The Art of Charles Sovek

Lessons from the Easel | Painting Anything Under The Sun

Painting ThumbnailCurrent Lesson - Colorizing Your Darks

Ever shake your fist at a dollop of freshly squeezed blue, green or violet and wonder what happened to all the color and why it doesn't look as bright as the color on the label or paint chart? I have. Then I read how Corot would put a small flick of white in all his dark colors to enliven them. Well, the old boy knew a something or two. It works!

Figure - Flesh TonesLesson #1 - Colorful Flesh Tones

Many artists rely on tone rather than color to model the planes of the face. But you can really have it both ways. By using the centuries old procedure of veiling your colors, flesh tones can take on a new radiance while still maintaining a sense of sculptured solidity.

Figure - Outdoor LightLesson #2 - Painting the Figure Under Outdoor Light

Sargent reveled in painting people outdoors and spawned a whole school of artists who passed on the tradition. The key skills required are a sensitivity to tone and color. And even if your drawing is a wee bit off, a fine effort can result simply by trusting your gut in capturing the effects before you.

Lesson #3 - 7 Ways to Paint a Stronger Still Life

Useful tips on value relationships, form, pattern and color to add zing and wallop to your still life paintings.

Painting - HarborLesson #4 - Painting a Harbor

Every artist who's ever set up an easel near a harbor is initially overwhelmed at the complexity of boats, reflections, wharfs, masts, rigging and workers, not to mention sea gulls and stray cats. There's no easy solutions, but emphasizing a focal point and sticking with it can be good insurance against disaster.

Painting - Horse and RiderLesson #5 - Painting a Horse and Rider

Horses and riders have been a staple in the world of painting since the beginning of recorded history. It's a fun subject and not nearly as difficult as one would imagine.

Painting - Vases and MugsLesson #6 - Painting Vases and Mugs

Chardin, Morandi and Matisse were only three of the many artists who incorporated the clean, cylindrical forms of the vase and mug into their imagery. We all have similar objects available with which to explore equally interesting pictorial possibilities.

Painting - Casts and ModelsLesson #7 - Casts and Models

Plaster casts played a big part in art school curriculum for many centuries. Today, they, along with mannequins, models, and kid's toys, continue to be a useful method in learning to manipulate tone, light, color and pattern.

Painting - Sketch StudioLesson #8 - Sketch to Studio

Sometimes painting en plein air becomes impossible. Life intrudes and we're forced to find other means of catching that special subject. Here's one way I've found to solve the problem. And while not quite as exhilarating and immediate as working right from the motif, it is an alternative.

Painting - Beach LifeLesson #9 - Beach Life

Contrasting sunny beaches and sparkling water with colorful bathers has been an artistic pursuit going back to the Impressionists. The effects of light and color well make up for the hot sun, bugs, curious passersby and ever changing ambience. Give it a try this year. And don't be tempted to "finish up" things in the studio because it usually shows.

Painting - Provincetown CenterLesson #10 - Salvage Work

I usually jump up and down three times with heavy boots on paintings that fail. There are occasions, however, when a work can be salvaged. And while not all salvage attempts are successful, many can result in more than decent results.

Painting ThumbnailLesson #11 - Perfect Pitch

It's a fact of life that some folks have a better knack at seeing and painting values than others. So too with color, drawing and most other aspects of art. But not to worry. Many skills that appear to be "talents" can be learned. Of course there's effort involved, but isn't that what gives the trait its worth?

Painting ThumbnailLesson #12 - Interpreting a Photograph

It would seem that all one has to do is match the tones and colors in a photograph and, presto, a painting results. Unfortunately, there's a lot more involved. First off, photographs lie! Shadows are rarely as colorful, luminous or revealing as in real life. And if they are, it's usually at the expense of the light and halftones. But a snapshot still can be a useful tool for the painter so long as its use is tempered with a strong, visual vocabulary acquired from painting from life.

Painting ThumbnailLesson #13 - Fine Tuning a Picture

The nip and tuck of pulling a painting together sometimes involves a fresh start. I don't mean doing a whole different subject but rather repainting a work that's nearly, but not quite, there. Fine tuning on a redo can be a very enlightening process and often yield excellent results. If you've never tried it, now may be the time.

Painting ThumbnailLesson #14 - Night Work

Painting after dark can be a real eye opener. Subjects seemingly bland during daylight hours can take on a sense of mystery and romance under the illumination of a street lamp or full moon. The trick is rigging up a light source enabling you to see well enough to paint, yet not so bright as to dull your "night vision."

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