Video transcript
Operation Art – 04. From the inside out

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HEIDI WINDEISEN: Hi, everyone. My name's Heidi Windeisen. And I'm the Operation Art Project Officer here at The Arts Unit.

Today, we're going to be doing a lesson called from the inside out. And it focuses on the works of Henri Matisse, specifically his windows series. For the first part of the lesson, you're going to need either a black piece of cardboard or a white piece of board and some black gesso.

Now the difference between the black cardboard and the black gesso is the texture. So, essentially, the cardboard will stay relatively smooth. Whereas if you paint the gesso onto the paper, I'm not sure if you can see from there, but it gives your paper a nice texture.

The other thing you'll need is a paint brush to paint it on, a white piece of chalk or pastel, and just a ruler or something with a straight edge. Go and find those things for me. And I'll show you what we're doing next.

If you've decided you'd like a nice textured piece of paper and you've decided to use the gesso, it's really simple. You just paint it on as if you were painting on normal acrylic paint. It doesn't take too long to dry. You can leave it quite textured if you'd like. And you can paint on more than one layer as well. Go and have a go.

Before we get started with our drawing, I want you to take a look at these images by Henri Matisse. As you can see, all of these paintings have been created from looking outside of a window. So, he's been sitting inside and looking out at the different environments in these paintings.

That's what we're going to be doing today. I want you to find a window that you can sit in front of and have a look and see what you can see outside. Go and find your space with your paper and your chalk.

OK, now that you've found your space and you can see your landscape from out of the window, I want you to set up with your chalk and your black paper and a ruler or something with a nice straight edge. Now when you have a look out of your window, you can see that the things that are further away are smaller. And the things that are closer to you are bigger.

This is called perspective. And we need to be able to show that in our painting. So, what I want you to do first of all, using your chalk and your straight edge here, is you're going to draw a line straight through the middle nice and softly. And then straight through here again, and then diagonally through, and then diagonally through again. So, it should look something like this. Have a go at that. And then I'll show you the next step.

OK, I don't have a window in front of me, obviously, because I have the camera in front of me. So, I'm going to be using this image here. Now as you can see, we can see some of that window. I'm going to draw in what I can see in my picture. But I want you to draw in what you can see in front of you.

Using these lines here, that's how I make sure that everything stays within that perspective and has the right angles happening. Have a go at drawing in your window space. And I'll see you back here in a second.

OK, as you can see now, my window shape here follows those lines of perspective right to that focal point at the end, OK? That gives the illusion that we're looking from the inside out with our closer spaces bigger. And then the things that are further away are going to be getting smaller. So, make sure that you're following those construction lines.

The next thing I want you to do is find out where your horizon line is. Going from my picture here, it's going to be around that middle construction line. So, that's what I'm going to be focusing on as my horizon with all of my pieces heading towards that focal point in the middle.

If you can see here, I've got the little bush track that's going to follow out towards that horizon line. And I've got some bushes and things to add on there as well. I'm going to draw those in now with my chalk line.

I'm not being too fussy about details. I'm looking mostly at shapes. So, I want you to look out of your window now and draw in the shapes that you can see heading towards that horizon line.

Once you've got your lines drawn in and you've just got those nice blocks of shape where the paint is going to go, we're going to add some colour to our work. Now in my particular painting, I've got greens, blues, whites, little bit of brown. So, I'm going to make up some separate palettes for those colours because the way we're going to add our paint today is with some short sharp brush strokes to add a little bit of texture.

What I want you to remember, though, is I don't want you to paint over your white lines. I want you to paint up to them, so that you can still see them. Go and grab the colours of paint that you need and some brushes and join me back here.

So, we're going to start with the thing that is the furthest away in our perspective painting here. In my case, it's the sky. And it most likely will be in yours too if you can see any sky, or it might be the landscape that's furthest away in the distance. So, I've got my palette of blues here. Because the sky is not consistently one blue colour, I'm going to have to mix a few different shades. I've got here some water to clean my brush, some paper towel to clean my brush, some paint brushes, and my blue shades here.

