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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.

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Lesson 27

1. Thought

"Learning to manipulate the brightness or dullness of a color is one of the cornerstones of good painting, and, when combined with a sound understanding of how to control a color's value, should raise your skills to a new plateau."- Charles Sovek, Oil Painting, Develop Your Natural Ability (Watson-Guptill).

2. Word for the week:

Alla Prima (at the first): [John Singer] "Sargent's foundation in painting came from his teacher, the famous French portrait artist Carolus Duran. Duran taught his students to study nature closely and to select just those elements that portray the essential character of any subject. (He was always yelling "simpler! simpler!" wrote one student). And out of this desire for simplicity came duran's and Sargent's alla prima technique (an italian term meaning "at the first"). Although most painters of the day relied on underpainting and complicated layers of glazes, alla prima offered a way to record color and form simultaneously, "at the first" stroke. From "Paint Oil Portraits like Sargent" by Tim Iverson, The Artist's Mag, Sept 93

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

As an exercise, do a painting that combines several objects, some of which are bright (intense), some medium and some dull. An example would be a ketchup bottle (bright), a wooden board or bowl (medium) and a white or grey cloth (dull). Set up your still life. work to get the lights and darks established within each object and make it believable regardless of intensity. (For example, the lights and darks in the ketchup bottle would be more intense than the brightest part of the cutting board. You can think of the placement of each color on the color wheel. Leaning to vary the intensity of colors in your paintings will help you establish depth and focus.)

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Last updated: December 13, 2004