UPDATED – I remember back a few years ago I got a phone call from my brother, Lee. My sister-in-law, Margo unearthed some more family history on our mom's side. You see my dear sister-in-law is a genealogy goddess. She has a fantastic passion for finding her roots. Her family would take vacations trouncing throughout the south going to libraries (before the internet), old cemeteries and knocking on doors of distant relatives.
One of Margo's greatest genealogy accomplishments was proving her mother, Fran's lineage to the Revolutionary War. Margo and Fran received their certificates from the Daughters of the Revolutionary War in the spring of 2012. Fran passed two days after she received her certification.
Margo was hot on my mom's family, the Leslie family tree. We know our Great-grandpa, Charles Leslie had served in the Civil War. But she found out his father, Robert Leslie, our Great-Great-grandpa was the Regiment Commander of the 159th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
If that wasn't cool enough she tracked even further back. This is where it gets really good. Margo was able to trace a distant cousin, a fine artist named Charles Robert Leslie 1794-1859. Not just any artist but a Royal Academy two silver medal award winner. His work hangs in some of the most prestigious art museums in Great Britain; Victoria and Albert Museum, National Portrait Gallery, and the Wellington Museum. Here's a link to more info on C. R. Leslie: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Robert_Leslie
He was also known for his writings. His Handbook for Young Painters, a volume embodying the substance of his lectures as professor of painting to the Royal Academy, in 1855. I located the book at Google Books: http://bit.ly/2LgJYhN. Yes, he was an educator, too. Some of his writings are still for sale at Barnes and Noble.
By now you probably figured out what the 'L' in Dale L Popovich stands for. Back when I was a young boy, I asked my mom why she and dad gave me a girl's middle name. She explained it was her maiden name, a good name, a family name of hard-working, god-fearing people. Be proud of your name. Now, if my mom were alive today I would say mom your right I'm proud to have Leslie as my middle name. I'm still pinching myself – what an amazing honor – men of courage and great artistic abilities. As my wife, Marilee said 'Dale not many people have such beautiful artistic heritage. You have some big shoes to fill."
Here's a sample of my distant cousin's work – enjoy.
One-Hour Watercolor Demonstration
Today was watercolor demonstration day at Mainstreet Art Center in Lake Zurich, IL. I painted from a photo I took while in Alaska – a little town called Hope. In this demonstration I wanted to teach how to continue non-stop by working wet on dry, maintaining edge control, moving from one area to another and keeping your watercolors fresh. This demo took exactly one hour to paint. My Watercolor Class meets on Wednesdays from 10:00a - 12:30p. Next start date is April 11, 2015. Here's a link to all my #DrawingAndPainting art lessons in the Chicagoland area. CLICK HERE
I don't know about you but plein air painting when the snow is flying and it's in the 20's is not my idea of fun. Frostbite and frozen paint is not a pleasant painting experience. What I rather do is collect interesting subject matter throughout the year with my digital camera, download to my iPad and lock myself in my studio with a hot cup of coffee.
How do you get around not being overwhelmed by surroundings?
Try using a 'Viewfinder.' Cut two 'L' shape pieces of mat board and clip together. This isolates your subject matter and will help with your photo reference composition. Keep a pair of these in your backpack because you will eventually use them when you start plein air painting.
What are you looking for in a good reference?
First look for contrast of value. A strong light source is important. Second, having a few large shapes balanced off with some smaller shapes.
Why is a good reference important?
A good reference is important not only for inspiration but structural evidence and good definition.
How do you use a reference to your best advantage?
I identify the the direction of the light source. Decide what to eliminate and focus where the center of interest will be placed.
Capturing scenes with a video camera
Capturing scenes on video with stop action will allow you to see different movements. Whether people, water or clouds, every second can change the movement in the rush of the moment.
CLICK AND WATCH MY YOU TUBE VIDEO
Kakabika Falls, October, 2012
It can also be a historical record of weather conditions. In the case of Kakabika Falls the water flow is down to a trickle exposing a prehistoric beauty. We may never see this again in our lifetimes. With the video I can study the most Intimate details of nature. To view photos of the falls in years past click here and see the astounding difference.
Talk about aerial perspective
Observation into the landscape will show you about values:
COLOR AND TEXTURE
Rocks vs. water vs. leaves, etc.
