by Kim Victoria
8” X 12” Oil on cotton canvas
Stock # 16-004-O0812LS
Looking at the reference photograph, taken near Watchman Campground in Zion National Park, I liked the diagonal lines contrasting with the vertical rocks, creating a strong silhouette against the sky. The composition is simple and straightforward, so I chose to challenge myself to treat this painting as if I were standing there painting plein air (outdoors on site). which means I needed to make decisions fast, keep the brush-work fresh and avoid overworking anything.
Read more below . . .
Watch a painting of moving clouds evolve from a photograph as I explain my choices and decisions to meet an unusual challenge to paint from an idea inspired by Monet’s Water Lily series.
From thumbnail drawing to final form, this narrated slideshow offers you a peek into another aspect of my thinking process and abstract approach to a realistic feeling painting, as my goal is to evoke feelings rather than attempt photographic realism.
Please comment as I'd love to hear what you think.
Oil on Canvas
12” x 9”
Dark green wood frame
The challenge was for multiple people to paint from the same photograph in their own way, to be displayed together at an upcoming exhibit. One person provided the photocopies, in black & white, to all participants.
The photo was of a Jack Russell Terrier bringing a tennis ball back, straight to the camera.
What I liked about the image was:
What I wanted to capture in the painting was:
Primarily I wanted to capture that exuberance I know are natural to this breed of dog, and make the painting feel alive.
More to see & read:
I DID it! I DID it! My first ever demonstration video. Whew! So much to learn, and I'll get better with every one. I hope you enjoy it.
This post is a link to a YouTube video, a demonstration, like a mini art class, in which you see a reference photo transform from preliminary sketches to a final painting.
Intention for Layers In Sandstone
My challenge and intention for this painting was to recreate the lighting, and feeling I had, when I saw this scene for the first time, even though I didn’t have a good reference photo. The clouds were opening and closing randomly, illuminating pieces of the landscape for moments and then going shadowy once again. Those fleeting moments couldn’t be caught with a photograph, but the imprint on my memory was strong, so this painting is my impression. I allowed myself to go with the flow, and this is the result.
Watch the step-by-step changes while I explain what I am thinking about, and why I painted this as I did.
Thanks for watching!
Layers In Sandstone
Oil on hardboard
13” x 20.5”
Stock # 16-002-O1320LS
The scene was seen somewhere in the southwest corner of Utah, near St George
Please comment and let me know what you like, don't like, about this presentation (and the painting, too). I don't have any ego around all this as I am just learning to create demonstrations (I've had my art sneered at by critics before, so please don't be too mean, these are my preferences, after all). I will be creating videos of live painting demos, too.
Manet put strong structural elements in his works that are felt rather than seen, unless you know what to look for. My intention for this piece was to develop it as I imagine Manet might have. Here are 6 photos showing my sequential demonstration of one way to develop an oil painting.
I have a large collection of photos I’ve taken in gardens and parks. I carry a camera on my walks and almost always have it with me, as I never know when I’ll find that gem of a flower, tree, or garden-scape. I took this reference photo in my mom’s garden years ago.
Seeing the structure
I look for underlying structures in all subjects, and in the reference photo of Nasturtiums, I saw a rotated square shape, circles and large triangles. The white flowers were just in the way, so I ignored them.
In paintings by the greatest of the Old Masters we can feel the underlying structures. These structures are carefully camouflaged, as they are meant to be felt and not seen; yet, to the trained eye, they can be perceived.
I love to discover the structure first for several reasons:
Lemons in a Cobalt Blue Bowl
Oil on Board 5” X 7”
I enjoy still life painting and small ones, like this, are fun to do. Small works are great for a number of reasons: I can usually finish one in a single session, it feels good to be able to complete a painting when time is short, I am more accurate as I can see the whole canvas even though I am close to it, I can practice different techniques and see the result quicker, they are easier to transport for working away from the studio including outside, and they are a great way to warm-up before working on something larger. From the buyer’s perspective, small paintings are easier to find wall space for, and cost less to purchase.
Oil Painting Landscape Sanctuary by the Stream
Oil on narrow gallery-wrap cotton canvas
18” X 18”
No frame, Wired for hanging
Stock # 04-008-O1818LS
Available at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KimVictoriaArt
This was one of those magical moments when the sunlight streaming through the trees seemed perfect. Looking up the brook, could be seen where the canopy opened above to let the sun bathe a sapling in glowing light, pulling my gaze to it. It felt like such a peaceful, nurturing, safe place - a sanctuary; so that is what I strove to create in feeling.
