Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Recommendations - CJ Rider, Instructor

Olivia M July 24, 2013
CJ was very helpful in assisting my daughter with her college portfolio. She was very knowledgable about different products and techniques my daughter could use for her art pieces. CJ was always calm, encouraging, and very flexible working with my daughter's style of drawing. Arranging lessons was very efficient, and CJ was always willing to extend the lesson time if needed. I would highly recommend CJ.

Nancy W July 24, 2013
Excellent instructor; knowledgeable related to all media. And very patient. Class is fun.

Arcelia W July 6, 2013
Cj is an inspirational artist. I have a great time learning from her. I am very grateful for her willingness and patience. Hope I can meet with her again and keep painting.. Thank you

Kristine D June 30, 2013
Recently, I purchased private watercolor lessons for my niece’s 11th birthday from CJ. All of my correspondence with CJ before and after was always prompt and courteous. CJ even geared the lesson toward my niece’s interests and abilities. We held the lesson at my niece’s house. CJ arrived on time, and was prepared with everything needed. She was even flexible enough to stay an extra hour since the lesson was going so splendidly. My niece’s inherit interest and natural talent really flourished with CJ’s instruction and examples. I would highly recommend CJ and look forward to future private lessons with her myself.

ShirLee U June 28, 2013
CJ is the tutor extraordinnaire! Her classes are reasonably priced, she is skilled in multiple mediums, and she offers valuable instruction to both the novice and the experienced artist.

Noreen D June 28, 2013
CJ is a wonderful teacher, an artist with many different media and a talent for helping you grow as an artist. Started out with one lesson (beginner) and will continue as long as I keep growing..

Karol R June 28, 2013
CJ's Budding Artists art classes for kids is a wonderful way for them to learn all kinds of different art techniques, working with all kinds of different media. She has a sunny, positive attitude & my dealings with her have been delightful.

Suzanne M June 27, 2013
Oh my gosh, I can not express enough how professional CJ was and how beautiful the art work she did for me turned out. I get so many compliments on her work and her prices were more then reasonable. You will not be sorry to take lessons or have some art work done by CJ, she was wonderful.

Pat G June 27, 2013
I took classes with her for over a year.. CJ is exceptionally professional, teaching on your level and where you are in your art. Would love to take more classes from her, but we moved to Casa Grande.

Nithya S September 13, 2012
It was real fun painting with CJ. I thoroughly enjoyed it. :)
Reviews
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5/5 stars July 24, 2013


CJ was very helpful in assisting my daughter with her college portfolio. She was very knowledgable about different products and techniques my daughter could use for her art pieces. CJ was always calm, encouraging, and very flexible working with my daughter's style of drawing. Arranging lessons was very efficient, and CJ was always willing to extend the lesson time if needed. I would highly recommend CJ.
Olivia M.
5/5 stars June 30, 2013


Recently, I purchased private watercolor lessons for my niece’s 11th birthday from CJ. All of my correspondence with CJ before and after was always prompt and courteous. CJ even geared the lesson toward my niece’s interests and abilities. We held the lesson at my niece’s house. CJ arrived on time and was prepared with everything we needed. She was even flexible enough to stay an extra hour since the lesson was going so splendidly. My niece’s inherit interest and natural talent really flourished with CJ’s instruction and examples. I would highly recommend CJ and look forward to future private lessons with her myself.
Kristine D.
5/5 stars June 28, 2013

nice and fine
Johnson M.
5/5 stars June 26, 2013


Marcia C.
5/5 stars June 26, 2013


Keld Kofoed H.
5/5 stars June 25, 2013


Ms. Rider is always professional, helpful and informative. She encourages your artistic endeavors which leads to confidence and enthusiasm. You just can't wait to get back to class and see what you'll learn and accomplish next!
Sherry S.
5/5 stars June 25, 2013


Jem M.
5/5 stars June 25, 2013


Cheryl M.
5/5 stars June 25, 2013


Tiana M.
5/5 stars June 25, 2013


A wonderful artist and a very nice person as well.
Diane W.
5/5 stars June 25, 2013


generous with helpful tips and ideas..
Eileen E.
5/5 stars June 25, 2013


Suzy M.
5/5 stars June 25, 2013


Judy H.
5/5 stars June 25, 2013


Kim H.
5/5 stars June 25, 2013


Marcia S.
5/5 stars June 25, 2013


Fabulous!
Kathy K.
Write a review

Shirlee U.
5/5 stars June 26, 2013


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Sunday, November 17, 2013

my Style of painting???



style:
What is it and how to I get some?
As you go beyond the products and the initial mechanics of painting you start running into this seemingly elusive thing called "style"

The word is freely bandied about in the art world when referencing well known artists (past and present). But what is it and how does an artist get it... AND do you want it!

