info@cascadefineartworkshops.com, 541-408-5524
$435




There's more!!! ... For FULL WORKSHOP SCHEDULE, go to www.barbarajaenicke.com




My INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS and MONTHLY ONLINE LESSONS are available at www.paintingthepoeticlandscape.com.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Monthly Online Lessons!

Many of you reading this may have already purchased my instructional video series, Painting the Poetic Landscape. I've been wanting to extend these lessons to include an individual feedback component on specific topics. It's been in the works for awhile, but I'm excited to announce that I'm now offering Monthly Online Lessons.

These are short, written lessons that include step-by-step progression photos of paintings that demonstrate a particular subject or topic. Each lesson costs $45 and includes my written critique of your painting based on the lesson.

If you've purchased one of my Painting The Poetic Landscape instructional videos, you'll already receive an email each time a new online lesson is available. But you need not have purchased an instructional video in order to take these monthly online lessons; you can simply sign up to receive notifications when a new lesson is available. Each notification will give you a short description of the lesson and indicate which medium is used for the demo, so you can determine if you want to purchase that particular lesson.

CLICK HERE for more information and to receive notifications when new lessons are available.

January's lesson will show you how "Twilight's Radiant Descent" was painted, focusing on specifically how to paint winter grasses...

Twilight's Radiant Descent, 12x16, oil

Since I'll be pouring much energy into these monthly lessons, I'll be posting to my blog quarterly, rather than monthly as I've been doing for the past several years. Although slightly less frequent, I still hope to post interesting artist tidbits here!

Wishing you all the best in 2018!


UPCOMING WORKSHOPS IN 2018

Dahlonega, GA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop -- FULL WITH WAITLIST
Jan. 25-27, 2018
"Landscape & Light"
The Art Loft
Contact: Anita Elder, aelder1@windstream.net, 706-429-6008
$485
Additional demo on Sun., Jan. 28, 10am - 1pm (separate from workshop), $50. Contact Anita to sign up. -- 3 SPOTS LEFT FOR SUNDAY DEMO

Fresno, CA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Feb. 15-17, 2018
"Composition Boot Camp"
A Sense of Place Fine Art Gallery
Contact: Ginny Burdick, gburdick@sti.net, 559-392-6775
$375

Providence, RI - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
March 23-25, 2018
"Painting the Poetic Landscape"
Providence Art Club
Contact: Angel Dean, angel@providenceartclub.org, 401-331-1114 ext. 16
www.providenceartclub.org
$425/members; $525/nonmembers (nonmember fee includes lunch each day)

There's more!!! ... For FULL WORKSHOP SCHEDULE, go to www.barbarajaenicke.com




My INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS are available at www.paintingthepoeticlandscape.com.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Season's Greetings and Big News for 2018!



Wishing you heartfelt cheer this holiday season! 

To all of you who have been following my blog...thank you! I hope it has provided ideas, helpful information, and inspiration. 


And as 2018 approaches, I have big news to announce...

Just after the first of the year, I'll be posting more about my Monthly Online Lessons. Briefly, these are short, written lessons that feature step-by-step progression photos of paintings that demonstrate a particular subject or topic, and they include my written critique of your painting based on the lesson. Look for more details in my next post!

In the meantime, I wish you all the best this holiday season, and Happy Painting in 2018!

Barbara

Friday, November 24, 2017

A Message of Gratitude, and a Sweet Little Offer (Actually 3 of Them!)

During this season of thanks, I'd like to extend my sincere gratitude to my faithful blog readers, many of whom have also become students and collectors. Your support and enthusiasm is greatly appreciated! So as I did last year, I'd like to offer this once again...

I love the idea of having a day dedicated to purchasing something unique from a small business rather than a gigantic corporation, as is usually the case with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So I thought I'd offer something special on Small Business Saturday!

For just this one day--Saturday, November 25, 2017 (starting by midnight 11/24)--I'm offering a price of $95 plus shipping ($13.60) on each of the following three 8x10 studies (normally $235). They can be purchased through Daily Paintworks/PayPal by clicking on the links below. After this day, they'll each go back up to their normal prices. This won't be posted anywhere else; I'm announcing it only through my blog.

