Monday, July 18, 2016

An Artist Teaches

Yesterday I drove to The Weisman Museum at Pepperdine University to a talk and demonstration by one of my art mentors, David Leffel. The drive itself was a landmark for me as I fear LA traffic! I found the traffic doable on a Sunday and actually, I'd only driven to Malibu - which locals will tell you is not LA. What?!? To me, LA kind of goes on forever! Anyway, the talk and demo were the types of things my bucket list is made of. Priceless! 
Below are some highlights and quotes from David's talk:

When painting, "more to less" variation.
Do not be too specific too soon.
Leave doors open to possibility.
David uses highlights to direct the viewer's eye.
"Create a lot of nothingness to make the something more important!"

When painting backgrounds:
Warmth creates depth
Coolness creates flatness

When painting foregrounds, it is the opposite!
Warm colors bring forward.
Cool colors recede.

To render is to illustrate. 
To paint is to sculpt.

"The more transparent the shadows, the more it makes an object lift up".
"The light designs".
"The technique is not as important as the intelligence behind the brush".
"Be aware of people in the portrait first, and that it is a painting second".
"Have a concept first and put the pieces into the concept". 
"Orchestrate what you are seeing into a visual delight".
"In a good painting, there's a dialogue...unfinished, finished....this is so the viewer can read into what the painter has left undone".
"5/8th finished is your goal. Leave 3/8th of the painting to the viewer to finish".
David has not favorites in subject matter. It's all about the struggle of effectively putting paint down.
"When the stomach is full, the head is empty".
"Every painting is a self portrait. It is a portrait of the intention behind the painting".
In each painting do self examination. Understand what you're looking for. Hone your technique, but be clear about your intention and get THAT into the painting.