In brief, an artists personal style is the culmination of how an artist handles the subject and paint on their canvas: i.e. brushwork, proportions, perspective, composition and more. All of these things become unique to each artist and the result demonstrates their style of creating a painting.

A developed artists style is as unique as a fingerprint or individual handwriting. Across any subject or medium the artist uses, the paintings can still be recognized as their work. (sans signature ;)

Your style is there from the beginning, but being a novice, it isn't completely developed.

Back in grade school, first you learn your letters then words, then you learn to print, then you learn to write in cursive then you write stories! After you are well practice your writing becomes recognizable as yours. Eventually, you or your teacher can find your handwritten paper in a stack just by seeing the handwriting alone. It becomes identifiable as your work. (You also develop a personal "style" for telling stories, etc.)

Similarly, a painting style will develop in a practicing artist. First you learn the basics (composition, drawing, colors, value, shading, etc) Then you learn to apply them to a variety of subject matter. After you have created a larger body of work, you will see that your work is recognizable from another artists painting of the same subject.

Style is usually recognized in a professional artist after they have painted a larger body of works. It then becomes evident that they were all created by the same "hand" Which is as unique as a persons handwriting.

When I teach, I enjoy having everyone create a painting from the same still life or whatever. The resulting paintings are unique to each artists hand. Their individual styles shine through even though the subject matter is the same. Each person emphasizes the subject matter differently, handles the paint differently, sees color relationships differently, etc. This is part of what creates individual style.

Style can be evident very early on but it usually morphs as an artist becomes more experienced in understanding composition, color theory, paint handling, perception and creation. When a mature or professional artist changes their M.O. from say painting portraits to painting landscapes, their style is still identifiable in the new work.

In the beginning, I recommend picking a genre and sticking to it while you develop your skills. For instance just paint leaves or flowers or landscapes or portraits, etc. If you intend to show in galleries, they like to see a fairly large and consistent body of work. If one of your paintings sells, they want to be sure that you can reproduce the magic and not just be a "one hit wonder".

The more you practice your painting, the more evident your style will become. Don't be surprised if others notice your style before you do!

To start recognizing the "style" of other painters - start with the old masters. google for instance "Monet, landscapes" and then click to see images only.  then open another window and google for instance "DaVinci, landscapes"   

Then google them again with "portraits"  or just their name to see all images.  Do this with many artists - see how each painters body of works has a recognizable aspect to it.   

All words in this blog (in part or whole) are © CJ Rider -  CJ@RiderCreations.com -
Please use complete and proper attributions with linkback if you use my writings or images.  Thankyou




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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Why use QR scans? What the heck are they???


I created a QR code scan to place in my newsletter and in Flyers advertising my workshops.

What is A QR code? (Quick Response Code) It is probably best described in Wikipedia: wikipedia QR_code

In brief, it is a URL within a matrix box that can be scanned by a program on your cell phone to lead you to just about any place or document on the internet!

On my cell phone:
To create and read codes, I downloaded a program called "QRDroid" But there are many selections on the internet - pick the one that sounds the best for you and your phone. Use your program choice to create QRcodes on your phone or on your computer.

If I just want to make a brief statement about my upcoming classes but want the rest of the info available... I will put on the QR that I made for my class ad. If customers are reading the info on their computer, they can scan the QR with their cell and download the pdf with all of my class info, or a list of needed supplies for a workshop, etc. thus avoiding the potential waste of reams of paper!

I put the QR on my Art class/workshop flyers so people can very simply have my class info in their phone.
Go ahead and scan the QR below and see how it works! It is a nice way to get a supply list out to students who drop by the store and forgot it, saves on paper and INK !
cj

PS - Don't forget to give your QR code a title!


Example idea:
I can create a window flyer containing a few brief sentences in bold print with dates about upcoming classes and workshops - then insert the Code for the full page of info.

It is much more convenient to have a PDF on the phone for instant access than to have a stack of paper to keep track of- PLUS- if you find you are not interested, you can just delete it and not carry the guilt of tossing a tree! ;)




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Monday, June 3, 2013

Which Watercolor Paper??

Which watercolor paper?

There are a great deal of watercolor paper manufacturers.  To further compound selecting paper, each manufacturer also puts out a great variety of watercolor paper. So how do you choose?

Rule of thumb for beginning W/C paper selection:

  1. Skip the student grade and select a mid-price of the professional grade w/c papers.
     
  2. If you like fine details pick a hot press paper - for more textured paper, go for cold press and finally for landscapes and lots of paper texture pick rough.
  3. If you can- purchase a tablet containing a sampling of a manufacturers w/c paper

More on w/c paper to come...







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Monday, February 25, 2013

FIXATIVE and other pastel tips


FIXATIVE and other pastel tips

Fixative will change the character of the pastel, (it varies depending on how heavily the spray applied). But I would still suggest a very light spray over the piece and then if you want to brighten up a few areas go back in and do so. 

