Tag: art

Learn what makes a painting great Video #1 Part 2: Composition, Color, Lines and Emotion

In this video in the series you’ll learn about composition, color, emotion, painting techniques, use of lines, and other artistic elements artists used to produce their greatest works of art. This video will help you understand the qualities of great art, especially painting created before the 20th century.

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You’ll find my video notes below!

 

Jacques-Louis_David_madame recamier
Jacques-Louis David, madame Recamier, 5’9″x7’4″, 1800, the Louvre

Composition

All beauty is the result of fine proportions. – Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), architect

Greeks were the first to invent and to use the mathematical proportion, linear perspective and the concept of divine proportion and scale in art and architecture (the Pantheon). Because of a conversion to Christianity, these postulates were abandoned in the Middle Age Europe only to reappear in the Italian Renaissance art several centuries later.

Man is the measure of all things becomes the mantra of the Renaissance artists in the 1400-1500s as they explore the concept of rational thought by creating art that’s three-dimensional, visually balanced, mathematically proportioned and color unified. (The principles of the mathematical perspective were devised by Filippo Brunelleschi).

Composition becomes central to the creation of representational art.

Pentagram
pentagon and decagon in a circle veronica winters video series
Pentagram and decagon in a circle

In this diagram you see the fundamental principle of geometric division of space or the divine proportion. A symbol of unity, the circle holds a pentagon inside with the 5-pointed star of Pythagoras drawn inside it. Renaissance artists used this model to place their figures in a visually pleasing composition. (Source: Rhythmic Form in Art by Irma Richter, Dover Publications)

Raphael Ansidei Madonna pentagon composition, veronica winters video series
Raphael, Ansidei Madonna, 1505-1507 | pentagon composition

 

The school of Athens, Raphael, veronica winters video series
The school of Athens, Raphael, 1510, fresco in Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican, Rome | pentagon composition

This painting represents the exaltation of rational thought. The artist paints his contemporaries as models to represent ancient Greek philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle standing right in the center of the composition. We see Leonardo as Plato, Bramante as Euclid, Raphael as Apelles and Michelangelo as Heraclitus. Raphael incorporates the architecture of the room by creating a balanced composition that proportionally relates to the interior. The fresco has 5 circles. The height of figures and their placement corresponds to the mathematical divisions seen in the picture.

Also see:

Poussin (French), “A dance to the music of time” (pentagon composition)

Besides using pentagons, artists create symmetrical and unsymmetrical balance with triangular compositions, the golden section rule, and several other devices.

Masaccio_ the holy trinity perspective
Masaccio (Italian), The Holy Trinity, fresco in Santa Maria Novella, Florence, 1428  | perfect linear perspective

In this painting while the iconography is standard, the unusual part is its perfect linear perspective. It marks Masaccio as the first Renaissance painter who achieved visual realism of the figures receding in space naturally with correct foreshortening.

Adam's Creation, Sistine Chapel_ceiling'_by_Michelangelo
Michelangelo (Italian), “The creation of Man,” Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Rome

In this artwork, the curving S-shape creates an equal movement and balance of shapes on both sides of the painting.

Also see:

Caravaggio (Italian), “The inspiration of St. Matthew” 1602. This painting features the S-shape design as well.

 

rogier_van_der_weyden_descent from the cross composition
Rogier van der Weyden, “Descent from the cross”

 

We can see examples of triangular compositions in religious art where a cross divides the space in half or is placed at a diagonal. In this painting the artist arranges the figures in a way that mimic the shape of the cross. The diagonal of Christ repeats itself in Mary’s shape.

virgin and child van eyck composition
Jan van Eyck, “The Virgin and Child” | triangular composition

The triangular shape was a popular element to design a composition. It creates balance with a line falling from the apex of the pyramid diving the picture in half.

claude lorraine_the embarcation of st. ursula golden section
Claude Lorraine (French), “Embarkation of St. Ursula,” National Gallery, London | the golden section

Lorraine consciously designed his paintings following the rules of thirds or the “golden section,” which is widely used today by photographers and artists alike.

Also see:

“Landscape with Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia,” 1682.

The artist also “framed” his landscapes with trees placed on both sides of a painting to create a circular motion, so a viewer never leaves his picture. He was also a master, creating a complete balance between the light and dark masses of trees, buildings, water and sky.

The Arnolfini marriage
Jan van Eyck, The Arnolfini wedding” 1434, National Gallery, London

The artist strikes an equal balance of shapes around the middle where we see the joint hands.

 

Emotion

Canova, Venus and Adonis, sculpture detail
Canova, Venus and Adonis, sculpture detail

Emotion is the strongest reason for artists to create art and for people to look at it to own it. Art is a visual expression of our soul. We respond to a painting or a sculpture instantly using our feelings as opposed to logic, and that’s what makes us human. Meaningful art helps us connect with our inner life. It confirms a record of our emotions dwelling within our memories. Art is not only a cultural and historical object, but also a remedy that speaks universal language. Artists have a vast emotional landscape to reach deep to convey a story in a meaningful way.  It’s the feeling that draws us into the picture. Because we all have a unique set of experiences, we respond to the art in different ways. Some paintings leave us untouched, while others haunt us with their beauty, melancholy, joy or fear. Painting is a record of  artist’s interior life, and his/her ability to see beauty in both the beautiful and the ugly.

