Thursday, February 5, 2015

Art Exercises: Painting a Landscape and Sunflowers

Dr Abe V Rotor
Part 1: Landscape Painting 


This exercise relies principally on imagination and fantasy. We are in adventure-land. What kind of scene is this? It is one made by our imagination and dreams. It is the world of Jonathan Swift’s second book, Gulliver in Brodningnad, where Gulliver was a dwarf in a land of giants where everything is big, yet things far down below and up in the sky are small.

Imagine yourself a dwarf on a mountain cliff. How insignificant you are to the massiveness of the mountain. A cave could easily swallow you up. One false move and you plunge into the ravine. Mystery waits inside the dark tunnel. You gather courage and share it with your companions, or vice versa. There is danger and this makes anyone humble. I remember Honey, I Shrunk the Kids? If you have seen the movie you imagine how insignificant humans are. If we were the size of an ant or anything as small, everything is a giant. We are like that in in this world. You can easily get lost in a forest. Trees grow to many meters high, the sea is vast, it seems it has no limit. In the middle of it you are just a speck - in the same way our Solar System is just a speck in the Milky Way Galaxy. The grassland is a sea of green, vast and endless, as well. The sky has no roof, except the passing clouds - or when they gather into rain or snow.

Yet it is harmony with nature and other creatures that we seek. In so doing we don't get the feeling we are lost. For indeed we are - in many respects and reasons, physically and psychologically. In this exercise man leaves behind the amenities of living - no cars, buildings, comforts and ease. Nature is left alone in her pure state. This is communion with her.

Use Oslo paper and pastel colors. Draw a part or section of that that landscape, a sample of which is shown in this painting. Include the things that make that landscape of your imagination, with the elements of adventure and fantasy. There should be the essence of discovery that awes and excites you.

For a musical background, The Last Rose of Summer by Flotow and Life Let's Cherish by Henry Farmer, fit well in this exercise. Schubert's compositions fit well, too. For local compositions, try the music of Lucio San Pedro, Ryan Cayabyab and Francisco Santiago.

Critique your work. Tell about what you were imagining, and what you were feeling while working on it. Show your work to your art teacher. He will tell you its good points, and those you can do to improve it - or do next time. Take criticisms positively. Congratulations!

Part  2: Sunflowers - Radial symmetry
The sunflower has a central disc, surrounded by a ring of bright yellow petals which resemble the rays of the sun. But the most unique characteristic of the sunflower is that it faces the sun as it moves from sunrise to sunset. Because of its “obedience” to the sun, botanists gave the plant a genus name, Helianthes, after the Greek sun god, Helios.

Draw a field of sunflowers. Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in Munoz, Nueva Ecija, is the pioneer in sunflower farming. Imagine yourself to be at the center of a sunflower field. It is a bright day. Walk through the field among the plants that are as tall as you are. Examine their long and straight stem and large leaves. Touch the large flowers, smell their sweet and fresh scent. Observe the bees and butterflies visiting one flower after another. Make the flowers prominent in your drawing. Remember they are uniform in size, height and color, and they are all facing the sun. Make the sky blue with some cloud to break the monotony.

You may find inspiration in Fernando Amorsolo's rustic landscapes and still life, Rembrandt's rich colors of gold, umber and siena , and Reuben's fresh colors which are distinct from Vincent Van Gogh's sunflowers which evoke deeper feelings. How about Renoir's and Degas'? Give that watercolor effect - easy and spontaneous. It's just like washing over the subject thinly. Don't copy from an artist's work, not even from a photograph or illustration. Be original. This is imagery art.

You have the option of perspective and details. You can prepare three scenarios: a field of sunflower, a vase of cut sunflower, or just a cluster freely growing on a row or in cluster.
You are given one hour to complete your work. Use pastel colors on Oslo or drawing paper. Fill up the entire paper as if it were the whole field and sky. You may draw butterflies and bees. And you may draw yourself as you imagine yourself in a sunflower field.

Here are suggested musical compositions for music background. Humoresque, Traumerei, On the Meadow, Spring Song, Ang Maya, and Abelardo's Kundiman compositions.Beethoven's Pastoral, Minuet in G, and Serenata fit well to the ambiance.

Critique your work. Tell about what you were imagining, and what you were feeling while working on it. Show your work to your art teacher. He will tell you its good points, and those you can do to improve it - or do next time. Take criticisms positively. Congratulations! ~

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