Tag Archives: oil painting demos

“If You Must…”, My methods in working with photos

So often I have been asked if I utilize photography in my painting process. The short answer is “yes”, but I always add the qualifier, “If I must paint from a photograph, I find it absolutely ESSENTIAL to have done a color study from life”.

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 Color Study, “Last Kiss of Sunlight”  24″ x 12″

Implicit in this answer is the fact that I will try my hardest to develop the piece from life, but sometimes, it is just about impossible to do that.  Whether it is working with moving animals or very small children, using a photograph adds sureness to find the drawing in the complicated forms. Another exception is working with very late or early light that has a working period of about 10 minutes before the whole tonal range has shifted to another key. Again, I will often try to make this work by making multiple visits, but this too has its practical limitations.

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(Thanks for the photo Terry!)

Recently, we hosted a painting workshop in which I had the opportunity to share my methods of developing a study and then working up a finished studio painting from it.  We discussed what was beneficial in the photo and what not to trust. (Basically, I used the Field Study for the color and value reads and relied on the photo for most of the drawing, adjusting the foreshortened figure, etc…)  I would encourage you to implement this method in your own work. The extra time chasing the light in the study will pay dividends in your final work!  Not only will the physical study be necessary in completing the finished painting as you make value and color judgements, but you will also have the opportunity to fill your senses with the ambience of the experience which ALWAYS seem to work their way into the final work.  I wish you joy and success in your efforts!

 

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“Last Kiss of Sunlight”  36 x 24      Framed by  http://jsgildedframes.com

For those interested in further explanation, I have taken the time to extensively describe what I look for in the subject when working from life in our DVD’s.  Click image to see more… Enjoy!

 

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 Thank You!

 


Balance…Poetry and Structure

Structure and Poetry

 

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Clematis  30 x 40

When I have been most moved and impressed by artwork, music, or any expressive art form, it has been when the work has first grabbed my soul with its poetry, then amazed my mind in its structure and construction.

Throughout my development as a visual artist, I have found my greatest struggle in the making of art is to balance the crafting of accurate, solid forms while retaining the lyrical nature of the visual world. So often in my efforts to capture the exactness of what I am seeing, I lose the poetic beauty and essence of the elegant, peripheral line.

For me, the balance comes when I can relax enough while in the throws of building the solid structure of the forms to absorb and feel the rhythm before me. Certainly this comes with experience, but to be aware of the end goal during the early stages of development is critical in not becoming too stiff in your approach. While working and studying the subject, to feel the connectedness of the forms, the living, breathing life of our subject makes a clear difference to me in the end result. I have found that it is having faith that the poetry will come and manifest itself if I am true to the beauty and strength of the construction, being careful not to overthink the problem.  Allowing all of your senses to take part in the mechanical process is the beginning of where the poetry begins.

I wish you great success as you strive to bring your paintings to life in poetic strength!

Clematis-detail

 

Merry Christmas!

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Thank you!


Video Interview with “Master’s Secret Summit”

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First of all, I would like to thank all who have so enthusiastically followed this blog, and would like to thank you for your patience as the posts have been less frequent lately.  My intention is to begin to pick up the pace as we move into autumn.

On an interesting note, I just recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Kathryn Lloyd, founder of the Master’s Secret Summit.

While I have had numerous interviews about my artwork and my painting process, Kathryn seemed to bring out aspects and ideas that rarely surface in such a meeting.  I found her questions thought provoking and hitting at the heart of what this journey of art is to me.  Many other artists will be featured in this Summit as well including Burt Silverman, Arturo Garcia, Deborah Elmquist, Michelle Dunaway and Harley Brown among others.

I invite you to join us at….

Enjoy!

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Video Resources and more that thoroughly share my approach…thank you.!


The Artist’s “Siren’s Call” Technical Insight #33

This past month, I was honored to contribute to John Pototschnik’s blog post, Finding your Artistic Voice.

This is such a critical topic in that so many beginning artists tend to be overly concerned with “being original”.  The danger in this obsession to “have a voice” is that artists cloud or muddy their own voice, often inhibiting their true self from coming forth.  I was no exception to this siren’s call and had to learn this through the years.   Below are my thoughts…may they be helpful to you.  🙂

In my experience, finding my  artistic voice came most naturally when I thought least about it. When I began a career as a commercial artist 25 years ago, the only virtue was to “have a style”. While that stint was very short lived,  I had to divest myself of such thinking as that approach only led to hollow, superficial works. While these commercial works were eye catching and trendy, they lacked soul and meaning. Rather, when I entered the fine art realm, I was very intentional to concern myself not with technique but simply recording the subject, it was then that my true voice emerged. The longer an artist works within this framework, the more authentic and original their artistic voice becomes.

Please see John’s full article at…

http://www.pototschnik.com/finding-your-artistic-voice-gerhartz-hanson-cook-landscape-paiinting/

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“Holding Her Close”  24 x 18 oil on linen

These ideas and more are described in great detail in our book and video presentations. Click image to see more… Enjoy!

