Tag Archives: art classes

Simple shapes and values

breezy day, by frankeber 2012       breezy day, detail by frankeber 2012

Another painting that relies on values, almost exclusively. Having said that, the full color spectrum is present. Look at the background and you’ll see blues, purples, reds, even yellowish brown. The only ‘real’ color is the red dash that represents someone sitting on the sail boat.
The water is mostly dry brushed. An effect that the watercolor medium is especially good for! Imagine, you’re a poor oil painter and have to do all this dabbling with white paint to get the water to look like this! Not with watercolor…three ripping brushstrokes and you’re done!

This is a classic H composition. I had to put the trees left and right fairly strong, to push the background further back. The sails are painted around (negative painting) to preserve the white of the paper. The have a few accents with warm grey (raw sienna and cobalt blue, mostly) that hopefully gives them the billowing effect.

There are almost no details in this painting, it is all an illusion. Your eyes are finishing the painting.
Simple shapes and values do the trick. thanks for looking!

Adventures in plein air painting, Part 2

Prague_pleinair1, by frank eber 2012 Prague_pleinair2, by frank eber 2012 Prague_pleinair3, by frankeber2012

In the last two weeks, I have painted on location in Prague, Dresden and Nuremberg.

This blog post is about comments that you get while painting outside. I don’t know what the motivation is for someone to comment on what an artist is doing, but I find it quite fascinating. I think this morning, I had one of the best ones yet–therefore it is time to put them down in writing!

While painting in Prague: (no particular order)

“Excuse me, do you know where the post office is?”
“I am looking for a pub where they serve ‘black beer’, do you know it?”

While painting in Dresden:

“Can we auction this off once you’re done?”
“Are you from here?”

While painting in Nuremberg:

“Do you think I can park here?” (The guy even made me take my ear buds out.)

and the best one yet:
“Did you paint this from a photograph?” (Remember, this is on location, looking at the subject matter right in front of us.)

Random Comments (Can’t remember the location.)(Not everyone is a moron, right?)

“This is lovely.”
“Did you paint this?” (I am still working on it.)
“I can only paint by numbers.”
“I stopped doing watercolors, now I do mixed media.”
“Did you make this paper yourself?”

And lastly, my favorite by elderly Germans, after looking at the piece and watching me for a while:


Let’s see what happens in France…

Windy workshop Palm Desert!

Palm_Springs_winds, by frankeber 2012

The powers of nature are unpredictable! Palm Springs, Palm Desert or Indian Wells sound like the perfect destinations for this time of the year! Warm, balmy temperatures, plenty of sun…. Unless there’s a 60-mile an hour windstorm blowing through!! Just my luck!

The workshop went well (it was indoors), but needless to say any attempts at plein air painting were literally blown away! I made my way to Palm Springs to take pictures instead and ended up painting this piece in my hotel room!

Maybe it was sort of divine intervention that it turned out really nice! I particularly like the cars and buildings on the right, a sort of melting affair of shapes! After applying the wash, I just dropped water and strong pigment here and there, hoping for the best..

Sometimes it works…sometimes it doesn’t!

It definitely says “windy”, and that was the goal. I was planning on putting a figure on the left side, but didn’t leave room for it 😦 Overall it’s ok, I think. It doesn’t necessarily need it. I wanted to put someone crossing the street, leaning into the wind, but I was told the painting works as it is… That’s ok with me! The less you mess with it after it’s done, the better it is anyway!

Thank you Deb, Venus Art Supply, for a wonderful workshop and taking good care of me! It was very cool to learn that there are more than 200 watercolor painters in their local art association. I just have to make my way back there again soon!

Revisiting France!

City of light 2, by frankeber 2011           City of light, by frankeber 2011

I know, I always say that I don’t like sunset paintings. The main reason is that they don’t seem to work very well in watercolor. These are two semi sunsets, sort of like the late light in the day. They are just made for watercolor, for the simple reason that the buildings are backlit. That way, you’re really just painting the silhouttes.

I found that although I didn’t paint in lots of windows, they still seem to be there! I am banking on the fact that the eyes of the viewer put them in, so to speak. There seem to be many details but it really is all just an illusion. I even omitted the headlights on the car and it works just fine..

On of the most difficult things in painting is to simplify objects so they still tell the story without looking overworked. If you paint a building with 20 windows and put them all in, just like in the photograph, your work will look stilted and tight.

How do you do it? By treating every single shape as part of the whole painting. How important is the window in the overall design of the painting? Not very…So, a simple suggestion with one or two brushstrokes is enough! What’s really important is the shape of the building! That has to be painted right.

Torrance Art Museum show

Praque streets of, by frankeber 2011

These two images have been accepted into this year’s Torrance Art Museum show, called South Bay Focus.
It’s a group show of several participating local art groups. South Bay is the area between Los Angeles International and the Palos Verdes peninsula.

Streets of Prague is almost a devided painting. The warm colors are predominant in the upper part while the cooler colors rule the lower part. To connect those two major shapes, I put the car and the band of trees in the middle ground so as not to have a complete division by the light strip.

morning fog, by frankeber 2011

Morning fog was a bit of a lucky shot. I used granulating blues and they seem to work in this painting. It creates texture on the facades and street. The cars are barely there and very much blend into the scene. Overall, it is important to have  lost and found edges as well as hard edges in a watercolor. Not too many hard edges though!