PleinAir Podcast 213: CW Mundy and the Principles of Painting
Welcome to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads – rated the #1 painting podcast in Feedspot’s 2021 list. In this episode Eric interviews American impressionist CW Mundy live during the Publisher’s Invitational in the Adirondacks. Listen and put these principles to work to help your painting improv right away.
Bonus! In this week’s Art Marketing Minute, Eric Rhoads, author of Make More Money Selling Your Art, answers the questions: “How do I negotiate arrangements to sell my art in a restaurant?” and “What’s the best way to get local museums interested in my work?”
Listen to the PleinAir Podcast with Eric Rhoads and CW Mundy here:
CW Mundy, “Sunset,” 2018, oil on linen, 12 x 12 in.
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FULL TRANSCRIPT of this PleinAir Podcast
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of a transcription from an audio recording of the PleinAir Podcast. Although the transcription is mostly correct, in some cases it is slightly inaccurate due to the recording and/or software transcription.
Eric Rhoads 0:01
This is episode number 213 featuring artist CW Mundy and the principles of painting – you don’t want to miss this.
This is the Plein Air Podcast with Eric Rhoads, publisher and founder of Plein Air Magazine. In the Plein Air Podcast we cover the world of outdoor painting called plein air. The French coined the term which means open air or outdoors. The French pronounce it plenn air. Others say plein air. No matter how you say it. There is a huge movement of artists around the world who are going outdoors to paint and this show is about that movement. Now, here’s your host, author, publisher and painter, Eric Rhoads.
Eric Rhoads 1:04
And I am proud to report that the movement is strong and people are getting outdoors and painting again, and events are coming alive again. And thankfully, we are getting back to some sense of normal. I apologize. I’ve been gone for a couple of months and view regularly listened to the plein air podcast and I’m usually here weekly. Well, that didn’t happen. I had tragedy in my family, someone in my family got very ill I wanted to spend as much time with them before they passed. And I got a chance to do that. And then of course, we had to go through all of the difficult things that go with all of that right, I want to get into detail. And then you know once once all of that was done then it was piles of work on my desk to get caught up from being away for a month and a half. And then of course the publishers Invitational happened, which is my publishers retreat. It’s a painting retreat I have in the Adirondacks, every year this was the 10 year anniversary would have been the 11th. But of course we canceled last year. Anyway, thank you for your patience and give me a chance to get some of that done. I normally don’t skip this and just couldn’t manage to get it done. So I do apologize. We are honored that the plein air podcast has been rated number one in feet spots 2021 Top 15 painting podcast list. So that’s pretty cool. Thank you so much for making that happen. Coming up next month, we’ve got our virtual online conference for pastel and it is booming, booming, moving. Anyway, this is our first pastel event dedicated to drawing and painting with pastels and even if you don’t consider yourself a pastel artists, I hope you’ll check it out because you’re going to learn a lot of concepts that will apply to whatever your favorite medium is. I learned some techniques. For instance, from Albert Handel, he sent me a little video privately the other day, some things he’s going to be teaching. And I said, you know, Albert, I think I could apply those to oil painting. He said, Yeah, absolutely you can. But this is a technique we use in pastel. So I like Oh, cool. This is cool. And I when I attended watercolor live or watercolor event, I learned a bunch of things about watercolor and I got to be much better at watercolor, which is really convenient for those times when I don’t want to take my my oil paints. But I also learned some techniques I could apply to oil painting. And the same is going to be true for pastel painting. So you’re going to have a lot of fun. We have a beginner’s day on August 18. And you can come to that and learn all the basics. Before we dive into three days. Back to Back workshops with some of the absolute best painters in the world in pastel. You have until midnight Pacific on the 11th of July to save up to $500 it’s your last chance to save money on this conference. Go ahead and do it. It’s 100% guaranteed if you attend the first day and you don’t feel like in the first day you got your entire money’s worth. We will refund your money just ask and we will do that. I think we’ve only had to do it one time. And because it was somebody thought it was about modern art and we didn’t do modern art. So anyway, but we stand behind it. So go to pastel live and check that out. coming up soon after the interview I’m going to be doing and marketing minute also, we recently gave away a $15,000 check to the great Lori Putnam for winning the 10th annual plein air salon art competition. She will be getting her painting on the cover of plein air magazine. Actually she has her painting it’s out now. And we’ve now started the next round. So please visit plein air salon.com. By the 31st of July enter your best works. Each month we have highly respected judges choosing the top paintings and everyone who is a winner in each of the categories including the top three overall. Then you get entered into the national competition for the big bucks which is a $15,000 Grand Prize cover plein air magazine and plus there’s a total of about $33,000 in prizes, so you don’t want to miss that. If You have not checked out our newest video from streamline art or from Little at all. Check it out. It’s called elegant landscapes featuring Cindy Baron who does painting and teaching of art for more than 35 years and you may know her as a watercolor. So that’s what I did. But when I saw her what her oil painting, I was blown away and asked her to do a video. She has a five star review. People love this video, it’s seven hours of instruction. And it is incredible. Now I just want to tell you that I spent some time with Cindy on the video and she worked with me on a couple of little things that she demonstrated on the video. And it completely revolutionized the way I paint. I changed all my colors. It changed everything. And