The Fine Art of Being Awake -The Greatest Painting Secret You Will Ever Need



so what was the homework assignment we'll just jump right in there styrofoam and crystal now why in the world would I choose styrofoam packing styrofoam of all things it's a contemporary iconic thing like Jiffy Pop popcorn that pops then the very few stories carry that it's kind of so iconic it's a period of time part of being an artist is having that idea something happens right now and being awake to see it being a wait to see what's around you and look at it as not junk like we do with the water but think wow that's something we live with that and we take that for granted you know if we were alive during the hippie era and we painted hippies as much as we hated hippies at that time and now we'd look back at those paintings would say you are awake you are genius I lived with 32 punk rockers do you think I ever took I mean they were crazy they had they one of them was wanted by the police for murder but shoots 32 punk rockers and spike yeah I was the landlord I owned the building and the main gal spikes she had hair up to here all spiked out that's where she got her nickname her normal name was Doreen no wonder she changed her name to spike and she owned the lease up there and she was wanted for murder of all things that's so how that's what I was living in but do you think and I was kind of friendly with them because I wanted them to pay the rent and I was always they never did but but but the thing is if I would have said hey spike instead of coming down pay the rent why don't you model for me let me paint you and if you know instead of hating them I would have you know used them as a model imagine if I would have painted all the punk because that was such a short period of time and there was so iconic dress and the hair and the the all of spikes all over the place and all of that stuff but I wasn't awake enough there are very few people there were awake to paint the 60s how many people are painting men with their pants pulled down or as you know but the thing is that's part of our era where that's been a long era I mean unfortunately I'm thinking oh come on this year they have to come up with something new and it's always amazing you see the girlfriends they're always so pretty and fixed up and all this stuff and their boyfriends look of it it just got out of bed their pants hanging off your slippers but you know you've got to be awake and so I had the homework assignment you guys kind of verted that was bubble wrap bubble wraps awesome I mean imagine painting bubble wrap we take it for granted but it's the thing that we live with right now packing peanuts is again something it's different than then bubble wrap because there's so many of them so as an artist I'm looking at going okay bubble wrap and crystal now it'll quite likely the two go together because you would have a box shipped if you're going to ship crystal that good but why did I choose crystal because bubble wrap doesn't sparkle now remember in this class we don't paint things so I didn't want you to paint bubble of bubble wrap or shipping peanuts I didn't want you to paint shipping peanuts I didn't want you to paint crystal what are we after effects right so crystal effects light so what I'm looking for did you achieve something with the crystal as a center focal point that shimmers and glows now some people didn't have to do that some people came up with really good compositions without having the crystal they made all of that now bubble that this the shipping peanuts they're crazy and you know the when you get something that has these shipping peanuts in them you kind of go oh shoot when you open it up you go oh god those again because you know once you throw them in the garbage can they have a way of flying out and your whole neighborhood is filled with them you know so they're kind of like a burden on everything else and thank god they're trying to pass legislation to make them dive biodegradable but the thing is they have these wonderful S shapes some of them are long and narrow what makes shipping peanuts look like shipping peanuts or alright where they look like marshmallow you know because the marshmallows are kind of shaped that same way and some shipping peanuts are different colored some of them are pink some of them are green so most of them are white we think of them as white in fact if you if you think about packing peanuts they're usually they sprawl out they make a pattern and we as artists like eye magnets and so what I'm looking for is taking this very loose Lucy kind of product that blows away Rosie and try to create eye magnets with it not just a pile of peanuts but you can break that up so that you can actually put them around if you have crystal you can kind of use the crystal as a central focal point and put in an effect on it and put a couple of the peanuts in now some people