Saturday, August 23, 2008


I worked on a painting today. It is still early, so I don't know if it something that I can put in the Kingstad remains to be seen. Once again, as a reminder, I consulted my photocopied MacPherson tips for making a good painting. It seems a very good list to me! Whenever I really pay attention to these simple suggestions I do manage to make a good painting. This is from his first book, Fill your oil paintings with Light and Color. Notice how he gets all this valuable information reduced to one page! I am painting in acrylics today, but his recommendations from the oil painting book are definitely applicable to acrylic too.

click image to englarge


Donna Van Tuyl said...

Hi Celeste, This looks like great advice for any medium. I am trying to read this, but what I can see will apply no matter what the medium. The trouble with pastel is how easy it is to just grab a color without thought.

1. Find the Lightest light
2. Paint the darkest dark
3. Paint the easiest color
4. Establish the shadow patern.
5. Fill in the lights.
Put it on and leave it alone.

I amy have to buy the book.

Celeste Bergin said...

It is a great book, Donna. He wrote a 2nd one but the first one remains my favorite.

bullwinkle said...

Celeste, Your guide seems very informative, but way to analytical for me. I'm more of a layers guy. Start far away (the lighter shades), then proceed to the foreground (darker shades). 'Course, most of my images come from my head, so I am literally creating an environment as I paint along. However, when I paint with pastels en plein aire, I do the same. Works for me. Maybe I need some formal training. Then again, old dog, new tricks, you know.

Celeste Bergin said...

I know what you mean bullw, that this strategic approach doesn't work for everyone. In fact, the painting I worked on the day that I wrote this did not pan out! Still, there is value in both the intuitive method (that you use) and this more structured way. As one instructor said to me, there are many many ways of getting paint on the surface..and no one "correct" way. If the painting accomplished what you set out to convey..then the method isn't of much consequence! Thanks for your comment. :)