Because feelings can’t be quantified in immediate dollars and cents unlike brand named stuff, many don’t see value in art, think it’s useless, and try to cut funding for school art programs and art organizations. As a consumer driven society we are conditioned to ignore craftsmanship, uniqueness and beauty produced in singular products because a cheaper version of artistic creation is all around us for free on social media, TV, magazines, shop posters, book covers, pillow designs and so on. We see art but we don’t really study it. Only our encounter with the original artwork has that immediate impact, raw emotion that enriches us as human beings.

Images:

Caravaggio, Head of Medusa, oil on canvas, 24×22”, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

(In Greek mythology, the terrible Medusa had the power to turn anyone who looked at her into stone: a power she retained after being killed by Perseus.)

Frans Hals, The Jolly Toper, 1628-30, oil on canvas, 32×26”, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Flaming June, Frederic_Lord_Leighton_(1830-1896)
Sir Frederic Lord Leighton (1830-1896), Flaming June, 47” square, 1895, Puerto Rico

 

Vasnezov Sirin and Alkonost. The song of happiness and sadness
Vasnetzov, The song of joy and sorrow, oil on canvas, 133×250 cm, 1896, The Tretyakov gallery, Moscow
Russian painting vasili perov
Vasily Perov, Trine (Troyka), oil on canvas, 1866

Also see:

Isaak Levitan, Over the Eternal Peace, 1894, oil on canvas, 150x206cm, the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Ivan Shishkin, Winter, 1890, oil on canvas, 125 x 204 cm, Russian Museum, St. Petersburg

Ivan Shishkin, In the Wild North, 1890, oil on canvas, 161 x 118 cm, Museum of Russian Museum, Kyiv

Edvard Munch, The Scream, 1893, tempera and casein on cardboard, 36×29” (91x74cm), Oslo, Norway

 

Romantics:

Friedrich, two men contemplating the moon
Caspar David Friedrich, two men contemplating the moon | The Met | http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/438417

In this section I’d like to mention the 19th century Romantic Movement. Romanticism grew as a rebellion against the static, cold ideals of the Greco-Roman art, against religion and social order. Romantics were liberals who produced art that excited viewers with emotions, especially the fear and the power of wild, changing Nature as the source of the sublime. Romantics channeled these ideals via painterly movement and color. They wanted to reflect on real life, not some distant ideals. Artists celebrated freedom of creativity that found its support from new patronage of successful entrepreneurs and business class.

The funeral of Atala,1808,Girodet_de_Roussy-Trioson
Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson, The Funeral of Atala, 1808, oil on canvas, 5’6”x6’10” (1.67×2.10 m), the Louvre, Paris

 

Caspar_David_Friedrich_-the polar sea
German Romantic, Caspar David Friedrich, the Polar Sea (The Wreck of Hope), 1824, oil on canvas, 38×50” Hamburg, Germany

Also see:

Spanish artist Goya (1746-1828), The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, Los Caprichos, 1798, etching and aquatint, 8×6”, the Met, New York.

He creates horror scenes with monsters and owls, depicts his nightmares that’s said to criticize Spanish society as corrupt and demented. The artist was for the French revolution and against the king of Spain, yet was very popular as a court painter to Charles IV. Late Goya shows highly emotional art, already being a thought after portraitist, painting royalty as individuals with psychological insight into their personalities that lacked idealization on purpose.

Goya, The Family of Charles IV, oil on canvas, 9’2”x11’, Prado Museum, Madrid & the Third of May, 1808, oil on canvas, 8’9”x 13’4”, 1814-15. (In this painting the artist shows the execution of Madrid citizens dying for Liberty).

Swiss painter, Henry Fuseli (1741-1825) painted somewhat erotic, moody and supernatural pictures of dramatic Shakespearean scenes and dreams that ignited fear. In his painting the skill of drawing is given away in favor of emotions and imagination. He painted several variations of the painting The Nightmare, oil on canvas, 102x127cm, Detroit institute of arts

Henry Fuseli (1741-1825) The nightmare. 1790-91 version

Another Neo-Baroque French painter, Gericault (1791-1824) explored human extremes and violent action in his art. He painted people in action with the exuberance and energy of Baroque artists.

Mounted Officer of the Imperial Guard, 1812, oil on canvas, 9’7”x6’4”, the Louvre, Paris. He completed this artwork at just 21 years of age.

Other Romantic artists to check out are Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863) and J.M.W. Turner.

 

Color

1880_Frederic_Leighton_-_Self_portrait
Sir Frederic Leighton, Self-portrait, 1880

We can divide representational art into two opposing groups. One is dominated by the composition design (Michelangelo), and the other by the use of color and light. While thoughtful design stands for rational thought in art, beautiful play of light and color evokes strong feelings.

Those of you who have tried oil painting know how hard it is to achieve color unity. It’s not only the skill of color mixing, but also the artistic vision and sensibility to color. In masterpieces we see hues that interact and support each other. The complexity of a color comes with deliberate color mixing, dragging or glazing of the paint, overlaying, and letting one hue dominate and complement the rest. (Ingres, David, Simon Vouet). The tradition of color descends from Titian to Rubens, to Van Gogh and Picasso. Seurat developed his own scientific color system – pointillism that didn’t get traction among artists, however.