Practice spraying on another surface before spraying your painting... all spray cans are not created equal and you want to make sure it isn't going to come out in droplets due to a clog, etc.  plus you need to practice distance and velocity.

Tip:  if you value the piece, then do not use non-archival materials in your artwork like hairspray.

*With pastel pencils you may not need fixative because you will probably not have the buildup that you get with the softer stick pastels*

To minimize fallout or falloff from heavier pastel application Take preventative measures.
  1. Use quality paper that has enough tooth to handle the pastel you intend to put on it.
  2. Use workable fixative during the painting process especially when you feel the tooth of the paper is becoming full. (use only a very fine mist- do not saturate the pastel or the paper)
  3. After completing an area of pastel work, gently tap the back to release the loose pastel. (here is where you then might want to use a light mist of workable fixative) then continue working.  Do this periodically during the painting process to keep the pastel firmly attached to your paper.
  4. optimally, you will want to mat and frame when complete- If you are going to stack and store or stand and store you will start seeing smudge and falloff.  If you are planning to store the piece, I would definitely give it a light mist of workable fixative before storing. When you are ready to mat and frame, you can hit a few key areas with fresh pastel to brighten up the pic

* Nothing is really a perfect solution, but here is a storage idea:
You can mount your pastel paper onto museum board and place the mat on the piece for safer storage if you are not ready to frame it yet.
I only recommend stacking if you have firm layers between the artworks.
For example:
  1. Mount your pastel paper onto museum board,
  2. put the desired mat in place,
  3. then layer place a piece of glass (the size of the mat) as the top laye
  4. repeat the process for the next piece.   
The museum board supports the pastel paper. The mat keeps the work away from the glass and the glass protects the surface of the art while keeping the works from warping down onto the piece below.
Always use archival materials as separators and supports and mats! 

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

CRITIQUE 15 -PROPORTIONS: EYES

There are many good things about your sketch! You have a created a good likeness to the original image and I will show you how to make a few tweaks to get it even closer.
I will break down your portrait sketch review into several parts so we can be more thorough. 
Below is part one.

I want to focus on placement of eyes in relation to each other and the space for the nose. I would recommend sketching just the eyes and bridge of nose (utilizing the tips) a few times until you begin to see more and more details. The more you draw something - the more you see its details.
You have the lower edge of the eyes in proper alignment with each other in your sketch, but if it ever becomes an issue, you can see how a line under the eyes on the original would help you clearly visualize how the eyes are placed on the face.


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Monday, February 18, 2013

MAGIC FLESH TONE FORMULA!


HOW TO MIX FLESH TONES
Mixing correct flesh tones is the Holy Grail of portrait painting! No wonder manufactures make tubes labeled "flesh"!!

The first thing to wrap your mind around is that a tube of paint labeled "flesh" - isn't!  
Don't be fooled into thinking you will buy a magic tube of flesh and begin painting accurate skin tones with it. (first of all, think logically - it is labeled "flesh" but WHOSE flesh? Yours? Anyone's you know? How about anyone's you have ever seen before??  Really look at the color and compare it to several types of real skin!
You may have done or have heard of others doing a great deal of work to find some artist's secret recipe to making fleshtones?    Hogwash!! While there are some common sense guidelines for specific skin types ... there is no one magic bullet formula for mixing "fleshtones."

Retrain your mind to think differently about "white" flesh, "brown or black" Flesh because there is no such flesh in real life!
While creating self-portraits with a group of children several of them candidly stated that they had white or black or brown flesh and reached for that color of pencil or paint.

My job was to teach them to see the actual colors in their flesh!
I held up a sheet of bright white typing paper which they all agreed was white. I passed out a sheet to each student and asked them to place their hand on the paper and now tell me what color their skin is. Surprisingly some still said the caucasian skin was "white" and any of color was black. I went on to demonstrate and explain the nature of flesh. They started seeing the actual colors instead of the labels.

*We are loaded with preconceptions about colors, shapes and objects at a very young age. When asked to describe something or draw it, we revert back to these preconceived notions learned very early in life. These are most likely very primitive perceptions of what something actually is.

Same holds true with color.
If asked "what color is the sky" many will just say "blue
."  But is it just blue? Can you grab a tube of blue paint and paint any sky? (first decision would be which blue! "Sky Blue"??)

HOW TO PAINT FLESH:
Flesh is just like any other object you paint - it is subject to its origin and to its surroundings.  

What I mean by that is its origin may be native american, caucasian, etc,  while its surroundings may be wood, metal, colored cloth, the atmosphere, type of lighting, ie reflective light, and so on.
 