Whether it's by purchasing one of my little paintings or something else from another small business owner, I hope you'll consider supporting Small Business Saturday! 

Many thanks,

Barbara 



UPDATE: All sold before I had breakfast this morning!! A big thank you to the three collectors who purchased these little ones!



Autumn Glow, oil, 10x8, unframed
$95 plus shipping, 11/25/17 only
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE


Drama in a Midwestern Sky, pastel, 8x10, unframed
$95 plus shipping, 11/25/17 only
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE



Golden Afternoon, oil, 8x10, unframed
$95 plus shipping, 11/25/17 only
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Mushy Stage

Stop Along the Way, pastel, 11x14

In previous posts I’ve talked about starting a painting with connected shapes. (Click here to read one such post.) Even if you’re able to master that step, it can still be a confusing journey to go from blocking in shapes to the finished painting. We often feel compelled to rush too quickly from those big shapes to the finishing touches—those small, crisp, “eye-catcher” marks.

If you can restrain yourself from rushing into those finer details, you can better focus on pushing each of your original shapes to their correct value (light/dark), temperature (warm/cool) and chroma (bright/dull). You’ll want to be aware that, at this point in the painting process, you won’t yet have the variety of edges to give the landscape form and depth, and it will likely have an overall “mushy” appearance, which can be disconcerting. But be patient!

Shown below is an early stage of the painting shown at the top of this post. At this point, I’ve addressed each shift of value, temperature and chroma over my block-in. The only area that I allowed just a bit of tightening at this stage is in the area that I know will be my focal point … just below and to the right of the darkest trees. All other marks are kept loose and vague (mushy).


The early "mushy" stage of Stop Along the Way.

It’s important to back up at this point and check value/temperature/chroma. Make all necessary corrections before you move forward to finer marks.

After a few more tweaks to this phase, it was time to add the finer details that you see in the finished painting.

Keep in mind, it’s important to let some of the original undefined, vague areas (those mushy parts) stay that way, especially in the tree foliage and grass. This will enhance those special areas that you choose to make more defined.


UPCOMING WORKSHOPS

Dahlonega, GA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Jan. 25-27, 2018
"Landscape & Light"
The Art Loft
Contact: Anita Elder, aelder1@windstream.net, 706-429-6008
$485

Fresno, CA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Feb. 15-17, 2018
"Composition Boot Camp"
A Sense of Place Fine Art Gallery
Contact: Ginny Burdick, gburdick@sti.net, 559-392-6775
$375

Providence, RI - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
March 23-25, 2018
"Painting the Poetic Landscape"
Providence Art Club
Contact: Angel Dean, angel@providenceartclub.org, 401-331-1114 ext. 16
www.providenceartclub.org
$425/members; $525/nonmembers (nonmember fee includes lunch each day)

There's more!!! ... For FULL WORKSHOP SCHEDULE, go to www.barbarajaenicke.com




My INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS are available at www.paintingthepoeticlandscape.com.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Up, Down & Around: Painting Skies, Water & Trees

Water on the Move, pastel, 11x14, workshop demo

This past week I taught a new workshop I’ve developed called Up, Down & Around: Painting Skies, Water & Trees. I was real happy with the format, and it was well received by a very enthusiastic group of artists at SageBrushers Art Society in Bend, OR!

Following below are progression shots of some of my “warm up” paintings that I did just prior to the workshop. For the actual demos painted in the workshop, I talked through each step, addressing the why and how for each step.



Clouds Dancing Over the High Desert, 8x10, oil

For skies, comparing values at the base of dark clouds to values on the ground is critical (photos don’t usually give accurate information for this area!), as is comparing cloud edges to edges elsewhere in the landscape.




Power and Poetry on the Deschutes, 8x10, oil

For water, paying close attention to color temperature shifts between sky reflections on top of the water and what lies beneath, contributes to a genuine capture of translucency and reflective light.




