This week our painting group had a plein air workshop in a beautiful, private garden in Mendham, NJ. Even though we still had a wet and windy weekend. The weather finally cleared up on Monday, so we enjoyed a beautiful, sunny fall day.
Over the past few months, I’ve gotten the opportunity to participate in several workshops and I think this is a great way to grow in your own art—to explore new places and to interact with other art-minded people. Besides that I really enjoy watching my teacher’s demos, it is also educative. For the curious readers, who may want to start with painting, I’d love to share some good tips I’ve learned so far during my art classes (otherwise, feel free to scroll down to see my watercolor studies):
- Composition is everything. If you don’t have a good composition, you won’t get an interesting painting to look at. The L-shape design is a commonly used structure in landscape paintings.
- Start with a monochromatic underpainting to get a better fix on the color values (block in the darkest darks and middle values).
- Use a minimal palette and have an understanding of how color works. The color theory is helpful, but in practice nothing beats actually mixing colors. I use the following colors in my paintings: burnt sienna, burnt umber, Prussian blue, Payne’s grey, ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, cadmium red light, yellow ochre, cadmium yellow light, titanium white.
A wisely chosen limited palette ensures that a painting will be unified and cohesive with strong harmonious colors.Anne Kullaf
- Be confident and use your brush as a drawing tool. This advice is one of my favorites and has been an eye-opener. In order to do so, it’s important that you have good drawing skills. My drawing classes helped me get to the next level.
- Move your arm and hand freely over the paper to paint in a loose and gestural style. Also step back frequently to get a better view of what you’ve painted so far.
- Don’t try to copy a photo or a scene. It’s more fun to give your own artistic interpretation of the subject. It also prevents you from hung up on details. You’ve done a great job if your painting is more interesting to look at rather than the photo.
Back to the beautiful garden in Mendham … Enjoy my visualisations!