I am often asked by artists how they can stop their paintings from looking flat.
There are many reasons why a painting can look flat - but one of the common issues is easily corrected with just a few washes!
In this example I have used a floral/still life study to show you how you can bring wonderful three dimensional reality to your work!
No matter what medium or style you wish to painting in - AND no matter what skill level you are at!
WATCH THE MAGIC OF A SIMPLE WASH!
Take a look at my watercolor painting 'The Bird Feeder'. You can see how both of these roses look as if they are on a similar focal plane.
Why is this?
It is because both of the roses have a similar amount of:
~ light and dark (tonal value)
~ they also have similar colors
~ and a similar color temperature
All of these things have allowed me to let each of them attract a similar amount of attention. They both draw the eye don't they.
Now look what happens when I use a simple wash to push the top one back into the painting!
Can you see the difference!
Our attention is taken by the lower rose. The upper rose sits further back into the painting.
What does this do to the painting?
It helps us lead the viewers eye to the beautiful statue. Our eye initially goes to the lower rose which then brings our attention to the little bird feeder which is further back in the painting.
We have created a path for the eye and attention to follow.
For this method to be most effective, our previous washes need to be absorbed into the paper. The best way to ensure this is the case - is to paint the previous layers using my fabulous Priming Method. You can learn all there is to know about my Priming Method and all of the invaluable hints and tips and painting breakthroughs in my DVDs.
What colors can we use for this wash (or glaze if we are painting in oils)?
There are many colors we can use to do something similar.
Generally I use a red with a touch of blue and a touch of yellow. I adjust my color mixes according to how far I want my subject to sit back into a painting.
I often use these colors:
- Alizarin Crimson (or Antharinoid Red - Daniel Smith)
- Phthalo Blue (this is a very strong color so only use a tiny amount)
- Aureolin Modern (Schmincke)
I allow my color mix (above) to favor more:
~ Red - if I want my subject to sit in the middle ground
~ Slightly less red and which will make the mix a little more Blue/yellow - but still have just a little redishness - if I want my subject to sit further back into the composition.
~ Even less red again - and a little less yellow too. This will mean your mix will be a little more Blue with just a tiny amount of red and yellow - if I want my subject to sit much further back into my painting.
You can see that YOU are in the driving seat. YOU decide what story to you want to create and how you want to tell it.
It is very easy to push/pull your supporting subject matter in and out of attention so that supporting subject matter grabs attention or is a beautiful foil that allows your main subject to be the leading lady in your work. You can create a path that leads the eye to your main subject and supports your vision and story!
You can see how to create these things and so very much more - in my DVDs which are full of all the hints and tips, breakthroughs, lessons and extension to help you bring a professional edge to your work.
You can view free video previews and explore all the in-depth information about my DVDs and art instruction videos here:
All of my DVDs are rated 5 out of 5 stars. We have sold in excess of 30,000 DVDs around the world. That is the very best recommendation I can give! The volume of purchases and repeat customers speak for themselves.
As many of you know I paint both in watercolor and oil.
I am often asked what substrate I use for my oil paintings.
Generally for oil painting I prefer to use Belgian linen. Often oil primed - but also sometimes acrylic primed Belgian linen.
I always add at least two more coats of Schmincke Gundiermasse gesso to the surface of my acrylic primed linen before I begin painting. This ensures there is not leakage into uncovered linen.
HINT: You can check your linen prior to beginning to paint by holding it up against the light. If you see tiny pin holes, simply apply more coats of gesso to ensure the linen is well sealed.
Oil primed linen generally does not need more coats of oil priming 'gesso'.
If you are using oil primed linen - it is advisable not to use an acrylic under-painting. Use only oil paints.
POPLAR BOARD PANELS
For my latest collection I am currently working creating - I am using a cradled Poplar laminated board that has sealer and several coats of gesso. Sanded between each layer once dried. I have a craftsman create these for me - however a quick search on the internet will help you find a supplier of these boards.
I particularly love using these boards as they are stable, egg-shell smooth and ideally suitable for the theme I am currently working on. I hope to reveal some of these latest works at the end of 2015.
I am currently head down creating my fifth professional How to Paint Oil Video / DVD for artists of all levels! This will be my fifth how to paint video / how to paint DVD! It won't be available for many months - as our reputation for attention to detail, professionalism and quality is very important to us.
Exciting times ahead!
Happy painting everyone!
Have you always wanted to know how to create unique painting compositions?
It is high time I posted a teaching lesson for those who love to learn and extend their skill level.
It is always my pleasure to help you on your journey
Have you ever struggled trying to find the right composition? Something different, something unique, something that speaks of the things that matter to you?
My oil painting on Belgian Linen titled "Ophir Past and Present" came from a long search for the perfect subject that spoke of this old gold mining village in the South Island of New Zealand.
Ophir: Population 50
Ophir is full of early New Zealand history. But what could an oil painting say about this village? I wanted to capture the essence of this hamlet - but I did not want to paint the obligatory old cottage with roses.
