Get Your Facts First And Then Distort Them – Mark Twain Advises the Visual Artist

Image

Janis Joplin – Jacki Kellum – Watercolor

[For this painting of Janis Joplin, I didn’t have a photograph to follow. I combined several photos, a great deal of inspiration, and a tremendous amount of freedom.]

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” Mark Twain

When I was in college, abstract expressionism was still a rage in much of the country.  I love it.  I love looking at good, abstract expressionistic work–like that of Hans Hofman–and I love DOING it.  Painting expressionistically just FEELS good.  Swish, Swipe, Splat!!!! Ah, BRAVURA FEELS good.  Yet, it frustrated me that few–if any got my drift.

Not long after college, I was in an art show; and I overheard these young boys [about 12-years-old] giggling about my work.  One said, she might as well paint the whole thing black and call it night.  That comment caused me to think.  While abstract expressionism is a wonderful cathartic, I am not sure that it actually communicates–at least not to many.  Now, don’t get me wrong; I am not entering the debate as to whether art has to communicate–I am just saying that it made me wonder if I was doing what I wanted to do. It also made me wonder if I really could draw things and paint things more realistically or if I was just trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes.

I began what has become my lifelong quest to satisfy both needs–my need for an expressionistic catharsis and my need to communicate to at least a few. This boils down to my need to be technically good enough that I can paint or draw something anyway that I want–without limitations.

Having taught art for many, many years, my philosophy has been that all art students should learn the technique of making things appear real–and then they should move beyond technique to the actual making of art.  Otherwise, we, as artists, might fall into the sham of abstracting images simply because we cannot draw them.

“All art students should learn the technique of making things appear real–and then they should move beyond technique to the actual making of art.  Otherwise, we, as artists, might fall into the sham of abstracting images simply because we cannot draw them.” –                                   Jacki Kellum

Abstraction is good–it is great.  My digital art is very abstract; and that is one reason that I love doing it.   I provide many clues in my digital art; and I believe that the meaning is not totally obscure.  Yet, I believe that even the digital artist should have a full arsenal of tools–a complete visual vocabulary–so that he/she can pick exactly the correct amount of abstraction or realism that is needed relevant to any situation.

As Mark Twain has advised us,

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” – Mark Twain

The Power of Art to Heal – O’Henry’s Last Leaf

Much has been written about the power of art to heal.

O’Henry wrote a short story titled The Last Leaf.  Although expressed literally, the story symbolically alludes to art’s energy.

The following clip [beginning at minute 23:00] is of the old movie O’Henry’s Full House, which includes a cinematic rendering of that story.

To read a pdf of the story, click here:

https://www.hueber.de/sixcms/media.php/36/last-leaf.pdf

Jacki Kellum to Teach Watercolor at Body & Balance Fitness Center – What Does Art Have to Do With Fitness?

artisthealthy

Why is Jacki Kellum teaching a painting class at Body in Balance Physical Therapy & Fitness Center What does art have to do with fitness? Well, experts agree that art is a necessary part of a balanced and fit body [and mind].

“But, if art builds up the human spirit rather then breaking it down, then it can build up a culture.”

“We make art because there is something inside the creative person that needs to get out. The poet, musician, actor, and visual artist all have a desire to express what they feel and to create something of great value. It’s a type of therapy or a form of meditation. Many do art for the pure joy of it.”http://painting.about.com/od/inspiration/a/what_is_art.htm

How to Use 5 Colors to Paint a Simple Fall Twig Landscape – Very Limited Palette

Load a clean, wet brush with cadmium yellow light a plot a swatch of paint in the middle of the place on the paper that you have already moistened.  Just plop the paint in and pick up your brush.  Don’t paint back and forth with you brush–just one plop.

The water will begin to move the paint a bit.

TwigPainting 1

Rinse your brush and wipe it clean on a paper towl.  Moisten the brush a bit more [you don’t want to wipe all of the water out of your brush; but you don’t want the brush to be too wet either].

TwigPainting 2

Get some camium orange light on your brush.  With one single stroke float some orange in the lower half of the yellow swath.  You want some yellow to be left.  Don’t brush back and forth.  Pick up your brush and allow the water to mix the paint SLIGHTLY.  Don’t lose all of the yellow.

