The "mudhead" is a teaching method created and developed by Charles Hawthorne. The model is painted outdoors, silhouetted against a glaringly bright background. The model's flesh takes on a color that resembles the color of mud, thus the term, "mudhead."
After the initial lay in where I made sure to separate the light and shadow notes of color, the features and structural changes within the form are added. However, I don't loose the initial impact of the model against the bright background. The following two paintings are examples of the development of a "mudhead" study.
The Classic pochade box from Artwork Essentials (EasyL) comes with a lightweight tripod. We have adapted the Paint-Saver Palette and painting surface as you can see in the second photo. These are available from FineArtTech.
Here is a lightweight duffel bag to carry on the plane. The internal flight from Istanbul to Dalaman restricts you to one checked (40 lbs) and one carry on (19 lbs) with size restrictions.
You can buy lightweight panels from Wind River Arts - the Gatorfoam ones.
An finally, get a lightweight panel carrier, also from Artwork Essentials to put these lightweight panels in.
Voila, you are ready to fit into their weight restrictions and actually get to paint across Turkey.
Here is the beginning of a painting. I have tried to make different color changes throughout the painting. The pink in the sky is darker and more red than the white of the house in light. The right bush is darker and redder in shadow than the bush on the left which is back further so the shadow is a bit lighter and cooler. The inside of the porch is a bit darker and warmer than the shadow part of the outside walls of the house. I am not sure whether these colors are accurate at this point but I have painted rapidly to get my first impression down. I have also concentrated on organizing the lights and my shadows.
I go back to my start and add the greens in the foliage and the reflective lights in the house. I am creating form with color changes. I am not doing this with value only but making hue changes also. When I add the reflective light in the white of the house in shadow, I am careful to keep it dark enough so that it still stays together with the shadow notes.
Voila, here is the finished painting with details added.
More steps of this painting are included in my book,
"Mondays with Camille "Capturing the Key of Light in Color"
Visit my web site: przewodek.com and request a ten-page preview of my new book!
Although this painting was done on location, here is a photo of the actual house. I think I have improved it.
As Hawthorne says in "Hawthorne on Painting" (a book I highly recommend)
"Anything under the sun is beautiful if you have the vision - it is the seeing of the thing that makes it so."
Here is a step study done at one of my Monday morning classes. I don't spend a lot of time on the initial drawing but just get big shapes and angles that interest me. I then lay in the first big color notes which I will modify on the second go around. I usually stop here and finish the painting either by returning to the location another day or in my studio, utilizing my painting memory. The finished painting is available and is currently in a show at Roger's Gardens, Corona Del Mar, CA.
This is a study that I did on location at Yosemite National Park. I spent some time observing how the water was falling and organizing the light/dark patterns.
Bridal Falls, 11" x 14" oil on canvas, Still Available
Here is a painting I did later in the studio from my color study. I changed the composition and refined the painting. I much prefer working from a color study than a photograph. I had to rely on my painting memory which I have developed over the years by painting on location.
Cascading Water, 16" x 12", oil on canvas, Still Available
Here is a start of a demonstration that I did at Ellis Creek, one of my favorite locations in Petaluma, CA. As you can see, I overstate the warm of the light in the first pass. I make sure that I organize my lights and shadows and try to get the big notes of color. As I develop the painting, I state the minor changes within the big forms. As my husband says, "If you don't get a good start, your finished." I have included a photo of the location. As you can see, there is no color information in this reference. It is the years of painting on location that allows me to interpret the light key of nature
I was out painting last week in my favorite neighborhood and a woman came up to me and asked, “Are you the artist who illustrated the Secret Life of the Seine?” I was amazed that she could look at what I was painting and make this connection. I said that was years ago (1994), and, yes, I was the artist. She and her sister both like my colorful paintings and have followed my career over the years.
This 1994 illustration job was filled with unanticipated and random connections. Here they are:
I had decided to take my daughter to France and I didn’t know how or where but I was telling everyone we were going to France. I eventually was offered an all-expense paid trip to the south of France (this is another story) where I was going to teach a few workshops. I didn’t know how I was going to fill these workshops.
Here is where the universe stepped in to help me. Around that time, I got an illustration job to do the cover of the book, The Secret Life of the Seine, by Mort Rosenblum. Mort lived on a boat on the Seine and had olive trees in the south of France. It so happens, that his sister worked for the San Francisco Chronicle so they ran my illustration on the cover of the Sunday Travel Section promoting the book and at the end of the article there was a bio on me along with a listing of my workshops in France. I was on the phone for the next few weeks and filled all my French workshops!
This slideshow is a series of paintings I have done in this neighborhood.
" I have often thought of an art school where the model might hold the pose in one room and the work might be done in another. The pupils would have their places in both rooms, one for observation and the other for work. The pupil could return to the model room for information. In getting the information he could view the model from his place or could walk about and get an all-around concept; he could also make any sketches he might desire to make – for information – but these drawings are not to be carried into the work room. Into this room he only carries what he knows."
Robert Henri The Art Spirit
The first time I read this, it was frightening to me. So I went out and started trying to draw and paint from memory. If I was in a cafe, I would start drawing someone and immediately they would move so I would try and finish the drawing from memory. The more I did this, the better I got. When I am on location and I see a figure that I want to put into my painting, instead of taking my camera out, I put my brush down and just try to paint the figure in my head. I then quickly pick up my brush and put it into the painting.
I apply the Robert Henri principle in my figure class on Friday mornings. The drawing on the left was done from memory. I just looked at the model for about 5 minutes and then I turned around and sketched the figure from memory. The figure next to it on the bottom was done by looking at the model. The other figure drawings are quick 20 minutes demos.
The convention was a fantastic opportunity to reconnect with like-minded artists. I saw a lot of old friends. My new book was released and I was pleased with all the sales. We also sold a lot of our Paint Saver Palettes.
We are now following up on the connections we made at the convention.
My favorite part of this convention was the Marketing Book Camp. I learned so much and my head is spinning. I love listening to the new ideas that Eric Rhoads has about promotion. I highly recommend his Boot Camp DVD's.
Back home - here is another favorite spot of mine in Petaluma, CA. I have returned many times over the years to repaint this scene.
I have several favorite scenes that I paint repeatedly in my hometown, Petaluma, CA. Each time I set up it seems like a completely new experience.
Here are a series of paintings of one of my favorite locations, Ellis Creek. The atmosphere determines the color of the light,