I don’t do that very often. But she really cut through and told me some things you know, I noticed she got such elegant, rich colors. And her paintings look so wonderful, but they don’t look garish. And so anyway, check it out. Check out Cindy Baron, elegant paintings at streamline art video, just go to streamlineArt video.com you can search her name, Baron, or you can go to the new releases section on the homepage and you will find it there. Also, in the current issue of plein air magazine, you’re going to find a feature article on the acclaimed watermedia artist Stephen quiller, who influences artists worldwide with his color theory and painting techniques. You don’t want to miss that and check out our free weekly newsletter plein air today, it’s a great way to stay connected to plein air groups all across the country and even in the world. You can go to outdoor painter comm or website outdoorpainter.com and sign up for plein air today. All right. Coming up after the interview, I’m going to be answering some art marketing questions in the marketing minute. But first, let me tell you about this interview. I invited CW Mundy to join me in the Adirondacks. He’s been up many, many times to our our event he paints with us but I asked him, you know, normally it’s just you know, we’re all equals. But I said CW got so much information, would you do something with us. And so he set up on stage with me, and we did the principles of painting. Now he did, I interviewed him, and I recorded it on video for a video that he’s doing. But I wanted to share this with you as a podcast today. So today we have CW Mundy, the principles of painting. Now keep in mind, this is with a live audience. And so it’s not edited. It’s nothing fancy. But I think you’re going to get the great ideas out of the principles, put these principles to work, and they will really help your painting right away. So let’s get right to the interview with CW Mundy. I had I had a really interesting moment in time. And it was a kind of a realization moment for me.
Eric Rhoads 7:43
I went painting up in Vermont with CW and Carolyn Anderson, Todd writers who got violently ill that week, Peter Miller, I’m not sure who else, Carolyn Anderson. And we had a rainy day like this. And we had painted outdoors together. And this is probably 10 or 1215 years ago, I don’t know it was a long time ago. It’s kind of the first time I ever met these guys. And I was pretty intimidated painting with all these amazing painters, as you can imagine. And they’re all kind of coming over and they’re given me tips, and everybody’s telling me something different. So again, Carolyn would come over and tell me to do this. And then CW come over and tell me to do this. And Todd would come over and tell me to do something different. And so that afternoon, it rained like it did today. And so we went into Peters studio, and they all took this big painting that I I was working on and I said okay, you’ve each told me something different. I want you guys to finish it. So they all finish that painting, you remember that. And it actually turned out pretty good. Because it was a combination of different styles. So Carolyn would work on it and the CW would and then I made them all sign it so I’m going to retire on that painting. Good luck. So um, one of the things that I think that we we I think we go through these phases as painters, were not not everybody but when we first start painting we kind of tend to want to be photorealistic or we tend to want to be tight. What are your feelings about that? I know you know, there’s no right or wrong but what what are the phases that we go through and where do we ultimately end up because it seems like people end up starting tight and start out tight and end up much more impressionistic or or abstract.
CW Mundy 9:57
Oh, that’s pretty much The way it always is. And it’s the same thing. Same way with collectors, you know, the collectors, you know, they go looks just like a photograph. Like they’re really cutting the mustard, you see what I mean. And then after that collector spends 10 or 15 years looking at artwork, going to museums, studying, you know, the great painters, then they go to school and they say art is much more than having to be a slave to to pictorial realism. But I want you to understand this, I have no gripes about photo realism, as long as it’s great, I, I love everything from conceptual art, all the way to photo realism. My only my cut off point is, it’s got to be moral, if it’s immoral, I don’t want anything to do with it. That’s just, that’s just me. And so I God has given me a great gift to be able to appreciate photorealism all the way to really good conceptual art. So the artist is the same way, you know, they, their mind tells them, you don’t want to be a painter while I look at something, that’s real estate. So you’re going to try to end up making it look realistic, which is really pretty hard to do, and almost an impossible task in the very beginning. So there’s a lot of frustration there. But we don’t have to be a slave to the subject. And as a general rule, but there are things that you need to be a slave to the subject when you’re painting. And that is paying attention to the value relationships, the color relationships, and the edges and the things that might appear the way that you would want to is your painting. And those things. So there are things that we need to gain that mileage in. But it’s so many the artists, they would come to my workshop. And they’ve done that for the last 2025 years. Because they like the way that I paint. But they find out when they get into the workshop, what I do is I take them back to square one and start over. And in fact, I’m one of the few artists out there that is professional, I love to get somebody that doesn’t know, diddly squat. And the reason is they feel really like intimidated. And oh my gosh. But I love that because I don’t have to deprogram them. Because there’s so many so many students that come off, you know, they come to class, they go, Well, my high school teacher told me that, and I decided that that’s why they were your high school teacher. They weren’t out in the field, and they weren’t painting the freedom. And of course, back in those days, there weren’t, there wasn’t the accessibility to to making money like there is now this is the greatest time in the history of America to be a loving artist, and be able to make money to enjoy your craft. So I don’t know if I’m going off on a tangent of that.
