3 Quick Painting Tips!

There are many different techniques and tips that are employed when creating a painting. Like many artists, I have found some that work best for me, these are 3 that I come back to regularly.

(Click on the video below to see 3 tips I discuss to recreate what is observed in nature)

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Now let’s discuss the tips:

#1 Composition: Rule of Thirds

rule of thirds
The Rule of Thirds is an even spaced grid which intersects your canvas or work space/image area. It can be drawn lightly on your paper, canvas or work area.

Divide the canvas in thirds horizontally and thirds vertically, the purpose for this grid is help you compose an interesting image. The Rule of Thirds also helps distribute visually the elements in your scene, making sure one area is not too heavy while another is not too scarce. Simply put the Rule of Thirds helps you create a scene that flows well overall and is visually composed in an interesting manner.

#2 Lighting: Consistent light source

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Areas that protrude will show the highest concentration of light, the undercut areas will produce shadows. 

When working on murals I use a string anchored with a nail placed where my vanishing point is. This allows me to have a consistent vanishing point throughout my mural, even if I am working several feet away on the other side of the painting.

The same technique, using an anchored string from a single location, can be used to establish a consistent direction of sunlight. This main source of light is important in a work of art depicting the natural world. Even on an overcast day when the light source is ambient, the abundance of light comes from one source. Light can be reflected, refracted and absorbed depending on the surface and material, so you may have other secondary sources of light, but one main strong source is dominate.

My suggestion is to observe and study how light falls on objects in nature, keeping in mind where the light source is, and remember your discoveries as you recreate. Identifying and staying consistent with your primary light source will help recreate a believable scene.

#3 Shadows: Adding brown and blue to make a more believable shadow!Artistic-Gold-painting-tips-adding-shadingShadows are not truly black. When reflected light is bouncing off of surrounding surfaces and enters an area void of light (shadows) then a variety of other colors make up the shadow (during a daytime scene) which we are viewing. To recreate this effect in my paintings I have used brown and dark blue with a small amount of black, to recreate shadows produced during the most intense sun of the day. The shadows produced on an overcast day will be less intense of course. The shadows produced during the ‘golden hour’ of sunlight tends to have more of a warm purplish tint in it. The cooler the sunlight gets as the sun drops, then the shadows will also get cooler.

To me the great thing about being an artist is taking in all kinds of info, and observations, then taking ownership of that information and using it in my work.

I hope these small tips can help you explore in greater depth the environment that surrounds you and recreate it in your next piece.


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