Thursday, June 16, 2011

Advice from a Painter: Part 2 - Eric LoPresti

This is part 2 in a series of advice from working painters to young art students- today's guest is Eric LoPresti who just wrapped up a solo show at Like the Spice gallery in New York and has been a regular guest here at "minutiae". Eric writes,

“I like to mix colors on my palette, which enables me to be get precise with the color I want before painting it on the actual canvas. When attempting to match a specific color, it helps to hone in on that hue incrementally, by gradually adding one color to another. For example, say I'm trying to match a specific light-pink. I'll probably start with the red out of the tube, which is likely to be way too dark, then incrementally add in white until the values match. Here’s the tip: when mixing your next color, always keep a bit of the previous mixture around for comparison. In fact, as I get closer to my target color, I'll often split the mixture into two batches so I can 'undo' if I make a mistake. Here’s an image of me mixing various shades of pink to match a color on the digital printout at bottom – you can see me splitting up various stages of the pink mixture into parts so I have choices about how to get closed to the color I want. ”

“When developing a body of work, do a lot of research and see what other artists are relevant to your work. This is easy if you break it down: first you want to come up with a good set of descriptive words about your work, e.g. ‘etchings of contemporary buildings and decay’, or ‘paintings of post-apocalyptic western deserts’. Google image search that description, and start digging through the results for practicing artists. Be prepared to go through a lot of images -- good artwork isn’t easy to find. Leaving aside whether you like/dislike the works you are finding, ask yourself:
  • Is this artist’s work similar to mine?
  • How exactly is my work different (and would it look different to a disinterested 3rd party)?
  • How can I make my work more specifically match my vision, so it doesn’t look like theirs?
  • Is this artist someone I want to ‘keep tabs’ on as I go forward?”
thanks Eric!

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