Eric Rhoads 13:36
How many people in the room are currently selling your paintings? All right. Now hands down. How many people in the room? Don’t ever cut care if you ever sell a painting, that you’re not here to sell paintings, okay, several of you. And how many have not sold paintings yet but aspire to be someone who sells paintings. Alright, so a few of you. So majority of people are selling paintings.
CW Mundy 14:05
You know, I want to say I did this really cool that he asked that question. Because I get students that come there too. There are a lot of students that would come to my workshops, they don’t care about having a career. They were just smart enough to come to somebody they thought they knew something that can help them enjoy it. Because you know, so I have a great affinity for those people. Because, you know, I we know how to talk about business because I’ve been on for a long time. But I like those people that just want to have the enjoyment of painting and, and really guys and gals I’m telling you, it’s the journey and the experience that it’s all about. It’s not the completion of the painting and, and getting aggradation and stuff like that and last year, really You know, you’re trying to move up the ladder. And there’s, there’s some validity in that. But it should, first of all, it’s got to be that enjoyment. And this is one of the reasons that I love to teach because we’d probably get into this point. But I tell my students all the time, I mean, in the workshops about the second day or the third day, and I go, you guys are working way too hard. You know, you’re forgetting the primer and the root rudimentary and the foundational stuff, and you’re trying to dress the windows, and put all the knick knack paddywhack junk on your veining that doesn’t belong there in the first place. But you know, they have to be told that so when you can give them a real good vision of what it takes, which we’re going to talk a little bit about that. It’s, it’s really wonderful. And I love those people that just want to have the enjoyment of beignet and money is not an issue, the careers not an issue. They want to do something they can enjoy. And I can promise you what the correct and right teaching, you can have a ball.
Eric Rhoads 16:10
It’s really fun. So before we get into that, I want to just touch on that. At fall color week, a couple of years ago, I offered some free counseling to people. And a couple of people took me up on it. And I was sitting there with these people, and they’re like, Okay, I need to figure out how to sell paintings. And I said, Do you need the money? And both of them said, No, I’m retired, I’ve got a good pension or whatever, I don’t need the money. And I said, Why do you want to sell paintings? And they said, well, because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do. And I suggested, maybe what you’re really looking for is recognition, not a sale? And is are there other ways to find that recognition? So I’m curious, you know, there is a lot of pressure to make a living, especially if you’re full time as an artist. Does that pressure impact your ability to paint what you love and what you want to do? Doesn’t mean Yeah,
CW Mundy 17:12
I don’t have any pressure because we, you know, I got as blessed Rebecca, my wife, Sarah, on our career, unbelievably, and, you know, we don’t need any money. You know, I don’t need any money, I got all the money I would ever need. But when I never started my goal, I never started it out to see how much money I could make. That was never my goal. My goal was, how much talent do I have? And how can I nourish that talent? And how can I paint at a high level of art, that was always my goal.
Eric Rhoads 17:49
So talk to me about being the Steven Spielberg of your own painting.
CW Mundy 17:56
This is a crucial thing, and most workshops are gotcha. Nobody ever talks about this. But I got news for you, you know, you’re only gonna paint as well as we direct. And most people don’t even think about that. In fact, you know, Dan guards told me in 1995, one of my first workshops, he said, You got to solve all the problems up front, before you ever dip or brush and I’m gone. Well, that makes a lot of sense. You know, and, and it really does so. So being a Steven Spielberg, let’s put it this way. If you’re in the movie business, and you’ve got a, you’ve got the greatest cast, the greatest screenplay, the greatest musical score, and the greatest actors, and the director spins it with a sea level, it’s never going to be up for the Oscars is a no way. So it’s the same thing you can be a goofy, you can be a really good painter, and you can have a really good subject. And then you can paint that, but if you will, direct you will have so much more and that pain will be like the Grand Slam for you, you know, not a home run, we’d like to get home runs, but hey, man, it’s really great when you know you that’s a Grand Slam. So, so directing it is really crucial thing. And so that’s why I use that illustration, because that’s the way it is and the Oscars and that’s the way it’s going to be and the receiving class of people are going to look at your paintings, and, and, and tell you the greatness of it or the lack thereof. So it’s really crucial and there are certain things that you have to understand that go along with that directing. And some of that is are some of the things that you know We’re gonna talk about this is kind of like a mini talk workshop. But I told Eric because I love this guy what he’s doing for given a dream for so many people, and his dream is pure, he just wants people enjoy painting, why not? You know, and so he’s based a lot of his, his career on doing that. So you know, that’s, that’s what I want to do as as a gift to everybody else and try to help them. See the things that are pertinent, that are really important. And that’s why I discussed with him, I said, if you wanted to have this time, I would love to love to give that to the audience so that they can, they can maybe think about some things a little bit different and tread a little bit different water than just always been. What am I gonna do in that, so the same is gone south.