Now I'm going to start with my clouds. And you'll be able to see as I'm painting in my clouds here, I'm only painting up to that white line. I want that white line to stick around.

You can have some sections where the paint is thicker and others where it's thinner just like clouds are in the sky. You see that kind of smearing of the cloud across the sky. You can show that by letting your brush strokes kind of ease off.

OK, now I'm finished with my clouds. I'm going to move on to the sky. So, remember again, I've said I've got those different shades of blue. When I look at my picture, I can see that the closer to the horizon that the sky is, the lighter it becomes. So, I'm going to start with a darker blue at the top. So, I can mix my dark blue with my white here and just have those nice choppy brush strokes, as I said to you before, just up to the white line not over the white chalk line.

As you can see here, I'm only painting over those perspective lines that I drew at the very beginning where we made that cross shape, so we could see where it all converged together in the middle. I'm not painting over the lines that outline my shapes in my drawing. OK? So, just paint up to those lines. But don't paint over those lines. We want to keep those lines. Because at the end, we've got a little bit of a trick with those.

So, keep mixing your colours there. As I said to you before, in my picture, I can see that the closer to the horizon that my sky gets, the lighter my sky becomes. How did you go with your sky? Have a look at mine here.

You can see that I've painted up to that horizon line where the sky ends. And you can see that I've painted over those perspective construction lines. We don't want to see those ones anymore, only the white lines that block out the shapes.

The other thing you need to remember is your window is transparent. So, you can actually see through that glass. So, you need to be able to see the landscape behind the glass.

I'm going to move on now to this large grassed area here. So, I've got a new palette with some greens on there. And I've got two different greens and some yellow to mix as well. And I'm going to paint in that area as well, remembering to paint between my window and paint over my perspective lines.

You can watch me paint for a little bit. And then you can have a go yourself. I'm going to check my picture again. Have a look here at my picture. And I can see that there are areas of lighter grass and areas of darker grass. So, I'm going to make sure that I'm taking that into consideration as I'm painting my landscape. Once again, I'm painting over my construction lines for that perspective but only painting up to the lines that define my shapes.

OK, now I've got my sky and my grassed areas completed. And you can still see there are quite a few shapes in there that I need to complete. I've got the road travelling out towards that finishing point. And I've also got some larger bushes and things in the background and last of all my window.

So, I'm going to paint again in between those lines. I've got no construction lines left now. So, every line I see, I need to paint up to. Choose the colours that you want and get painting.

So, I'm going to paint my hills here and also my road here with some greens and browns. And then my window in my picture is white. I'm also going to add some shade details in that window that I can see. But you'll have a look at that when I'm finished.

Now I've finished every space on my paper here, so that I've only got those chalk lines left that I can see that don't have paint on them. So, every piece of my cardboard is now covered. The next step is to let this dry completely. We can't have any wet paint at all because what we're going to do after we dry this is we're going to remove those chalk lines with a wet cloth. So, I want you to finish all your details off like this and then leave your painting to dry completely. Off you go.

OK, you're back with your painting completed. And it's nice and dry. So, as I said to you now the next thing we need to do is remove those white chalk lines. So, you just need a bit of tissue or paper towel or a sponge and a little bit of water.

We're going to go in with the water and just really lightly rub away those chalk lines. And have another piece of paper towel handy if you want to absorb a little bit of that extra water. OK, so as you can see, the sections where I've wiped the chalk away, you can actually see that black line coming through and outlining all the features in our painting. OK, once you've wiped away that last bit of chalk, your work should look something like this with the colours and then your black outline.

The last thing we're going to do is give it a nice varnish. And this is a nice, clear gloss varnish. There are a few different that you can purchase. This one's quite thick. But there is some runnier ones available and some spray glosses too. OK.

So, you just paint it straight over the top. OK, I've just finished my layer of gloss varnish. It's a little bit milky at the moment. But it's going to dry nice and clear and nice and shiny. Now we'd really love to see the work that you come up with. If you could send it to us at the email address below, that'd be fantastic. Have a wonderful day.


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