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Lecture 5 - It's Too Flat

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Let's say you're interested in creating a minimal painting that has the idea of a beach and a sky. So a tan beach and a blue sky, it could look something like this. In this case, there is such a minimal feel, there is no variation whatsoever in the blue, and none in the tan. We could say this is too flat. So the idea of creating some kind of experience of space that we've been talking about before, if we had some variation in the blue and some variation in the tan, it would create the feeling of volume, it would feel like some kind of space and we could still keep it minimal, but introduce that idea of volume. So what we need to do is take this blue color and add some variation in the tan.

Now I pre mixed the blue and tan this these are the two colors that I used here and what I'm going to do is I'm going to create a family of blue color by changing it a few ways. So I'll take some of the blue out here, I'm going to make these five variations of this blue. So in one instance, I'm going to make a darker I'm just going to add black. And over here I'm going to make a darker by just adding a little bit more blue. And over here, I'm going to make it lighter by adding weight. And I can make the flu greener by adding a little bit of green or yellow.

And I think I'll make this one a little more purpley or a little more red by adding some of this ultra in blue, we could also add some of the red. Now I have some other options that all look like they relate to this blue. If I had added a little too much black, too much blue, too much white, yellow, and too much of this alternating blue, I could throw the colors off so that they would look like a whole lot of colors. And it would create a very busy feel. I want calm, subtle and a minimal feel, but I still want to have some kind of variation. So now we'll take a brush and apply them just to shift that blue so it's not the same blue all the time.

I think I'll put the light blue here. Being a little messy because I know I'm going to repaint the tan color too. So just because we have a beautiful blue color and a beautiful tan color doesn't mean we're going to say, hey, sky and ground. You still have to work with the colors a little bit. I'm going to make this a little greener. Then I could go back into the original blue and I can paint that notice the original blue wet, dries a lot darker.

And I think I'd like to go even darker. So I'm going to take a little bit of this. I can use my brush differently to I don't have to just use variation in color to create a variety It's nice to have the original color too that I can go back to and help blend. So I can play around with this a little bit more but you can see I'm already creating some volume it already looks like it's not too flat. And now I'm going to do the same thing with a tan and take the tan 12345 and there's no rule to what I'm adding to make the variety. But there is a handy list I can say lighter darker, warmer, cooler, brighter dollar.

So lighter darker, warmer, cooler, brighter and duller. So for lighter, just going to add some white and darker I'm going to add a little black. You can also instead of adding black You can also add more of the colors that it was made from. So we could add more red and orange in here. And I can make it a little yellow or a little red or a little bluer. See lighter or we don't have darker, huh?

To go add some of this brown that I mixed. And dollar, the opposite of orange is blue. So I'm gonna add a little bit of this blue in there. Turned it greener in dollar and maybe I'll even lighter version over here. So now I think Have an interesting variety of this tan color. And just like I did with the blue, I'm going to apply it with a brush so that the tan doesn't just look like one big flat color.

Go add a little more color in here. darker version, greener to dark. Like I tend to mix all my colors together by the time I have these neat little piles at first and then by the time I'm done, I've got craziness all over but that's part of the fun of painting for some of us. Okay, so I'm doing this pretty quickly, you can do it fast or slow. I'm going to make a nicer line at the top. I lost my heart edge there.

And even when I'm painting a hard edge, I'm going to keep changing the color as I move across any variation feels like volume. And anytime you have the same color on one side as the other, it flattens the whole feeling of space in there. Okay, so here is our flat going to variety there. I've cleared my palette and I've gotten another board exactly the same as what I just worked on, because I wanted to show you another way Getting variety to create volume on this piece that's too flat. Remember last time I had an opaque and a transparent choice, we usually always have those two choices you can solve an issue using opaque paint, or transparent or glazes. So this time I'm going to create variety.

But instead of mixing all the color opaquely, I'm going to make glazes. And just like before, I'm going to start with the clear medium that looks white when it's wet. And I'm going to start with a gone instead of having the last one had patches of different color all over this one, I'm going to do a different approach. I'm going to have it the sky moved from a green, blue to a purple blue. So I'm going to put a green glaze here. I'm going to leave it plain here and put a purplish glaze Over there.

