Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Painting In A Series

                       "Regatta" by Maine artist, Carol Jessen

This is the first of the series of sailboat paintings I've been doing.  Everything was wet-in-wet, soft edged.  In subsequent paintings I tightened edges up, and then loosened them up again.  Scroll down to see other paintings.

Sometimes just playing around will show you a new possibility.  Colors, edges, shapes, accents....all can be changed around and manipulated.  Staying with the same subject and taking a different approach can be very educational.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


                   "Larry Lobster Goes Out On A Date"  by Carol Jessen, Maine Artist

In this painting of lobsters, I wanted warm colors, especially red, to dominate.  But a warm themed painting needs a bit of cool colors to provide some relief.  So, in the first wash underpainting, I splashed in some blue.  This takes some courage!  Don't let the white of the paper fool you.  Be bold!

I titled the painting "Larry Lobster Goes Out On A Date".  Just having some fun with this one!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Use A Sponge

One way to insure that the paper will accept the pigment is to pre-wet the page using a natural sponge.  First, this removes the sizing on the paper, making the application of the paint more uniform.  Second, it slows the drying time down. Finally, it creates soft edges that can later be contrasted with hard edges.

In this painting of a sailboat regatta, I wet the entire page and then lightly brushed in the first wash.  When this was dry, I made the decisions about what to keep soft and where to emphasize subject matter with hard edges.    Gradation is a form of soft edge formation, too.

Last, I added textures and calligraphy for interest and movement.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Save the Whites and Paint the Negative Space

My goal in this painting was to suggest the movement of a regatta race.  I started by painting the negative space around the white sails.  The design of those sails was crucial.  The big shape of the foreground sail was balanced by the shapes of the other sails as they recede.  I created a sense of movement with brushstrokes and with the tilt of the sails which gave the negative spaces different sizes and shapes as well.  Once that was done, the colorful accents and darks were dashed in to create texture and visual interest in the white shapes.

Keeping the negative shapes relatively neutral in color was also helpful to keep them subordinated to the sails.  As a result, any orange and black accents stand out.

Don't forget about my May workshop in St. Charles, Missouri, and my annual Maine workshop in July!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Combining and Editing Your Photos

Several autumns ago, I drove down to Carthage, Missouri for some fall painting.  I discovered a little recreated farm village.  I even met the man who conceived it and transported the buildings from far and near.  I also sold a painting of one of the buildings to its owner! 

This morning I found two photos of my trip.  I combined the farm and windmill from one, adding the little cupola to break up the straight line of the roof, and then added the chicken from another shot.

Don't be a slave to your photos.  Play with composition, values, colors, adding and subtracting where necessary.