During masterclasses, our teacher showed us how many of the greatest of the old masters of art used hidden lines, shapes, symbols, and arrows to lead the eye around the painting and to create certain moods. He also demonstrated how to add that to our own works.
In this painting I used the heart shape to add the feeling of love and nurturing. This symbol is hidden both large and small all over the painting - let your eye wander
Cala Lily Spiral - Oil Painting
Oil on Board 5" x 7"Available at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/KimVictoriaArt
By viewing common things from uncommon angles new perceptions arise, we see in new ways and question our limited thoughts about them. This fresh perception and seeing forces the artist to slow down and ask the object what it wants to convey to the viewer. What is the most important aspect of the object and how can the artist best express it. It is useful to approach a subject with an attitude of curiosity and inquiry.
Developing the composition
Watercolor on Canson 98lb mix media paper 10” x 7”
2 Trees, Home With A View, is from a photo I took while on a rafting trip on the American River, California. I remember watching as a solitary cloud moved behind the tree, back-lighting them so well. So my intention for the painting was to emphasize the trees with vertical movement of the eye going up the steep slope. The 2 trees are joined at their crowns so they also appear to be a couple. Furthermore, they have a very nice view of their area from up there and they live together, thus the name Home With A View. The focal area is definitely the trees themselves and I want to make sure those seeing the painting will feel that.
Because I like to have a clear idea where I want to go with a painting before I start, an intention, I always make a few thumbnail sketches. Yet, this year, I have added another goal, to develop ability with watercolor paints. In addition to and/or instead of the thumbnails I will do a watercolor sketch before I start an oil or acrylic painting.
In this first image is the watercolor sketch using a Sharpie pen and the Caran d’Ache crayons, only this time I mostly rubbed the crayons in the little tray and used a wet brush to pick up and apply the colors. This painting took about an hour.
I loved the benefits of warming up this way:
Now I’m ready to start the oil painting.
Oil on canvas-board 12” x 9”
Stage #1, Structural Composition
The preliminary watercolor sketch [LINK] helped me see what is important to me, and how to construct the shapes to achieve my intention to make the 2 trees appear to be above us and enjoying their view of the world from up there. I also became more familiar with the various planes of the hillside and rocks. I like to start my oil paintings with these strong geometric lines that establish the visual skeleton of the composition
Paint What You Like
Steal Like An Artist is an awesome book. Why awesome? Because this small book is LARGE in wisdom. Austin Kleon shares profound ideas for creative people in simple understandable words. I highly recommend it.
Today I was captured by one of his tweaks of a familiar theme. Write what you know - an adage well known among authors, Austin changed to: Write what you like. I am a painter, so I changed that to: Paint what you like, and that made a difference in my thinking and planning for my next series of paintings.
I have long believed in painting what I know. Using other peoples’ photographs doesn’t usually work for me, because I am separate from the experience of being there. They were there, they felt an emotion, they were inspired, they chose the composition, they took the picture - I am absent. Sure, I can appreciate their visions, but those visions still belong to someone else.
If I have the opportunity to take a similar photograph from the same vantage point, I might even compose it the same, however, I will feel the emotion of the place, and it is that emotion that drives my desire to paint from that photo. It is even better when I can draw or paint at that location, anchoring the emotion even more.
Using my photos for painting
I have been to a lot of places and taken lots of photographs. Rarely have I been able to stop long enough to draw or paint. So when I look at all those photographs, sometimes I’ve forgotten why I took some of them. I wan’t present long enough to capture the emotion of the place; yet they might be good reference pictures, so I keep them.
Today I am going through a group of them to decide what to paint, and I just read that part about Write what you like. Suddenly it was easy to put the photos into 3 groups:
The ideal painting mantra
Paint what I like. How simple. How easy it is to get into an inspired creative space when that is the mantra.
This may sound very strange to those of you who figured this out a long time ago; but I spent too many years trying to please others, and it is still interesting how that old expectation creeps into what I do, until I notice it, such as now, and give myself permission to paint what I like. And that is Freedom.
Paint What You Like, and I’ll Paint What I Like, and we all will have more enthusiasm and fun.
Keywords kim victoria,austin kleon,steal like an artist,write what you know,write what you like,paint what you like,painting,photographs,emotions