Week 3: Nocturnes in Black and Red

Today we’ll start by looking at some inspirational works done in only red and black.

Look at the diversity of value present in these paintings, and just how much can be done with only two colors.

In this Rothko we can see how evocative these simple color combinations can be.

Look at this Seurat charcoal drawing and pay attention to how his shadows and dark areas fade into the background. All the darks are connected and although there is very little detail, the painting and the subject matter are quite clear.

Nocturnes are paintings done at night. In this painting there is only one little spot that’s actually white, and that’s the moon. Look at how the artist has created a nighttime scene by using a small amount of values with subtle manipulation.

Today we’ll start by learning how to mix paint on the palette and how to use our materials properly.

One of the most important aspects of learning to paint may sound simple, but it’s also something that is going to stay with you for a long time. We’re going to begin by focusing on how to make paint that has the proper consistency for oil painting.  Beginning painters often use too much paint thinner, or use too much oil, and that’s why before we begin painting anything we’re going to be focused on simply creating the right consistency of the oil paint.  The video below gives a good demonstration on just how to create the perfect consistency of oil paint so your paint will go on your canvas, and cover your canvas fully.

Once you have filled up your palette with a variety of colors and got a feel for them you need to take a photo of them. Remember, that documentation is an important part of this class, and that you are working towards creating a portfolio of your work.  By looking back on all of this documentation you can also see clearly what you’ve learned every class, and how it’s building.

You’ve also got to paint on something, and making sure your surface is primed properly is the first step in success. In this video you can see how to prepare a canvas for painting, by mixing up a brown and using a lot of thinner and then wiping it away. You will be preparing your canvas like this before beginning your painting.

Once you’ve got your surface prepared, and are comfortable making proper consistencies of oil paint you will make a value scale using only black and red.

(student work)

Then you will make a cube and sphere using only black and red.

(student work)

After you’ve made your sphere and your cube, you will get a still life object and paint it using only red and black.

(student work)

After the lunch break, you’ll come back with an image on your phone of an architectural structure of some kind. You’ll be making a painting of these using only black and red.

Here are some examples of student paintings

Back to: Beginning Painting