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Good luck as you charge ahead!


Technical Insights by Daniel Gerhartz, Lessons from Sargent #3

In this final post analyzing the magnificent portrait by John S. Sargent, I would like to share my thoughts on his brilliance in attention to edges.  I truly believe that accurate edge work is the one of the elements that separates great paintings from the good.
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In Mr. Sargent’s piece, he utilized the full range of edges (softest to razor sharp), giving variety that adds great contrast, drama, and interest to the painting.

Notice how he has taken great care in modeling the transitions on the features of the face so as to soften them down so that the edges on the construction of the nose, eye sockets, brow line, and anatomy around the mouth did not compete with the razor sharp quality of the strongest, peripheral edge.

Again, as we see in this case, the sharpest edges presented themselves along the peripheral edge of the face (aside from the stark sharpness of the rims on the glasses).  In my experience teaching painting, I have seen many students wary of putting the hardest edge on the far side of the face for fear that the distant side will not recede, but if this is how it actually looks in the squint, (see Technical Insight #3), we must not doubt the verity of this and put the transition in as we see it.

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Sargent’s “Olive Trees at Corfu” is another excellent example of the artist not being afraid to put the strongest edge on the farthest, most distant mountain, which visually had the sharpest edge.  Often we have heard that we must soften distant objects, but this is not always so.  How did he decide this edge relationship should be painted as such?  I am sure that is how it actually looked in its true relationship. Again, it is critical to squint to see the variety, accuracy, and contrast of the edges.  I would encourage you to study many of the great masters to see how their handling of edges brings their work to life.  Keep Squinting!!! 🙂

I have taken the time to extensively describe these edge principles in our videos for those interested in further explanation.  Click image to see more… Enjoy!

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Thank you!

 

 

 


Technical Insight # 32 “You Carried Me”

“You Carried Me”  page 97, “Not Far from Home”

 

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The inspiration for this painting arose on many levels.  From a technical perspective, it was the opalescent nature of the light that drew me in and presented the challenges that sustained my drive throughout the work. Through my years of standing before a landscape bathed in light and studying great paintings depicting this light quality, I have noticed that every square inch of the canvas needs to include the full spectrum of light and color.  Note these detail shots that incorporate the influence of all the primary colors.

This particular sun-bathed scene exemplifies the point with its rich blues reflecting and bouncing throughout, however, it is my objective to capture this in each of my paintings, no matter the temperature or strength of the light.  The process of looking for and rendering this opalescent light quality is taught in detail in our video presentation, “The Beginning of Autumn”.

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From a philosophical or emotional inspiration, the theme of “being carried” is one I surely need  through the journey of this life . I cling to this promise…

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you;  I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

Isaiah 46:4

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       Click items for more information

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Thank you!

 


Technical Insight # 31, “As Evening Settles In”

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Often I am asked where I get ideas for the volume of artwork I have produced.  My answer is always the same. “ I simply have to put myself in the position to be inspired”.  What this means for me is to hire a model (or just stand in a landscape) and watch the light envelope the forms and then work like mad to try to capture what I am seeing.

Several years back at a Weekend with the Masters painting conference, I remember Richard Schmid mentioning that the longer he paints, the more and more he sees in terms of vibrating, scintillating, color dancing before his eyes (to paraphrase).  This is certainly true for me as well as the task of putting down the multiplying complexity of what I am seeing becomes more daunting as my years of study increase.  The job of painting the heavy or thin air, capturing of the warm or cool qualities of light, or conveying of atmospheric color around and between objects is a worthwhile pursuit and a rewarding one in the end.

The light in “As Evening Settles In”, page 21 of “Not Far from Home”, provided ample opportunity to explore the opalescent qualities of this light that I speak of.  The violet and cool tones reflected from the sky behind me washed every form before me. One of the challenges for the artist is to always remember this covering and influence of ambient light, repeating the temperature of this light on all top planes of the forms.  The study shows this violet interplay of reflected light as well.

In addition, these principles are thoroughly explained in our latest painting demo video as we worked through the painting, “The Beginning of Autumn”.  Thank you and great painting!

Study for As Evening Settles In

 

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New Testimonial for “The Beginning of Autumn”…

“You truly are an amazing artist, a modern day master! I have watched many videos on painting the portrait and this one is by far the most informative and exciting. Every brush stroke, every color and everything you say reveals an important part of the creative process. You cover all the essentials that go into making a great painting, variety of edges and shapes, correct values, accuracy of drawing, use of warm against cool and balanced composition to name a few. You demonstrate that dedication, persistence and enthusiasm can carry you through a painting even though the conditions are harsh or change but that it is okay to stop when the light changes too much. Your finished painting is awe inspiring! Thank you for creating “The Beginning of Autumn” video to share your knowledge and enthusiasm. It is a masterpiece!”

Carol Reesor

 

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