Eric Rhoads 21:02
So we’re gonna have, we’re gonna get into some specific principles here, but explain what you do when you’re directing your own painting. What when you walk up to that we’re talking plein air painting, in this particular case, when you walk up to that scene, and you study that scene before you even figure out what your canvas is going to be what’s going through your head.
CW Mundy 21:29
Many people don’t know because I’m so old now. But my I launched my career in plein air painting, I went to Europe in 1995, and painted a whole collection, my wife was a professional videographer, she did a, we did a video, we saw that we had a catalog of big professional catalog. And I painted that whole collection plein air there and didn’t touch it with a brush when I came back. Because that was, that was my point. That’s what I want to do. And I really didn’t know much about plein air painting. So I didn’t approach it that way. Because I had nothing to start with. I had no starting point. Nobody told me anything. So, but what I even in the last few years, and it was that realization of the directorship how important it was even for me at the level that I contain, that you know, you are really, you know, you’re really doing a lazy job here, you know, you have you know, so much, why don’t you figure out and really look at it and assess it. So the first thing that I would say to you, which is getting your point, which is very important. Why in the heck are you setting up in front of that subject? You got to ask yourself, why am I What is it just, you know, people, they’ll go to any spot, break out their equipment, you know, they got a landscape broken boy, they’ll just bring it out, they won’t look at anything, and they’ll just start painting. And you know, you’re a wave on the ocean. You know, that’s a train wreck waiting to happen. So like Dan totally explained to me, you got to solve your problems up front. So the key issue is why is this thing begging me to be painted? And that is the question you have. Now a lot of times maybe like, here and there because of the time elements and this and that in and out of rain jars and stuff. You can’t be as particular. But you have to ask yourself, what is why am I drawn? And and, and what I wanted to say is, if it’s not begging you to pain it, go find something else. Don’t even waste your time. Your heart’s not in your heart is a big part of the painting process. And you’ve got to be motivated. And when you’re excited about something like you know, you go here and observe the first time, you see what’s the falls, they were say resist Well, yeah, say you look at it, say oh my guys, I hear the pounding on the water. I can see the water splashing and flubbing up I can see the sky behind it, you know, and you get really emotionally connected to it well, then that’s a good thing. You got to have that. So that’s the primary thing. Then, within that if you’re going to paint in a representational time, the history of art cruises, one thing and design and that is a primary, a secondary and a tertiary. You can read it and all the history books, anybody that knows anything about academic and representational art, there’s a primary, a secondary and a tertiary. The primary is your sensuality focus. That’s why you’re going to paint it if it’s If you’re on a hill, and it’s a big snow of big snow, and you’ve got a little, little child with a little red hat on a sled, and you got all this value that’s like a two value or a one value of snow, what’s gonna be your central focus? That’s gonna be the red, the red cap. Right there are if it was a black cap because of the value. So you figured out what is it that what is the the main theme of the saying that I’m looking at? Is it that like, because people were talking the first day I was there, and it was that little patch of that light, you know, it’s set up for that can be a nice attention getting and then everything else has to play secondary and has to play tertiary. If the secondary battles the primary, you got a problem, don’t ya? Because they don’t know whether to love here are loved here or wherever
Eric Rhoads 26:00
this is a common issue. You know, you see two I faced it today, you see two things that you really love. And I was like, out there a Norman Ridge Road, it was the mountains in the barn. I really love that. And then I thought, Oh, I love this tree. And you know, I so I had to try and make a decision that I was going to focus on that tree, but I wanted to make everything look great. But it fights you.
CW Mundy 26:26
Yeah, because your mind will look at it. You got a red barn over here. And you’ve got, you know, white lilies over here and the red barn over there, and you paint them with the same amount of believability and the same amount of attention. It’s a dog fight. You know, the viewer is looking at, they don’t know where to look because you have not directed the painting.
Eric Rhoads 26:54
So there’s a great debate. There are two philosophies on this that I know of probably more your philosophy is centrality of focus. That’s in focus. That’s where you have your sharpest edge, your brightest Chroma, your darkest dark, you could have you could in theory, and then everything gets softer as it goes out. Now you ask somebody like joma girl, and he says, I want everything in focus I want because the AI moves around.