Sunlit Discombobulation, 8x10, pastel

For trees, starting with the big shape without over-defining edges (keep ‘em loose and vague!) and carving out negative space later is important if you want to avoid a “stiff” tree.

I’ll be teaching this same workshop again this November in Bridgewater, NJ (see below) and may also teach it at more venues in the future.


UPCOMING WORKSHOPS:

Landgrove, VT - 4-day PASTEL/OIL workshop (studio with some plein air, weather permitting)
Oct. 16, 17, 18 & 19, 2017 (Mon/Tues/Wed/Thurs)
"Painting the Poetic Landscape"
InView Center for the Arts at the Landgrove Inn
132 Landgrove Road, Landgrove, VT  05148
Contact: Tom Checchia, vtinn@sover.net, 802-824-6673
$480

Bridgewater, NJ - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Nov. 3, 4 & 5, 2017 (Fri/Sat/Sun)
"Up, Down & Around: Painting Skies, Water & Trees"
York Art Studio
350 Grove St. #4, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
yorkartstudio@gmail.com
908-392-0998
$400
Contact: Barbara Jaenicke, barbarajaenicke@msn.com

Dahlonega, GA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Jan. 25-27, 2018
"Landscape & Light"
The Art Loft
Contact: Anita Elder, aelder1@windstream.net, 706-429-6008
$485

Fresno, CA - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Feb. 15-17, 2018
"Composition Boot Camp"
A Sense of Place Fine Art Gallery
Contact: Ginny Burdick, gburdick@sti.net, 559-392-6775
$375

There's more!!! ... For FULL WORKSHOP SCHEDULE, go to www.barbarajaenicke.com




My INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS are available at www.paintingthepoeticlandscape.com.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

When The Sky Isn't Blue

Summertime Haze, pastel, 11x14

When you photograph a large area of the sky on a vivid, blue sky day, your camera usually cooperates, and you have nice strong, saturated blue in our photo. But sometimes when you photograph just a low portion of the sky (near the horizon), or when the sky is blue but not a strong, saturated blue, the camera sometimes plays tricks on you, and it appears more like a white sky, even though you knew the sky was fairly blue when you shot the photo. Some artists will make the mistake of putting a vivid blue “back in” thinking the saturated blue must reach all the way down to the horizon, when it might just need to go lighter and warmer at that lower portion of the sky.


Reference photo for Summertime Haze.

Another common mistake is for artists to turn the sky blue when the lighting conditions are actually a very warm, glare, especially low in the sky in the early morning or evening. Capturing this warm light in the sky can be every bit as dramatic as a vivid blue sky. And one more mistake often made is to copy that type of lighting condition exactly as it shows up in the photo, resulting in a very flat, greyish-white depiction of the sky.


A Frosty Glow, oil, 11x14

For most people, to view a bright, clear sky in person when the sun is low, you either need strong sunglasses or you need to squint in pain to look in that direction…IT’S BRIGHT!!! Your camera rarely captures this intense light accurately.


Reference photo for A Frosty Glow.

Understanding the color temperature of this type of light will help you create this strong light sensation, which lends itself to a dramatic light capture in a painting.


Morning Glare, pastel, 11x14

The paintings shown in this post (all recent workshop demos) are all examples of this type of light. I’ve included the reference photos so you can see the difference in what the photo indicates in the sky and how I’ve altered that color to create the effect of what I knew to be the accurate light I observed on that day and time at each location. 




Upcoming Workshops: 


Bend, OR - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Sept. 23, 24 & 25, 2017 (Sat/Sun/Mon)
SageBrushers Art Society
117 SW Roosevelt Ave., Bend, OR  97702
Contact: Barbara Jaenicke, barbarajaenicke@msn.com
$375

Landgrove, VT - 4-day PASTEL/OIL workshop (studio with some plein air, weather permitting)
Oct. 16, 17, 18 & 19, 2017 (MonTues/Wed/Thurs)
InView Center for the Arts at the Landgrove Inn
132 Landgrove Road, Landgrove, VT  05148
Contact: Tom Checchia, vtinn@sover.net, 802-824-6673
$480

Bridgewater, NJ - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Nov. 3, 4 & 5, 2017 (Fri/Sat/Sun)
York Art Studio
350 Grove St. #4, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
yorkartstudio@gmail.com
908-392-0998
$400
Contact: Barbara Jaenicke, barbarajaenicke@msn.com

There's more!!! ... For FULL WORKSHOP SCHEDULE, go to www.barbarajaenicke.com




My INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS are available at www.paintingthepoeticlandscape.com.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Variety is the Spice of Life...and Artwork!