Jacques-Louis_David death of marat
Jacques-Louis David (French), The death of Marat, 1793, neoclassicism  

 

Mary Cassatt, Sleepy baby, pastels on paper, 1910, impressionism 

The Impressionists redefined the use of color, not painting with black in the shadows. Unlike the majority of artists who worked in the studio, the impressionists painted outdoors, capturing the weather conditions at different times of the day. That’s why you see numerous paintings done of the same subject but in various lighting conditions. We can look at Claude Monet’s waterlilies and Edgar Degas’ dancers to understand how artists were interested in atmospheric and light perception of places and people – the impression, rather than the actual copying of details. The impressionists revolted against the Academism and its annual Salon painting competitions to organize their independent shows that exhibited unconventional, colorful art.

In Russia we see a rise of national landscape painting with artists like Shishkin and Kuindzhi who depicted vast, luscious and vivid landscapes of the countryside. Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh and Gauguin become the post-impressionism artists who focus on the spiritual in painting channeling it through color and symbols.

kuindzhi birch grove 1879
Kuindzhi, birch grove, 1879
Arkhip Kuindzhi (1842-1910), the moon night | Impressionism & realism

 

Use of shapes, lines and negative space

michelangelo drawing of Libyan Sibyl
Michelangelo, drawing of Libyan Sibyl

Line is the most vital element in visual art. Contour lines describe form and the initial drawing design. Drawings exist as personal records of artist’s idea and thoughts, having unique handwriting, gesture and energy. Line drawings can be very expressive if an artist varies shape, thickness and completion of the line. Rembrandt’s drawings capture everyday activities in sketchy but confident, almost child-like lines. Drawings of Michelangelo are beautiful studies of models where the lines define the physical anatomy and monumentality of male figures frozen in action. Da Vinci’s drawings perfectly describe the subject with soft, gentle lines reminiscent of the softness we see in his paintings. It’s amazing to see how Ingres describes figures in his hollow drawings of just contour lines with minimal shading. Japanese printmakers, Hiroshige and Hokusai became the two masters of woodblock printing in the country. They exercised great influence onto the Impressionists with their approach to composition design and the simplification of shapes. Hiroshige’s artwork is very linear and creates simplified shapes and patterns with the lines of varied quality.

Hiroshige, “Travelers passing Mount Fuji” woodblock print, 1831, Honolulu
Alphonse Mucha, The precious stones: Topaz, Ruby, Amethyst, Emerald, details, 1900, color lithograph, 26×11” each

The leading Art Nouveau designer and painter, Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939) used geometric shapes, mosaics, and diagonals to create beautiful lithographs of women as idyllic symbols. Czech artist gave birth to his unique “Style Mucha” with his posters of a famed actress Sarah Bernhardt that made him prominent in French Art Nouveau. His use of definitive, contour line is central to his illustrative style.

Austrian artist Gustav Klimt (1862-1918) employs lines, patterns and shapes to create a unique visual experience. His figures are made of patterns with contour and geometric lines defining form.

Gustav Klimt, Tree of Life, 1909

 

As spectators we often don’t pay attention to the artistic use of negative space. Negative space is simply the background you see behind an object. It often affects how we perceive what’s in front of us by carefully controlling the tone, color and shapes in the background space. Let’s look at one of the Spanish realist artists – Cotan who uses the negative space to his advantage.

Juan Sanchez Cotan, Quince, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber, 1602, oil on canvas, 27×33”, San Diego Museum of Art

Because the Spanish court and the Catholic church employed foreign painters (Titian) in the 16th century Spain, native artists were not popular among the two major patrons, and therefore they were able to develop their still life painting that was nonexistent before the 1590s. Cotan (1561-1627) becomes a pioneer in still life painting. A deeply religious man, he painstakingly arranged simple objects at a curve, juxtaposing bright objects against the dark tones, where rich background reinforces the realism of foreground shapes.

Similarly Caravaggio used the dark background to bring his subjects forward. He defined and mastered chiaroscuro – the balance of light and dark in his paintings. So much so that when a viewer stands in a dark interior of a church he sees abstracted patterns of light and shade. When the light is turned on, the entire painting changes to a story we see in a design. His mastery of color, negative space and contrast play with our perception of reality. (David and Youth bitten by a lizard).

 

Texture, paint and brushwork quality

Jan van Eyck (Dutch), painting detail that shows glazing techniques with seamless brushwork.
Caravaggio, St. John the Baptist. | This painting shows the effect of glazing where color (red) is built up in many layers of thin paint (glazing).

Our eyes travel across canvas to notice the unusual texture and brushwork, or purposefully to see none. Strokes of paint can describe the textures and shapes of fabric, skin and space. They can also generate an emotional response to the subject itself. The artistic ability to do it freely takes years of experimentation and practice, like we see in Sargent’s painting. Sargent’s art has spontaneous brushwork quality that’s actually deliberate and skilled. He was masterful at hitting the right ‘note’ in a single stroke, and when he was not, the artist wiped it off with a rag, and did it again. His paint strokes have relaxed elegance and fluidity.

Traditional methods involve several painting techniques. Here I’d like to mention the glazing techniques used by Ingres and David as well as the impasto method of painting perfected by Rembrandt. Glazing creates depth and sophistication of a color by using thin, transparent layers of paint. The impasto technique creates texture in thick, opaque strokes. These two seemingly opposing methods are often combined together in a single work of art, like we see in the Rembrandt’s paintings that create the glow in his portraits. The Jewish bride.