CW Mundy 27:25
Well, but see, that’s not the traditional. What joma girl is talking about is what the modernists came up with and you know, everyone I know Quang hos work. Yeah, really good friend of ours, and I just love that guy, get him in a headlock and give him a deathtrap. He’s like my little little child what a tremendous artists but he loves the gentleman girl thing the that’s called the modernists came up, you only have sensuality and focus on primary and secondary and tertiary. For histories of art. The modernists came along, and they came along with what you’re talking about the equalization theory. And the equalization theory is they threw the baby out with the bathwater, they don’t want a landing spot. They want your eye to go all over and leave one thing to another and they will just want your eye moving through the whole thing. Miro Kandinsky are so many well, Jackson Pollock Hello. But there are so many artists of those moderates. That’s what they did. There was no landing point. And that was their duty. They wanted your eye to Rome. But but but the art, the history of our that was never really anything that was going in that direction. And probably because a lot of the art that was produced at that time was religious art. And it was the cardinal All right, it was you know, Mario berry baby Jesus, or whatever but it was it was it something that in a narrative painting that was that was it and then like, like Eric mentioned, then the further you get away from the the primary, the brymer the centrality to focus, your edge work becomes less edgy and softer, and less detailed and when you get further and further out of the parameters, then it’s it’s really like I’m going to get into that restaurant action flat shapes on that so so that’s why jelmer girl does that because all of that is important. But there are times that you look at some of the gentleman girls paintings, and he’s got a screen and sons on Hello. That thing is gonna bug as it’s like knocking your eyes out. It’s gonna be the central bug, right? But the point is this. Neither one is correct or incorrect. It’s knowing from the science of painting what you want to accomplish in your painting. If you want to paint a representational bhaineann, you want everybody to roam all over the place. Well, they’re all the central focus out the door. You don’t have to, but that’s why we teach. And that’s why people need to know so that they know. Well, this falls under that category. So I’ll go with that sort of a concept. You see what I mean? It helps you develop human level Dan, the greatest landscape painter ever Russian lover Dan would do sensuality and focus sometimes. And then the other ones as they were equalisation. It was it was a scene, a male Group, a bad calf, a lot of those guys on the East Coast, those scenes, those were scenes, and they painted the scene, they were called scene painters. And that’s more like Jomo girl. That’s an equalization theory, there’s not one dominant thing that he’s trying to latch on to. But for me, what I love that challenge, I, when I came across this idea, I did 14, nine by 12, still alive, I put the central focus center in Station Number one, then I went over to station number two does the next pain there station number three in Station Number four, if you take a tic tac toe board, and and they divide up to nine equal rectangles, where those lines intersect, could be station one station to station three, station four, only as a starter, it doesn’t mean that they have to be there always is just a understanding to make that a starting. And so I get like 14 of them. And then this is really funny what I learned that I didn’t know I was going to learn, I locked in and the 14 and five or six of them either locked you so much ended the centrality of focus that you couldn’t escape. You couldn’t go to the secondary and the tertiary because you’re like, you’re just like locked in. So those are things that you know, you learn as you create.
Eric Rhoads 32:23
Okay, so let’s talk about simplified value structure.
CW Mundy 32:27
Why, you know, this is one of the big things that I mentioned, Eric that I thought would be this is or how many are more in the new young painters, how many young painters that we have out there? Come on, don’t be guys. Okay, so that’s probably for those those couple that those two guys back there something to think about? I was so shocked and surprised because I thought I would be cheating. When I started playing, they’re painting that if I move this or I moved that or I did this or did that, you know, that’s cheating. No, you got to painting exactly what you say boy, and then you’re really gotten the muster. Know, if you read Edgar Payne’s book on design, he talks about that, if you’ve had a move that rock or if you got to move that cabin, like for you, he got to move the tree, he got to seen what the tree looks like, with that value in that light. And he could have moved it over closer to the barns. And then he could add something in the sky or cloud or something. They get to add all three of them anchored right there and data composition like that. But see what happens is you don’t think you’re allowed to because I thought well this is cheating. You know, you know you’re so they tell you that people that don’t know a lot, you know, you just have to pay Well, you see, well that’s good in the beginning. But one of the greatest quotes that I can give you tonight is the greatest art or artists that ever paint, paint what they can’t see. I just got I just my carotid arteries that have been going down I just had a Nirvana I just go on right there. I just got so much confirmation, because that’s the truth. The greatest painters out there paint what they can’t see why. Because they know from mileage, it’s gonna work, and it’s going to make much better painting. People get way too trapped into thinking that they got to paint well, right what’s in front of them. Sometimes you got to shift the values to make the values work better, to get a better composition. That’s where the painters you go from being a mediocre painter, to a good painter, and then proportionally from a good painter to a great painter. And from a great painter, if you want to use the word Master, that thing’s thrown around like everybody, you got to Facebook, everybody is a master. You know, I laugh at that they come how I shouldn’t say that. I kind of chuckle about the comments when people say about me, you know, so, anyway, but that that’s the way it works. So think about think about that one, quote, the greatest painters paint what they can see. So when you’re painting something there, how could what could you do to that waterfall? Or what could you do to that barn, let’s say you push the Chroma, you don’t like it looking dead orange, reddish brown, you push it, push the Chroma, which is the intensity, the color, and you make more of a brilliant read or whatever, you know, you’re allowed to do these things, people aren’t going to drive up to that spot and buy your painting, go, Hey, now, wait a minute here, that part’s not that red. You know, so you know, you got to do what you got to do.