A favorite destination for Bob and I and our wives is Bond Falls in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Bob and I have been there numerous times over the last 18 years - summer and fall. It never ceases to amaze us that it's always different, ever changing whether it be light, color, temperature of colors. Every time we visit the falls I'm marveled by the different amounts of water rushing over the rocks.
Dale's take away
My advice is simple. Stop, take it all in and just soak up your surroundings. Make a mental record of sounds, smells and the sunlight on your cheek. We have a gift that most people take for granted - seeing and feeling. So get out, explore and take many, many pictures.
FROM MY PERSONAL LIBRARY
PUT YOUR PAINTINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
ROBERT J. KRAJECKI IWS
It 's a new year and I can't stress enough the importance of having a solid background in perspective. I highly recommend this book by painter and instructor Robert J Krajecki. Bob compiled his over 40 years of life experiences and knowledge into 101 page illustrated book with over 150 illustrations in full color.
This book is full of everyday easy to understand and practical examples. This is a must have in every serious artist's library. Bob covers:
* Picture plane
* Station point
* Horizon line or eye level
* One point and two point perspective
* Inclined planes
* Measuring systems
* Cast shadows
* And much, much more
Soft cover book sells for $25.00 plus $3.00 shipping and hard cover book is $30.00 plus $3.00 shipping.You can find ordering information buttons below.
PAINTING AND DRAWING 101
Every painting is a journey and it begins here, your research.
Picture taking, sketches, and finally your painting.
- Dale L Popovich IWS
Before starting to painting, several key steps must be considered. Here's a reminder of general principles in painting or drawing.
There is more to starting a painting than picking up the brush. You must plan - 75% of your work is in the planning. Here are the steps to follow:
Following these steps will create a more satisfying experience and stronger painting.
A new student started my Thursday Evening Studio Class a few weeks ago. Until last year, Freddie hadn't picked-up a paint brush in nearly 30 years. She was also one my students at the American Academy of Art back in the '80s.
Fredi came to me with her photo reference (Figure 1) and herthumbnail pencil sketch (Figure 2.) We talked about composition and I told her to think through her sketch, don't just copy what you see. I always stress photos are just a starting point and you have to make it your own - you are the artist telling a story - communicating a mood, how you want them to view it, a feeling...
I presented a revised solution (Figure 3) sharing with her some key leanings. Her composition was very confining, it needed adjustments in proportion of space allowing the viewer's eye to easily move through the picture space.
Now it was time to start painting. As far as the choice of colors Freddie had some recent experience in color, but I felt she needed to focus, so I limited her selection to a four-color palette which was easier to control:
* Cobalt Blue
* Burnt Sienna
* Olive Green
* Yellow Ochre
Then we did a paint-along demo (Figure 4). And Freddie's painting was a success!
Let's Get Serious about the Basics of Fundamentals of Drawing and Painting at the Palette & Chisel
I spent time with Dale in his studio the other day. Yes, I'm his wife coming on 28 years. We meet in college at the American Academy of Art. I wanted to be a graphic design trail blazer while Dale had his compass focused on fine art. Not long after he graduated Dale started teaching part-time at our alma mater. Part-time turned into full time after six months.
We talked about his current role as an instructor at the Palette & Chisel, co-teaching Fundamentals of Drawing & Painting with Bob Krajecki.
How long have you been teaching? I've been teaching for 33 years. The reason I have such a passion for teaching is watching students grow and archive success and satisfaction in their artwork.
Who should take your class? If you need to improve your art skills this class has been designed for you. It's been tried and true, for over 30+ years. Students have become successful artist
after taking our course.
What level is this class? Why is it broken into 101, 102 and 103? This class is broken into three levels or should I say three steps like building blocks of learning. A student needs a natural order in learning starting at the beginning with the basics. We help you see and interpret, not just look and copy.
I understand this is a co-taught class. How does this work? Mr. Krajecki and I have been working together on this class and additional assignments for 33 years. We compliment each others teachings. We have the same philosophy on art with only a few minor differences. We believe it is always good to get two views points with the same training.
How was the course developed? This course was developed as a whole not in parts and pieces. Most colleges teach color, perspective, composition and techniques as separate courses. We believe you can't learn this way -- we help the student understand how all aspects tie together. It has to be taught as a whole -- instructing this way gives our students tools to problem solve which makes for a fulfilling experience.
