Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Beginnings-Richard Schmid

In my reading, I came across a wealth of information on beginnings in Richard Schmid's book--"Alla Prima-Everything I Know About Painting."   He lists six different beginnings, starting with the most supportive, where elements of drawing shape and color are rendered separately, and ending with the the most difficult method, where you begin with the correct shape and color.   I love what he says about starting methods.  "It is hard to exaggerate the advantages of having a variety of starting techniques at your disposal.  Unquestionably, a flexible response to the demands of subject matter and conditions 
is better than having a single individualistic style of working ."                                                                                                                                                                  

Schmid calls the first method "Line and Mass Block-In."  This method is good for organizing complex compositions, or large paintings with numerous figures or object. First the canvas is toned, then draw and mass in tones by scumbling, or using an oil wash.   Finally, cover with opaque pigment.  Lines should define borders between shapes without adding volume.  Two drawbacks to this method is that is that it is time consuming and the quality of edges may suffer when finishing paint is applied because of a tendency to paint up to the "lines" but not into them.  If you are interested in learning from this master artist, check out the monthly on-line lessons called Learning From Richard Schmid  presented by Katie Swatland. She has created a marvelous opportunity to watch and learn to paint as if you were right there in Schmid's class. In my next blog post, I will share more of Schmid's starting methods. Until then ... Peace & Love

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