Thursday, January 07, 2010

Happy New Year - Some links to get going!

To be honest, I have produced less finished art this year than any year in the past and I am quite disappointed with 2009. With that said..

Like most people, I have some goals for the upcoming year that I hope to achieve. I made a short and sweet list on 43 things. I like 43 things for a lot of reasons. You can set up reminders for yourself to stay motivated. I like that you can share your goals with like minded people as well as those who would support you. It is simple to use and sets up in just minutes.

Some of my goals are:

Make better use of my website and blog - At the end of this post is a list of fundamental art skills I found in a post on Concept Art. I like this list because it gives a lot of room to play, while creating some sort of focus. I plan to use at least part of this list as a guide for my work this year. I will also use this list to categorize my blog.

I am still brainstorming theme ideas for monthly and daily posts. My deadline for this is January 31. Sometimes schedules can be motivating. I would like to at least try to come up with a tentative schedule to blog by. This is taking my blog to the next level. Up to this point, my blog has been a rambling whimsy of mostly art related content. The journal blog has been fun and I never want this blog to feel like work. I have learned how to sit down and write every day. Now it is time to learn how to write with a purpose. I think it is going to be an exciting challenge.

I want to start really picking through the online museum at Art Renewal Center, Artcyclopedia and some of the many online resources that I regularly visit to highlight art that fits my current focus. Along with giving my blog a focus, I want to give my viewing habits a focus as well.

A Painting a Month - There will be a lot of focus on producing long study/finely finished work this year than I have done in the past. The quick studies have been absolutely wonderful. I value every lesson I have learned by doing them, but my focus went from learning to grinding. Grinding leads to burn out, which leads to less and less art production. Because of that, my goal is to produce 12 nice paintings this year. I don't want to eliminate the quick studies completely. I think it is good to continue to explore ideas. I just want to get out of the instant gratification habit that I have formed by only doing art I can finish in a day.

Figure Study Group - Hopefully, Thursdays will be showing off my results from Wednesday night Figure Study group. Unfortunately, the session last night was canceled. Drawing figures from life is such an important opportunity.

Sketching! 2010 is going to be the year I take my sketchbook into the public and draw! I have always been very intimidated at the thought of someone watching me sketch. I swear I am going to do this if it kills me. I have 3 locations that look like great sketching sites mapped out. There are some amazing little shops in my town. This is yet another resource I have not taken advantage of. My goal is to fill a sketchbook. That isn't hard to accomplish. There is a very good list of suggestions on Conceptart regarding drawing from life that is worth mentioning HERE.

I am looking forward to 2010. I don't see my goal list as doing more than I have done in the last year as much as focusing my list to more specific things.

I am copying this from a post on Conceptart:

Fundamentals of visual art

  • Relationships
  • Contrasts
  • Similarity
  • Hierarchy
  • Proportion
  • Relationship to the image area
  • Line
  • Flats (filled in shapes)
  • Shape
  • Shape-Identity (pointy, rounded, etc)
  • Silhouette and negative spaces
  • Orientation
  • Balance
  • Symetry / Asymetry
  • Formal and informal composition
  • Cut-offs (part of shape falls outside image area)
  • Directness, readability vs ambiguity

  • Horizontals
  • Verticals
  • Diagonals
  • Curves
  • Tonal use
  • Lowkey / Midkey / Highkey tonal setup
  • Tonal contrast and tonal range
  • Use of color
  • Color contrast
  • Color harmony

  • Contour
  • Cross-Contour
  • Types of line, line-identity (ragged, smooth, textured, uniform, etc)
  • Line/Stroke economy (using allot or using little)
  • Hierarchy within line (thickness, texture, etc...)
  • Sponanity or precision?

  • Mechanical / Architectural
  • Organical
  • Rythm
  • Relationships between shapes (contrasts in identity, repetition of shape, etc... tied in to composition)

Basic shapes such as...
  • Triangle
  • Square
  • Rectangle
  • Circle
  • Elips
  • Polygonal shapes with more sides
  • Irregular shapes (noisy, organic, etc)


  • Spatial hierarchy
  • Overlaps
  • Horizon and eye-height
  • Vanishing points
  • Size
  • Perspective based on overlaps (eg. Egyptian art)
  • Atmospheric perspective

Field of view / Cone of vision
  • 1-point perspective
  • 2-point perspective
  • 3-point perspective
  • Isometrical perspective
  • 4-5 Points curvilinear perspective

  • Shadowcasting
  • penumbra
  • distortions
  • optical illusions
  • organical shape construction etc etc...

