Added: Yadhira Eisenman - Date: 27.12.2021 23:27 - Views: 32100 - Clicks: 3063
Subscribe to the newsletter for updates on new posts plus exclusive art tips. Let's take a look at a stunning portrait by Gordon Coutts, Waiting. It stopped me in my tracks, despite it being a subtle painting in a dramatic room. Until that point, I had no idea who Coutts was. But it prompted me to learn more about his life and work. That's the power of a single painting. The whole painting is about the concept of "waiting". An immaculately dressed lady sits with a distant stare. Her bag packed ready to go.
She plays the part well. Waiting is a tricky concept to depict. It's subtle and nuanced, unlike anger or joy. Below are some key observations:. Below are some others paintings that convey "waiting".
It's worth looking for similarities between these works. Notice the subdued Looking n waiting, the use of negative space, and where the subjects are looking. Below is the painting in grayscale. The subject is depicted with a full value range, from near black to near white.
The background, on the other hand, is muted and compressed. Our eyes are particularly sensitive to value contrast, so our attention is drawn to the subject. The background falls back in terms of attention. This isn't what you would see in reality. The background would have stronger darks and highlights. Coutts exercised his artistic to manipulate the value range in order to direct our attention. Tip: As the artist, you have the power to depart from the reference.
You can exaggerate, cut, include, crop, or mute certain elements. But do so with reason. Use your artistic to push your ideas about the subject. You're in risky territory if you depart from the reference without reason. I created a notan of the painting using Photoshop see below. This is the most basic de of lights and darks.
It reveals an interesting and organized de. Notice how we can make out the subject even in this abstract form. That's the power of putting the right values in the right spots.
You can convey a ificant amount of information about the subject with a few light and dark shapes. The notan also reveals two subtle links between the subject and her surroundings. Her hat links with the sky's reflection on the window. Her dress links with the light grass in the background. These links are less distinct in the full-color image. The notan tunes out much of the noise and allows us to see these basic value patterns. I go into more detail on value and notan in my Painting Academy course. As with value, there's edge contrast between the subject and background.
The subject is sharp and crisp. She is depicted with mostly hard edges.
The background is relatively soft and out-of-focus. Like we are looking at it through our peripheral vision. It is depicted with relatively soft edges. The softness of the background mostly comes down to the Looking n waiting of rough brushwork. But the reduced contrast also plays a role. For example, take the two shapes below. Look at the edges separating the colors. The edges are sharp and distinct. Watch what happens when we reduce the color contrast.
Instead of orange against blue and red against green, we now have vivid orange against a weaker orange and gray against a lighter gray. Notice how the edges separating the colors appear softer and less distinct, even though the color transition is just as instantaneous. By reducing the color contrast, you can create the appearance of softer edges. Highlights play an important role in reiterating key structures in the painting.
The tip and bridge of the subject's nose, above her lips, and the contours of her ear. The edges and corners of the chair and shoes. These highlights act as exclamation points for these key structural areas.
They tell us that there's a ificant change in the surface's plane. The fact that there are only a few highlights on her face suggests youth and feminine qualities. More highlights, more contours. Fewer highlights, fewer contours, smoother surface. The highlights are also subtle in terms of color. There isn't much contrast between the highlights and the surrounding light midtones. Even the glimmer of light in her eye is subtle. This plays into the understated nature of the painting. Below is the painting with a three-by-three grid over the top created with my free grid and grayscale toolplus some key observations regarding the rule of thirds:.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I appreciate it! Feel free to share with friends. If you want more painting tips, check out my Painting Academy course. Waiting in different scenario and contexts. Amazing examples to enrich knowledge for creating the view, shadow and shades. Really educational for one who never studied art, like me. You do a terrific job, spreading your knowledge freely. Many thanks. Thanks for that, the distant gaze is compelling and Coutts is a new discovery for me.
Very interesting analysis. I am not an oil painter, but use acrylic. So the drying time is definitely a concern in oil. May I guess having painting in oils decades ago I would Looking n waiting the pale yellow is added after the looks to me to be pale violet. Confident strokes of colour, with no brush blending on the surface. This would avoid any mixing of the two colours. But of course, like you, I an eager to hear from Dan on this question. Oh goodness, what a wonderful, compelling and detailed essay.
Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and observations. Like others, thank you Looking n waiting all your interesting and enlightening posts. They have been a source of great joy to me, especially during this last year. My immediate reaction, to this painting, was that the subject was miserable; no joyful anticipation of her forthcoming trip so it was great to view the painting through different eyes and in greater depth.
I agree with you, Sue. I feel her tension, almost dread, at the imminent journey. What wonderful painting! Dan Scott, your analysis not only educates me about painting techniques in general but about this particular act of creation. Thank you! I need your articles to make me understand better. Thank you. You have become a part of my journey in learning. Thank you for the article and the break down of the painting, very interesting, thought provoking and educational.
Thanks for the study, Dan. I love this painting and the way it was composed. What an excellent artist! Your study gives us all education on how Coutts achieved this masterpiece! Many thanks for your detailed critique and introduction to Gordon Couttes, an artist unknown to me. I shall read your piece several times. It is a very good teaching aid.
Best Wishes Jane. I so enjoy receiving your s. I appreciate your ability to analyze each painting as it gives me a more critical eye for all art I view, as well as being able to apply this knowledge to my own painting endeavors. Thank you for your great work, Dan, it is most appreciated by all of us. Loved the introduction to this artist and that beautiful painting, Good Luck!
Very informative and makes one really look and understand for you are a gifted teacher clear and to the point, thank you for the wonderful post for I have seen this painting and now look at it so differently… thank you so much. This looked like a photograph rather than a painting. Thanks for the lesson!Looking n waiting
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