had to go so far as to put a box and they're painting and when you have an element like a box it's a thing one of the students actually because they're trying to explain what are these peanuts why are they here why why are you painting peanuts it's just an element like anything else would be in traditional it would have been a lace tablecloth you know back then there probably why do we have to have lace tablecloths but don't we just have flat tablecloths because lace tablecloths have some patterns we can use that how do you paint them I don't know stare at them awhile wait for something to happen you know wait for is something it won't just come and get you you have to look for it for a while and so one of the students said I had crystal I had these funny-looking snake things ah I'll get a box so she tipped the box forward with the four flaps hanging out word but then it looked like a thing so she moved the crystal vase just enough so that the crystal was sitting on one of the lips of the boxes and the light was shining through the crystal onto the flap of the box and here now she had this wonderful pattern on one of the flaps behind the box ingenious that explained that it wasn't just a plop it actually needed to be there and then she had the peanuts coming out of the box and all out and she created the the peanuts in such a way that they led you up into the box into the crystal the whole thing made sense the whole painting was thought through that's part of what I do is try to teach you to become artists try to take something and make something out of it and once it's done you go Wow why didn't I think of that well I was interested because gene last time we were talking and she said I like the idea of taking it to the next level and I go yeah taking it to the next level and then abstracting it to the point that it's no longer the request is a fine line you know so it's like can you push it as far as you can and still have it within the realm of possibility maybe you're not after possibility like you said for you it's a lot more interesting to to push the envelope a little bit right because we all want to look good that's the human nature and we fear looking bad that's basically how we operate yeah and how do you know until you play all the way you know but then you have to be willing to have people go nice idea but it's a little too abstract to be real I think that's really a valid point well if you shipped if you shipped me a crystal glass what would you wrap it in bubble wrap or peanuts one of those – okay so but the main thing is is is is coming up with an idea that that is workable and then make something happen that's what we're after is find something and make something happen within that space like the box and the crystal you know using the box flap as a way of backlighting the crystals so that the crystal caused a pattern on the leaf of the box I said that's an effect that's very very interesting or we can relate to if you take it out further than that then it becomes abstract and then sometimes the concept becomes overwhelming over the what you're trying to paint and ultimately we're trying to do what mrs. Google insky taught us for those of you who don't know mrs. Google in ski misses Google in ski was the biggest force in my life and those of you who have taken the power to create and suddenly you who have taken this class she is the only artist that I hold credit to and she was a lady did I ever hear this tree she was a lady I had met there was a guy that restored paintings and he had an original Rubens and when he unfolded it I looked at it and I said there's nothing left it was gigantic was a four foot by six foot Rubens and I said there's nothing left but a bunch of paint chips and some scratches and some paints you know I said this nothing because you ate he was polish too and so I he gets a back six months later and it is like phenomenal it looked like it just came off of one of those European churches or something just gorgeous and it was Christ with the coins and I was it was just an incredible painting as it who restored this who painted it and he says he has this little old lady she was 90 at the time mrs. Google insky who lived in one of the adult high-rises in the city and I said I need to meet this woman and he goes well she doesn't speak English very good and I said I don't care she's got the secret now she started learning in France when they opened up the academies and she was painting with Monet and MANET and all these artists back in that period of time she had been painting all of her life and at the time we had a Polish Pope 30 years ago and that was her God that was her her inspiration I walked into this little apartment there was no bigger than this there was a kitchen a bed and paintings stacked ten feet deep ten feet high and a little sitting area windows closed painted shut in this little dorm and I tried to