Basic shapes such as...
  • Cube and beam (right word?)
  • Cillinder
  • Cone
  • Sphere
  • Egg
  • etc...


  • Relationship between shape and form
  • Cross-contour
  • Soft vs hard surfaces
  • Drawing-trough / Thinking trough
  • Construction

Form and light

  • Light adds up
  • Planes in relationship to tone
  • Local value
  • Cast shadow
  • Specularity
  • Form-light and form-shadow
  • Core-shadow and highlight
  • Specularity and specular highlights
  • Mid-tone
  • Reflect-light
  • Rimlighting

Basic lighting on cube, cillinder, cone, sphere...

Value (tone)

  • Tonal scale
  • Tonal range
  • Tonal range of picture
  • Tonal range and tonal hierarchy within an object
  • Lightest lights, lights, midtones, darks, darkest darks and their relationship to the tonal range

Composition based on relationships of light and shadow
Composition based on relationships between the local values of the objects in the scene.


  • Optica and physics
  • The human eye and how it works
  • Frequencies within the visible color spectrum
  • Extraspectral color

Primary color...
  • Optical primaries
  • Psychological primaries

Additive color mixing
Substractive color mixing

Range of a lightsource
Relationship between distance between light and object and penumbra.


  • Value in relationship to color
  • Inherent value of a specific color
  • Relationship between form-light and form-shadow and the role color plays in this
  • Saturation
  • Chroma
  • Chroma in relationship to form
  • Difference between brightness and lightness

  • Temperature relationships
  • Hue
  • Warm vs cool color

Compositorical systems...
  • Color contrast
  • Color harmony
  • Color circulation / Color balance
  • Color based on tone (as a working method)
  • Hierarchy in color-intensity
  • Transitions based on color-value (eg. dark to light as in blue to yellow)
  • Transitions based on hue
  • Transitions based on chroma / saturation (eg. highest chroma in midtone etc)
  • Spatial pulls trough colortemperature
  • Color temp within perspective and atmospheric perspective (see above)
  • Color variance
  • Color variance within white light, color variance within specular highlights
  • CIElab vs RGB
  • Palette building trough addition of hue
  • Palette building trough substraction of hue
  • Color palettes and their relationship to the highkey, midkey, lowkey tonal setups
  • High chromakey, mid chromakey, low chromakey


  • 4-5 edges principal
  • Hierarchy within edges
  • Depth of field trough lenzes
  • Blur and motion blur


  • Texture approached from materials used (painterly approach)
  • Texture approached from surface of object (photographic approach)
  • Texture trough tonality
  • Texture trough hue and color temperature
  • Coarse vs fine texture
  • Texture by papergrain vs texture by brushstrokes

Simplification and abstraction

  • Abstraction based on contour
  • Abstraction based on form
  • Abstraction based on movement
  • Abstraction based on light and shadow shapes
  • Abstraction based on local tones and colors


  • Rythm
  • Contrast and exageration
  • Caricaturisation
  • Proportions
  • Exagerated perspective
  • Diagonals
  • Light-play
  • Direct vs difuse lighting
  • Mixing the above to into a hybrid approach?
  • Emphasising the materials used
  • Keeping the directness/sketchyness alive
  • Cut outs (having something only partially within the picture frame)


  • Fantasy vs reality
  • Irony and provocation
  • Conceptualism and philosophy
  • Playing out contrasts
  • Climax and anticlimax
  • Style-figures

Quick Link Review:

43 Things
Art Renewal Center
The Lafayette Art Meetup
Dpaint's Drawing from Life Survival Guide

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Great post, super encouraging! :)

I'm the opposite of you on quick studies, I tend to a lot less studying and get invested in these long projects. LOL That also cause a kind of burnout, for me. I think there needs to be a really good balance.

And I've tried and tried, but I just can't seem to keep a real sketchbook! Honestly, I don't know what my problem is. :D