Jan Van Eyck (Dutch, 1390-1441) was a fundamental figure in northern Europe, the first to perfect the oil painting technique. He had strong interest in optics and light effects to create painstakingly detailed realism. (Ghent Altarpiece, oil on panel, detail). In this kind of art you don’t see any brushwork to convey realism. The artist uses lots of glazes to build up the color.

Rembrandt, the Jewish bride, oil painting detail showing the impasto technique.

Impasto (to put in paste, Italian) is applied thickly on a canvas or panel with a brush or a palette knife that raises the paint surface and makes the strokes visible. Impasto creates textures in clothes, jewelry, and skin that looks like a suggestion of the fabric or skin rather than a direct representation of it. The relief-like surface makes the lights pop more to attract our attention to the focal point. Rembrandt, Velazquez, Titian and Goya used this technique.

A lot of artists use a combination of techniques that include glazing, impasto, scumbling and more that produce different effects like you can see here.

Detail of a painted gown
Alexander Roslin: Marie Suzanne Giroust, 1734-1772, konstnär, gift
Alexander Roslin: Marie Suzanne Giroust, 1734-1772, konstnär, gift med Alexander Roslin.

Action step:

Pick an artwork that you really like, and try to explain why you enjoy looking at it in terms of composition, color, and subject. Practice your understanding of paintings, and your art appreciation will grow exponentially!  Have fun with it!

I hope you’ve enjoyed watching my video and discovered how story, composition, emotion and texture – all contribute to and influence on our perception of the masterpieces. A great painting offers a lot more more than a good composition, realism, or a vibrant color. A great painting gives you an emotional experience, something poetic and spiritual that transcends time and place, and allows you to understand yourself and the world around you!

Join the art collector’s circle to receive a FREE notebook with inspiration, demonstrations & more! Click here: http://eepurl.com/b-vEXP

 

Coming up next: Video #2 Contemporary Painting

In my next video you’ll learn what to look for in contemporary art.

Complete video series:

Video #1 Part 1 – Learn what makes a painting great

Video #1 Part 2 – you are here!

Video #2 Contemporary Art – coming soon!

Video #3 How to take care of your art collection – coming soon!

Video #4 How to frame art – coming soon!

Video # 5 Why you don’t need an interior designer to buy and display art in your home – coming soon!

Bibliography:

The Metropolitan Museum of art, http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection

History of Art, 5th edition, H.W. Janson

The gilded age, E. Prelinger

Rhythmic Form in Art by Irma Richter, Dover Publications

Wikipedia & tons of art history classes in college! 🙂

 

Click on the image to subscribe to my art notes and receive a FREE download with my art, inspiration and demonstrations!

 

 

 

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  • If you reproduce Veronica Winters’ intellectual property, without the artist’s written consent, you are guilty of copyright infringement and this is a violation of U.S. and international copyright law. Please note, violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Step-by-step drawing: 3 graphite pencil techniques that work

Drawing is so fundamental to artist’s skill, we can hardly skip it, working in the realist tradition. Here I’d like to share several basic tools and techniques I use, drawing portraits in graphite pencil. I must note that these techniques are applicable to any kind of pencil/charcoal drawing, and these steps and tools are universal across any subject you pick to draw. In the end of this post I share my inspiration behind the drawing and a short video illustrating the steps. Let’s dive in!

#1 Use paper stumps with care

step by step drawing

I begin shading the image by placing the darkest darks on paper. You can compare this method to drawing from shadows to light. Here I draw on the Strathmore Bristol smooth paper that’s super smooth and thick. Because it accepts a limited number of layers, I need to be more mindful how dark I’ve got to go in the first step of shading. (Strathmore drawing paper, medium has a slight texture that’s more forgiving for general drawing techniques in pencil and colored pencil because it accepts more layers).

Paper stumps help artists blend the graphite and charcoal.

Once I’m done massing out the shapes in a soft, 4B graphite pencil, I use the blending stumps to blend large areas, such as the background and the hair. I’m mindful of the pencil pressure as well as of the stroke direction. It’s important to blend in the “right” direction and not to overwork the surface.

Blending with paper stumps unifies the surface, blending everything to a medium gray tone. Therefore, I strengthen the darkest areas immediately after that. Various sizes of paper stumps give me the precision I need blending the graphite.

Never use these paper stumps for colored pencil work! They will ruin the surface.

#2 Use kneaded eraser and the Tombow Mono Zero eraser

how to draw people

In the second step, I usually pull out the highlights with the kneaded eraser. Any brand of kneaded eraser works.  This type of eraser has dual benefit of lifting out the pigment without any residue and creating soft edges around the highlights, which look natural and give a realistic effect of soft light.

What’s to lift out? The lightest lights you see in your picture. I often lift out a bit more than I need to come back to it with finer shading over the lightest parts of my image to create subtle tonal transitions.

General’s kneaded eraser

Tombow Mono zero eraser is a great eraser that lifts out tiny details, such as thin strands of hair or tiny highlights in the pearls. This eraser also works great in colored pencil drawings when I try to erase hard to reach, very small areas in my work. I buy these on Amazon, and it takes about a month to arrive home from Japan! So if you decide to give it a try, order two or three at once, you won’t regret it!

