The Echo Series, Pastel Figurative Drawings by Michael Newberry

newberry leaning echoes 2020 pastel

Recent overlaid pastel figurative drawings. Reminiscent of Duchamp‘s Nude Descending a Staircase, though overlaid figurative drawings have been around since Chauvet Cave painters.

I like the temporary feeling of fleeting moments and sense of continuous flowing impressions. I don’t know if I am ready for a life-size painting. It could be very cool to a lovers painting in this way, shifting the subject of the painting to the feeling not the reality. Think about the times you have made genuine love, do you recall the pornographic details or the currents of movement triggering all your senses, one wave after another? I think this approach would be idea for that. We will see the more I put it through my psychological grinder–any of those mental voices have veto rights.

I edited a couple of them today.

Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, 4/25/2020

Demo on Student Work, Color Theory and Light by Michael Newberry

Newberry student demo time lapse

Newberry Art Tutorials

Using color theory of cool shadows and warm highlights, I corrected this student’s painting. The student got stills with instructions of the steps, here it is simply a time-lapse. Shadows and distance are often either cool or warm, cool shadows imply a cool background. It works. I did about 12 steps, cooling up the background and shadows. For example, on the lips, I changed the blood-red shadows to violet, red+blue=violet. Then I softened the edges where there was a strong line between shadows and highlights, they always need a middle tone dividing them. Then I finished with the light using a light peach, light orange or peach is the opposite of blue — Warm light, cool shadows. I hope this is useful to you.

Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, 4/1/2020

Tutorials, Online Mentorship and Student Testimonials

A Little Greek Pastel Painting Trip by Michael Newberry

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Years ago I took a pastel painting trip of a lifetime, for three months I traveled from Athens, Greece to many islands, eventually to Istanbul, and slowly back again to Athens. My first island was Tinos, from the harbor I rented a scooter, booked a tiny house outside of town for 15 dollars a night. The porch had a sloping view over gray-green olive groves down to the dark and brilliant ultramarine blue Mediterranean, about 300 ft to the left was a small, room-sized luminous white-plastered Byzantine church. 

My first day I loaded my backpack with my 200 piece pastel set, and packed several sheets of full-size pastel paper in my large portfolio bag, swung the bulky bags over my shoulder. Weighed down, I then swung my right leg over the scooter and the momentum carried me, the bags, and the scooter to crash to pavement. Laying painfully on my side, the pastels scattered on the ground, and with the scooter pinning me down I couldn’t get up. An elderly Greek woman dressed in black tending the church next door witnessed it all. And she kindly helped me get up through my blushing burn of embarrassment. Once I was upright she helped me collect the pastels. Not speaking any English, she took my arm to follow her to her favorite view of the church, and through hand gestures suggested that I draw it. 

Continue reading “A Little Greek Pastel Painting Trip by Michael Newberry”

The Art of Illusion by Brett Holverstott

Newberry, Denouement, 1987, oil on linen, 54x78"

How Michael Newberry rediscovered the role of color in creating the illusion of depth and space.

Newberry, Denouement, 1987, oil on linen, 54x78"
Newberry, Denouement, 1987, oil on linen, 54×78″

The Grizzly Professor

Edgar Ewing came through the door. The students beheld a tweed suit topped with a grizzly gray mustache and sparkling blue eyes. He moved with the melody of confidence and the whimsy of delight. He set down his case on the table, spread his arms, and smiled at the the classroom of freshman students. “Making art,” he announced “is like making love.”

The students looked at one another with sidelong smiles, most of them inexperienced with one or the other part of the metaphor, and certainly not fathoming the connection between the two. It was the first day of a fundamentals of oil painting class at USC. The year was 1974. To read more and see large images at Medium

The Surface Vs. 3D Paradox Solved

06-Newberry-Color-Vibration-Study-LightE

There was a crazy split in art history between the modernist perspective of being true to the surface of the canvas vs. the classical window looking at out the world. Paradoxically, both are true but they missed what connects them: light and color vibrations dance on our cornea’s surface.

The recent color charts below are a range of colors of different tones and hues. The project was to bring each color up to the surface, they feel about 1/8″ above the surface as if they are painted ceramic chips. I successfully tweaked them until the paint raised the vibration of the color. Then I began editing small 9×12″ paintings from a trip on Route 66. In each I brought the color vibrations up to the surface yet maintained the “window on to the world”. Notice the rocking horse’s cast green-yellow shadow, and how it rises to the surface yet still resonates as a shadow.

Armed with this new insight I have been applying it to my current life size humanist work, a nude at home in my studio sanctuary. Integrating this new process will be my evolutionary project for the coming years.

Workshop Series: Pastel, Let the Color of the Paper Work for You

Newberry, Santa Monica Lamp, pastel

Newberry Art Tutorials

Colored and dark papers can save you precious time and give you amazing effects. When I paint/draw/teach plein air I try to nail the impression in under an hour, it is a race against the planet moving. As the sun slowly moves across the landscape you will see new cast shadows, new lights, after 3 hours they all cancel each other out leaving you with muck. So in keeping the time short using the dark paper can be a huge advantage.

The idea is the paper is your dark areas, sketch in the composition and leave the darkest part alone. From there you focus on bringing out the light, driving towards the light, with the last touches happening in the last few minutes before your hour is up! This approach works wonderfully and it feels magical while doing it.

One of the reasons why leaving the paper alone as darks works is because shadows are the absence of light. The darks don’t need details or labor, leaving them alone creates a atmosphere of mystery that is a perfect foil for all the lights you will be drawing. Save time, effort, and create magic by leaving lots of paper alone. Enjoy!

Below are my pastel landscapes all in under an hour. Take note of the dark areas are just paper.