November 26, 2014
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1901 Country Apple Court
Fountain Inn, SC 29644
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Before working on an oil painting it is good to get a better understanding of the characteristics of the subject matter. In artwork it's a sunflower. For this art lesson it be done by using the outlined pencil image on page five of the grid drawing pattern information. A pencil grid outline enables the contours or shapes that make up the sunflower image to be drawn more realistically. On page eight of the Sunflower grid pattern material is a blank practice. Print as many practice sheets as you need drawing to use in improving your art level towards achieving realism. With continued practice you will find you are able to draw more easily many different artist subjects and with more accuracy.
Then by using the gray scale image on page seven, begin shading and detailing the different areas of the sunflower image with your pencil. This will bring your sunflower drawing even closer to realism. Drawing your art subject first is like placing a road map in front of you. It's seeing the whole painting from the beginning to the final designation or the first brush stroke to the artwork's completion.
Composition of Sunflower Oil Painting in Mind
In this oil painting a sunlit cloudy sky for me will make a good background for a large sunflower. From the grid pattern the sunflower can easily be placed in the composition any where and drawn at any size you would like it to be. After some thought as to where the sunflower would be placed in the composition the background features are sketched in. The horizon line is set about mid way in the composition. Distance hills roll up from the center to the outer edges. Hills on the right side of the composition are higher then the hills on the left side of the composition. A reason for creating the background hills in this fashion is that visual distance conveyed.
To split the composition and add some interest a river makes a good addition. A meandering river flows from the horizon line down the to the bottom of the canvas. I've widened the river along it's path to help give depth and distance in the art composition. Perspective lines also help the focal point give visual depth to the overall art work. Painting the hills in lighter hues helps with creating distance between the sunflower and background sunlit areas. As in most paintings what we paint is light, so constant reflection on light as you progress is necessary or else you could loose the effect of distance.
As you paint give thought continually about how the sunlight will be shining on different areas in your painting. What portions of the background hills, the river and the shores will be sunlit? Most important to ask is how much will the reflection of sunlight on the pedals and leaves of the sunflower need to be painted? How does the sunlight move from the sky area down and around the sunflower as it travels through the atmosphere? Think about contrast, light colored areas and dark colored areas, where do you want the center of interest to be?
The underpaint layer is brushed on to make a road map as it where for an oil painting. It's beneficial to know or have a finished picture in mind so as to tell what steps are needed to complete your painting. By painting an underpaint roadmap your also able to check the perspectives of your painting, where the shading and the highlights will be.
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