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"Knowledge has to precede execution"-Edgar Payne

I am a perpetual student. I strive to remain teachable, and learn something new with every fresh painting. In my opinion, this is the essence of being an artist.

I learn from doing. I wish I could learn from other people's experience, if that were the case, I would've skipped over a lot of hardships in my life. Instead, I have to make my own mistakes-most people are this way.

YouTube can tell me how to do it, but I'm not going to learn anything unless I actually do it. I need to experience it myself; actually put the paint on the canvas, and push it around, sometimes after watching someone else do it.

Knowledge has to precede execution, so I need to have an idea of what I want to do, watch it being done, then do it myself.

Its like setting an intention; I'm going to start simplifying my values and substituting color based on value, watch someone else do it, saw Peggy Kroll-Roberts painting figures, then attempt it.

While my figures may never be as loose and beautiful as Peggy Kroll-Robert's figures, I learned a lot from the experience of watching her paint them. This is visual learning, and we artists are visual learners. Below is an example of Peggy Kroll Roberts' approach to figures.

This is the value of taking a class.

When we are in a class or a workshop, we are working with someone who has done it. They can demonstrate it, and help us through the process of doing it on our own. In the class there will be others who will be doing the same thing with varying degrees of success. We can learn by watching them as well. We learn from each other as much as we learn from the demonstrator.

In my classes, I always demonstrate, and then walk people through the process. Here's a demo from last week's pastel studio class on substituting color based on value.

When we can abstract a subject, to its simplest shapes, nail the values, then we own it. We can change the color, move objects around in the composition, and other fun God-like things that you can't do in real life.

Here's an example:

I start with a value sketch:

I have identified 5 values. From here, I can plug in any 5 colors based on those values. Let me show you what I mean...

This is the same set up but using yellow-purple palette, changing the subject to plums and the temperature to mostly warm colors.

Here's the same subject using orange/blue palette and creating a more balanced temperature. Same forms, but now they read as oranges.

This is red/green palette and reads as pomegranates and glass, with balanced temperature. These are color studies which means they took only 15-20 minutes but give you a good idea of what the color and values will read like.

Having done these studies, I would choose a red/green palette for the final painting.

It may seem redundant, but studies, like daily painting, hone your skills quicker than making the same mistakes over and over again. I prefer to make my mistakes on a smaller scale in my old age (I turned 55 this month, so now I'm wiser!) like in the studies, and not on a larger scale when I'm using my good Ampersand Pastelbords and expensive pastels.

If you would like to explore the "Knowledge preceeding execution" with me, please join one of my online or in person classes coming up in June. You can find them here

Happy painting!


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