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Friday, June 17, 2011

Tips for Painting Landscapes with Oils for New Artists

Oil painting is a style of painting followed by many artists and as these paints are tough and long lasting, they can be used easily in any type of painting. Especially for landscape painting, oils are very effective. Many famous paintings are made using oil paints and one of the most liked and best selling paintings are those which are landscapes using oil paint. Let me share a few tips for painting landscapes for the new artists.
Make it a habit and try to observe nature as much as possible. The most inspirational and symbolic artworks are those made by observing nature at its best. For your first landscape use a reference photo if you have of a landscape. Select a corner or the best you like from the scenery. This is one of the most common mistakes done by many artists is that they try to put too much in one painting. Even when I began, I felt the need to put too many things on one canvas, the result is you get an painting that does not have focus, or focal point.
Selecting simple student’s colours or artists colours is your choice. Keep the painting area clean and clutter free and have rags and other materials like cleaner, pencils, colours and drawing board ready, in other words make the place for painting. Beginning of any artwork especially landscape has to be done by making a rough sketch of the scene on paper or canvas. By doing this you demarcate the areas for water, stones, mountains or sand as is in your picture.
If you like to paint directly from the tube like I do then it is very simple, place colours selected on your palette along with some black and white for mixing to get proper shades. If you use thinner then have the dipper ready near the palette of colours. Observe the colours in the landscape as many of us neglect this aspect is that no single colour will give you the desired result,   nature has many shades and you will have to mix different colours especially for making the greens. The red of flowers is also not ready and an artist has to try and mix different shades and colours of red to get he correct colour. So also for other colours for mountains, water and sunlight try mixing colours on your palette and not directly on the canvas otherwise there are chances of getting a muddy colour or stains in your landscape.
It is better to make use of lighter colours first and then move on to cover up or give specific shapes with a darker shade of that colour. Many artists also do the mistake of making outlines with black colour. Please!  Nature does not have any outlines, you have to use similar shades of that particular colour and darken it to define outlines of any shape. Since you are using oil paints in case of any mistakes you can over paint it, or remove the colour by using a cloth with remover or thinner applied on it.
The most important point while doing landscapes is that there is no right way. You can proceed painting any way, start from top or bottom, side or cross ways, as you like it. Do not be tied down by too many rules as this will hamper your creativity and remember the most beautiful landscape is the one that gives you satisfaction on completion and not the one that you have done following all rules of painting strictly but ended up making a painting which looks like a copy of your photograph of landscape.  

Friday, June 10, 2011

Meaning of Symbolic Paintings


Very often we hear about symbolic paintings and the first picture that comes in our minds is that they are artworks having images of Gods and religious symbols. Hence many of us shy away from these artworks and move ahead to see landscapes and floral paintings that have universal appeal. The common thought also in the mind of an art buyer would be why to pay so much money when an attractive poster of God can be got for very less price. Let me try to brush up some knowledge about symbolic paintings, their meanings for the artists, representations and symbolic meanings.
Symbolic paintings are not necessarily God paintings or religious paintings only. These may form only one aspect of this art style. Many artist’s who follow the symbolic art style of painting, make use of colour, picture, image and various symbols to represent their feelings and emotions in their paintings. Here a bird may indicate freedom and an eagle may represent soaring high in business or any venture. The colour black which is usually indicative for mourning in many cultures may be used to represent exclusiveness, frankness and confidence. Just like we in India associate white with mourning the artist may use this colour to indicate purity, sanctity and peace. Red colour can show violence by some one whereas another artist may use this colour in their paintings to represent growth, confidence and high energy level. So we understand that colours represent various emotions and this all depends on the individual artist. One can have a conversation with the artist to understand their representation by using various colours and their symbolic meanings.
Many artists also use images and pictures from nature and other sources of the environment. A green leaf or tree indicates freshness and growth. Tall structures and ladders are used in motivational paintings that represent upward growth. An anchor can be used to show grounding and stability in a symbolic painting, whereas a ship shows progress and movement towards prosperity. Usually boats and ships are very commonly used by artists to represent happy journeys and progress in careers. Flowers of different colours represent different emotions and meanings like the famous red rose used for love and passion whereas an white or pink one to indicates friendship and true love.
Some artists also make paintings that show violence and strong emotions. These symbolic paintings are of war, raging bulls, fighting or charging tigers etc. Here the artist shows their strong emotions in form of symbolic representations using these figures. They may also use dark and strong colours to express their emotions in an symbolic artwork. Fear, death, mourning, sadness and anger all can be shown using colours and pictures of different objects and all this depends upon the individual artist.
I have a liking for happy paintings. Symbolic artworks that use different symbols for prosperity, good luck, happiness and growth are my forte. With all the struggles, and happenings in the outside world where is the time to notice negative emotions paintings, let me distribute some happiness and luck through my symbolic paintings. Any painting can be well understood by having a conversation with the artist about their original artworks. One can get a true understanding of why an artist has used certain symbols, colours and in fact the idea behind the artwork.
Having understood this about symbolic paintings I am sure it removes many notions that a symbolic artwork is an painting of God or a religious painting. It has universal appeal and yes God paintings are only one part of symbolic paintings and this art style has wide variations and meanings.