Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Find Lesson Plans on! GettyGames

Re: my working now


From: Larry Seiler (lseiler_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Jul 02 2003 - 07:52:46 PDT

>I also noticed that he uses black in the skin and large
> dabs of it around... sometimes this is a wonderful tool for drama, if you
>like manet for example (I love manet), still, in art school they usually
>tell us to be careful about black.

I personally am no fan of black. It does not exist on my palette. In
nature, standing there painting I never really see black. I see light
bouncing even in the shadows and hints of other colors. I mix all my darks
with pure color....and this allows me to lean toward a feeling of warmth or

Black, IMO tends to kill and flatten an area, and then sucks the life right
out of the image. As a plein airist, I am attempting to emulate life and
respond to my excitement about I avoid what kills or would work
against that. There are many masters though that used black such as Robert
Henri...and even though he had many Impressionist friends, John Singer
Sargent used black delightfully!

Milt's work is stylized, and it does work for him. It has a pleasing
aesthetic appeal to it, though it does not impress upon me "life"....

Tonalism is the result of painting from photographs unless a good teacher
really helps the student/artist see beyond the camera's limitations. Thru
the lens metering in favoring light pushes the contrast of the darks to lose
existence of color there, and the result is an image that favors values at
the expense of light. We are so used to seeing images and photographs that
something appears realistic about them, but we do so without questioning.

In my discussion with artists...tonalism is a totally valid form, but I like
to see artists understanding what tonalism it differs from
painting from life and what the eyes and senses see and feel. I like to see
artists choose tonalism as the answer to how they opt to paint, and not by
default of copying photos. This is why so many paint with black on their
palette, and often when I see black I refer to their photos which over 90%
of the time is what they are doing. I work hard with my own students to
understand that a complement darkens a color very nicely...and without
killing that color. Even my 2nd graders (I teach K-12) are capable of
understanding complementaries, and warm and cool colors. I am constantly
amazed what children can understand and put to use.

btw...Milt is a brilliant painter, and is a tonalist by option and
preference. His knowledge is thorough and opts to work with what works for

>My father will be interested in this too
>because he likes to paint in Central Park. He often shows with the
>Salmagundi Club. I will definitely check out those plein air activities.

very nice....good for him!

>By the way I'm also a musician - I play classical piano.
> cheers.Frances

very cool...!!! I write and perform coffeehouse style blues and folk. I
still have a band that gets together as a reunion 2-3 times per year called,
"Beggar's Joy"...and have a couple cd's out. Artists are often musicians
and vice versa. I use a lot of references to musical concepts when helping
my students understand art work working...

Larry Seiler