How to Use Color to Create Atmosphere in a Painting

Atmosphere is usually hazier near the horizon on a normal weather day. Color would be less noticeable near the horizon and cooler than anywhere else in the painting. The color would depend on what your scene has in it. We will look at some examples later.

Color is painted a little differently with every medium you use. An example of this would be an oil painting vs watercolor painting. When you paint an oil or acrylic painting and it dries your able to paint a lighter coat of paint over it to change the color. By using white paint mixed with a cool color your able to tone down the color already on the canvas. In watercolor you must plan for the white or light areas of the painting. Your always able to paint darker shades over the paint but to lighten it is almost always impossible without ruining the concept. It must be planned before-hand as to how your going to handle the values which recede from the horizon line.

Let's now assume we are going to paint in watercolor and we must plan out a landscape with mountains in the far distance, pine trees and water in the middle ground and water and rocks in the foreground. You would now plan your scene with pencil sketches. Thinking distance you would arrange size, value and color pertaining to what your plans are. Atmosphere, as I said before on a normal day, is always hazier and cooler on the horizon. So since blue is a cool color, it would be bluer and lighter at the horizon. Anything in the distance would also be smaller in size. As we precede forward things become gradually larger, brighter and sharper until we reach the foreground where the color should be the most distinct and richest in color saturation and objects the sharpest. In other wards the most emphasized. When painting the mountains in the background each level of mountains would be a different value. Then the pine trees would have levels of size and color. An example would be the green of the trees, which should be grayed to different levels with blue or violet. Green is a cool color but blue is always the cooler of the two. The water also would have changes, bluer in the background and greener with reflection colors as you come closer to the foreground.

Atmosphere can also be referred to as the mood of the day. It can be heightened by Mist or Fog. It changes when a day is "Gloomy" which would be dark-dismal and could be void of light altogether. On a "Rainy day" where atmosphere perspective not only effects the horizon but the whole painting. Its evident on the short distances or could have light effects on foreground roads, puddles and sidewalks with reflections from patches of sunlight. Even a "Snowy day" which could be dark and dismal or sunny. Atmosphere affects everything.

Painting on a dismal day would have very little change in value or color, no shadows would be present, as in a sunny or bright day.

Atmosphere plays a large part of our painting. If not approached correctly from the beginning of the painting it will have a flat two dimensional feeling. Surreal or unrealistic.

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How To Become A Writer or Artist

The key to becoming a writer, an artist, or a painter comes from the fact that what you spend your time doing, focusing on, and choosing to act like is what you become. If you want to be an artist, you have to dive in, fearless, get as much of it as you can, talk to artists, make art, visit galleries, gain knowledge- live in the art world.

To be an artist, you need to be acting like an artist as often as possible; creating, buying supplies, trying, failing, more creating, getting your clothes covered in paint. To become a writer, you need to be acting like a writer, doing what writers do as often as possible; owning a laptop (or typewriter if you like), writing, deleting, thinking, making character plots, editing, getting frustrated. You have to put in the time and the effort and eventually after all those hours of trying to be a writer, you'll discover that somewhere along the way, you became a writer. This site is here so that you don't get bored or discouraged, so that your time is well spent and pointed in the right direction.

The Two Main Things You Have To Know: Time and Effort

Before you begin this process of becoming a writer or an artist there's two things you should know first, more importantly, accept. These apply to you and almost everyone else in your shoes: in order to write a book or create a cohesive group of works, you must put in a significant amount of time and effort. This is the key, and yes, it's a simple key, but it is the truth. To become a writer, you have to write a lot, to be a good artist you have to create a lot of art. Yes, the first amounts of writing and art you create will be exciting, disappointing, ugly, boring- it will not be amazing.

Passion and Effort: Do you love writing? Do you love making art? Does it invigorate you? Passion and love for what you do is what will get you past obstacles, what will make you rise in the morning and put in effort. Effort is key. Masters and geniuses are not born overnight, this may be the American dream, or at least our twentieth century dream- but the reason why these plans aren't completely successful is because time is time and you need to spend a set amount of time writing and creating art. In the beginning, (and throughout to the end) it's about how much time is spent, not the quality or the quantity. There's no other way of putting in 20 hours of writing towards your experience without putting in 20 hours worth of writing.

If you don't love writing or creating, you will get bored, you will get discouraged and when obstacles get in your way, the passion and love for your subject won't hurdle you over them unless you cultivate it and know it is there. If your answer is "yes," you are passionate and willing to put in the effort needed to become an artist or writer then the next question is:

Time: Are you willing to spend 10,000 hours of focused, integrated time, (which is 20 hours a week for 10 years) writing and creating art so that one day you will be a master? What you can gain from advice, from masters and from books are good ways and exercises to put those 20 hours to work. But even if you get all the right answers and you start at higher level of knowledge, you still need to put in 20 hours a week of time spent applied in what you want to do, be it writing or arting.

If you can answer "yes" to committing to time spent writing or arting, you must also admit yourself to the beginning period, when your perfectionist inside you says "I know you are a beginner (or perhaps stuck) but I expect you to write something amazing, create a flawless piece of art in your first try." And then, after your first month your perfectionist flunks you, you get discouraged, thinking that writing is just not for you and you've defeated yourself with unrealistic expectations. Don't fall into this trap: in the beginning, allow yourself a lot of time spent, solely just writing, just creating, without focusing on product or quality.