To encourage your paint to mix the way you want, you will probably need a slight angle to your paper.  [See Below] I have placed the lower part of a tube of paint beneath the top of my paper.

Before you add the twig-tree, understand that trees are nothing more than masses of Y’s.

I say over and again that in watercolor, you paint as much with water as you do with paint — perhaps more.  In the above image, I cleaned my brush and loaded it with a bit of clear water.  Beginning in the puddle of orange paint, I drug the Y’s of the twig through the paint–sort of erasing the paint there.  Well, actually, the paint is not erased, it is merely lightened — a lot by the water.

Still with more water than paint, I dab my brush into a tiny, tiny bit of phthalo blue paint and I lightly streak the blue in an around the Y’s of the twig.  I skip areas.  I do not want this to be one solid line–a skipped, light line of paint.

Note:  if the tree is in the distance, where little detail can be seen, you could stop here.  In fact, you could stop here if you like what your see.  If you want more detail, we’ll add a bit more paint.

First, I dragged some orangish strokes of grass from the ground area.

Then, I picked up ultramarine blue and dabbed a bit beneath the tree and intermittently around the roots of the tree.  I also streaked a bit on the very outside of the trunk to darken it and thus shae it.  I added a couple of small, blurred streaks of the ultramrine–adding to the number of Y’s .  Again, this is not one solid streak–it is a network of dots and dashes of colors.

Angular, Set of 7

I paint almost exclusively with flat angular brushes that have tapered or chiseled ends.  The ends look like what you would use to  push your cuticles back

angularbrushchiseledend

If you drag the side of the tip, you scrape paint away–creating white or light areas.  If you use the edge of the side and sort of slice the paper, the thin “slices” fill with pigment and become darker.  You can also lightly drag the tip–and use it sort of like a paint brush–to paint or drag areas of paint.  In the following image, I used the plastic, chiseled end in all of these ways

Notice the amount of gray and brown that is on the painting.  I have used neither brown, gray, or black paint.  Blue and orange create browns and grays

TwigPainting 037   Ths container is some kind of bead box.

 These are food storage containers.  As long as the container is white [not clear], it will be good.

Unfortunately ly, complements [like blue and orange. red and green, and purple and yellow] mix even when you don’t want them to do that.  I keep my paints separate; and I white, divided container is good for that purpose.  I also continuously change my water  Your water must be absolutely clean.   I also use water containers with dividers.  The following container can be purchased at any art supply store.  The grooved bottom is used to more thoroughy clean the brush.  It knocks lodged paint off the brush.

TwigPainting 043

I tend to do a lot of calligraphic brush or line work in my watercolor studies.  I use a liner brush to paint the lines; and I create a dark gray or brown wash by combining phthalo blue,utramarine blue, orange, red, etc.  I thin the mixture to that of India ink.  If it is not dark enough, I add a bit of indigo paint.

Note:  when I got red and orange paint to mix with the inky color, I messed up both the red and the orange blocks of color.  I will wipe that clean before I paint again.  I keep my color sections absolutely clean.

A liner brush has a long, skinny brush tip.  It is designed for painting calligraphic lines.

Notice the amount of gray and brown that is on the painting.  I have used neither brown, gray, or black paint.  Blue and orange create browns and grays

TwigPainting 037   Ths container is some kind of bead box.

 These are food storage containers.  As long as the container is white [not clear], it will be good.

Unfortunately ly, complements [like blue and orange. red and green, and purple and yellow] mix even when you don’t want them to do that.  I keep my paints separate; and I white, divided container is good for that purpose.  I also continuously change my water  Your water must be absolutely clean.   I also use water containers with dividers.  The following container can be purchased at any art supply store.  The grooved bottom is used to more thoroughy clean the brush.  It knocks lodged paint off the brush.

TwigPainting 043

I tend to do a lot of calligraphic brush or line work in my watercolor studies.  I use a liner brush to paint the lines; and I create a dark gray or brown wash by combining phthalo blue,utramarine blue, orange, red, etc.  I thin the mixture to that of India ink.  If it is not dark enough, I add a bit of indigo paint.

Note:  when I got red and orange paint to mix with the inky color, I messed up both the red and the orange blocks of color.  I will wipe that clean before I paint again.  I keep my color sections absolutely clean.

A liner brush has a long, skinny brush tip.  It is designed for painting calligraphic lines.