I took a walk - just on dusk. The sun was setting in the west. An ink blue sky was in the east and an incredible orange sunset warmed everything it touched.
I set out to find the ideal subject that would speak of Ophir. However I didn't want to paint just an old building. I wanted my painting to capture the imagination.
I happened across this broken window that pulled my attention inside. I wanted to encapsulate that compulsion and portray it in my painting so the viewers of my work would also feel drawn, full of intrigue so they, too, would peer inside to see all that was within the 1800s abandoned drapery shop.
As I stepped back the reflection in the unbroken window pane - caught my breath. THIS is exactly what I was looking for! Something completely different - something that captures the imagination and the intrigue.
This is what I refer to as an 'intelligent composition' that we artists can create with a little thought.
A painting such as this continues to create comment and interest. It has a reason for existing. A message. It compels the viewer to step inside the frame, and peek through the window and explore the wonderful threads, fabric, broken floor boards, original old ripped wall paper from 1880s, the dancing orange dusk twilight on the back room wall, and then be lead out throw the open door at the back of the shop - to who knows where?
This is history captured through a happen-chance moment.
The lesson I wish to highlight is to think out of the box - find subject matter that touches you and portray in a way that hasn't been used before. Watch for these special subjects and let your imagination run wild.
Analyze what you feel and then portray that emotion/compulsion in your work.
Step out of your comfort zone, explore your world and have confidence to be the first to speak to your audience using your imagination and portray your unique vision. Dare to be different!
I framed this image in such a way, it gives the impression the frame is a window we are looking through - out across the road and into the Old Pitches Drapery Store!
Enjoy finding your unique painting compositions!
AN EXAMPLE OF ONE OF THE FREE PAINTING SUBJECT IMAGES OFFER IN MY FREE E-ALBUM
HOW CAN YOU HAVE ACCESS TO THIS E-ALBUM?
One of the blocks that stops artists from achieving great paintings is not knowing how to find great subject matter to paint.
Then of course we have to compose the subject matter in a great reference image that will captivate the viewers of our work.
Does this sound familiar?
There are two things that have a massive impact on our paintings. If we get those wrong - we are forever playing 'catch up'. And it shows in our work.
Those two very important influences are:
The subjects we choose to paint
Help is at hand.........
If you choose a bland subject that has nothing to say, it is unlikely to aid you in creating an appealing painting that reaches out and captures the viewers attention. The painting may show skill at welding a brush - but without the 'all important' compelling subject matter and composition - a bland subject can only ever be a bland painting.
Why spend your time creating a bland painting when it takes the same amount of time to create something so much more pleasurable to paint and one that connects and captivates your viewers!
I have a wonderful E Album full of fabulous subject matter in beautiful luminous high resolution painting subject images that I am offering free with any purchase of my highly successful 2 disc painting instructional DVD sets that are bought directly from my website:
Why not start right:
What you will receive are my 5 out ot 5 star, 2 disc DVD set/s (over 30,000 sold around the world)
A purchase of any number of my painting instructional DVDs from my website will ensure you are immediately eligible to receive my complementary E Album!
You will be ready to begin creating paintings that captivate the viewers of your work - and the generations to come.
My DVDs are full of invaluable lessons for all skill levels. They include all of my hints, tips, my methods and techniques that will help to lift you off that plateau, lift your skill and your understanding so you can take a giant leap forward and help you to realize your full potential.
Plus you will have a beautiful array of fun, appealing and commanding painting subjects that will help you find your wings and leave that plateau so many artists find themselves on. Almost all of us have been there. I was determined to leave that over populated place and so I set about teaching myself what my work was lacking.
All that I learned was a huge revelation to me and from this revelation I have gone on to become an internationally recognized artist and teacher.
In my teaching and DVDs I share all of these extraordinary breakthroughs that give my work the edge, the feeling of presence and tangibility that reaches out and engages the viewers of my work. This is what I share with you in my DVD sets.
Avoid years of trail and error - my DVDs are a short cut to help you focus on the fun of painting. My free E Album is designed to get you started right - without having to cope with the struggle to find 'right' subject matter and/or suffer the pain of disappointment.
Artists who purchase my DVDs through my website are able to concentrate on painting. My DVDs and free E Album has been created to get you flying!
I know if it difficult to make the leap of blind faith to purchase a DVD. I DO know - I have been there and have often been disappointed with what I have received.
However Click on my DVD page below and you will be transported to my DVD page which is full of information and sneak video preview of what you will find on my DVD sets. Each DVD set has in excess of 3.5 hours of exceptional teaching and professionally filmed and produced DVDs.
We receive numerous emails from artists of all skill levels from all around the world. Here is just one of the many we have received that made me smile warmly:
"Thank you Susan for sharing your DVD`S and for being so giving with your instructions, my friend ILONA and I feel like, we have won the lotto. yours sincerely" Maria
Click here to find out more information on the content of any or all four of my DVD sets:
Purchase any of these sets and you will also receive my free E Album full of inspirational painting subjects!
See you there!