Tombow eraser

#3 Shade in graphite in layers, erase and repeat

Kat with a shell, graphite pencil on paper, 9×12 inches

This step consists of several steps that’s simply a repetition of my actions. I layer the graphite by erasing, enhancing the dark values, and refining details. I develop my picture further with every new layer.

I work on subtle transitions with harder pencils, especially if it’s a skin tone. I usually shade with 2-4H gently transitioning from mid. tone to light. While I’m doing this, I pay attention to values to turn the form.

 

how to draw people
Drawing detail

Value scale

Every color has its own value scale going from the darkest dark to white. Because some colors are darker than the others naturally, they have a wider value range as opposed to the light colors. (Think of ultramarine as a dark color and yellow as a light one). Why do you need to know that?
You control your values at all times as you draw or paint to have a range of tones that makes your image look three-dimensional. Usually, students complete their drawing with a very limited range of tones. That’s why everything looks “just grey” or “too flat.”
Convert your color image into a black-and-white picture on your computer, and you’ll understand how dark the shadows should be, or how light your lights really are. Then step back and compare your drawing to that picture.

Drawing detail: hands with a shell

I finish working on my piece with a final fixative, spraying my drawing outdoors. I strongly recommend using professional-grade varnish, like the Grumbacher matte final fixative for dry media. It gives a very nice and even finish to my artwork that’s impossible to achieve with cheaper brands like Krylon.

Final fixative for dry media

My inspiration

Sandro Botticelli, The birth of Venus
Sandro Botticelli, The birth of Venus, 1486, Uffizi gallery, Florence

My pictorial inspiration for my drawing comes from the Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli, The Birth of Venus. His shallow treatment of background space and the romantic figure of Venus coming out of the sea influenced me to create my goddess of the ocean. I worked on clothing and poses with a model to complete a fun photo shoot on the beach in Naples, Florida. The completed drawing is a study that I will later take to my oil painting.

You can read about the Botticelli’s artwork here.

Video

Here you’ll find a 40-sec. video as a summary of the step-by-step drawing described above.

 

How often do you draw in pencil? What’s you creative challenge? Let me know what you’d like to learn from me.

Share your thoughts in a contact form below!

Check out the step-by-step demonstrations here.
Join the art student club to receive a free drawing demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf

Can you just do? On artistic inspiration, self-doubt and work

As artists we’re able to fall deep in dark pits of self-doubt, uncertainty and melancholy. We question our purpose, hold on to negativity, and doubt our abilities because it’s hard. It’s really hard to work against the grit to pursue our calling-something that has been written within us at our birth. I think the psychological pressure we feel at times maybe tougher to overcome than the financial burden, since it sips through all the facets of our lives.

Artists are also extremely sensitive people, and react to circumstances and opinions more than others. That’s one of the reasons why we see so many talented actors, writers, painters and musicians self-medicating a ‘weakness’ that’s been recorded in the genes and defined as the ‘mental illness.’ I think it’s more complicated than that. I see my feelings mirrored in students who make their first experiences in life. What I can control they can’t yet, and those emotions often arise and confuse them.

Yes, the sensitivity that artists have makes us different, different in having a natural gift that actually keeps on giving, if we nurture it. It can become the artist’s ‘strength.’ We’re able to see something beautiful in mundane places. We are able to move people emotionally. We go down in history as challengers and recorders of new movements. We make the world less ugly and more humane.

So today I’d like to include a couple of motivational readings and some inspirational quotes that make me get up, stand up, and keep going. Enjoy!

On self-limitation

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Michelangelo

 

On self-doubt and inspiration

 

“DO” is the theme of LeWitt’s 1965 letter written to a fellow artist Eva Hesse, who was tormented with self-doubt.  Here Benedict Cumberbatch impresses me with his reading that moves no matter how many times I listen to it.

 

On work & perseverance

  • It’s one of those rare instances where you can see someone as powerful as Madonna being vulnerable. Her speech explains so many things that underline her internal motivation for the work she has done as a female singer. She talks about sexism, misogyny, and feminism in the music industry receiving the award at Billboard Women In Music 2016.

 

  • “Be the Hero of your own story” by Judge Judy Sheindlin is a book for every young or young at heart girl to read. It explains the importance of independent thinking, and how you can open yourself up to opportunities. It’s available for free as a digital download at Judy’s website:  http://www.whatwouldjudysay.com/

 

 

“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” Michelangelo

 

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. -Stephen King

 

How long did it take you to paint that? “My whole life.” Jackson Pollock

 

Venetian Masks Paintings

Close your eyes to see the winding streets and the tangerine glare of old lamps. Listen to the echo of moving water and voices of strangers. Venice welcomes you to the carnival – its love, mystery and flare. Indulge your love for Venice. Browse original oil paintings of Venice for sale.

Venice has captivated my soul for years. No matter how many days I spent roaming the city, I couldn’t get enough of its beauty, history and culture. This is the place of romance, art, architecture, and love for me. I can listen to its sounds day and night, glide through morning fog, get lost on the narrow streets, and take pictures of masked strangers. Back in my studio, I worked from my photographs to re-create the romantic mystery of Venice in a series of realistic paintings. These Venetian masks paintings represent my first, quality body of work I’m proud to share with you today.

