Just sharing a usefull find; Environment painting tips.
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Thread: Just sharing a usefull find; Environment painting tips.

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    Just sharing a usefull find; Environment painting tips.

    (I'm not sure if this is lounge worthy or if it should be in fine art section, but i thought it was something useful the other painters would find useful.)


    It's basically a short list of tips for starting a painting. It's just a page but i think it's really solid knowledge, I've been applying them to my concepts and they've really helped me out a ton. Here's the tips:

    ON ART:

    The Analysis:
    Before painting you should have a clear vision of the result. To do that you must determine the following and keep all points in mind.

    1. Which side of the subject is lightest or darkest? Where is the light source coming from?
    2. Is the light clear and sharp or diffused? Just because youíve got a bright source doesnít mean that the edges of cast shadows and objects are sharp. Reflected light bouncing of other local objects can greatly soften or strengthen the value objects in the reflected light. Is there strong reflected light (like on sunny days) or not much reflected light like on cloudy days?
    3. What is the focal point? The main point if interest How will you draw attention to it. What will lead your eye to the focal point? How will you diminish attention from other areas? A good painting has one focal point, a lead in to it and every thing else is just supportive information.
    4. Where are the lightest lights and the darkest darks? This is called the value scale. You will be working with values between the two.
    5. Where are the sharpest edges, soft edges and completely lost edges? Normally, the focal point will contain the sharpest edges although creating sharp edges other places can greatly increase the appeal of the painting but shouldnít overwhelm the focal point. Clouds and trees usually have soft edges as a general rule although a few well placed sharp edges here can actually help a painting. One thing to note about photographs vs. painting from real life: You will have to create the peripheral vision effect. Your eye can only focus on one area at a time in real life. Everything in your peripheral vision is less sharp, less clear. Try looking at something. Notice how your peripheral vision isnít quite as clear and sharp. A painting needs to have this effect painted in. The reason is because a painting is pretty much ďall in focusĒ like a photograph, but what you want to create is what your eye would see in real life. Also, you wonít see the peripheral vision effect in a photograph like you would in real life so youíll have to create that if youíre working from photos. Try not to work from photographs if you can.
    6. Where are the strongest colors?
    7. Is there an obvious color harmony?
    8. How warm or cool is the light? Usually cloudy days have cool light, sunny days warm light. NOTE: Shadows in a cool light are relatively warm. Shadows in a warm light are relatively cool.
    9. Where are the simple areas? Where do you have to be especially careful? Are there any drawing problems, foreshortening, perspective, distortions or areas of ambiguity or confusion? How will you handle that.
    10. If painting from real life, is your canvas out of the direct sunlight? Always keep your canvas in shade by rotating your easel or setting up in a shady area.
    11. What kind of technique are you going to use? How do you want to put your paint on? Heavy, thin, broken color? Itís sometimes very effective if you leave some of the under painting wash as is without painting over it. What do you really need to paint? Is there anything that you should omit or simplify to enhance the painting.
    12. What do you really need to paint? Is there anything that you should omit or simplify to enhance the painting.

    Preparing your paints, brushes mediums:

    Lay out your paints in a logical way. I usually go from warm to cool

    1. Opaques: Alizarin, reds, yellows, greens, blues.
    2. Transparents: Alizarin, reds, yellows, greens, blues.
    3. Put enough paint out so you donít have to re load during the painting.
    4. Pick brush sizes youíll start with. Normally, the bigger the canvas the bigger the brush. Work from largest brushes in the beginning. Use the largest brush you can to do what you want to do.
    5. Get paper towels ready and have a plastic trash bag.
    6. Prepare your thinners and mediums. I usually use mineral spirits and have a bottle of Gamblin Galkyd light ready. Galkyd is a thinner that dries fairly fast and I just dribble a little over my mixed paints to start with. It dries the initial wash quickly and keeps the vibrancy of the colors.

    Preparing the drawing:
    A loose, quick drawing on the canvas is better than a detailed drawing. Make your lines very loose. I sometimes use very thin paint to do my drawing but a warm chalk conte stick works well also (like a terra cotta color). I donít worry too much about getting the shapes exactly right. Itís basically an indication of where I want to put things. Just indicate where they go without drawing the whole thing out. For instance, on buildings I indicate the roof lines loosely. I donít draw in doors, windows, etc. One thing to note about doing line drawings is that lines make you subconsciously paint up to them sharply. You donít want to do that. A painting works with masses and edge variation. A line drawing doesnít use masses and edges so donít make your lines so distinct that it forces you to keep sharply within them. Thatís why a loose drawing is better than a very detailed drawing. Donít worry about painting up to lines. You can refine the detail later.

