Mid-summer abundance

22 07 2018

The large yellow/orange globe is a papaya from my garden. The birds planted the tree!

Taking time to marvel at the variety of fruit that I see in my kitchen—gifts from friends, strangers, a bird, and from the market. I am inspired to assemble a still life. Ever grateful for the abundance. Mahalo e Ke Akua.

Grapes and drapes painting lesson

5 09 2012

Grapes and drapes still life setup, Painting II, Rebekah Luke, instructor.

Today my Painting II class is painting “Grapes and Drapes.” This lesson, originally from Gloria Foss, is practice in the studio for painting the Ko‘olau Mountains and trees in the landscape later on.

We pay attention to where the light is coming from in the scene and turn the form with values from light to dark.

We review the “Tomato Theory” we learned in Painting I, that is lightening and darkening the form with colors that are analogous on the color wheel instead of adding white or black, or instead of adding the complement to darken. In addition, we remember the mantra, “Warm it in the light; cool it in the shade.”

“Tomato Theory” can be a hard to get used to at first, but practicing it makes objects pop with vibrance and gives the overall painting more pizazz.

I find it satisfying to be able to pass on the techniques I learned from my own teachers Vicky Kula and Gloria Foss. What they taught me and what I am passing on to my students is the logic of light.

Copyright 2012 Rebekah Luke

Color and paint from still life

12 04 2012

I can teach you how to paint!

While my art students are on a little break from class—they’re vacationing in Turkey!—I’ve decided to show you what we’ve done so far in Painting I. Each week I welcome students with a studio tabletop set-up, explain the lesson, and do the lesson with them. We paint these assignments after practicing basic drawing and perspective, and learning about the values of light.

I urge students to not paint from a photograph, preferring that they draw and paint from life and the “local color” cues they should put down in the beginning. However, the now-ubiquitous digital camera phone and that the set is not available for viewing once the class is over for the day make it difficult to not refer to a photo.

The problem is, for beginners especially, if you paint from a photograph, the painting will look like a photograph. I think a painting is more interesting when it shows the artist’s individual line, imperfections included. Looseness will develop with time.

Below you can see how I treated the assignments myself. The medium is oil paint on canvas paper. Here’s evidence that limited palette paintings are generally stronger than images created with a full palette. Still to come, after students come back from break: the red-green painting and complementary color lesson and “the world in full color.”

Copyright 2012 Rebekah Luke

The painting. Monochromatic color lesson: adding one hue only, veridian, to black and white, still mindful of the range of values, that is, the various tints and shades of gray. Lesson includes painting glass.

The set. Analogous color painting lesson with black, white, and three yellows. Black mixed with yellow makes green.

The painting. Using cadium yellow pale (cool yellow), cadmium yellow light (warm yellow), yellow ochre, black, and white.

The painting. The combinations of mixing cadmium red light (red-orange) and veridian (blue-green) represent the first of four lessons about complementary colors, that is, colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. Combining complementary colors produces neutrals that are stronger than tube paints named for earth tones.

The set. Complementary colors blue and orange with shiny metal, glass, reflective surfaces, highlights (the incandescent spot) and low lights (from the window light).

The painting. Though challenging, it is much fun to paint reflected light.

The set. The complements yellow and violet mix to make warm tans and browns. Of light rays passing through a prism, yellow is the lightest value, and violet is the darkest. This still life set introduces drapery.

The painting. Painting drapes in the studio now is good practice for painting the Ko‘olau Mountains in the landscape later!

To learn more about painting lessons by Rebekah, please see the related post: Is painting on your bucket list?

Changing it up and the alumni art show

6 06 2010

Before releasing students for the holiday break from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where I received intense training in photography, the head administrator sat us down for a little chat.

He advised putting the camera away and treating ourselves to viewing and experiencing other forms of art for inspiration and stimulation.