These Venice carnival paintings will wow your guests. Turn your living room, bedroom or office space into your private art gallery. Shop now!
Veronica at Marco Square, Venice, Italy

 

Original oil paintings of Venice for sale | Venice carnival paintings by Veronica Winters | Venetian masks paintings | Venice oil paintings | realistic paintings
Promises, 18×24″ oil on gilded panel, Venice oil paintings

 

Original oil paintings of Venice for sale | Venice carnival paintings by Veronica Winters | Venetian masks paintings | Venice oil paintings | realistic paintings
Creatures of the Sea, 24×48″ oil on canvas | Tenderness, oil on canvas, 24×36″ | Venice carnival paintings

 

Original oil paintings of Venice for sale | Venice carnival paintings by Veronica Winters | Venetian masks paintings | Venice oil paintings | realistic paintings
Keeper, oil on canvas, 36×48″, black wooden frame | Venetian masks paintings

Watch a short video about the surreal paintings inspired by Venice:

 

To experience art in person:

These oil paintings are available for purchase directly from me or via EmillionsArt. Call to schedule an appointment to see these artworks in person! 814-777-1802

Pricing:

36×48” $7-8,000

24×36” $5,000

18×24″ $2,500

16×20” $2,000

11×14” $1,500

8×10” $1,000

*Price includes framing.

To read about the history of Venice & to look at the pictures, you can buy a digital art book here.

Join the art collector’s circle, receive monthly updates about my art.

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educational books, drawing instruction books, travel books

Art Books & More

How to draw almost anything

Are you interested in discovering new colored pencil techniques? Is oil painting your passion?

My art instruction books teach students how to draw in graphite, colored pencil and more! While some art books have step-by-step painting demonstrations, most of the information covers the basics of realist drawing that’s fundamental to painting as well. Art books feature step-by-step drawings completed in various media, including colored pencil, graphite and even soft pastels.

  • Depending on your choice of the art book offered here, you’ll find the step-by-step drawing tutorials covering the following subjects: how to draw a bird, how to draw a flower, how to draw a cat, how to draw a person, how to draw objects in perspective, etc.
  • If you’re interested in travel books, they capture the architecture, landscape, people, and lifestyle of the country in beautiful pictures and words. These are visual travel guides to your final destination.
  • The advantage of buying a digital file rather than a Kindle book is that you can open and see large images on your computer screen. Also, if you have black-and-white kindle, it makes no sense buying the art book that explains how to draw in color.
  • Every book sells as a digital download that you can save to your computer, and open the file whenever you’re ready to work on your art in colored pencil or paint!
  • This price of the soft cover books includes FREE shipping within the U.S. only! If you live in Europe or any other country, please order on Amazon in your country. If you live outside the U.S. and still wish to order the book from me, an additional $20 shipping surcharge applies.

Let’s get started!

Click on the circle to enter the art book of your choice and to get more information about each product.

 

Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf
Join the art student club to receive a free demonstration! Click here: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf

 

YouTube Channel

Copyright

I reserve all rights to my intellectual property. It is illegal to forward, print, electronically copy, or distribute any digital content from this website or from downloads without prior written permission. If you copy, or forward any content, in any form, or grant access to the digital products to someone else, then you’re guilty of copyright infringement and this is a violation of U.S. and international copyright laws. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

how to draw

Step by Step Drawing Tutorials

Step by step drawing

My step-by-step drawing tutorials teach artists how to draw or paint a single subject from start to finish. Every step-by-step demonstration includes the art supplies list, color chart, and images in steps to complete the exercise. A student will benefit from these colored pencil demonstrations the most, if he/she already has some experience drawing in pencil.

  • The demonstration comes as a digital pdf file that you can save to your computer and work from at your pace. A few demonstrations have drawing videos that are available for download in addition to a pdf file (sold separately).
  • I hope my demonstrations will help you create better art. Feel free to share your progress on my Facebook business page!
  • Other free resources: YouTube channel & drawing in color blog: http://munsell.com/color-blog/color-theory-drawing-value/

Have fun drawing, guys!

Click on a circle to go to a specific drawing or painting demonstration, or to download a bundle at a special price!

Art Instruction Videos

 

Click here or cut and paste: http://eepurl.com/bIJlGf

Copyright

I reserve all rights to my intellectual property. It is illegal to forward, print, electronically copy, or distribute any digital content from this website or from downloads without prior written permission. If you copy, or forward any content, in any form, or grant access to the digital products to someone else, then you’re guilty of copyright infringement and this is a violation of U.S. and international copyright laws. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Paintings of women

Contemporary painting of women

I love painting portraits of women!  Although I see human anatomy as the most challenging to master, I’m strongly pulled to this subject to depict the complexity of our spirit in romantic paintings. As artists we paint what’s inside us and paintings of women’s faces become a record of our lives. Creating romantic portraits of women,  I find the process to be incredibly healing where I aim to evoke a world of love and inner strength in every artwork I create. I paint with a mission to help girls and women understand themselves and to discover their inner passion. We often give up, find excuses, or settle for less because we don’t fully understand who we are. I hope to touch your life in a positive way with my romantic art.

