Still Making Art

Life Gets Better as I Get Older


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Day 9 – All in A Day’s Progress

I’m posting today so you can see how much (or little) I can do in a day.

progress-2

I can see where I need to fix the values.

I painted most of the day, and this is all I have to show for it. I honestly don’t know what others do, but since many do a painting a day, I think I must be a very slow painter.

One of the useful things about photographing as you go, is it is sometimes easier to see on the computer where you’ve got the tone or values wrong. I can see here that the value at the bottom of the lower pepper is way off. I’ll fix that in my next session. This is easy to do since the paint I use is slow drying.

I did do some touching up on the basket, but I’m still not totally satisfied with it.

Here’s the piece of lamination I’m using for this painting.

lamination-for-color-matching

Laminating plastic with my color splotches.

This is a remnant from a laminating machine. You can easily get pieces of this from a place that laminates. I happen to work at a place that does this, but any laminating shop will give you the pieces that get cut off after putting something through the machine. This is a nice stiff clear piece of plastic, and I find it easier to color match this way than to laminate my whole photo (expensive), and dab paint on it. That method requires wiping off which is a waste of time.


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Day 7 – How I Paint

my-work-station

My work station and tools of the trade.

I thought it might be purposeful to describe a bit how I paint.

Right up front I want to give a lot of credit to a particular website (drawmixpaint.com) which is crammed full of free videos (and some you can purchase) covering every subject imaginable on how to paint in oils, from start to finish. Everything you need to know is free, and the artist teaching you is very skilled in teaching.  One of the things I was most grateful for in Mark Carder’s videos is the fact that it is all in real-time speed. There’s none of this sped up painting that leaves you thinking that you should be able to throw the paint on the canvas and get a good result. You get to see how it’s really done.

I watched every video, and built most of the tools and equipment suggested. His style suits me, but even if your style of painting differs, the information on the site is invaluable to a self taught painter like myself. (Perhaps I can’t really call myself self-taught).

Some of the important things you see in the photo above are:

  1. A black cloth covering the window to block the glare in my face
  2. A special daylight bulb overhead which allows true sight of the colors you are painting (that light behind the easel is not used for painting purposes)
  3. A high quality photo of my still-life sized to match the size of my panting
  4. Paint pallet of glass over brown paper (for ease in mixing correct colors)
  5. Color checkers – a hand built black one (drawmixpaint) and a small piece of lamination plastic on which I put dabs of paint to hold up against the photo for color matching
  6. Tilted brush holder
  7. Easel that allows perpendicular positioning of canvas (my stretcher bar has an eyelet through which I run string to tie if to the easel bar – keeps the painting from falling forward
  8. Other things I use are q-tips (the hard rounded type, not soft cotton) for removing small areas that need correcting)
  9. Small jar of Geneva Fine Art Brush Dip [you can also make this yourself – see drawmixpaint]

I don’t do everything according to the Carder method. For instance, I use very small brushes – primarily #2, #0, and occasionally a #6 or #8. I just don’t seem able to use the larger brushes well. Just my style, I guess. This does mean that I paint very slowly. Therefore, I am not able to complete an entire painting before the paint has already started to dry in places. This means that I paint from upper left to bottom right so that I am always painting wet into wet. This also means that I must be continually diligent to get the tones and values correct as I go. I don’t use any mediums that increase the drying time of the paint.

You can see in the photo above that I have laid in the background which is a quick process. Then I start at the upper left with the subject matter. I’ll do all the items on the table first, including the cloth up to the edge of the table. Then I’ll paint the rest of the cloth. I do this so that even if the table cloth has started to dry when I come back to finish it, the transition will be a natural one (in this case, light area to darker area).

I use my mahl stick almost the whole time. I don’t stand back and then reach forward and make a mark on the canvas. Sounds fun, but I need more control.

I do continually get up and stand back to see view the painting fro a distance. I find this absolutely crucial to getting it right. It’s also great fun, because it is when you step back that the magic appears.

I hope this is useful, or at least interesting.

I will talk about paints in the next entry.

 

 


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Day 3 – Procrastination

I’ve discovered some fabulous oil painting videos on YouTube. I’ve been watching quite a few over the last months, but this is the first video that is not speeded up. The difference is ENORMOUS. I was getting the impression that painting was an exercise in precise intuitive paint throwing.  Seriously, I’ve been trying to paint by magically flicking the brush on the canvas in just the right way to make a perfect stroke – as if what I needed was to develop a better instinct and less left brain activity. But this video shows just exactly how careful one (or he anyway) must be if one is to produce a painting that is realistic. He also teaches so clearly how to get the right tone and value – it’s just awesome how clear it has become. So I recommend all of this fellow’s videos.  His YouTube ID is DrawMixPaint
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=sRewRXX7H6s
His website is: http://www.drawmixpaint.com/

I send him a big thank you for making this instruction free for everyone.

And oh yes – he also lists the tools he uses including the brushes. Turns out I’ve been using flat brushes when filbert might be just what I need.
 
And now for something not in oil.
 
After struggling with the little bird painting, I needed a break. So I took several weeks off and shifted to acrylics and made a tape painting – [I’m still catching up to the present day in this blog]. This is my father’s masking tape method. But I work out the design on paper first. My father does his design in his head as he goes.
 
First the whole canvas is covered with the design – in masking tape.

The design in tape is on and painting the background has begun

The design in tape is on and painting the background has begun

Then the background is painted.

What a mess! Finding the foreground tape pieces is not easy

What a mess! Finding the foreground tape pieces is not easy

After that come a long slow process of removing tape piece by  piece and painting the exposed canvas. Unlike my father, I didn’t use shading in painting the leaves and blossoms, so it looks like a flat fabric design.

Ah...here comes the color

Ah…here comes the color

Starting to look like it might be okay

Starting to look like it might be okay

 It’s not a very complex painting but I like it. And it was fun.

Plumbago - finished and ready to frame

Plumbago – 17 x 21- finished and ready to frame

It is only at the end that one knows whether one has a disaster or something pleasing.