Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Learning from Robert E. Wood

Robert E. Wood (1926-1999) was known for his watercolor landscapes,  marine paintings and figures in a semi-abstract style.  He earned a B.A. from Pomona College and an MFA from Claremont where he studied with Millard Sheets, Phil Dike and Jean Ames. He was elected to the National Academy.

Taxco by Robert E. Wood 

I was so fortunate to take several workshops from him and in fact met him and visited his studio while I was in college. His nephew, Ron Wood, was a classmate of mine and he arranged our visit. During the workshops, I took notes and several years ago I gathered up those sketchbooks and arranged his advice in categories. These have been helpful to me and I hope they will be to you too.

Figure by Robert E. Wood

Bob Wood on Shadows
• Be aware of the character of form and volume. Look for the shadow shape.
• Softening the edges of 2 vertical, parallel lines rounds form. It turns the area into a tube.
• Shadows are not equal in width - they are thick, thin, etc. 
• Shadows are not repeats of the border or the edge of form.
• Cast shadows are hard-edged while form has a rounded edge.
• Look for shadow linkage - where it goes through edges. Too often we stop at every edge without seeing the passage of shadows.
• Shadows blanket a group of things.
• Recreating light exactly can create a "jumpy" painting. Try to simplify the darks so they are more clearly stated, made more understandable. 

Bob Wood on Color and Value
• Attempt to take fewer steps from light to dark.
• First washes appear dark because of the comparison to the white page.
• Make a value plan of 3-5 steps. The painting will always be more complicated than the plan. 
• Most painters are good colorists in the lights. In the middle values they start to be a little less color conscious and the darks are boring. Bring life to the darks. 
• Paste is not as luminous as a thinned liquid dark.
• The first application is never a dark - layering is what causes the darks. Start with a moist color so the paste on top of moist color will dry more "liquid."
• Use a complete palette to create a greater variety of darks. 
• Several little paintings can explore different color moods which is more effective than one large painting. 
• Be sure the drawing is dark enough to see so the first wash doesn't obliterate it.

1 comment:

  1. There's a lot of information here. I wish I could see you demonstrate some of these principles. Thank you for sharing them...