Friday, February 14, 2014

Ink Pot Demo

Diane Mannion, INK POT DEMO, 6x6" oil on gessoboard


A thunderstorm was forecast during our Ringling Englewood class, so instead of painting landscapes outside, we painted flowers inside.  Filled small bottles with clippings from my garden and had each student work from their own arrangement.  Classroom lighting is not exciting, but still excellent painting practice.

I took a poll of favorite things to paint:  Landscapes?  Most hands up.  Portraits? Several hands.  Still lifes?  My hand was the only one up.  Then I asked, Flowers?  All hands up!

Interesting that flowers were not thought of as still lifes.  Flowers can also be painted as part of the landscape, or part of a portrait.  Maybe flowers are simply thought of as florals, instead of still lifes.

Asked students to do thumbnail sketches before tackling their canvas or paper.  Thumbnails are the place to figure out composition and think about the subject.  Make design mistakes in a tiny sketch instead of the final project.   This is the place to visualize how the subject will fill the space.  It's important to draw a rectangle about the same proportion of the final canvas or paper.  

Even after all my thumbnail advice, a lot of students ended up with a tiny jar of flowers floating in the middle of a huge empty space.  So next class... I'll bring my bootcamp whistle to warn them of the dangers of not considering the background space as PART OF THE PAINTING!  Visualize this first in the thumbnail sketch!

This is my thumbnail sketch for the Ink Pot Demo.  Not a pretty drawing... simply a roadmap of my thinking on paper.  The notches on the sides were also put on my final board to help me "see" where to put things.
(Notches don't show here... cropped off before posting).  Subject drawn with linseed oil and ultramarine blue, rubbed here and there with a paper towel.  It's not the only way to start a painting.

Next week... after lecturing (nagging?) again about the importance of thumbnails, we'll start painting by toning the canvas and then wiping out with Color Shapers and paper towels.  That is... after everyone has worked out design and composition in THUMBNAILS!


Unknown said...

This is really interesting, Diane. Thanks for sharing the wisdom that you would tell your students in class! My colored pencil group is having a still life session tomorrow, and this will be valuable advice. :) I like the demo painting very much!

Diane Mannion said...

Thanks, Katherine. Hope someone takes my advice. I don't always listen to myself and wonder why I get off on the wrong track. Have to keep repeating the same thing to myself and others.

Wendy Barrett said...

Love this Diane! Particularly love the greens and the transparency of the ink pot. Enjoyed hearing about your class.

Diane Mannion said...

Thanks, Wendy. I love teaching what I know... keeps me learning about new things to share.

Catharina Engberg said...

Lovely flowers, with a nice perspective a little from above.Wishing you a nice weekend!

Catharina Engberg said...

Oh by the way: I am one of them that never do a thumbnail before painting. I MUST start following this advise! Thank you!

Diane Mannion said...

Thanks, Catharina. I rarely bothered with thumbnails until recently. Have seen a huge difference for the better when I do them!