Eric Rhoads 36:05
But those are key things to think about. Okay, so three values,
CW Mundy 36:11
three values. For you two guys in the back, you know that we’re talking about, you know, you You said you more beginners, the beginners get all i and I’ll tell you what, a lot of mediocre painters aren’t even good painters don’t really know this until they really understand it, it’s better to simplify the value structures out there. So there’s value harmony, you know, there’s harmony and color. There’s harmony and edges. There’s harmony and paint manipulation. And there’s harmony and value. Why would you paint the sky, a to value and then your mount range is six, and then your and then your land cover? Or maybe the mountain range is seven or eight value, you go from A to value to an eight value on the mountains, and then the ground cover is a four value, why would you make that great of a shift because that line along that skyline is going to be so powerful, because of the values are so far apart, you see what I mean? So why not take, why not take a sky that’s a two value sky of seven value mountain and have three or four value land cover. Why not shut the sky down and make it instead of a two value, make it a three and a half value, make it a little darker. And that’ll be a closer value to that maybe take the mountain range value and hit it a little lighter. And the grand cover, these are the things that you know when you’re going out there and like I’m looking and looking out there, and I’m looking at the sky and I’m looking at the tree line and in the waterline that that base rate is a two value. That’s that’s a two back. And that’s good. So at consensus, let’s say we simplified your Sunday to three days, then here’s the wonderful thing. Once you lay in those three values, you get your sky value, the mountain value and the ground cover value. You lay all that in and get your values right. All you got to do is do shifts on top of those values. You may go on the on the foreground cover, you may put some three cover or three value, three and a half to values. And then you may go five and a half and six as value accents. But they’re only accents. Your paintings are only going to be great if you simplify the value relationships and keep them that’s why they have Why didn’t Why do they have all the great painters talk about high key middle key and low key? Do you guys know what all that is? Does everybody understand high key as any as our values between? Well, first of all your value scale should be as they’re all way those stupid things that you buy at the pad the parts, stars or whatever that are 10 values. They’re worthless. And why are they worthless, because you never train your eye to see the half tones the half value and that’s on a nine scale. It’s a five, you’ve got four values that are lighter, you’ve got five the half tone, and then you’ve got 678 and nine four values going darker and you can train your everybody knows what what nine is black. Everybody knows what one white is you got train yourself to learn to see that halftone, if you don’t have that in a nine value scale to look at and train yourself, you don’t have that on the 10, because it’s in between the five and the six, and there’s no value for you got a six value and you got to find value, that you don’t get a five and a half value, that they show you on a 10 value thing. So those are wrong. And they’re stupid. And Richard Smith, if he were still alive and back that up, because when I read his book, I was so thrilled that he said, Oh, yeah, go with the nine value scale, and attach them Mr. Schmidt knew a lot. So the nice thing is, if you can, if you can get it down to three basic big shape values, then you play accent values, on top of on top of those different like the clouds, if you got a sky, that’s a, say a three value well, and then you’ve got some clouds in there, then you’ve got room to make a little bit of a lighter value. And then maybe, if it’s if it’s dark underneath the cloud there, you can make that a little darker. So you do accents, values, and sparingly and sparingly over the major value scales. Because the worst thing that you can do is have spotty value paintings. I remember when I used to go into our home, after plein air painting, I’d set it down on the floor, and I turned the lights down. And oh my guys, the bags were pounce on all over the place. It showed me Don’t do that. Don’t do that. You fracture the value relationship. You can fracture a painting with color. You can fracture painting with value, you can fracture a painting with edges. And you can certainly fracture a painting with paint manipulation. All of those are the key things that I talked about drug drawing, squinting, design, value color edges, and paint manipulation, and variety in unity. And each one of those visible ones and I talked about the alien factor that the association factor in the face factor, which we won’t have probably time to talk about unless people want to ask some questions.
Eric Rhoads 42:22
So you mentioned shapes, talk to us about big shapes, because that’s really essential as part of this.
