Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Still Life Study: Pitch

We're trying something new for my class (taught by Karen Winslow of Winslow Art Studios): Not working on finished products, but just working on the essentials. The style is going more towards the methods that she learned from Frank Mason. In this classroom style, you are given a period of time to paint. Once the time is completed, the students follow around with the instructor to see how he/she critiques each painting. Using this method, the issues will be reinforced due to the fact that many of the other students will, most likely, have the same issue that you are having.

So, for last night's class, we worked on pitching. In pitching, you are essentially asking the question: What's in dark and what's in light. Is my background darker than my object or lighter? If I squint down, are there any edges that blend with the background (lost edges)? Are there any edges that stand out? Where is my brightest spot and my darkest spot?

So, we have two examples of a dark/light background. These paintings were done in about 15 - 20 minutes each. Not a lot of time to work on the details and fuss with it. On the left image, which Karen worked on a bit more to instruct/finish, my main issue was the edges. I had the shape correct and the pitch well done. However, I put the shadow to go directly to the edge. This produces a flattening effect. Karen reworked the edges by adding a grey-tone to the edge. This essentially "rolls" the edge away from you, rather than creating a flat edge. This was also true for the right side of the bottle.

On my second attempt (bottle to the right), we had 15 minutes to work on this. I was able to get the edges done correctly, but ran out of time when working on the bottle. This could have been solved by using a larger brush to quickly lighten up the entire bottle and then re-working the edges, rather than working from the edges inward.

Overall, it was a good set of exercises. Learning how to mass fast will help with plein air painting.

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