The Art of Charles Sovek

Lessons from the Easel


I'd like to think any student, no matter how inexperienced, can use the following material as a jumping off point into the less-charted waters of expressive picture making. But we all have to start somewhere and having been there, I've tried to design the material as no-frills, easy-to-understand exercises in getting anyone willing to kick in, a basic launch into becoming an artist.

Before diving into the various lessons, check out my Materials Page if you require any information on art supplies and places to get them. "The Basics" are also available in book form. Click here for more information and how to how to order a copy.


#1 - Contour and Gesture   #2 - Overlapping
Line - LessonGetting started. Two basic approaches to line drawing and how they are the primary means of learning how to draw anything. Line - LessonThe dynamics of "up close" and "far back" lines to achieve a feeling of dimension
#3 - Sight Size Drawing #4 - Drawing a Complex Object
Line - LessonDrawing objects the size you see them can greatly reduce the margin for error in the proportioning of a subject. Line - LessonTackling more difficult forms can mean trouble unless you have a good understanding of the underlying structure.
#5 - Drawing With Shadows #6 - Tonal Drawing
Line - LessonAnchoring your drawing together with an interesting pattern of shadows can spell the difference between cohesion and chaos. Line - LessonTonal drawing can yield effects ranging from fool-the-eye photographic to Vincent Van Gogh expressive, and everything in between.


#7 - Painting A Value Scale   #8 - Painting Blocks in Tone
Tone - LessonHow to use black, white and a range of grays to learn the notes of a 5 and 9 toned scale Tone - LessonThis just may be the most important lesson in the entire program. It's definitely the most important in the TONE section. Check it out!
#9 - Line to Tone #10 - Square to Round
Tone - LessonA sometime difficult transition, line to tone is a natural process of development every artist experiences. Tone - LessonExpanding on your vocabulary of form. Learning to maintain the solidity of various kinds of objects
#11 - Painting a Solid Form #12 - Patterning a Composition with Tone
Tone - LessonUsing "planes" to understand and paint a convincingly dimensional object Tone - LessonFew picture making principles deliver stronger results than the concept of patterning a painting.
#13 - Popping Your Lights #14 - Basic Lighting Conditions
Tone - LessonLike a candle on a cake, the lights in your paintings should smack with assertion. And the key to achieving this is restraint. Tone - LessonLight illuminates the world around us. And whether it's sunlight, moonlight, lamplight or a flashlight, certain basic conditions need to be understood.
#15 - Dissipating Light #16 - Different Kinds of Light
Tone - LessonIt's one thing to catch light. It's something else to make it come alive. Dissipating your light passages can help you accomplish this. Tone - LessonCapturing light is a never ending pursuit. Catching different kinds of light can make the chase a constantly varying and ever fulfilling experience.
#17 - Crest Light #18 - Hollows, Accents and Highlights
Tone - LessonThere's CORNERS and there's CRESTS. And it's a wise artist that knows the difference. Tone - LessonLike the icing on a cake, your skill at painting hollows, accents and highlights can impart your work with a sense of completeness it may otherwise lack.


#19 - Color Values   #20 - Painting Blocks in Color
Color - LessonLearning how to differentiate between light, medium and dark toned colors Color - LessonAn introduction to color and light as revealed by a direct source of illumination on solid forms
#21 - Reflective Color #22 - Color Temperature
Color - LessonReflected light can give great luminosity to a form. The trick is in keeping the values subordinate to those in direct light. Color - LessonUnderstanding the temperature of a color is no different than identifying the color of a light bulb. Once comprehended, the resulting vibrational dynamics can't help but give added zest to your paintings.
#23 - Color Intensity #24 - Underpainting
Color - LessonUnderstanding the intensity range of the objects in your picture can give your imagery a more powerful sense of focus. Color - LessonUnderpainting can be one of the most effective devices a painter can use in dramatizing both mood and color.
#25 - Averaging Lights and Shadows #26 - Keying Your Color
Color - LessonLearning to average a single tone of light and dark to represent the oftentimes myriad clutter of material before your eyes is a skill well worth the effort of acquiring. Color - LessonThe surprising results one can achieve by taking an existing picture and re-keying the colors can be a good remedial exercise if you seem bogged down with a too literal response to what you see.
#27 - Edges #28 - Reflections
Color - LessonWhen two pieces of paint come together, choices need to be made as to how to handle the edge. Do you have the skills needed to make the right decision? Color - LessonYour ability to see and paint reflections of all kinds can both sharpen your skills and add a new dimension of effervescence to your work.
#29 - Color and Atmosphere #30 - Painting Fleshtones
Color - LessonYour ability to handle the nuances of atmospheric perspective go a long way in imbuing your paintings with a quality of existence. Color - LessonMixing fleshtones should be a unique experience dependent on both the complexions of the sitter and the compositional needs of the artist.
#31 - Painting a Vista #32 - Overcoming Regularity
Color - LessonYour ability to capture dimension in a painting can be a yardstick as to the success of the composition. Color - LessonHow many times have you seen an interesting subject, painted it, then threw your hands up in frustration at not being able to "catch" the uniqueness of the place?
#33 - Pushing Value Contrasts #34 - Patterning a Composition
Color - LessonAll you need is black, white and a couple of grays and you're ready to explore the fascinating world of contrast pushing. Color - LessonEver wonder if there's a common thread that runs through pictures that work as opposed to those that don't? There is and the name of it is pattern.
#35 - Painting from Photographs #36 - The 4-A-Day Plan
Color - LessonIt's only through ruthless editing that a painting done from a photograph can take on the appearence of a picture that could have been painted from life. Color - LessonThere's no cure-all to painting good pictures, but I do have an elixir that has never failed to produce results. Trust me!


Lessons from the Easel | Painting Anything Under The Sun | Why This Painting Works

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