Knowledgeable artists represent a pure white flower or cloth using a myriad of colors not just white and gray/black.  That is how flesh is.  It isn't pure white, pink, black, brown etc.   
There is no single formula for flesh!!
So you might wonder if you should own a tube of "flesh" paint?   From my personal and teaching experience I say not early on as it can be more confusing than helpful.  Some tube "fleshes" tend to go muddy/gray rather quickly when mixed with other colors, so if you already own a tube or plan to buy one anyway... it is important to understand what colors make up your tube of "flesh" if you plan to use it as a base for mixing other needed flesh tones.  

You will find some common ground but in general, every time you paint a portrait, you will recreate what color "flesh" is. The key is to be observant to the local colors, reflective color, shadows, surroundings, etc.
If you would like a critique or have a question- please drop me a message! 

©CJ Rider

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

HOW TO CREATE AND SELL PRINTS of your art/photography online



There are a couple of ways to sell prints, cards, and other products with your artwork on them.  

  1. The first thing you must have is a LARGE clean (not blury/not pixelated) image file. 
  2. To sell at physical art fairs you must fit all of the showing requirements (proper tables, tent, etc)
  3. To sell art prints online... All you need is a great high-quality image file!
ONLINE:
I belong to many online sites that will sell artprints, cards, images on T-shirts, cups, bags,... the sky is the limit on what you can find.
I particularly enjoy FineArtAmerica.com for prints. You can have an account to participate in the site for free. But it is $30. USD per year to belong and set up print sales.
With that fee you can set up your own gallery like this: http://cj-rider.artistwebsites.com
PLUS you have another gallery here on your profile like this: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/cj-rider.html
It is a highly visible site but you are ultimately responsible for your own online and in person promotion of your works.  No guarantees- but I find it quite useful and continue to have pretty good sales there.
You can also use it to set up "events" taking place here on OA- or blog about your posts here at OA. etc. Making things come full circle back to OA! Thus helping this site grow.
If you have any questions about making hi resolution images for printing - or whatever - please ask, maybe I will know.  I have done a lot of this stuff through out my career and I am happy to share what I know.
  • Very important to use a tripod when taking art photos!  
  • Use an 8mp or better camera for larger prints
  • smaller mp cameras are ok for postcards, notecards, and other small prints.

You can google and find numerous sites to post and sell prints, cards, etc.
Redbubble, Etsy, Fine Art America, Devientart and many more - 

I have so far found Fine Art America is a well rounded and fair site. Also fairly easy to use.
However- you still have to do self promotion and get your work out there - the sites are not the "end all" to your print sales.
Anyone have any other favorites tips?
cj

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New Canvas - aka - paint vampire


A New Canvas:
  1. Ever have colors on a painting turn dull shortly after drying?
  2. Or the surface is like the sahara desert even though you KNOW you laid on lots of paint?
  3. Do you struggle with a new canvas trying to get enough paint on it? the surface sucks in the paint like a paint-vampire?
WELL... you are not alone! A new canvas or canvas board actually needs 2 or even 3 more layers of gesso with a light sanding inbetween.


WHY gesso a new canvas? From the manufacturer, the canvas is only thinly coated with a gesso leaving much of the nap or roughness of the canvas.

Sometimes the tops of the weave are very thinly coated. When you start painting with your expensive paints, you first must fill the nooks and crannies with paint before it will lay across the surface. You also must lay on enough paint to make up for the absorbency of the thinly gesso'd areas.

Also, when you paint with a thin layer of paint or use thinned paint it will drop down into the nap of the canvas  and fill up the nooks before it lays across the surface and gives you the color and consistency you desire. (moisture and pigment will also be sucked into the dry thirsty canvas)
You have probably seen paintings where the upper nubs of the canvas nap show their white tops through the paint? Unless you want this look, you need to apply more gesso before painting to fill up these gaps before starting your painting.
Even if it appears that you have enough paint on the canvas, as it drys, the paint is slowly drawn into the canvas dulling the color or making it sink into the nap.
Solution: Apply 2 or 3 layers of gesso, dried and sanded between each layer, - or apply as many layers until you have the surface you want.

TIP: stop using your expensive pigments as gesso - prime the canvas before you begin!

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CRITIQUE 13 geoff in oil part 2















Wow Pandora, you have been busy!!

Yes, the blue background is fine.
I see you did many updates! You are doing a great job!
The T-shirt is a nice add in!

Your flesh tones are very nice, but be careful of the dark areas that they do not become too gray-blue.

The cheek shapes are looking good and I know it took a lot of study and work to accomplish this level of detail.

Note how detail at jaw-line and chin make face appear longer and less round.



EDITS BY PANDORA:

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CRITIQUE 13 - geoff in oil



















CRITIQUE:





Coming along nicely!  
I recommend placing some preliminary lines in your drawing before painting to make sure you have your angles and features in the right position. you will continue to check these angles as you paint. See photograph as well as line across the eyes on painting. 
The left side of the face (as we are looking at the image) is good and you also have a nice cheek color there but note how that eye and eyebrow are a tad large and low.  I have made it more obvious by drawing a line across the painting and on the photo.

