Overcoming Obstacles

Y0311.jpg[Anne here] First, the bad news: Richard is taking a blog vacation today. Now the good news: The reason is he needed time to focus on the finishing touches of his upcoming book, Pastel Pointers, a compilation of the weekly advice he’s been sharing in this blog these last three years. The much-anticipated book should be available from North Light Books in late fall. I’ll be sure to note, too, when the shop is taking pre-orders.

Meanwhile, here’s a snippet of McKinley wisdom from an archive article in The Pastel Journal:
“Painting is often like navigating through a darkened room filled with obstacles. Once you reach the opposite side and open the door, light floods in and everything is clearer. At the end of a successful painting, your actions converge and cohere, but along the way it’s as if you were wandering around in the dark, bumping into unseen impediments. This column provides a checklist for overcoming the obstacles you’ll encounter as you take your painting from start to finish.

“First, Figure Out Why: Understand your concept, and you’ll have a clear path to follow. Start by visualizing the finished painting; see how it looks and feels. Focus on that image and return to it often as the painting unfolds. It’s easy to get off track and end up wandering around, but, if in your mind’s eye you can see your objective, you can stay on course. Think of the concept as the why and the what—the purpose behind the painting. Why are you painting it and what will it be? You’ve got to answer these questions before you decide how you’ll make it work. If you know your concept and strive to communicate it to the viewer, you’ll polish your technical ability at the same time. At this stage I rely on my thumbnail sketches and spend time reviewing the paintings of artists I admire. Seeing how they approached the same situation helps me focus before I forge ahead.”

To read more advice from Richard about how to traverse through a painting by considering some common obstacles—light and value, color temperature, edges, and more—you can find this full article as a $1.99 download in our online shop.

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2 thoughts on “Overcoming Obstacles

  1. mike

    Well it’s about time. I’ve mentioned to him several times (in Workshops) he needed to pull all these gems together in a version of Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book. Looking forward to seeing it when it comes out.

  2. Loriann Signori

    I am happy to hear that you are allowing yourself a break from the pointers. It’s important to take care of yourself. While you do that everyone can be busy pre-ordering the book and painting. Thanks for sharing your knowledge Richard!