HOW TO PAINT A BIRD STUDY IN WATERCOLOR
I love to hear the bird song just outside my studio window. We have a Song Thrush family we have encouraged to nest nearby. The mother often flies in and does a swoop around my studio to let me know she and her family are ready for another sirloin mince/wheat germ and egg patty. :0)
Richard creates these tasty patties and I am sure they have made such a big difference to the numbers of these gentle creatures we now see in our garden
Are they over indulged? Maybe - but each year we have two - three broods of these gentle, friendly little friends who seem to thrive so well even when their natural food source is in short supply. I wonder why? One little gregarious chick has found it's way into one of my paintings. I thought the title of this watercolor was very appropriate as this little one waits expectantly for tasty 'meals on wings' morsels :
"Waiting for Mum"!
By Susan Harrison-Tustain - Artist
Watercolor on Arches Hot Pressed 140lb paper
Hints on HOW TO PAINT BEAUTIFUL BIRD PAINTINGS:
I used my Priming Method for the under-washes. Then moved on to Wet in wet painting method and finally completed the finer details with dry-brush method.
The gentleness of this little creature is captured within the soft fledgling feathers. Watch the magic happen at the very end of your painting - once all has become bone dry. Take a barely damp brush and gently brush over the surface of the feathers. This will create a beautiful soft, fluffiness that is so appealing in young birds.
Time to take out our brushes an capture all those wonderful inspirations we have planned to capture during the quieter winter months!
Here is a daffodil painting of mine that hopefully will inspire you to have your brushes flying in anticipation of the beautiful season ahead!
It always brings a smile to my face when I see so many of my art teaching DVD's fly out of my studio and into the hands of my lovely US and European friends. I love the notion that my teachings are opening a whole new world of possibilities for artists all around the world. I see familiar names regularly on the orders - you all feel like familiar friends!
I have been told it is because this time of year, with winter in full swing that everyone starts to feel the inkling of Spring Fever. Now that is a great title for a painting: "Spring Fever"! Here is a watercolor I did several years ago that is simplistic to paint and easy to copy - especially using my painting methods and techniques.
Start painting in the next few weeks and you can have your version of "Spring Fever" on YOUR wall in time for the blossoms heralding this wonderful season you all have ahead! Or maybe it could be a wonderful present for someone very special who will treasure it forever.
There is no time like the present!
Here is a link to my teaching DVDs where you can learn all I know about watercolor and how you too can learn to paint with confidence:
See you there!
Announcement of the 5 Winners of a 1 Hour Susan Harrison-Tustain Critique!
Firstly, thank you to you all for your wonderful support and for liking, sharing and commenting on my Facebook posts.
I dedicate an enormous amount of time to teaching and helping artists around the world. Your support indicates there is an enormous number of people who are keen for me to continue helping you all.
With this in mind there are going to be other opportunities in the near future where I will offer personal teaching as prizes. So do watch this blog space and my Facebook page for notification of the next opportunity. In the meantime - please do continue to help me - help you and other artists around the world with your likes, comments and shares of my Facebook posts.
Now for the winners of my first Thank You competition:
Congratulations to the five winners of a Susan Harrison-Tustain1 hour critique of a painting of their choice:
Any skill level
These are the names that have been drawn from all those who have liked, shared, and/or commented on my Facebook page:
Here are the lucky winners:
Trevor Hurson Wright
Andrea Veseth Burke
I will be in touch with these artists to let them know how to proceed with their free 1 hour critique.
In the mean-time thank you to you all. I love that artists create such a wonderful supportive community. Enjoy my Facebook page and also all of the teachings, Blogposts, Youtube videos, magazine articles, sneak previews of my best selling DVDs and so much more on my website. They are written and created for you:
The 31st January 2015 is the last day to take part in the competition to win one of Susan Harrison-Tustain's 5 free critiques of one of your paintings.
All you need to do to be in the running is to like, share and/or comment one or more of the posts on my Facebook page.
I dedicate a great deal of time to write articles and posts on my Facebook page to help artists on their journey. It makes it worthwhile if as many artists and artists friends get to enjoy and learn from these too. Sharing, liking and commenting tells me you want me to keep writing and keep helping you all!
If you like, share and/or comment on an article, this will also help your friends to share these posts and hopefully learn from and be inspired to extend their own painting skills and understanding of painting too. It is a win - win situation!
The more posts you like, share or comment on - the more chances you have to win. Once this opportunity is finished, do keep coming back as I plan to continue sharing a multitude of hints and tips for artists and lovers of fine art.
You will also find an enormous number of teachings on my website too - check out the media/press button in the menu to view many articles I have written for leading international art magazines. My website has been designed as a wonderful reference resource for artists.
My DVDs of course will bring you the greatest amount of in-depth knowledge that will help you extend your skills and knowledge so you too can create masterworks. So many of us have found ourselves on that proverbial plateau. My DVDs will help you find your wings so you can leave that over populated place - find your wings and soar high. See my DVD page for free preview videos of all four of my DVD sets.:
Have fun - we are all on a wonderful never ending journey. It is my pleasure to help you find your wings