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The Way To Happiness The philosophy of these lessons: Look, Learn, Practice

Chapter 17 of "The Way To Happiness" deals with Competence. I've found that too many limit their own progress as an artist with the concept that they "haven't got the talent." 90% of being a good professional artist is about looking for yourself, learning (including good study habits), and practicing what you have learned to become Competent. If you are interested in a free copy of "The Way to Happiness", please email me for one.

Lesson 10

1. Thought

"Basically, painting fat over lean means that the upper layers of an oil painting should be more oily, or "fat" than the lower layers... If the first layers of an oil painting are rich in oil, or fat, the surface will be nonabsorbent and a less oily, or lean, paint film will not adhere to it well... Another reason for painting fat over lean is to avoid cracking or flaking of the paint. Oil paint oxidizes as it dries, combining with oxygen in the atmosphere and expanding and contracting." American Artist, Sept '91

2. Word for the Week:

BRUSH:The tool with which an artist paints; made of many different materials in many styles and sizes. North Light Dictionary of Art Terms

Derivation: Middle English, brusshe, from Old French Broisse, brosse, perhaps from brose, BRUSH (Brushwood).

3. Practice: "Learning bears fruit when it is applied."

Exercise: Seeing the complementaries in the shadows.

This requires that you work in color. If you are not set up at home to work with color, get yourself a watercolor set, box of oil pastels, pastels or colored pencils, anything that will allow you to work in color.

Set up a simple still life with some fairly definite primary and secondary colors (fruit and vegetables are good for this, like bananas, tomatoes peppers, etc. Set up good directional lighting so that you see some strong shadows. Now, look for the complementary colors in the shadows.

(Hint: if you still see just grey, try putting some of the complementary color in the shadow anyway.)

  Yellow and purple mix to a neutral grey  
  Using the complementary in the shadow.  
  Red and green mix to grey and, when the right red and green are used, make a rich black.  
  You can see that mixing the complementary in the shadow area works well here.  
  Orange and blue make grey  
  I couldn't imagine a blue fruit, so I've used a blue cup.  
  This oil sketch of an empty box (Coulter) demonstrates the application of use of complementaries.  


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Last updated: March 1, 2004