TIP:
tape the photo directly on your canvas - have it lined up with the painting edges maybe put it tight in a corner of the canvas so you have 2 edges lined up- now put a ruler across the eyes in the photo and that same angle should be reflected in the eyes in your painting.
 
Reflect back to the instructions for the drawing critique- note the angle of the jawline and define the shape of the chin. 
Note that the neck needs to be a tad wider on right side (as we look at the painting). 
You are doing great! just keep refining the features and watch it evolve!!  
This is a beautiful painting Pandora - it evokes much feeling in the viewer!
cj

EDITs BY ALICE:

















CRITIQUE TO BE CONTINUED....
>>HERE<<


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CRITIQUE 12 - TWO ABSTRACTS part 1 and 2


QUESTION from Jan Stickland:  Please give me your honest opinion of them and if i could improve on them somehow

ANSWER:  
Hi Jan - thank you so much for submitting for a critique!  Your abstracts are vibrant and full of color!  Very lovely!!

I don't need to talk color as you have a vast knowledge of it already!!
But I will talk about using value to set up a composition in a painting like this where you cannot lean on the structure of shapes to create the composition.

When an image has a lot of the same or similar value it may not have a strong focal point or direction for the eye to follow or be held in the piece.  

If you notice in the first image, it is much the same value overall, however, there is a hint of the eye heading toward the vortex...  so - If I enhanced that though hopefully we will see a stronger composition with interest to make the eye travel within the piece and also an area to slightly hold the eye's interest.
ORIGINAL PAINTING:

EDITED IMAGE:
Note the stronger lighted areas and how they grab your eye and lead you around the painting in a swirl motion to the center dark area just below the highlighted school of fish.


 There are several patterns that artists utilize in paintings whether they are abstract or representational.  one is the z pattern another is the triangle and so on.  These patterns make the eye follow through the piece to "read" it and create visual interest and visual sense.

For people who read left to right the eye naturally looks for patterns that match that idea.  Same with right to left readers, etc.

A strong pattern in this piece (to me) is a triangle

This is not the only answer, of course...  but it might give you a jump start!  
Best of luck with your work - it is wonderful!!
cj
PART 2:
QUESTION from Jan Stickland:  Please give me your honest opinion of them and if i could improve on them somehow
ANSWER:  PART 2 
Hi Jan - thank you so much for submitting for a critique!  Your abstracts are vibrant and full of color!  Very lovely!!  And I apologize for the photoshop mutilation of your artwork!  ;)

Again, great use of color and great excitement and movement in your 
ORIGINAL WORK:

Of course - for every "rule" there is the exception!  
I spoke a bit about patterns with your last abstract piece in part 1.

We read from left to right and tend to read paintings in the same manner.  If we don't  find landmarks where we expect them, then we are confused and do not know that to look at.

So, as in this piece, we give em landmarks via shape size and by changing value and contrasting areas in this
CRITIQUE:

So you see ... we have set the pattern the eye will follow with the falling orbs into a dark center with a glowing atmosphere that leads to the focal point of the highest contrasting values which is the left edge of the "hole"    
So you can set up tried and true patterns in your paintings - OR, you can set your own path for the eye to follow through your piece.
I hope that helps some - and remember - everything said is brought from that person's experiences in life - so you might find other solutions that work just as well from your experiences.  
There are many paths to the same goal! -cj
Best to you -
CJ

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CRITIQUE 11- Rocky Pass


QUESTION from Magga RĂ³sa:    Would you be kind enough to tell me what I can do with this one. I´m a bit bored with it.

 Is the sky too blue?  Should I put a flying seabird in front of the painting, to make it more interesting?


ANSWER and CRITIQUE:

Lovely painting!! 
My idea would be to lead the viewer through your painting using value and bright color pops. 

To test your Bird idea: You could also cut a small bird in a correct size for placement out of paper (believable color) and place him around in appropriate areas of your painting to see if he would add or detract.  

My gut feeling is he would detract from or steal the scene.  But you don't know until you test it out.

with some direct painting, I would enhance the sky behind and water in front of the pass through the rocks. Here is an image with a few notes:

Why I edited color and value to make a story and path for the eye to follow:

1. The eye enters the painting gently from the front edge and is gently lead to the pass via color and higher values... 2. you pass through and the brighter sky over the left hump makes you glance, 3. but the longer area of bright blue sky and swoop of the rock on the right leads you to the right side of the painting.  4. A secondary opening is between the right rock and the series of 3 rocks.  I have grayed down the right hand sky and water to hold the eye within the painting.  5. you pass back to the front of the painting on the right side through the grayed areas of the sky and water... 6. you may look all the way to the front left but the grayed water is such that your eye goes back to the values and bright color leading you back through the opening. 

see the ideas below in the edited image minus the text:

I do over-accentuate my ideas via photoshop -  you actually may not want the changes to be this drastic..  ;)

ORIGINAL:

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CRITIQUE 10 - Values


QUESTION from Terry: Please have a look at this one for me CJ..  It's been on the back burner since 06 and really needs to escape from the studio.It's four feet square, Acrylic on an Oak Plywood panel..

