Monday, July 28, 2014

Workshop Barn Demo

Armand Cabrera

This is one of the demo’s I did for my last workshop. Each day I tackle a specific problem in about an hours’ time to show the students how an organized approach and a firm grasp of the fundamentals will give you a solid painting. My approach is the same whether outdoors or in the studio working from sketches or photos. This was painted from one of my photos.

I started with the drawing. Using a medium sized brush I sketch right on the canvas any changes I make from the source material for size or placement happen at this stage so that when I am painting I can focus on color. If I have to continually correct my drawing in the painting stage I am dividing my focus.

Once the drawing is complete I choose some element of the painting to key everything to and block it in. Sometimes it is my darkest or lightest note but not always, whatever component I am the most sure of about its color and value is where I start. Then I block in everything else relative to that first notes color and value.
In terms of order I usually paint back to front, large to small, and dark to light. 

Once the block in stage is finished I flesh out the areas adding interest and details. I am careful to preserve the large division of light and shadow throughout the painting.

The finished demo Sky Meadow Barn 9 x 12. Painting time about an hour and a half

Monday, July 14, 2014

Great Falls Workshop

My workshop in Great Falls still has a few more spots open if anyone wants to get in at the last minute. The workshop helps raise money for the Great Falls Foundation for the Arts.

The class is for every level of artist and will focus on improving all aspects of the students painting while maintaining their personal style. All my instruction is individualized for each participants level and personal vision. I demo everyday and make sure everyone gets plenty of attention while they work.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Uninterrupted Time

Armand Cabrera

If you are serious about being an accomplished artist uninterrupted time is important to the success of any painting endeavor.  When you have a series of interconnected problems to solve like you do with painting a picture your undivided attention is paramount.

 This goes double for people learning how to paint or those trying to improve their painting ability. If you want to be a painter you have to put in quality time and effort not just go through the motions in a haphazard nonchalant approach.

No matter how good of a painter you become you never want to coast on your ability. Each painting should leave you mentally exhausted and emotionally and spiritually drained at the end of each working session.  As one of my workshop instructors used to say if it doesn't do that you aren't doing it right.

For me carving out enough time to accomplish my painting commitments means not answering the phone, staying off the computer and just getting down to the business of picture making. Inevitably this usually means late hours when our busy house is at rest the rest of the world is asleep and no other living thing is competing for my time and focus.

This applies to outdoor work as well as studio work. While I am willing to be pleasant to people who  show an interest in my work  I politely remind them that I have a limited amount of time to finish my painting while the light is changing and I really can’t talk too long while working. Most people are respectful of my time and understand the situation I'm in.

Technology seems to be the biggest distraction for people these days. All of the information that is available to us scatters our thinking and breaks one’s concentration. Of course personal devices are set to chime or beep to let you know some new useless piece of drivel that could have waited is available to you right now if you would just look. I also believe that overuse of these conveniences trains a person to not be able to focus for long periods of time.  The only cure is discipline and the knowledge that unless your Warren Buffet or Bill gates what you’re doing doesn't necessitate that much importance and actually keeps you from achieving your goals in the long term. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Cult of Ignorance and Entitlement

Armand Cabrera

"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."~ Isaac Asimov

Nowhere do Asimov’s words wring truer than in the visual arts.
I have had a few discussions with friends lately about being an artist and the difficulties that choosing that lifestyle entails. The years of work that goes into developing your own voice through style and applying that to your own properties. 

How sad that gaining recognition invites theft by people with little or no talent for real creativity beyond mimicry. Those who can’t or won’t study enough to stand on their own. Instead that lack of ability giving them humility, it gives them a sense of entitlement; that is the culture we now live in.

This is  the real cult of ignorance. The people who think other creators hard work is just something for them to pirate and exploit without paying for the privilege of its use. These people are nothing more than parasites and don’t deserve any ones respect or support.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Split Rail Fence Demo

I had a few people show up for the Free  demo yesterday Out at the old stone bridge in Battlefield Park Manassas. I painted a 16 x 20 painting from start to finish. Total painting time just under two hours. I am crunching on an art deadline right now and will not have process shots from the demo until a later post.

Some people wanted to know what instructional books I would recommend for landscape painting Here are the books I mentioned yesterday. While there are many books out there on the subject this is my short list for people serious about painting landscapes from life. Jim Gurneys book is not a landscape painting book or how to book but has lots of information on representational painting and should not be missed.

All are currently available in print except the Trevor Chamberlain book which can only be found used and the landscape painting book by Birge Harrison  (this book is available free in electronic form) There are bad print on demand copies of the Harrison book out there but don't buy them they aren't worth the price.

Hardings Lessons on Drawing  by J. D Harding

Perspective for Artists by Rex Vicat Cole

Composition by Arthur Wesley Dow

Carlsons Guide to Landscape Painting by John F. Calrson

Landscape Painting by Birge Harrison

Oil Painting Pure and Simple by Trevor Chamberlain with Ron Ranson

Color and Light A guide for the Realist Painter by James Gurney