Are you just not sure if you are willing to put in the time or if you love art or writing enough?

Then at least go for it! Let's see what you can find out!

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The Right Resources For Writers And Artists

Resources: Now that you have your artist supplies and you've prepared your space, you'll need resources, there's inspirational resources and then there's exercising resources.

Collect Inspiring Resources. This may mean doing some research online, find some artist's or writer's blogs you like, bookmark their pages, print out some of their pictures or excerpts as inspiration. Buy a few books on some artists you like and keep them on your table. Also, read some biographies of famous authors, gather books on poetry, fiction, non-fiction, whatever genre you are interested in.

What books have you read that are on your top ten leaving you in awe and saying "I want to be a writer." What artists make your jaw drop? Find these books and keep them nearby. These references for writers and artists are there when you need some encouragement, some ideas, to be in awe of art or inspiring prose. These resources are there to turn to for ideas and role model examples.

If you don't want to buy some books, there are libraries (remember them?). Go to the library, rent three to five books a month to use as references and help. There are all different categories: minimalism, impressionism, realism. There are different mediums: painting, mixed media, photography, sculpture. There are all different genres: mystery, fiction, non-fiction, romance, informational, children's. Explore, see what you naturally feel inclined to try out.

Impressionism: 50 Paintings You Should Know
Fifty Photographers You Should Know
Art: A World History
1001 Painting You Must See Before You Die
501 Great Artists: A Comprehensive Guide to the Giants of the Art World

Born to Write: The Remarkable Lives of Six Famous Authors
R.I.P.: Here Lie the Last Words, Morbid Musings, Epitaphs & Fond Farewells of the Famous and Not-So-Famous
The Cather in the Rye
The Gift: Poems by Hafiz

Collect Exercising Resources. In addition to these type of references, you need books as references for the writing process you will now be embarking on. I hope that these books will be guides to help you get started and move past blocks that keep you stuck. They are extremely helpful, some have already helped me immensely and others are on my order list to receive soon. These are only a few examples to start out with, no doubt I will be suggesting more in the future:

First on the list is "The Artist's Way" for both writers, artists, and anyone who wants to involve creativity more in their life. A lot of what I write on this site stems from this book. It has helped me immensely, in the beginning I thought it was going to be an art exercise book, but what I found out is that it dives much deeper in trying to clear out our past and open ourselves up to our creativity. It is a great place to start that I highly recommend:
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

Another book that I found very helpful, with lots of writing exercises to find out what your zest in life is:
Follow Your Bliss by Hal Zina Bennett

Here are two more books that have been highly recommended to me and that will be referenced in the future:
If You Want To Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland

Becoming A Writer by Dorothea Brande

Now you know the philosophy of the creation equation, you have your materials, you have your creative space, and finally you have resources and materials to start the creative process. These are all the steps to "How To Start." Next, you can start referencing the "Arting" and "Writing" pages. Good luck! It has only begun, it will be a roller coaster, and you will get through it with patience, effort, passion, compassion, encouragement and lots and lots of hours of applied creating!

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My Thoughts on Portraiture and Portrait Paintings

Portraiture has been around for many centuries. It is one of the things that are taught in school as a part of various art classes. Everyone knows that there are many art schools that teach people to paint portraits, so there must be a great number of gifted portrait artists around us. Portrait is the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear "art". However, when a young family feels the need to get it (that usually happens when babies are born and people naturally want to get something that will remind them of such joyful moments), they turn to a regular photo studios around the corner. Somehow no one, or at least not too many people, even thinks about finding a real portrait artist and commissioning a portrait.

I was wondering why that is... And I really can not come up with an answer. I understand why everyone seems to think that getting a hand full of photos from a portrait studio is the way to go, it is easy, fast and not too expensive. And in many cases photographers create real art using their cameras. But why not commission a portrait?

There are many advantages that paintings have over the photos. Your photo is just a reflection of you. A portrait painter has an opportunity to add his/her own personality into the painting. Every painter has his/her own style and way of doing things. All that goes into a painting making it truly unique. What better gift could you find?

Some good photographers play with the setting, clothes and backgrounds to create a unique portrait, but they are still limited to what is there. I mean they can not create something completely fictional, at least not with the camera. Portrait artists on the other hand, are free to use their imagination. If you want, they can create a fantasy portrait which will have totally fictional setting. Just imagine all the possibilities.

In my humble opinion, a traditional painting is a great gift that you can give to yourself. You can easily find a good portrait artist and commission a portrait for a very reasonable price nowadays. You can get a nice watercolor portrait for about $200 - $400 dollars. A pencil drawing could cost you about the same. Oil portraits, however, can be more expensive in certain cases, mainly because the price of the materials is higher. In any case, if you manage to find a great artist, you will not regret the money spent. If the portraiture has existed for so many centuries, there must be something to it.

Here is where you can get some creative family portrait ideas. You will see that there are many gifted portrait artists around us, the only problem is to find the right one.

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