    Example of a preliminary sketch by Doug Higgins. http://www.dhfa.net . Doug also has a very good online book and is one of the best landscape painters in the U.S.


    Don Finkeldei

    And a link to the guy's site: http://www.inetgallery.net/display/s...sionsonart.cfm

    "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
    --- Frank Herbert, Dune - Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

    Check out my Sketchbook! Critique and Criticism welcomed.

    or my Deviantart!

    ∑ or check out my: Blog
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArtZealot View Post
    10. If painting from real life, is your canvas out of the direct sunlight? Always keep your canvas in shade by rotating your easel or setting up in a shady area.
    this seems weird to me. unless whatever you're painting is in the same shade.

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    Elwell is offline Sticks Like Grim Death Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Quote Originally Posted by squidmonk3j View Post
    this seems weird to me. unless whatever you're painting is in the same shade.
    Have you done much painting outdoors?


    Tristan Elwell
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    Mon Chat is offline Honestly didn't mean to offend you! Level 6 Gladiator: Provocator
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    arghh! sunny paper/canvas... apart from ending up snowblind you cant really see the colours/tones to well in direct sunlight.

    captain obvious STRIKES AGAIN

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    "Everything in your peripheral vision is less sharp, less clear. Try looking at something. Notice how your peripheral vision isn’t quite as clear and sharp. A painting needs to have this effect painted in. The reason is because a painting is pretty much “all in focus” like a photograph, but what you want to create is what your eye would see in real life. Also, you won’t see the peripheral vision effect in a photograph like you would in real life so you’ll have to create that if you’re working from photos. Try not to work from photographs if you can."

    Alot of this has to do with the size and shape of your canvas, and how people interact with it. I think this type of advice is very good for a smaller work where people will stand right in front of it, especialy when it's the usual shape and size (square or golden mean rectangle, etc) - in this case the eye sees every thing in focus, so you have to force the feel of a periphery. In a larger painting, you can keep more things in focus at the sides, and the eye will put it out of focus naturally. Then your eye can wander and see these different focal points seperately. There's a great painting at the MET, forget the painter, that's a very long rectangle, showing a panarama of a roman scene. It's got several strong focal points along the length of it, and you're not supposed to stand back and take it all in. It works best when you get up close and walk along it. You see each focal point, whether a roman tying his shoe, some horses, a street vendor, etc, just like you were out in the street looking around as you walked. It's genius.

    There are many ways to see a painting, and many ways to design one.

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    direct sunlight is blinding when your trying to draw on white paper or paint on white canvas


    i use cardboard colored sketchbooks its a little less awefull on the eyes but i still look for shade

    not sure how to add my sketchbook as a link but heres wher eits at yo
    Foodogs sketchblog
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    Thanks ArtZealot.

    Many of those tips can be summarized to this one thing:
    - Before you start painting or at the very first stages be very specific and precise about what lights are in the scene. When painting stay extremely consequent to those decisions.

    I believe this is one of the most important things when painting environments (but also other subjects). Another thing that I'd like to add. I see many people don't use it and that makes environments look a bit bland.
    - Include as much light falloff as possible. Basicly when something is closer to the light source it's more affected by it so every single surface then turns into gradient that not only looks more realistic but also enhaces visual interest.

    Last edited by Farvus; June 10th, 2008 at 03:34 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farvus View Post
    Thanks ArtZealot.

    Many of those tips can be summarized to this one thing:
    - Before you start painting or at the very first stages be very specific and precise about what lights are in the scene. When painting stay extremely consequent to those decisions.

    I believe this is one of the most important thing when painting environments (but also other subjects). Another thing that I'd like to add. I see many people don't use that and that makes environments look a bit bland.

    - Include as much light falloff as possible. Basicly when something is closer to the light source it's more affected by it. Every single surface then turns into gradient that not only looks more realistic but also enhaces visual interest.
    Thanks, that also helps. Lighting definately can make or break a piece if it isn't right or well thought out. I'm building up a list of notes and will add this to it.

    "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
    --- Frank Herbert, Dune - Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

    Check out my Sketchbook! Critique and Criticism welcomed.

    or my Deviantart!

    ∑ or check out my: Blog
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Have you done much painting outdoors?
    none, yet

    i understand the glare issue, but i was thinking about light on subject vs light on palette/canvas...if your in the shade, doesn't that actually mean that you're under a different light?

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    I think it depends on how extreme the shade is, and that it's less of a problem once you get rid of all the white.

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