Evolve Artist Block 1 Assignment 2: Gradients I

Overall Thoughts

Gradients look easier than they actually are ๐Ÿ˜‰ There were a lot of lesson videos to go through because this is one of those CRITICAL foundational skills. Definitely a lesson I need to revisit many times (I revisited this on 7/02/22, and will again).

For my second ever painting, I still took a long time, but finally learned to clean my paint properly, shaving off hours.

I like how they build on yours skills, sharp edges are still relevant here! Kevin repeats himself a lot on videos, but it’s absolutely necessary to hear important things multiple times, I appreciate the reminder ๐Ÿ™‚

And I like how he keeps factors very simple. For example, in real life there are many different kinds of edges, but for now we are restricted to only the sharpest of sharp edges, and gradients. Just two types of edges, no more.

And in the lessons, Kevin throws in someย  interesting philosophical commentary, like “all things are about contrast…sharp edges look sharper when near a blurry edge, etc.”

Some other important tips:

  • Use a new brush for lights to avoid contamination with shadows.
  • There’s no reason to pick the brush up. The longer you hold the brush and the brush touches the canvas, the more it feels like a part of you.
  • Use two brushes to avoid contamination: one for shadows, one for lights.
  • Keep a consistent amount of paint at all times. You might think less paint gives you more control with gradients, but that’s not true.
  • The buffer separates all things shadow from all things lights. DON’T allow lights or shadows to crossover to the other side.
  • When using admixtures to blend gradients: Only go about 2 cm before grabbing more paint.
  • Experiment as much as you can!

Kevin says these are the only painting skills we need for the next two blocks. Exciting, huh? ๐Ÿ™‚

The main tip I learned = make the buffers thicker when blending!

Total time spent:

  • 7 hours on painting
  • 1+ hours on extra exercise (checkerboard) to use up paint
  • 1+ hour on cleanup
  • Total: 9 hours ish (5pm to 2am)

If I were to start this painting over right now, what would I do differently?

  • Wipe the brush more often in between takes, and check the color on the brush before laying down paint. I worry about contamination.
  • Do one rectangle at a time, filling in both halves then laying down the buffer and gradient, rather than filling in all the rectangles, then doing all the buffers.
  • Take more time, rewatch Kevin’s videos and Piper’s video and reviewing my notes a few more times before even starting the paint session
  • Be even MORE CAREFUL about NOT touching the canvas with my hands / washing hands in between to avoid smudging
  • Try using an actual pencil rather than mechanical to see if trace lines are smoother
  • Split the painting process into two sessions instead of doing it all in one, by halving the amount of paint I use.

Day 1

  • Everyone says gradients are hard. I see what they mean, but I wonder if I psyched myself out a bit.
  • Still love the process of painting. I sometimes just daydream about pushing paint around on canvas with a brush, when I’m not actually doing it.
  • Sharp corners and hard edges are coming easier, I have a better idea of how to do them, although corners are still tough.
  • Still smudging the paper and myself accidentally. In the video, Kevin did say if you get your hand dirty you should wash it before continuing.
  • Does oil paint dry faster when it’s spread thin?
  • First time using reusable plastic palette. A bit cheap quality, might need to invest in glass one day? Also, ridiculously hard to clean up.
  • 4 cm of paint for 4 tubes of paint is a LOT of paint!! Had so much left over.
  • Some delay in doing this assignment because of issues with my phone storage. Sigh.

Day 2

  • There wasn’t really a day 2, because I ended up completing the entire painting in one sitting (5pm to 2am).
  • Not the best idea, but I put out too much paint and didn’t want to waste it!

Final Submission

This is the final painting I submitted for grading:

I submitted the assignment at around 8am Friday, and got a response at 9:06am. The graders are FAST! O.O

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My Questions

Questions I asked the instructor when submitting the homework:

  • Can I do all the boxes first, and then the gradient on top?
    • Not recommended. You don’t want the paint to dry before you do the gradient. Lay out half the paint and do the first two rows, then come back.
  • Should I use all three methods Kevin demonstrates in the gradients video?
    • Just use the largest brush, and experiment with hand movements to see what works for you
  • How to be more efficient with cleanup?
    • Bar soap is better than dish detergent (I used dish detergent for cleaning the sink afterwards) and use a sponge or cleaning wipe for the sink. If you have gobs of paint on the palette, scrape it off first!

Instructor Feedback

The most helpful concrete feedback I got from Kristen for this assignment:

  • Scrape off excess paint before washing the palette (…DOI! I should’ve thought of that! *headdesk*)
  • And the buffer should start as a solid, wide stripe, about 2 x #10 brush widths.

In general, she said (and I agree) that gradients will take longer than you think. Be careful about the color on the brush and practice manipulating the edge of the buffer.

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Notes on Lesson Videos

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Initial Thoughts

Feb 12, 2022

In the first video, Kevin explains that he repeats critical foundational information over and over because otherwise people forget. This is so true and I don’t mind him doing that!

Also, the concept that ALL THINGS ARE RELATIVE is really interesting. Kevin says that the sharper you make your sharp edges, the softer your gradients look. Visually, contrasts are important!

This concept applies to more than art. I’ve learned this in marketing as well. See “anchoring.”

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