Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Painting in Multiple Sessions

Most of my paintings thus far have been done Alla Prima, that is, in one sitting. However, I've recently taking a few classes and spent time on my own working on a painting for more then one sitting. I've discovered a few things I thought I would share.

One, I've noticed that perhaps due to lack of practice on this, I found myself getting a bit paralyzed in my thinking. I find I paint differently when I know I have lots of time, I paint with thin tentative strokes rather then jumping right in with paint and letting it go. I know when your working in multiple sessions you would like to keep your paint thin in sections you know you will be reworking on a latter day but I don't believe Mancini or Fechin worked that way. However as I am barely scratching the surface on this one I will just leave it there.

Two, there is a point in the process the paint gets a bit tacky. It is not dry or wet but somewhere in between and let me tell you, that is the worst time to work on top of an area. Your best bet is to wait until it in completely dry to tackle that area.

Three, Its difficult to keep your focus for a long period of time. Trying to visualize the end result before you begin is going to take some time and lots of canvas.

Four, Discovering what finish is in a painting can be tricky. The paintings I do spend more then one sitting on tend to look rather tight, or maybe I mean refined. Whatever it is they are not often what I intend they look like in the end, hence the visualizing what you want your painting to look like in the end. Keeping your focus and if need be I guess find a way, a skill, a technique that will teach you how to make paintings you intend to make. Not paintings that just happen

So once again, back to the easel. One brush stroke at a time.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

New Painting

I painted this painting not too long ago. Thought I'd let you see what Ive been up to.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Painting Demo

Last Tuesday I gave a Still Life Demonstration up at the Glenview Art League. Given the Limited amount of time, it was a challenge to finish a painting and answer the viewers questions at the same time.

Because of this I thought I'd post the demo and talk a bit about what I was thinking during the process and to hopefully give more incite to those who attended and perhaps share new info to those who did not attend. This also gives me a chance to learn from my own experience as well.

I began the painting with a color wash. not necessarily in transparent washes though in parts they were used but also with a bit of thicker paint. My focus was in getting the abstract shapes down using color and value. I was not thinking about edges at this time only to keep everything soft in the beginning. I was anticipating sharpening edges up by carving things out using the background or adjacent shapes. * Note there are lots of ways to start a painting, given the time limitations and what I wanted to accomplish this seemed the best way to begin.

Once I got the initial abstract pattern in I began working on drawing, that is carving things out as a sculptor would, not using line to guide me but thinking of the shapes at they met each other. I also used some highlights ( the shapes of the highlights) to guide my drawing.

In this painting I started on the large pot because it was an easy shape that I knew I could get right as apposed to say the grapes or flowers that are far more difficult to see the overall shapes.

At this point as I was carving out the shape of the pot I thought about each edge of the pot as it met the cloth or grapes. I squinted down to see the relationship of the pot to the edges around it, and painted that relationships as I saw it at a squint.

I then moved to the grapes. As I had already done a color wash there was not much to do to make the initial wash begin to look like a cluster of grapes. The value and color were already there and rather then spending countless amounts of time "rendering" each grape, I only needed to pull out a few grapes causing the eye to read the abstract shape as a whole cluster.

To make some of the grapes pop out even more, I painted the shapes around them. The cloth and shadow pattern helped to define a few grapes and started to really read well at a distance.

As I moved along to the flowers, I noticed that in order for them to read well I had to paint the leaves and shadow pattern on the side of the pot to make the simple design of the flowers read accurately. I had mentioned several times during the demo that I was trying to paint these shapes simply, not getting wrapped up into what things are but painting only a few strokes and then letting your eye fill in the rest. Its amazing what your eye will interpret, I think because we are visual people, we see things everyday we know what things are, all our eye needs is a hint of what things are and our minds eye fills in the rest. Isn't that amazing.

If I were to continue on this painting a bit more I would still keep things simple. The little cup on the right perhaps a few more strokes in the light and maybe a few strokes along the edges of the shadow pattern.

That was it, I know it has helped me to write about the small demo and I hope you enjoyed it as well. I find repetition of information to be so helpful in getting it to stick in your brain.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Daily Paintings

After reading a bit about other artists doing these small "A Painting A Day" paintings I thought I'd give it a try. I guess you can say it is a new New Years Resolution. This one may be a bit harder to keep but its worth a shot.

My goal then is to do a painting a day, allowing at least one hour and no more then three on each little painting/study. This will all depend on the amount of time I can give per day. I have decided to allow myself at least one day off a week in anticipation of illness, business and the like. ( It seems i may have already proven this an impossible endeavor as I have taken a few days off already, yet I will continue to try my best.)

So I began this little experiment on January 1st, you can see a few paintings I have done so far and I will post each painting in my connected blog www.marcioleszkiewicz.blogspot.com. You can also click the link to the right titled Daily Paintings. So don't forget to check out the site to see a new painting hopefully every day. Note also that these paintings will be available for purchase as well, and I hope to also have a show of them at the end of the year so stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I actually went through with last years resolution, that was to draw more. I'm so excited because I have seen the improvement in not only my drawing skills but how it has helped my paintings as well.

Here are two drawings, one I did new years day of last year and one I did new years day of this year. I think I have learned so much and excited to see what this year will bring.

The drawing on the left is from last year. The drawing on the right was done this new years day. One step at a time. A thank you to those who have helped me this past year I am greatful for your generosity.