Evolve Artist Block 1 Assignment 5: Sphere

Overall Thoughts


Now we’re taking gradients to the next level by doing them on a curve. Confession: I didn’t really use the checklists for these assignments. Right now it’s pretty simple, easy to keep in my head though.

Total time spent:

  • From around 9:30/10am til 1:30+pm ish, then used the leftover paint to do a few more gradients (and cleanup) until 2:30ish.
  • Total time was 5 hours, with about 4 of those hours

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

  • Maybe wait until a day when my stomach isn’t hurting/when I’m feeling physically healthier?
  • Spend more time on the gradients, especially the background gradients: paint a thicker buffer that overlaps on the top more (on the right side), since there isn’t a whole lot of space on the bottom without danger of bumping into the cast shadow of the ball
    • Another thing I learned about gradients that I didn’t quite pick up the first time: When laying down the buffer, it’s not necessarily about wiping off the brush, but adding more paint
  • Sharpen edges from both sides
  • Question to ask next time: Which brush size should we use as default? I’ve been using #6 but it looks like Kevin may be using a #10?
  • I haven’t been doing this since the last assignment, but as a reminder: DO NOT flip the brush when doing gradients!

Day 1

  • Was planning to start around 7am on Saturday, but that didn’t happen, because I ended up crashing last night around maybe 10ish?
  • After sort of trying to watch the videos, I ended up re-awakening around 2-3am then again at 5:30 because I’d forgotten to turn out the light, I’d just collapsed asleep. And when I woke up finally around 7, I ended up laying there for another hour and a half or so because I was feeling crampy and not wonderful.
  • But I still wanted to get some painting done, so I started around 9:30+am. At least I didn’t have to transfer the images because I’d done it before when working on the cubes.
  • So prep-wise, just had to get out my material and mix some paints.
  • I did make a pretty big boo-boo right out of the gate, putting mod shadow where mod light was supposed to go, because I wasn’t paying attention what with the dull stomach cramps and trying to focus on the filming aspect of it, and I ended up accidentally smudging the bottom right of my painting, plus I think my background gradients didn’t turn out as well as they could’ve if I’d spent another hour on them…
  • But at the same time, I’m pleased at the roundness of the cube and at what I was able to accomplish in spite of everything. I feel like the whole painting process (setup, painting, cleanup) is getting more familiar and smooth and even though I still ended up taking 5ish hours, it felt faster. After all I recall taking 7 hours that one time (although granted that was largely because I didn’t know how to wash my palette and ended up making a bigger mess because I didn’t scrape the paint off first).

Final Submission

This is the final painting I submitted for grading:

I submitted the assignment at around 4:30pm Saturday (Had issues uploading), and got a response at 4:49pm on the same day!

My Questions & Instructor Feedback

  • I asked about which size brush to use, my background looking streaky, and my gradient looking a bit bare (paint rubbed off).
  • They said: We use larger brushes because smaller brushes can accidentally create texture. And to avoid lifting paint by adding more paint or using a lighter touch.

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Lesson Video Notes

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Initial Thoughts

Feb 26, 2022

Watched this on the same day I did the assignment, although usually I watch the videos the day before setting paintbrush to canvas. We’re bringing gradients back in again, and they really are a bit of a bugger.

Notes on Sphere Assignment

Painting the Shadows

  • Make mistakes early so you can learn from them
  • 1st step is always the same!!! = count your shadows
  • Ignore the background, count the table
  • Count shadows, NOT darks. Here we have 3
  • Next step = find the darkest shadow.
  • Then find the lightest shadow.
  • Then all the other shadows fall between these two.
  • Cover the line, take your time, no dots of canvas peeking through
  • Everybody’s hand is different, so you need to practice and figure out your own way, your comfort zone
  • Try to hold your brush staying off the metal in general, but you can bump up against it while doing detailed work

Painting the Lights

  • Ignore the  highlight. Make the comparison of lights not considering the highlight.
  • When you are working with lights, you ONLY use the light shades, and you MUST have one of each. Don’t paint what you see. Break it down into categories!
  • Eventually you won’t have to think about it, you’ll just be able to see it.
  • Do what is comfortable, when it comes to the brush.
  • Don’t invent your own techniques. Learn Kevin’s way
  • Kevin tells story of high school painter student who did things her own way, started out top of class and ended up bottom of class (of 28 students) in a few weeks.

