Apricot & Cherries

Apricot & Cherries from “Color Mastery” course by Lena Rivo

This morning was the last day of our Pencil Portraits in the Park class, and it was sad and fun and productive. Hopefully our teacher will offer it again. As we are outdoors and all vaccinated, most of us go maskless. In the classroom, two hours of wearing masks would not be fun.

After class, a trip to the store and then home for lunch, a nap, afternoon coffee, and continuing the repeating of my following along with Lena Rivo in her “Color Mastery Essentials” class. For this study, she wants the student to see how things are done – give an overview to the novice – but as I have already a bit of experience, I followed, paused the video, painted, backtracked, and so on.

My study is not particularly elegant or well done, but the experience is what was important. I know more about color mixing, but the lessons also mentioned mixing the gouache directly on the paper, painting the main subjects first (guess what they were!), doing the shadows, and then painting the negative space – the background – around them. From there, refinement, such as stems, fixing shapes, etc. I decided to add some prints to the tablecloth in colors I had left on my palette, and rather like the way it pulled everything together a bit.

To be continued . . .

Carp Diem Gouachensis

A Study from Lena Rivo’s “Color Mastery” Class – Value Exercise

Awhile back I enrolled in an online class offered by a gouache artist, Lena Rivo, whose work I admire. The class is called “Color Mastery Essntials” and I have found it to be such a pleasure.

I have been painting with gouache since around 2019, and the first task was to get comfortable with the medium, learning its quirks. Every medium needs a level of study that comes simply through experience, and then, once experience is gained, refinement of that experience. Lena Rivo can be found on YouTube, painting in oils, acrylics, and gouache. Her style is simple, her colors are very clean and vibrant. Because mud is my middle name, I thought her class would be worth a try.

Was it? Most definitely. I have gone through nearly all the modules, and am doing them another time. This one is what caught my attention today – value. I really don’t see value but with the exercises in her class, values are becoming more and more visible. The above exercise was about values. The light colors of the fish contrast sharply with one another, some being darker and others being lighter than the water. Besides value, the question is what temperature do you see within the values? Warm? Cold? I never really thought about things this way.

If you want to see Lena Rivo’s work on YouTube, click here, and for her website, click here. There are free downloads about how to improve your art and an excellent guide for painting with gouache. A gallery of her work is eye candy, filled with beautiful colors. Flowers, people. landscapes, the sea and more are all represented here. You can also find links to her courses.

I won’t go into too many details of the class I enrolled in, as it is her class, but I will say I do recommend it. It is clear and logical, moving from simple to more complex. Topics covered include how to keep your colors vibrant, even in shadows, how to evaluate light and dark, and steps to take to evaluate what you see to create your own, original painting.

In all honesty, I tend to be skeptical about online learning, mostly because live online learning can be very poorly done. The same with a class that is prepared and self-paced by the student. Lena Rivo’s class is not dull, it is interesting, and full of important details that don’t overwhelm. Each lesson builds on the previous, and repeating modules effects learning more with each round.

I plan on continuing to repeat what I’ve already covered because I am seeing it again, with new and more experienced eyes.