This time, I don't need my original colors that I'm pre mixed. These are the colors that I used, I don't need them anymore, I'm going to be working transparently, which means whatever I lay over here, if I mix a green glaze, transparent green glaze, I'm going to put the green over here and this blue is going to show through the green. So it'll still look like it's part of the family. And I'll show you so first I'm going to make a green glaze. I'm just going to take green and mix it with the medium. And again, what I want to do is I want to have the blue turn green blue, near the horizon near the where it meets the tan.

So I'm making a glaze. Suppose about 70%, medium 30% green paint somewhere in there. It doesn't really matter because when you put it on, if it's doesn't have enough color, you can add more color, just wipe it off and make it again and if it's too intense, too opaque. Just add more medium. Now with clean brush, I'm going to apply the green glaze here. But before I start with the glaze, I'm going to say, Hmm, where do I want the green to stop.

If I don't figure this out ahead of time, I'll end up with a stripe right across here. So I want the green to end here, but I want it to end invisibly, I want it to just kind of slowly turn into the blue. So here's a fun trick that I like. I take the medium and I put it right where I want the green to end. This is gonna look funny because the medium looks white here. But it will dry totally clear.

Now if I want the green to stop there, so I can start it here and as I move it Slowly into this glazing medium, it's going to become invisible and you'll it's like an airbrush look sort of like a very soft edge doesn't have a stripe to it. So you see how the green just slowly disappears. I'm going to do the same thing with the purple up here. So, I will mix a purple glaze by starting with the medium. That's the trick, always start with medium a little more. And I'm going to add the purple to it.

And I'll just take a wild guess and see I can always take it off. And this is pretty subtle. When it dries, I can do the same glaze on top of it again, if I want it more intense. There's my glaze. Which glaze is really just a mixture of medium and paint with more medium than paint. And I want the purple to start at the top and end right about here.

So I'll paint this out nice and smooth, right there, giving it a nice landing strip. And I'll start with the purple at the top. Whoo, that's too intense. Okay, good. I'm glad I made it not what I want. So you can see that you can just wipe it off.

And then I'm going to make a new glaze. batch if I just add medium to this, sometimes it just takes a lot more medium for some reason, then going from here to here. Again, I always start glazes no matter what, with the medium. Sometimes I'll have a few batches of the same color, trying to get the perfect color that I want. Okay, the trick to a glaze, there's lots of tricks. I'm trying to show you as many as I can is to not have any watering your brush.

If I drip water in here and it gets watery, it won't apply as well as as I'd like it to. So here's the purple, we start at the top again, go back and forth, and just a little bit more because it's drawing on my brush there. And then as I slowly move into this medium here, I go back and forth a little bit. You can see how this blue area the whole blue sky slowly going from purple to it's blue color to green. You don't see any stripes and hard edges in there, because I'm using the glazing. So I could also do the same thing here.

Instead of going top down, or instead of having the color shift from the top down, I'm going to have the color shift from left to right just to change it a little bit. And the first thing I need to do is think of my strategy What do I want? I want this tan to go from you know, I changed my mind instead of going from left to right, I'm going to continue going from top down. I'm just going to make it warmer here, yellow here and orangey are here. So I need an orange glaze and a yellow glaze. So here's a yellow glaze.

And here's an orange glaze. And I think I'll make this time instead of having a disappear. I'll just have them blend into each other and see what happens. Here's the yellow and here's the orange By being transparent, I still see that tan color under there. And if I want to bring some of that 10 color back, I can wipe it with paper towel. They're varied this tan area and the blue.

So that's two different ways of varying something that's too flat subtly enough to create a little bit of volume without adding a whole lot more detail and keeping it in that minimal quality. let's actually go back and look and compare the the finished version of the transparent the finished version of the opaque and let's compare it to the original piece that has Just a flat area which pieces do you think would grab your attention more than the flat one and versus the ones that have a little bit of variety to create enough volume to have that feeling of space? So I'll just like look at them for a little bit and two solutions to one problem.

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