call her and I said I want to meet you I wanna meet you and she said you're crazy you're crazy I said no I'm not crazy so I went and sat with her drinking really stale old tea for hours I was like mrs. GU kolinsky what is the what's the secret I'm only 21 nobody's painting realistic art nobody was painting I was going to college and getting kicked out of college because I said I want to paint something real and they wanted me to paint abstract I wanted to paint like the old masters she had the key I said how do you paint like that and she turned to me and she said paint up what you'll see ya and I was like oh god come on you come up with something else and I was naive I was stupid I was like and the thing is I was so I wanted everything from this lady and she held the keys and she wasn't giving it to me and after a whole day of just wrestling with her I went home and I said she's holding back I need to get so I called her up the next day I said would you mind if we had tea again and has sat there that it's like all she would say it's paint what you see paint what you see paint what you see what you see that's the secret paint what you see and all over I'm standing out these beautiful portraits of the Pope and portraits of she gorgeous museum quality stuff but that's ultimately that one art one artist that I make reference to is learn to paint what you see everything you need is right in front of you there's no gimmicks there's no things that you need just create something and then paint it and all you need is right there the colors the values that you just have to be awake to see it and then I was given a talk and I was talking about Mitsuko kolinsky and she they said I said well she said paint what you see and one other persons in the audience stood up and he said ah yes but once you get paint what you see then it's about paint what you see and this is the second half so what we're doing in this class is not mrs. Google in ski paint what you see we're in this class right now paint what you see so you're taking ordinary things and making them extraordinary sometimes you have to put more into it sometimes you have to make something happen because if you don't there's nothing there a painting that doesn't have any spark or fire cannot compete with one that does if you're in a room and all the paintings are fabulous beautifully painted you have to do something to create magic and believe me there are not a lot of artists out there that know how to create magic and it's That moment when light hits things and so if you paint styrofoam peanuts with crystal I think about all these dark little forms like abstract ferns little s's and little things and I think about all of that and then I think about this shining crystal the light something to reflect that catches our eye if you've got a beautiful reflection on a crystal you don't need to you can worry about the peanuts they'll they'll be there as a support you only put the peanuts there because the crystal bowl sitting on a table all by itself is boring so now you're using your penis for eye magnets so what's important in a composition is how you lead people there and you need other things if you just have something that's really beautiful by itself you need two or three other spots because that's how we see when I'm looking at something I look at it and when you have a conversation with somebody you're looking at them but you glance away it's very common in fact it's very awkward to be looking at somebody and not glance away after a while they let go something on my nose you know so it's very common for us to dart around and something's more interesting over here we could end up I'm looking at you and somebody's being murdered back there I'm gonna stop looking at you and I'm gonna be paying attention to what's back there but if it's not that interesting if it's just a fleeting dog running or something I'll catch it and come back to you and so the other things in the painting need to be that immediate oh that's interesting back so those are the secondary focal points that you need you need at least three of them to keep the painting interesting so you would have a little bit of light on some of the peanuts one here one here then you have the mother lode the the crystal that's lit up beautiful sparkle that's what I'm looking for but I don't know maybe somebody's come up with something else in this particular painting are a reference to it's the the lid of the box that becomes the star because that's the surface that the crystal throws it's wonderful shadow on and I go god that's great because now we're not even looking at the crystalline where we're looking at the lid of the box and it needed to be in there so that's that's what I'm saying you could you don't have to be clever you just have to think it up I'm Stephan Balan welcome to the Grand View America's national parks through the eyes of an artist you