ANSWER: AND CRITIQUE
Terry,   Cool painting! Time to finish it up!!  ;)
I would work with the values-

Enhance main character:  Highlights on the main character bring the eye more strongly to the focal point. Note how I have added several brightened areas to the main figure... You don't want to add too much, but just enough to make the eye see the whole figure and stay interested with maybe a glimpse or two to the outer edges.

I also enhanced the row of ladies as I feel they are of secondary importance. In turn, I enhanced some of the grass at the dancer's feet to lead the eye to and from the dancers.

To help the eye know what to look at, I dulled down the color on the sides to keep the eye from becoming overwhelmed with bright value and color. especially hot spots of color in the form of one bloom or several.

You can dull down the background areas with a thin glaze of grayed down color and of course you can enhance the figure with stronger/lighter and brighter color via glazes and direct painting.
 EDITED IMAGE:


ORIGINAL IMAGE:

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ENCAUSTIC -hot beeswax painting discussion


WHAT IS ENCAUSTIC?
Ask your questions in this discussion area!

Some info:
Encaustic means to burn in...  It is used here as it applies to a hot beeswax painting method.
Encaustic paint:  It is a mix of beeswax, damar, high quality powdered pigments. Also companies like Enkaustikos and others now make Encaustic paint to purchase in art stores.

Substrate:
absorbent and firm - for instance, birch panels.   Ampersand and others now make specially coated Encaustic boards.  These boards have a white surface.

  • Paint with encaustics on a firm surface or the wax will crack and flake off.
NO ACRYLIC- not wise to mix acrylics with encaustic - 
FUMES - unless you put toxic substances into your mix, it will be similar to burning a beeswax candle.  Ventilation is highly recommended if you plan to mix up large batches of paint.


EXAMPLES
of hot tools and melted Encaustic Paint


Demonstration of fusing a top layer of "paint" 
Artwork is on a small birch wood panel


Below are 2 Encaustic works.  The Koi are on a Birch Board
The poppies are on an Ampersand Encaustic cradled panel

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CRITIQUE 9 - focal point


QUESTION from Dawn:
 review:It is a quick painting drawn out of imagination.  


ANSWER AND CRITIQUE:
Hi Dawn, I would be happy to review your painting.  Very unique and interesting piece!

I have done a very rough edit via photoshop -  One way to create cohesiveness and a focal point is to lower values and dull the colors around the outer edges thus leading the eye to the focal point of the.  

The image is very interesting and there is a lot of action, but that also might make it seem chaotic if the values are even across the painting...  so I suggest to darken and tone down edges and leave the brightness and most action at the focal point.  PS -  I may have darkened edges a bit too much in photoshop...  but I think the general idea is there ...  
You can tone down large areas like this with a series of thin glazes in your medium.

CRITIQUE IMAGE:


ORIGINAL image:

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CRITIQUE 8 -Portrait of Father


Alice, Very nice likeness and sketching!   I will offer tips and ideas to aid in spacing of the features.   Hope it helps - and - Thank you for allowing me to offer pointers concerning your portrait!

cj

PS - forgive the measure markings in the hair!!  lol

CRITIQUE:


TIP: A good idea with any painting or sketch is when you think you are finished, turn both the painting and the resource photo upside down and then on its edge and see how it looks. By turning the image, you start seeing it more abstractly as shapes and values. Turned, you are more likely to spot if something is a bit off kilter, etc.

TIP: Measure an eye in the original photo - then use that measurement as a base for marking off distance and spacing for all facial features in the photo.

THEN - measure the same eye (either right or left) in your drawing and make the same spacing measurements on the drawing.  For instance maybe the nose is a certain number of "eye's" long, and so on.  This will make sure you have features properly sized and spaced. IF your drawing is the same size as the image in your photo, then you can apply the photo measurements to the drawing too.

TIP: when you feel your portrait is complete, set it aside for a few days, covered. THEN without looking at it, (don't peek!) set it up in an area that you might come around a corner and see it- and walk away without looking! .... I know it sounds crazy, but trust me... When you are surprised later by walking into the view of the piece, it will be like seeing it for the first time. If anything is "off" you will see it in that first glimpse and as you walk closer to the piece. Artists will do these things to get a fresh view or perspective on their own artwork.

TIP: View image in a mirror for a fresh perspective

TIP: take a photo and look at it on the computer screen or print it for a fresh view.

WORD OF WARNING about  working from PHOTOS - "Photos lie!" Well.. ok, they don't always portray the actual truth of a subject. One instance is where a photo might show a black area with no details might actually be not so black and full of details in person! So be aware that especially on a face - we do not have any detail-less black areas.

