Painting from life, plein air in the sunshine, is rejuvenating. Even in the hottest part of the summer, in the most tropical of climes, the early morning hours are still delightful for painting on location. After working outdoors for a few hours, your vision becomes more sensitized to color. Problems melt away, and results are not the issue. Just being outside and enjoying the gorgeous color harmonies must be like a taste of heaven.
For the past several months, I've been thinking about what specific areas of painting to study. Composition, values, color, and drawing all come to mind. Fortunately, there are several excellent books written by painters for painters. "Composition" by Arthur Wesley Dow, is a great place to start. Available curently at Amazon.com. this book was written in the early 20th century by one of the leading painters and teachers of the day. Dow influenced countless artists, from Georgia O' Keefe to Sadie Irvine, of Newcomb Pottery fame.
In "Composition", Dow outlines a series of excercises to work through. Line, values, and the proportion of darks and light are emphasized. I come back to this again and again. Fine illustrations assist in a clearly stated, well thought out guide to improving the use of the tools at your disposal.
Labels: Arthur Wesley Dow