I arrived at the theme of painting women after working on almost everything for over a decade. While the subject of a beautiful female form has been realist artists’ inspiration for centuries, I come to paint women with the inner sensitivity of a female artist, expressing emotion through color. Color is a lot more than a concoction of bright pigments squeezed out of a tube. It’s been years of practice and learning to develop the color harmonies that excite my eye without being garish. I’m still actively learning the complexity of deliberate color mixing, dragging or glazing one color over the other, overlaying and letting one hue dominate and complement the rest. Controlling the color means letting one hue lead, to see colors in black or white, and to create the atmosphere that transcends painting. I paint in realist tradition with the color of the Impressionists to create myriads of paintings of women that are going to push the boundaries and capture your heart.

 

INSPADES magazine, issue sei, art feature.

I’m very grateful to the INSPADES art magazine that features and shares my art and mission. Issue sei.

Subscribe at https://newsstand.joomag.com/en/inspades-magazine-sei/0329895001501560147

 

How to paint realistic portraits: painting videos

Join the collector’s circle to receive monthly updates about my art. Click on the image below.

 

 

Cleopatra iconic women painting

Portraits of iconic women throughout history

 

 

I always wanted to paint something meaningful and worth people’s attention. I’ve painted numerous different things to become proficient enough to pursue what I always wanted – helping women succeed. The theme of Iconic Women fascinates me because I can depict many sides of female beauty and inner strength. I’ve chosen to paint strong iconic women who had courage, logic, determination, goal-setting, and other character traits that are often attributed to men. These women overcame their social-economic limitations to become famous personalities who lived with purpose and changed the world around them.

In my surreal paintings of women I explore the inner life of these icons. What they created and exposed to the outside world wasn’t always the reflection of their interior life. I make an attempt to humanize them by painting their emotions and challenges: love, failure, addiction, responsibilities and dreams. So we can see the spectrum of character and understand that those iconic women throughout history were also guided by their emotions as much as by their reason, and were also complex personalities as any of us.

Exploring vulnerability of feminine spirit, I take the liberty to interpret the days of their lives based on their biographies processed through observations and artistic sensitivity. I explore the themes of love and delusion, power and powerlessness, spirituality and vanity, abandonment and strength. I aim to give the iconic women new life where contemporary women can identify or recognize a part of themselves, and connect with a famous woman on a much deeper level.

My painting style floats between the surreal painting and magical realism painting. It’s painting reality that turns surreal that can be compared to writing a fiction novel with the main characters derived from the author’s personal experiences and observations.

My artistic mission is to paint the female heroes to inspire women to find their calling in life. I want to open up a dialogue, to create a visual experience of seeing the female icons in a different light, where women could find answers to their questions, to be able to apply themselves, to define their dreams and to work on their future with certainty. In other words, through my oil paintings I invite others to find their female hero to achieve personal fulfillment.

Art is personal. If I had the opportunities, moral support, and a professional artist/mentor back in high school, my life could have been very different from what I had.  While I have no regrets, I simply know how crucial these years are for personal development, choosing the right path to achieve success in the future, to cut on years spent searching for a hidden voice within. Therefore I choose to paint women who made history, real women who overcame their struggles to achieve success in life.

Watch how I’ve created the Marie Antoinette oil painting

Shop unique art gifts here.

Join the art collector’s circle

In the following months I’d be sharing new oil paintings of women and my thoughts behind each piece. I’m inviting you to subscribe to my monthly e-mail notes where I share my artwork with thoughtful people: www.veronicasart.com or click here for a direct sign up: http://eepurl.com/b-vEXP

http://eepurl.com/b-vEXP

out-of-the-blue-sm-9x12-veronica-winters

Colored Pencil Portrait Drawing

Colored pencil portrait drawing

I love to draw in colored pencil! In the following galleries you’ll see some of my pencil drawings that are inspired by personalities. In my surreal colored pencil portraits I enjoy capturing the character of each person through expressive eyes. I often add a mythic landscape or symbols to create a story. I plan out my drawings around a specific color scheme, and know how it’s going to look like finished before I even begin drawing.

My colored pencil artwork has been featured in many publications, including several issues of Leisure Painter, Colored Pencil Student, Colored Pencil magazine, and Artists & Illustrators magazines, Women Artists 2004, 2013, 2018 calendars, two Colored Pencil treasures books, Draw portraits in colored pencil book, Flowers in art, Strokes of Genius 8 & Strokes of Genius 9 art books, as well as in Dick Blick’s national ad campaigns.

To buy a colored pencil drawing

If you’d like to buy any of these drawings, please email me for details. nika@veronicasart.com   .

9 x 12″ unframed, graphite drawing – $249-349+ Priority Mail shipping

9 x 12″ unframed, colored pencil drawing – $449-499 + shipping.

You will love how the colored pencil artwork looks up on your wall once it’s framed!

Payment is expected in full once I email you the bill via PayPal. The check out is secure and you can use the service with your major credit card even if you don’t have the paypal account.

Step-by-step drawing:

I usually draw on colored paper using professional, lightfast colored pencils. In the following images you can see the drawing sequence. I always begin drawing in one dominant color, and then slowly add the additional colors one by one. This way I have a full control over my values and color.

eleven_stranger things_colored pencil steps
“Eleven” from the TV series The Stranger Things | photo credit Beat productions

 

 

Tutorials:

If you are interested in step-by-step drawing tutorials, you can purchase them here.