CW Mundy 42:30
Well, it’s everything you know, Carolyn Anderson, who’s one of my closest friends, and I think one of the most brilliant mind art minds in America. And certainly one of the greatest painters, how many nover work Carolyn Anderson? How would you guys agree with me? Yeah, she she’s, she’s phenomenal. Well, she, she, she brought up the point, I didn’t even think about it. Carolyn Anderson skirt is all based on mark making. Now, mark making was usually achieved and started by people who were portrait painters. Because it’s like, I’m making that mark. I’m doing this part here. You know, I want to do the eyes, the nose, I see the nose and the two eyes and I see the mouth. Well, when you’re doing this sketch and study, I make marks, you see what I mean? But you don’t do that when you go out. And plein air painting. If you do that, you know, you’ve got that window of light that’s going like this. And you know, when you got to two, two and a half hour window where the values and shadows are going to be the same. That’s all you got. You don’t have time to do a mark making vein, you paint shapes. And Carolyn Tony said, Yeah, we’re two different artists here. You know, you paint shapes. I’m a mark maker. And I love her work. Oh my gosh. But she doesn’t make paint very few. She made a few landscapes. And that’s the reason because she hasn’t found a way successful for her to do mark making the way that she likes with her hands and her figures. And, and it’s troublesome. She can’t take that to the landscape, although she’s done a lot more now. So anyway, the values are key or essential. As soon as you identify them by squinting and seeing the relationships of the values. It’s all about relationships. its relation to sheep, she straightened me out on a point we were driving down to teaching down in new harmony. And I was talking about warm color, cool color and she goes See that? Yeah. It’s not warm color and it’s not cool color. It’s warmer or cooler. Because everything is relational for somebody that I’d say read well, they will have some warm color blue. That’s a cold color. Well, yes, on the color wheel. You could say that, but you can have a cool Read. And you’re gonna have a warm read you a cool read, you add violet or blue to it, and it’ll cool it off and you add why it’ll be pink or lavender pink or a little bit away from red. And so the same thing you can warm up blue by bringing in that sort of tertiary on the color will have a brown and that’ll warm up that blue. So, so it doesn’t go to green.
Eric Rhoads 45:35
Yeah, great if you want to take some pictures. Okay, so talk to us about was, so when you lay in the big shapes? Are you we take some pictures. Thank you Are are you trying to make sure that the shapes are theirs? They’re not equal. You want one of the dominant shape?
CW Mundy 45:57
Yes, yeah. Everything is relational again over. So what happens if you have a shape like this here? And then you got a shape like that over here? Well, why would you do that? Because it would be monotonous and boring. You know, you want to have variety. The key and variety and unity, which I talked was a discipline, if you’ve got too much variety, in those shapes, your thing could be fractured. If you have too much unity in those shapes, it can be boring. So the key is to get as in all the disciplines, is to get as much variety as you can get away with and still have a unified. It’s crucial. It’s crucial. But for example, if I would have paid still alive, why would I take a rectangular ball? And then paint apples and pears? Why would I do that? And last, the ball was going to be the head. And it’s totally different because it’s relational. It’s not organic. It’s a rectangle. So already with with with organic apples and oranges, or pears or lemons or whatever it is that are round and circular. Why would you stick a rectangular shaped thing and they’re just stupid? Because there’s no there’s no there’s no uniting of a you know, you want the shapes, but you don’t want them to be so that everything is the same size. You know, sometimes I’ll call cheap, I’ll make the pair in the foreground. I’ll cut him off down here and have a big top over here. Like he’s really in the front. And I’ll break the outside edge over there and do something different that and, and so that you get a variety of variety of shapes. So it is really crucial to do what Eric’s talking about, is to make sure you don’t have the same thing. It’s like there was a lady I don’t remember her name. But she was showing her her tree her her paintings of the trees and I liked them because there was unequal spacing and different sizes and shapes of those trees. Which made it interesting.
Eric Rhoads 48:22
It was Dennis Wasn’t it you were doing the trees out there and they at the center? Yeah, wasn’t that was it wasn’t you? It was oh zoo. Okay. And then there was a lady from Croatia as of slat flats or slats her first name I met Anyway, she was doing that. And I complimented her because there was a variety and yet the things were unified in value. But there was a variety of those types of bands. And they weren’t over over designed what man does.
CW Mundy 49:14
But what man does is he over? doesn’t see the beauty and the variety that nature gives us from all of the points and we over organize that have you had people Thank you. Have you had people say well, you know, I like the pain but you got you got three shapes, what they look like that that are right next to each other and they’re the same spacing. Well, that’s a no no, because it’s it’s boring and it’s it’s bad design. And by the way, design is the most crucial aspect of all pain. I don’t care what anybody says. But anybody that knows the history of art, and study from the greatest greatest painters design rules. If you don’t have a great design, your paintings gonna be served on the drain. You know, design is everything, but it’s not that hard when you understand some of this stuff, drink some water.