VALUE TIP: find the area on your portrait that is the darkest value and place it onto your drawing

Thank you for allowing me to critique your portrait - I hope these tips are helpful.

cj

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CRITIQUE 7 - FLORAL REVIEW



images below are copyright protected and are not for use other than in this post as a learning tool. These are only suggestions for variations on this piece.
 Question from Jan Stickland:
"Hey CJ! Want to know your opinion on how to make this painbetter! THANKYOU!" 
 CRITIQUE: To check a painting I recommend taking a photo of the artwork in grayscale or transforming it to grayscale in a photo program.

Now you can check the basic structure of the piece without the distraction of color.

Grayscale Check Points:

  1. Note if your focal point created by value (light and dark) is where you expect/desire it to be. 
  2. Is the direction of the lighting consistent?
  3. Do you have a variety of shapes, sizes and spacing for interest?
  4. is the background conflicting with elements of your composition
  5. Have items seemingly disappeared due to a lack of contrast?
  6. Edit the contrast in Photoshop until the desired effect is reached.

JAN'S ORIGINAL COLOR PAINTING:
  
JAN'S ORIGINAL COLOR PAINTING converted to grayscale:


CRITIQUE:
I recommend trying out different things in your photo editing software before editing your actual painting.
Start by editing a grayscale version of your piece. Then bring it back to color and adjust as needed.
After you have a clear idea of what you want to do - go ahead and edit the actual painting or create a new painting.

Edited grayscale image by CJ
Get in those lights and darks where you want them for drama in the picture!
  
A few additions:
  1. enhanced light source from the right side
  2. To add interest, create an erratic shaped bouquet instead of rounded
  3. add some dangly bits hanging off the side of vase to catch the eye and lead inward
      and to break the boundaries of the vase and outer edges of the main bouquet.
  4. you could even add some flowers that may have dropped to the table top.
  5. Add few larger flowers to balance the small ones or add a cluster of
      flowers for a larger spot of concentration.
  6. Soften the red in the background so it is not a main/major player in the composition.
EDITED Color IMAGE by CJ

create an entry point (the dangling flowers and the light spot on the vase)..
  1. create a path for the eye to follow through the composition (do this with color and value)


Thank you for allowing me to critique your wonderful floral painting - It is vibrant and beautiful just the way it is! CJ

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CRITIQUE 6 - PORTRAIT Tips


images below are copyright protected to Artist and are not for use other than in this post as a learning tool.

Alice, Very nice likeness and sketching! You have created a very nice portrait with feeling! Just a few small tweaks might add to it's persona. I will offer general tips and ideas and also give some ideas that are specific to this drawing, Hope it helps - and - Thank you for allowing me to critique your portrait! cj
CRITIQUE:
I began by changing the color photo to grayscale in photoshop. This way, it is easier to see what is color and what is actual value change.

TIP:  A good idea with any painting or sketch is when you think you are finished, turn both the painting and the resource photo upside down and then on its edge and see how it looks. By turning the image, you stop seeing it as a person you know, a mouth, a nose and start seeing it more abstractly as shapes and values. Turned, you are more likely to spot if something is a bit off kilter, etc.
You have the eyes quite well and they are captivating for the viewer - and quite recognizable as the person you are drawing - so you already have your viewer at the eyes! Some hair out of place, etc is not important. However other major facial features are the next concern after the eyes.
TIP: Measure an eye in the original photo - then use it as a base for marking off distance and spacing for all other facial features in that particular face IN THE PHOTO. THEN - measure the same eye in your drawing and make the same spacing measurements on the drawing. This will make sure you have features properly sized and spaced. IF your drawing is the same size as the image in your photo, then you can apply the photo measurements to the drawing too.
TIP: when you feel your portrait is complete, set it aside for a few days, covered. THEN without looking at it, (don't peek!) set it up in an area that you might come around a corner and see it- and walk away without looking! .... I know it sounds crazy, but trust me...   When you are surprised later by walking into the view of the piece, it will be like seeing it for the first time.

If anything is "off" you will see it in that first glimpse and as you walk closer to the piece. Artists will do these things to get a fresh view or perspective on their own artwork. Even viewing it in a mirror or taking a photo and printing it out are good tools for a fresh view.
WORD OF WARNING about PHOTOS - "Photos lie!" Well.. ok, they don't always portray the actual truth of a subject. Where a photo might show a black area with no details might actually be not so black and full of details in person! So be aware that especially on a face - we do not have any detail-less black areas. - this comment is for artists trying to create a realistic looking portrait, not an abstraction, etc.
VALUE TIP: find the area on your portrait that is the darkest value and place it onto your drawing
Thank you for allowing me to critique your portrait - I hope these tips are helpful.
cj
.

DISCUSSION PART 2:
Edits as made by Alice- great improvement!