What should I expect to learn in class? First we will give you the skills to see not just look. The students will be taught first the principles of drawing then values or tone. As you grow we will focus on composition, color and and last technique.
How will I know how much I've grown? At the end of each 10-week session we hold a class critique. The students bring all of their work in for review. We encourage the 102 and 103 students to bring in the 101 work. This is one of my favorite parts of the class. I enjoy see how everyone has improved, how satisfied the students are and how excited the new students are to see the advancement of the 102 and 103s.
Give the gift of creativity
Need a gift idea for a special and unique holiday gift? What about giving the gift of creativity.
Bob Krajecki and I are offering Gift Certificates for their Palette & Chisel classes this year.
Give creativity to your friends, family and business associates this holiday season. Gift Certificates are available for:
• Fundamentals of Drawing and Painting with Bob Krajecki and Dale Popovich
• How to Paint in Watercolor with Dale Popovich www.DalePopovich.com
• Watercolor from Start to Finish with Robert Krajecki www.robertjkrajecki.com
For more information please contact…
William J. Ewers
The Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Arts
Phone: (312) 642-4590
Give Liquid Masking Fluid a Work-out
I use it only on certain subjects that need to retain areas of white in a painting such as delicate or fine details. It allows you to paint uninterrupted washes in the area around your subject such as what you see in this photo.
Liquid masking fluid dries in several minutes. When you remove the masking fluid, the white area will perfectly maintain the white of the paper.
Additional tips when working with masking fluid:
* Use liquid masking fluid as a tool and not a crutch.
* Never use it with a good brush, period.
* Soap up your brush so that the fluid releases from the hair of the brush at clean-up.
* Clean your brush with soap and water.
* To remove the dry liquid mask make sure the painting is perfectly dry. Use a hard crepe rubber cement pick-up. This is a neat and easy way to clean up masking liquid. You can find the pickup for under $2.
* You can find liquid masking fluid at your art supply store. Try Cheap Joe's or Dick Blick's.
Sad ipad – Happy ipad
Well, I'm final over my very emotional event. As some of my students know I dropped my iPad. I'm a pretty even keeled kinda guy, but that day every emotion flowed through my body including almost throwing-up.
I have some very exciting plans for 2014 which I will share in a future blog. One of my plans meant I had to figure out a way to mount my iPad to the ceiling. With the help of my father-in-law, Coby we came up with a device that held the iPad. Well, long story short I was doing some final adjustments when I took the iPad down, it slipped out of my hands and went crashing to the floor. My wife, Marilee heard blue smoke coming from the studio.
I'm slow to enter the technology scene, in fact when my wife would send emails for me she would sign it: Dale Popovich~sent from my rotary telephone. But two years ago I got my iPad2.. After seeing several of my Palette and Chisel students using an iPad for their photo reference and my wife complaining that we were using a tons of toner printing 50+ photos at a time – they say toner is more expensive than gold per ounce.
I took the plunge. Who would have ever thought I'd have such am amazing love affair with this little piece of electronics. I love the fact I can carry my portfolio, have my photo reference at my fingertips, zoom into an area to look at details, take photos on the fly and let's not even talk about Pinterest.
I remember the day I purchased my iPad with the extended warranty. I asked the Mac guy if I dropped it would it it be covered? He said you bet. Fast forward, I had six weeks till the warranty expired, made an appointment online and rushed to Oakbrook.. Replacement wasn't covered, but I could get a new one for $250 instead of $700. Done. I was disappointed, but I had to have my iPad so I gave into my addition. The positive side: a brighter screen and a new battery.
I'm still marveled with this machine. Right now we are looking into Bento to keep my painting inventory sheets with me. Here's a write-up on Bento software.
So if you if you don't have an iPad check it out. It's a remarkable tool for artists. Remember Christmas is around the corner. And if you do get one hold on tight!
Dale L Popovich IWS
is an award-winning watercolorist and teacher who is passionate about capturing the raw beauty of the American landscape with the fluid stroke of a brush. As you will see the works selected in his portfolio represent the breath of his holistic approach to painting. You can also learn along with this talented and experienced teacher through his workshops, Palette & Chisel, Mainstreet Art Center, Elmhurst Art Museum and Popovich Studio classes.