Creating Ad Mixtures

  • Mix WELL, don’t leave blotches of unblended color
  • These basic skills should become easy, the hard part is being patient and taking the time to make the bigger paintings

Gradient and Sharp Edges

  • By putting a gradient on the ball, you “fill the balloon with air”
  • When you block in the buffer, make it a bit messy, not straight.
  • Make sure the buffer is a solid barrier, DON’T let the shades on either side touch each other
  • Use blade edge of brush to nudge colors together
  • Look for distinct edges to soften
  • Barely touch the canvas, just skim the surface, change directions
  • Don’t be lazy about going back to get paint. Get into the habit of getting back to the palette every few strokes
    • You should spend more time “in transit” than in painting
    • You don’t shovel all the food in your mouth at one time. Same with painting, you’re feeding the painting.
    • Get comfortable with the process.
    • To be a successful artist, you have to enjoy the process, NOT JUST what you get at the end of the process.
    • If you hate the process, this is not the career for you. And it will only get worse as time goes by.
  • Resolve the issues with the components of the painting before it starts looking like a whole thing (like a ball)
  • Remember there’s a stage after this to check sharp edges and all
  • Remember to change directions as you go, don’t go too far before you go back down for more paint
  • Barely touching the surface of the paint
  • Your paint has to be the same density or else the thicker paint will overtake the thinner paint. Buffer, light, dark, all should be same density.
  • Now go back through dark to light shades and check for wonky edges. Check your checklist.
  • To sharpen an edge, sharpen from both sides, with both shades on either side of the edge. This gives a crisper edge.
  • Background fill should always be the ad mixture between extreme shadow and mod shadow

Filling the Background and Horizon Gradient

  • Start closest to the ball, then paint away from it, gives your hand space to rest on the canvas.
  • If you’re sloppy and you don’t do a round ball now, you’ll mess up your ball shape forever.
  • Try to avoid paint beading up and creating ugly ridges. Paintings are prettier when everything is flat, for now.
  • In this program we will cover everything “knowledge” — everything that isn’t style or experience, everything KEvin thinks is important.
  • Gradients create the impression of volume (form) and distance.
  • By putting a background gradient, it makes things look farther away.
  • For the background buffer, since there are only 2 shades in between, pick one and blend using the original two shades on either side. You can use both in-between shades if you want, though.
  • Buffer should be the thickness of the brush.
  • Do NOT flip your brush!!
  • When doing the bottom of that buffer, be CAREFUL not to let the light creep up too high and contrast with the dark color on top.
  • Now go back and fix the ball as needed.
  • Kevin always works shadow first: good policy to have one way of doing things.
  • Going forward, you will use gradients for form, and every background will have a gradient /graded  horizon line
  • Eventually we will use this effect to create depth in a real shallow space.

Understanding Cast and Form Shadows

  • When light is above a can, the top and front will be light, the back will be shadow
  • If light hits a can directly, it’s 100% light. As you go up/down the curve, it goes to 70% light, 60%, 50%, then it will glance off and go away.
  • From the 50% point on, there is a cast shadow behind the sphere.
  • The shadow is darkest point directly opposite of the 100% light side of the sphere. Next to that maybe 70%, then 60%, and so on.
  • This is basically a gradient, being wrapped around the circle.
    • criteria 1) the shadow must be on a rounded object (something with curves, not necessarily a round object)
    • criteria 2) it must be on the bottom or right of the object.
      • On a sphere, the shadow would be on the bottom and right.
    • Tell you about form, tells you how big and round objects are
    • An object blocking the light directly. Like you and your shadow on the ground.
    • They produce sharp edges


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