My thoughts on the art of drawing:

This is my most recent interview for CPSA chapter

 

http://eepurl.com/b-vEXP

mona lisa art supplies, how to take care of art

Reasons why da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is still here: use your art supplies wisely

Technical reasons why Mona Lisa is still here

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was a scientist and an inventor. In his mind, his remarkable abilities to perfect the technique of painting took a back seat in favor of many other interests he devoted most of his time to. Therefore, very few of his artworks exist today, and the artist’s mindset about art remains as elusive as his paintings. Tall, handsome, and charming Leonardo was great at finding patrons for his military, scientific, theatre and art projects, projects that had never ended in his creative mind, and most he had never finished.

As an inventor, he also loved to experiment with his art materials, using new, untested methods and processes that led to a number of disasters. His greatest surviving achievement, the “Last Supper” mural painted inside a church in Milan began to chip off the wall during his lifetime. He abandoned the traditional fresco technique and painted the picture on a dry wall instead of a wet plaster, and experimented with oil and tempera and other materials that Leonardo combined in a new, untested method, flaking off his deliberate, masterful composition to dust almost as soon as he painted it. The mural has endured a number of renovations since then, but only restored and computer-generated models can show us his genius: perfectly sculptured figures in triangular sub-compositions.

 

It’s not a surprise that da Vinci experimented with “Mona Lisa” (started in 1503) as well.  Obviously, this artwork had held a very special place in Leonardo’s heart since it had never left his hands until his death. Da Vinci’s drawing of the figure was absolutely perfect, and his creation of a soft landscape behind her, (the sfumato technique) was his signature invention. I’m not going to talk about the mystery of the sitter, the beauty of this composition, or the artist’s preoccupation with the painting. There is numerous literature written about these topics. Rather I’d like to illustrate the importance of art materials used in the process of painting.

The artist played with the technical aspects of the painting itself that deteriorated its surface at a much faster pace than it normally would. The exposure to light and humidity darkened and discolored the pigments. Fine details in the face got lost as dyes mixed with the paint faded. Her brightly colored attire changed to shades of browns and black that we see today. Further applied varnishes during the early restorations darkened the painting even more, and today it has a rather colorless appearance of yellowed browns.

Italian painter, Giorgio Vasari was the first to write a comprehensive book about famous artists preceding his generation that he titled “lives of the most excellent painters, sculptors, and architects.” In his notes he reviewed the “Mona Lisa” as follows:

“The eyes had that luster and watery sheen always seen in life … the nostrils, rosy and tender, seemed to be alive … The opening of the mouth seemed to be not colored but living flesh.”

These are the words that describe the mastery of the artist that we sort of see here, only if we could take the sunglasses off to see the real colors.

So what happened to the painting? Because the artist painted on a poplar panel (soft, non-durable and susceptible to insect attack wood) that was removed from its original frame, the surface couldn’t withstand the changes in humidity, it warped and cracked. In the 18th century the braces were added in the back of the painting to stabilize the crack, and later the added frame and cross braces helped to stop the continuous warping of the panel. Over the years the panel has actually shrunk!

Today you can see the painting in the Louvre that’s kept in a bulletproof glass case. It’s rather small (21×30”) and it’s hard to enjoy the beauty of it, jumping over the heads of so many tourists surrounding it with the selfie sticks. To preserve the priceless artwork, this painting is kept in a climate-controlled room with a 50% (+\-10%) humidity and 18-21C (68-70F) temperature. To compensate for fluctuations in relative humidity, the case is supplemented with a bed of silica gel treated to provide 55% relative humidity (Wikipedia)

These are computer-generated models of the famous painting showing us true colors it probably had when Leonardo had just painted it. In these models we can see the pinks and the blues that Vasari mentioned and that have faded over the centuries.

 

 

Source for the images: World Mysteries at http://blog.world-mysteries.com/science/digital-restoration-of-leonardo-da-vincis-mona-lisa/

Other sources: Art history lessons | the Natural Pigments at http://www.naturalpigments.com/blog | Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mona_Lisa

Mona Lisa in the Louvre

If you’re interested to learn more, the Louvre museum website is a great source. Here you can see Mona Lisa up-close and personal going through the digitized images completed by the Louvre museum:

Close ups: http://focus.louvre.fr/en/mona-lisa/

Overview: http://focus.louvre.fr/en/mona-lisa/understand/most-famous-painting-world

Scientific tests: http://focus.louvre.fr/en/mona-lisa/compare/scientific-tests

If you paint

Here you’ll find some good information relevant to the process of painting that affects conservation. The longevity of your artwork greatly depends on the environment you place it in. The best conditions you can set in your home or office include constant room temperature and low humidity levels. Don’t expose your artwork to the extreme sunlight, heat, oxidation, or humidity (water) – these are the main causes for the artwork’s deterioration. Don’t wash the surface with water.

1.     Don’t paint on glossy surfaces.

2.     Don’t use a lot of medium, it dilutes and weakens the paint. Use just a little bit of oil to help the paint flow.

3.     Paint with lead white, not titanium white, or worse flake white.  Lead white holds up everything together like a glue and minimizes cracking.

4.     If you don’t paint large, stick to painting on professional panels, the surface of which doesn’t fluctuate as much as the canvas does.

5.     Have strong stretcher bars and frames that keep the painted surface flat and unchanged.

6.     Use linseed oil to form the most durable oil paint film, although it yellows more than the walnut oil. (The walnut oil is your second best option. It yellows less but dries much slower).

7.     Always paint on a previously dried layer!

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Hope you enjoyed the read!