Eric Rhoads 50:20
So, talk to us about paint manipulation and start with what you do with big shapes with paint, because that’s kind of your that would be the foundation of your house before you start adding the the elements of decor.
CW Mundy 50:36
Excellent point, Eric. I found this out about five or six years ago doing still lives. Well, how many old Rosemary brushes. Okay, she’s got a fat, thick five inch fan brush. That should be you need two or three of those. You need to go get them and buy them and get them. Those little stupid little fan brushes that only have you know in there about, you know, an eighth of an inch thick are worthless, they’re not going to do you any good. Get you that big, fat thick, they’re about that thick. And five, they’ve got the five inch, they’ve got the three inch or whatever. Get the large and the medium and they get a smaller one but get those big fat fan brushes. Because here’s what I found out and I was just sharing that with Eric. Tonight. If you look at john fountain, Latour is still alive. How many are familiar with fontanella? tourists? No lies. Okay, how about Emil Carlsen. Okay, two of my favorite artists, okay. If you really look and study those paintings, you’re gonna see a phenomena that I just figured this out, you know, you know, a few months ago, really, literally, and now I’m saying how important it is. You I and you’re here, this is this is not a thick, heavy vein, those, those big fan brushes are not going to work really well. with thick, heavy pain better if you put on just right, or tube strength, pain. And don’t put it on really thick and use a soft bristle mongos or something and lay down your pain, you lay down all your shape. Then you take that big fat fan brush and you take it and you start doing this to all that to all those shapes and they take it you don’t want to get in the back end of the gamsol You don’t want that you just take it and rub it on a towel, get the tops off of it, take it and do it again. Take it and do it again and do it again. Those three values that come to each value comes up to another area already now you’ve softened a razor sharp edge. You see what I mean? You’ve already softened it. And that’s a great thing because as word is a difference between being a poor painter, a mediocre painter, neither one of them know anything about edges and don’t know don’t care to the the good painters even a lot of painters that are good really don’t know what how important heads work is. And then the difference between the good and the great and the Masters. All of those play in a totally different vernacular. Because edge work is everything. So what I and then think about the brushwork we talked about that. When I first started paying, I was a charismatic, you know, impressionists and I just slung paint all over there. And everything and I add action and everything we’re going to talk about that. But you have to what I’ve and I’ve learned this from a long time ago, I started neutralizing all the land stuff right off the bat. And I can remember when I first started you know like all of you, you know, you’re you’re laying in your painting, you know, and you’re gonna go Oh, I love that brushstroke. Oh I love that brushstroke and you’re in the lay in stage. I got news for you. I have not gone to work not gonna happen. You’re most likely not going to get away but if you’ve painted a beauty stroke when you’re doing the land, it’s way to say forget about it. So what I don’t want any brushwork to be making any any if you can lay you can lay that stuff down. And lay it down loosely and freely. But it’s still got structure to those, the stration of the hairs. If you’re using mongoose, that’s, you know, pig bristles that’ll make it more strident, the softer bristles won’t do that. But nevertheless, you’re going to have a brushstroke there. I’m not like to neutralize those, and why would I want to do that in the beginning, because I want my brush strokes to count. I want them to, I want them to be important. And I want them to be important, where they’re supposed to be important. You see what I mean? The most important stuff is going to be in the primary, the not as important, but care. But the place in that vernacular as not being as important not as brushy not as powerful are going to be in the secondary and the tertiary. You may you may not even want to see a brushstroke.
Eric Rhoads 56:00
Don’t hang the pictures in the house until you have the walls up.
CW Mundy 56:04
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, why I say that to my, my, my students, I said, you know, you guys are you guys are dressing the windows on your paintings. And you have dug the footing and and poured the footing yet. You know, everything has a logical way of change and order. And you could you find those logical ways to do it. But it doesn’t mean you’re trapped to do that the rest of your life, you can always change that and tweak it, tweak it and do things different to throw a curve, throw yourself a curveball. I challenge but so I want my brushstrokes to count and be noticeable where they’re supposed to be, instead of just random out there, but I’m going to tell you I would professi probably 990 percent of the painters today, nobody thinks really they don’t think about that. They don’t think about that at all. And that’s why you know, they’re not going to be like an Emil Carlsen Fontane Latour, our Monet knew how to do that. And he was a serious I just thought he was a broken and color you know, artists like you know, they talked about everything and I didn’t know that he had solid masses and shapes and certain areas and the clouds and stuff and hard edges up there. Because he understood that he understood that rhythm of all that all that science.
Eric Rhoads 57:49
So you want to talk about the other tools the Mundy mops and pellet knife and Yeah, I did. Are we going to talk about the rest action or that come up? That comes up later? Yeah. Okay. And look, the Mundy mops I didn’t name him the M