Evening's Hush Over The Marina, 12x16, oil;
partially based on the pastel study below


It seems to be human nature to favor consistency. We don’t have to think as hard when we do something the same each time. Have you noticed that beginner artists tend to keep shapes and spaces between shapes in their paintings fairly equal? (And artists of any level tend to do this when they get tired or lazy…myself included!!) But with artwork, or really design of any kind, it’s variety of shapes and sizes that grabs the viewers eye. Whenever I struggle to find an eye-appealing composition within an awkward or dull view of my subject, I look for opportunities to place large shapes against proportionally small shapes. 

Sunset Glow on the Marina, 8x10, pastel (SOLD);
plein air study

When I painted the pastel study shown here, I arrived late to the first painting location of the 2017 Plein Air Convention, along with several hundred other artists painting along this marina in San Diego. With having to squeeze into one of the last remaining spots to set up my easel, I was pretty much stuck painting one of the only available views left. So I looked for a composition in which I could contrast large shapes (the flat, open water and the larger foreground boats on the right) with smaller shapes (the smaller boats in the left, and the finer lines of their masts). I also went for contrast in edges, with the more vaguely defined distant trees and loosely defined smaller boats, contrasted with the sharper edges of the larger boats, bright highlights, and the thin masts.

“Traveling a New Road” (below, pastel, 9x12) was a demo I painted at a workshop I taught at the recent IAPS convention in June. Briefly, the challenge was to begin with five shapes structured in descending size order, with each shape half the size as the one larger than that shape. The goal was to be deliberate about designing a composition with a purposeful variety of shapes.


Traveling a New Road, 9x12, pastel
Available at The Artful Deposit, Bordentown, NJ

I find that my favorite compositions tend to be ones that have a more dramatic contrast between large and small shapes. Now, of course, not every subject lends itself to this type of composition, but finding even a subtle variety of shapes may spice up an otherwise dull composition!


Upcoming Workshops: 

Richmond, IN - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Aug. 17, 18 & 19, 2017 (Thurs/Fri/Sat)
Richmond Art Museum
350 Hub Etchison Parkway, Richmond, Indiana, 47374
Contact: Lance Crow, lance@richmondartmuseum.org, 765-966-0256
$395/member; $450/non-member

Bend, OR - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Sept. 23, 24 & 25, 2017 (Sat/Sun/Mon)
SageBrushers Art Society
117 SW Roosevelt Ave., Bend, OR  97702
Contact: Barbara Jaenicke, barbarajaenicke@msn.com
$375

Landgrove, VT - 4-day PASTEL/OIL workshop (studio with some plein air, weather permitting)
Oct. 16, 17, 18 & 19, 2017 (MonTues/Wed/Thurs)
InView Center for the Arts at the Landgrove Inn
132 Landgrove Road, Landgrove, VT  05148
Contact: Tom Checchia, vtinn@sover.net, 802-824-6673
$480

Bridgewater, NJ - 3-day PASTEL/OIL workshop
Nov. 3, 4 & 5, 2017 (Fri/Sat/Sun)
York Art Studio
350 Grove St. #4, Bridgewater, NJ 08807
yorkartstudio@gmail.com
908-392-0998
$400
Contact: Barbara Jaenicke, barbarajaenicke@msn.com

There's more!!! ... For FULL WORKSHOP SCHEDULE, go to www.barbarajaenicke.com



My INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEOS are available at www.paintingthepoeticlandscape.com.