23 Replies to “The Fine Art of Being Awake -The Greatest Painting Secret You Will Ever Need”

  1. Make fun of a woman’s name??
    What a cheap shot.
    “Her real name was Doreen. No WONDER she changed her name…”
    Everyone laughs.
    There’s nothing wrong with the name Doreen.

    “As much as we hated Hippies”?

    How can you assume ‘we all hated Hippies’?
    Do you know what a Hippie really is?
    Punk rockers are not Hippies!
    Frankly, I think we could do with a few Hippies in this dim era of Trump!

    Lose the smug superior attitude, Baumann.
    It’s unattractive.

  2. I am so happy to have found your channel! Your tutorials are interestingly about more than art. (Liken to Alan Watts zen training.) Thank you for your energy and awesome sense of humor. They are both relaxing and inspiring…… Painting what I see.. "I am."

  3. I'm on a constant lookout for master artists and teachers like You, who still believe in classical art and its fundamentals. It's so hard to learn "proper" painting and find good resources when the norm is "don't care" and "rules only limit you". I'm very glad to have found your videos just now.

    As for this video you have a very good point here. I feel most artists today are simply too absorbed in "being artistic" to realize the things you mentioned about being awake, or what we should be painting and why should we paint it. They are missing the real "secrets" that are right in front of their eyes. I've also been there and done that and I know there is still lots and lots I need to learn, and I'm sure there are still things I'm missing. There is so much that is right in front of my eyes if I look at old masterworks, that I just don't see yet – often because I don't know what to look for.

    I'm actually a digital painter but I try to go back to classical art fundamentals and re-apply that to digital painting. As artists of the past expanded their tools as technology and science of their era evolved, such as new pigments being discovered, I see digital art as just another new tool in the line and I believe the same principles can be applied to it as to an oil painting. I'm sad to see that traditional and digital artists tend to think they are on completely different paths, instead of seeing the other merely as a different viewpoint on the same subject. And I learned a lot from your videos already.

    Thank you very much for making these available!

    Best wishes from Hungary,
    Storm

    P.s.: Bonus points for the Renaissance style clothing! 🙂

  4. another awesome video!!😊 Thank you!! I recently was able to spend 2 hours and 40 minutes with a professional artist free of charge, I was so excited! However, he was a very TIGHT painter and not expressive at all. I found that I knew more about the artistic creativity than he did. He had a few beautiful paintings that he did, but most were not very interesting and seriously had no true focal point nor obvious eye magnets. After the visit, I actually felt bad about my free style of art. I love details and precision, but also beautiful free marks that catch the eye. I have decided my style is my style, I see it the way I see it. 😊 Thank you for every wonderful video you put out!

  5. You Are Great. you make me want to go back to school man. i get a Ton of Value out of these Videos. Thank You

  6. Just Amazing work Stefan , thank you for your words , wisdom and sharing I super dig your you tube channel just Great .

  7. I've made 3d art with styrofoam and cardboard, I create a design within the constraints of the object. Sometimes I alter the shape, though.

  8. Thank you Stephan, I really appreciate hearing your viewpoint. Right on. Again.
    Will take the "at least 3 eye magnets" hint into my next painting!

  9. stefan, you are most welcome, now for all of you out there, the world does not need anymore sunday painters, we need great artists. how are they made , by great teachers .hang on to everything this man says, he is giving you pearls….with great respect from england mel stenway..

  10. HI STEFAN, MANY YEARS BACK I SET UP A STILL LIFE FOR MY STUDENTS, IT WAS FULL OF BOTTLES, VASE A KETTLE I THINK AND FRUIT. I STOOD BACK AND WATCHED THERE FACES IN HORROR WHEN I THEN DRAPED AN OFF WHITE CLOTH OVER EVERYTHING PRESSING IT DOWN SO YOU COULD BARELY MAKE OUT WHAT IT WAS. NOW PAINT THAT. I TOLD THEM STOP SEEING THINGS PAINT WHAT THE LIGHT DOES TO SOMETHING.NOT THE THING ITSELF .YOUR TEACHING IS A WONDERFULL GIFT TO PASS ON.STEFAN YOU ARE A TREASURE TO ALL STUDENTS OF ART, LONG MAY YOU CONTINUE…REGARDS FROM ENGLAND MEL STENWAY

  11. I don't know of any other artist who gives away so much of this nature of information – you teach me so much! I've sketched more this past few weeks after watching your videos than I have done the whole of last year, and what I'm looking at while I'm sketching is taking on a different feel. I wish we were taught this at school instead of abstraction without the ideas behind it. (School for me was 25 years ago!)
    I'm in awe. Thank you.

  12. You are so darn good….. Learning, learning, learning from a far. But I do try to remember what you teach from these videos. Thank you so very much for this.

  13. I have watched many of your videos and learn something different every time. Thank you for sharing your valuable knowledge to us newer artists that want to learn.

  14. WOW! I think I might give you to myself as a birthday present in May. I turn 50 years old and I would love to have you as a coach. You challenge and inspire me with each video, but I struggle with procrastination without accountability. Perhaps having you as my coach would help me with that.

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