Why Loose?

Quick Update: I’ve been working hard on my procreate series. I want to make it informative and easy to read. Procreate can be complicated enough, my goal is to make it feel approachable for those that don’t want to get into all the technical stuff.

I thought I’d talk a little bit about the challenges of working loosely. I have a number of students who take my classes who say it is very difficult for them to let go of the urge to put in all the details. I frequently tell them painting loosely does not mean a lack of detail, you can always tighten up a loose painting, but not the other way around. Think of it as baking a cake–you don’t put the icing on first, right? Because there is nothing to put the icing on–you haven’t made the cake yet so you can’t. It’s the same thing with drawing and painting–you have to define the form and structure of the piece before you put in the details. 

Meadow, Valley Forge PA (For Sale)

It’s important to work the entire composition at the same rate of completion–in other words, I didn’t spend all my time on one figure until it was done while other parts of the painting were still just blank canvas. Cover up that empty canvas or paper, get the basic forms in and work the details on each form to the same level of completion before going back to the one you started with.

Working in this manner ensures that your painting stays cohesive and that no single areas stand out as more complete than the rest of the painting–you don’t want any parts to look “pasted on” and they will if they are more developed than the rest of the piece.

Getting back to the question, why loose? Perhaps I should have phrased it “why start out loose?” 

Now it’s up to you, to decide when you are done. If you have kept your painting loose and now wish to make it tighter, there is nothing to stop you from putting in as much detail as you want to–you now have a solid structure to build upon. Or, if you are more inclined to keep your painting a bit on the expressive or impressionistic side, then you just stop sooner and leave the painting with details that are suggested rather than tightly rendered.

The point is, you can tighten your work up as much as you want to and it will look cohesive and effortless even with a lot of detail, as long as you build up to it and don’t try to put the detail in before you have the structure

How do you keep it loose while painting? Let me know in the comments below

Ireland in Pastel: March 17th

Come practice with me during my one day workshop, Ireland in Pastel. We will create a semi-abstract landscape of the Irish countryside. The emphasis will be on working with greens, getting a variety of hues, keeping the landscape abstract and geometric, and getting a sense of vast depth and space.

Follow me on insta @kullaf for more updates!

Saving Money on Supplies

If you’re like me, there’s probably a mountain of art supplies sitting in the closet, collecting dust. A good way to save money? Use what you have on hand! Especially for studies and practice work. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a closetful of various supplies: pastels, watercolors, ink, charcoal, colored papers, acrylics… I think artists have a tendency to hoard this stuff–we see it in the store in its pretty packaging, or maybe it’s on sale, and it somehow ends up in our studio closet. These materials are perfect for experimentation.

It’s almost time for spring cleaning! Go through what you have and make a list of only what you REALLY need.

You can also get creative by looking in your recycling–cardboard boxes and paper bags make great surfaces for charcoal and pastel drawings, newspapers are also quite interesting as backgrounds for drawings. While the results are not likely going to be archival, they are great surfaces for creating studies and less permanent works.

watercolor, gouache, and pen

If you like working on canvas, I highly recommend Fredrix canvas pads. They are great for doing studies, plein air and other informal paintings. Plus, they are much easier to store and a lot less expensive than working on stretched canvas all the time.

If you work in oils or acrylics, another way you can save is by switching to gallery wrap canvas for your exhibit pieces. Back when I would exhibit, I always used them. Gallery wrap enables you to forego framing–it is especially effective with contemporary themed work. You just paint the edges with black acrylic for a professional finish or continue the painting on the sides for a high detail finish. Collectors who buy your work can either hang it as is without a frame or select one that matches their taste.

I also love using little journals for watercoloring, easy to take with you everywhere you go! 

So next time you need some inspiration, take a look in your supply closet and pull out those watercolors you bought 5 years ago and never used, or the pastels, or the Chinese brushes, or…whatever it may be!

Thoughts on Procreate

Technology has progressed so much since beginning my career in graphic design and as a professional artist. I started drawing on the iPad about 2 years ago. My first impressions; I liked using the Apple Pencil much more than other styluses that I had tried before. It’s pressure sensitivity is great and feels more like using a regular drawing pencil. The technology is intuitive and user-friendly. Before drawing with the iPad and the pencil, I disliked digital drawing. It felt too technical, in the sense of controlling the marks and shading with controls rather than with movement, pressure and the angle I was holding the pencil. 

Lately, I started introducing digital drawing in my online course offering. I like it as a teaching tool. I can easily demonstrate and suggest revisions to a student without the need to touch their actual artwork. It’s not always easy getting everyone acquainted with the technology, especially if it is their first time using the iPad to draw, but a lot of my students find that they are able to replicate traditional media, in a digital format, relatively quickly. The biggest hurdle is learning the tools and having the patience to persevere when things get frustrating. Technology always comes with frustrations, and this is no different. 

Vrain Creek, Procreate, 2021

I love Procreate because of its variety of brushes. You are able to control the size and settings, and it’s much more cost-effective compared to buying all of those different brushes, paints, pencils, etc. — it’s also a lot more portable, which is great if you like to work outside or sketch when you are traveling. If I want to create a watercolor drawing, I simply select one of the watercolor brushes, or charcoal or acrylic, or any kind of medium. 

I will be creating a few blog posts here, that cover the Procreate and drawing on the iPad specifically. In March I will have another procreate course, Spring Flowers Digital Drawing. I hope to see you there! Follow me on Instagram for more updates and art @kullaf

Welcome Back!

This is a painting of a morning scene across a mountain by Anne Kullaf. It is very vibrant and colorful, yet earthy and grounded.

Welcome Back, Friends! Old and new! It’s been quite a while, I haven’t written on my blog since 2014. Lately, I’ve been feeling the desire to share my thoughts again and my process as an artist, especially since it’s changed so much; particularly due to the changes in the world this past year.

2020 hit all of us hard and I feel grateful to have gotten through it without losing my mind! I hope all of you are safe and well. If you follow me on Instagram, I’ve been hinting at some exciting news!

I’ve packed my bags and moved to Colorado!! It’s so beautiful, I’m taking my journals with me everywhere…

Painting Of The Rocky Mountain National Park

If you don’t know, I started offering online Zoom classes almost a year ago now, and it’s been an absolutely wonderful new way to teach! My main focus was to continue to inspire artists of any skill level to keep drawing, and painting, and doing what they love. So I’m glad I was still able to connect with everyone while being stuck at home.

Thank you everyone.

Loosen Up (name pending) is back! I can’t wait to hear from everyone again, I hope we’ll have in-depth discussions, share tips and tricks, and I’ll make a tutorial or two.

I hope you and I both gain something from the content I will begin posting here. I’m incredibly welcome to your ideas, suggestions, and feedback!

To start, how about letting me know what YOU would like to see in terms of content and format? Comment down below 🙂

Please comment and ask questions as often as you like, I want this to be a source of useful information and the best way I can do that is by having you tell me what is important to you.

In the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram, @kullaf or check out my online classes at my website.

I will be on a regular posting schedule soon, expect to hear from me at least once a week! 

❤ Anne!