Thursday, February 26, 2015

I’ve never had any training using oil paint, but have always been drawn to the buttery feel of it and that lovely smell.

It has been so many years since I last painted from life, I knew I had to return to the basics learned from my wonderful figure drawing teacher, Bill Parks at the American Academy of Art in Chicago.

He gave us 4 questions to ask ourselves if we felt something wasn’t right about our work:

1. Is it the correct SHAPE?

2. Is the VALUE too light or too dark?

3. Is the TEMPERATURE of the COLOR too warm or too cool?

4. Is the EDGE of the shape too sharp or too soft?

Breaking the mess of what we saw in front of us down to 4 simple decisions, Mr. Parks taught us that critical thinking was the best tool we had in order to achieve accurate work. For those of us who didn’t spring out of the womb with the ability to paint like Sargent, the only way to learn to paint well was to constantly analyze what you saw in your subject, and what you saw in your work. As he often said: “If you are drawing without COMPARING, you are drawing without SEEING.”

I know I still have a long way to go to master his teachings, and I hope to track my progress occasionally in this blog. I’ll also be posting more paintings, and bits of wisdom from Mr. Parks and others that I have gathered over the years.

BTW, I intend to eventually sell some of these on Etsy, but if anyone wants to grab one as they show up here, shoot me an email. About $125. each.  Update: the bottle has sold! Thanks Beth!