The program was such that one’s creative juices were pretty much dried up by the end of the term. Five studio courses, 10 concurrent assignments due in two weeks at any given time, photo lab work until 10 pm six nights a week, and frank critiques. If one attended fresh out of high school with no college academics, then those classes were mandatory at night in addition.

Why, you might wonder, did I pick this school, in my 30s even. Because I admired several of its alumni who mentored me when I worked alongside them at the magazine. They were professional photographers at the top of their game, and I came to realize their training influenced the way they were, not just as photographers but as people.

To write blog posts, I like to examine any ongoing themes in my life. I wonder, is now a time for reorganizing? Remembering the art school advice to change it up, today I’m taking stock and reporting the other art forms I’ve experience in the past month or so.

A trip to the lighting showroom. I’m conscious of light: the amount of light, its direction, its quality. Lighting was not my strong suit in art school in that lighting a scene or set with artificial light was challenging. I did learn enough to recognize lighting differences, though I couldn’t always execute them, and I learned the lingo. I know what I like and don’t like about light, and I can tell you why. When I learned to paint, I learned more about the logic of light.

This month, after living a long time dissatisfied with a certain light bulb and dated fixture where I live, I am ecstatic that DH agreed to let the professionals fix the lighting deficiencies and non-design in our home. A trip to the lighting store and a very pleasant consultation with the designer Adir resulted in a solution that is a compromise between husband, wife, and pocketbook, but everyone is happy so far. It’s fun to look at an array of light fixtures, design catalogs, and photo books of interior design.

Moonlight Mele on the Lawn concert. Saturday night’s program of performing arts at the Bishop Museum featured the Tau Dance Theater, Kaukahi, John Cruz, Halau Mohala Ilima, Samadhi Hawaii aerial silk trapeze, and Ledward Kaapana. Each performed first-class numbers. Three of the groups were new to me, impressive and enjoyable. With summer here there are lots of concerts to choose from. Besides taking in the music, I noticed things like the visual form of the dance, costuming, lighting (again), sound, logistical set-up, and audience reaction.

Alumni art show. This isn’t the first year of an alumni art show at my high school, but it is the first time I’m exhibiting there. It’s open just a few hours during the alumni kick-off event this coming week and a couple of hours during the luau itself. I am planning to work the show, taking a look at other alumni artists’ artwork. Today I delivered the new still lifes, all at special Punahou alumni reduced prices. If  seeing the show June 10 or 12 interests you (the event represents about 30 artists), please contact me, and I will get back to you with information.

Going to Kauai. Plans to entertain visiting relatives include a trip to Kauai. It’s a brief two-day, one-night whirlwind tour of the island, and we’ll all be tourists. It has been so long since us local folks were last there. Hey, it’s summertime! You have to go somewhere!

Garden maintenance. Might sound boring and too much like work, but this is a type of meditation for me. Since pruning the hedge, I’m thrilled to see the ocean and the sky from the studio. The shorter hedge is in better scale for our lot and the street, there’s more air and light for both us and the neighbors, and more sunshine for the vegetable garden. In the renewed view plane ma uka (toward the mountains) I now see the fruit trees in the landscape beyond as well as two lava rock faces in the mountains.

Loving a parade or two. Kamehameha Day is observed this Saturday, June 12, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the annual floral parade, but I heard the route is changed from previous years. It will start on Ala Moana near Fort DeRussy and go in the ewa direction, turn right at Punchbowl street, then left on King street to Iolani Palace. This parade is the best opportunity to see the pau (pronounced pahh-oo) riders, women on horseback representing the various islands of Hawaii with their colorful skirts and elaborate floral lei. DH and I will put in some community service with Koolauloa Hawaiian Civic Club in the hot dogs-and-hamburgers booth on the palace grounds. The following day, June 13, I’d love to take in the Pan-Pacific evening parade, from 5 to 7 p.m. as it processes through Waikiki down Kalakaua avenue.

It’s a good time to change it up. I’ll see you!

Copyright 2010 Rebekah Luke

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