CRITIQUE on edited image by CJ:
  1. Continue to check for spacing placement and sizing of features. Use the original tip above about measuring an eye or some other strong feature to use as a measure in photo then in drawing to insure size and placement is correct.
  2. Add more definition to chin with darker shading.
  3. Widen throat area- measure it with the eye in the drawing and then with the same eye in the photo- did you find the same or different amount of eyes fit across the throat?
  4. Add a dark center to the eye, then put in the light-source highlight. Your actual light source in this instance is not causing a highlight to the eyes that can be seen in this photo... In cases like this, I like to put one in anyway to add a sparkle to the eye. As you progress with your portraits you will learn to make the eyes look moist, etc. Make sure the light source is the same in each eye!
  5. note that center line of teeth usually is near the center of the bottom of the nose.
TIP: Line up the photo and the drawing evenly... lay a small ruler on the angle of the mouth, nose edges, (or whatever) in the photo, lay another small ruler on the drawing.. is the angle the same?

End critique-

Your hard work is really paying off! Congratulations! Great looking portrait!
cj

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Professional? Amateur? Says who???


Crossing the Chasm
What is it that makes certain art 'professional' and ever reserves other art as 'amateur'?  Is it who you are? Who you know? How much money you have to promote yourself?  Is it completely circumstantial? Or maybe the recipe includes a dash of truth to self
Are you faltering?  Did you start out painting in the style of your heart only to be moved into the style of what is hot/current?  Should you do this?  Who knows..  examine the urge to go with the flow VS the inner psyche. Where do you want to be?....
An artist can be on the edge of a great creative adventure only to be shut down by the masses.  If you allow outside influence to hammer at your creativity, you may be well tempered, but will you be as inspirational as you can be?  No matter your vast amount of talent, will you have that special charisma to others if you are not true to your creative inner self?     

Some are inspired to reach deeper by the hammering masses.  Which one are you? 
....
We regard, we copy, we emulate those we admire until we can create – then there must be a breaking away.   cj rider

....
Use talents and life experience to quest for your own personal truth.  ....
....
How hard is it to take a chance and create from your heart, or intuitive nature?     Why is this so hard? True genius in artwork reveals something of self. 

This revelation can be likened to the dream where you are somehow naked in front of a crowd, or the door swings open on the stall and there you are... bare to the world.  How humiliating if someone sees your innermost id and makes criticism.  Nothing is more far reaching and damaging with less said.....
....
Painting from your core belief is like 'bearing it all' to the masses.  And until you know who you are – you may not be comfortable revealing your inner workings on canvas.
....
....
You don't have to explain it – be strong....
Know yourself – Don't apologize for who you are or the art you create.
Find your own identity= be brave.
Find the greatest satisfaction= create from your deepest inner truth.
Experience the closing of that vast chasm between your art and the public.
Don't be afraid – take that leap of faith.
Be who you really are.
Paint from the pit of your furthest reaching thoughts - inward or outward.....
....
All text, sayings, writings and images on this blog ©cj rider  ....

TO THE READER:
1.) Please share your personal moment of truth as an artist. 
2.)What was your turning point. 
3.)How you are struggling with your artistic identity.
4.)What influences and distracts you from your own direction?

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CRITIQUE 5 - De-clutter Photo


images below are copyright protected to Artist Karen Sliwinski and are not for use other than in this post as a learning tool.

Karen stated that when turning her photo into a painting there were so many componants that it was difficult to discern the center of interest. She also asked about value variation.
  
ORIGINAL UNFINISHED PAINTING BY KAREN:
Looks GREAT! Love the way you are painting the figures as well as the foliage!


CRITIQUE:
First task is to clear away some of the distractions and see what remains.


ABOVE: Removed extras and added foliage vingette on lower right edge - but note how the tree trunks come to an end right between the man and woman. Even though they are small, the woman's face is important. it is very detracting to have her facial profile lining up with the tree edge. Also, the base of the tree creates a line of sight across her neck, visually decapitating her.

Do not place strong value changes (or light against dark) in areas that are not your main focal point. The viewers eye will be distracted by high contrasting values, colors details and so on.

BELOW: remove distant point, and tree trunk between people - some subtle left edge tree trunks could probably be left in - I would also soften that tree behind the umbrella.

 If what you liked about the original photo was the tree-lined path, then all would have to again be reconsidered. ;)


Critique of Karen's original photo:

ORIGINAL PHOTO:

The photo is very busy with objects and contains many paths leading the eye in several directions through their value or vibrant color.
EXAMPLES:
  1. One point perspective tree'd path (in high contrast) leading to far back area of image
  2. Another light path between paying man and booth leading to rear area of image.
  3. Many subjects and many vivid colors all demanding equal attention.
Photo CRITIQUE:


Karen, Thank you for allowing me to critique your photo and artwork in progress! Your painting skills are fab!
cj

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