A look back

Two weeks prior of art and a review of the top points for each.

Post Title Summary
Session #075, Work #065 Slow down, accuracy is achieved through careful observation.
Session #74, Work #64
  • Always do my art before a release.
  • Nicolai Fechin is amazing try to achieve the same.
  • Slow down for accuracy.
  • Conte compressed charcoal sucks, vine charcoal and Generals charcoal pencil is better.
Session #73, Work #63
  • Trouble with adherence of vine charcoal to paper.
  • Paper type does not help adherence.
  • Slow down, speed comes through accuracy.
Session #72, Work #62
  • Best painting so far this year.
  • It was done well due to time spent and careful observation.
  • Have faith that a painting will get better after the beginning stages.
Session #71, Work #61
  • For measuring always keeping my torso directly over my butt and straight.
  • The closer the subject the more the measurements can vary.
  • Measuring for a base increment, then using that to measure a distance, then checking that distance with the base increment and something else.
  • Trusting my own judgement over the measurements.
Session #70, Work #60
  • New Rembrandt palette is the best.
  • Drawing bad, take more time.
Session #69, Work #59
  • Painting process of starting on the focus and working outward.
  • Schmid said it’s best to have multiple painting processes and to use the process that would best fit the subject or painting.
  • Boxes are a really good subject for getting drawing down perfect.
  • Slow moving but it looks good and is very accurate.
Session #68, Work #58
  • Schmid Style really fun.
  • In almost every instance the most intense colors come out too dark when I paint.
Session #67, Work #57
  • Super accurate drawing at the beginning doesn’t work well, it stifles energy and makes me want to leave lines.
  • Only worrying about drawing at the end does not work well, if the drawing is too far off you can’t move the shapes around easy enough to fix them.
  • Filling the canvas with paint early on can make it hard to adjust values and color.
  • Lower viscosity of paint is better.
  • Changing viscosity of paint during painting is tedious, I would rather dry brush.
  • Do a post based on artist Rosemary Frantzen
Session #66, Work #56
  • Charcoal is much better to work with in life drawing class.
Session #65, Work #55
  • Hierarchy as completion order should be separate from importance.
  • Value, Color, Edges, and drawing and Composition is done before the painting is started.
  • This working order works well for portraits, need to incorporate more measurements during painting.
Session #64, Work #54
  • Final stroke painting, hard.
  • I should always strive for the final stroke as soon as possible, or maybe with every stroke. Maybe the key, is to act like every stroke should be the final stroke but allow for adjustments throughout the painting.
  • Theory: What separates masters from novices is time, the time it takes to gather experience and knowledge to make strokes perfectly accurate. What separates masters and really great painters is time, the time it takes to complete a painting, because the really great painters if given enough time can render life perfectly, a master can do it in a short session. So based on this theory a master painter is a person that can complete a perfectly accurate and beautiful painting quickly and with ease.
  • Edges seem to be the biggest issue after drawing. Without sensitive edges this whole thing turned into a very abstract looking painting.
Session #63, Work #53
  • Paint mountains up close, or you have to crop your painting way down for them to be large enough.
  • Need to work on atmospheric perspective.
  • Slow down for fluff and observe as best as possible.

Session #075, Work #065

 

I’m reminded of a drawing by Andrew Wyeth of an older woman, and even though the drawing was in charcoal you could tell that she was wearing two type of fabric, one silk, one cotton. With that in mind a chose a subject today that would indicate a very different type of service, metallic.

Unlike the previous drawing, I really took my time here getting the measurements correct. As always, at my current expertise this is the best course, slow and practiced.

The Drawing

41213

 

The Setup

41213-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

41213-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

I’m very happy how close the drawing is with the subject. Drawing an ellipse exactly like the subject is difficult. The shadow is the worst drawn part of this, and that isn’t really super bad.

Value

41213-value

How can I improve the values?

The back gray wall, its actually the backside of my mirror, is much too light as compared to the subject. I could have gone darker with every value actually, although I’m not sure if the charcoal could have achieved the black areas.

Session #074, Work #064

 

Thursday nights are release nights and some time they do not go smoothly and we end up working super late. I usually do my painting or drawing right after work just in case the release doesn’t go well, but this time I went to the Frye art museum instead and it was well worth the late night.

Frye art museum

I learned about the Frye art museum during my weekly life drawing classes with Jamie Bollenbach. It is actually a really great museum, with free admission and free parking.  I wasn’t expecting to be so influenced by the work in this museum but I was. The first pieces that I saw were from Nicolai Fechin and everything he did was amazing. I’ve never seen paintings with such energy. From far away these works look like a well rendered portrait, still life or landscape, but upon getting up close and personal with the paintings the subject dissolves into a torrent of frantic and energetic abstraction of paint. I have heard tons of contemporary artist today who are at the height of their ability and they struggle to keep “life” in their paintings. Compared to Fechin every contemporary realist artist I have seen to date seems flat, dead and overly modeled in comparison.

self-portrait

His drawings were equally amazing. Seeing these a day after my life drawing class, I have a deep urge to devote everything to my art.

I was going to post more images of his work but every image I look at online pales in comparison to viewing the real painting. And there was one painting in particular which I cannot find anywhere on line. I will have to return to the museum soon and purchase their book of the show.

I was so influenced by the Nicoloai Fechin show that I went straight to Blick art materials and purchased some better materials for charcoal drawing and even did some comparison testing of the materials.

The Drawing

41113

Not sure what was going on here, but this drawing turned out terrible. I think I really wanted to capture an energetic life in this drawing only a master like Fechin can do and all I ended up doing was making a mess. I always have this urge to speed up and blast out a gorgeous piece but all that ends up is me realizing that I need to slow down and wait for the speed to come with experience.

Materials Comparison

The trouble I’m having with vine charcoal is that its adherence to the paper is so fragile. I’m looking for a good charcoal that can adhere well to the paper yet be removed or moved around easily. So I purchased a couple of conte compressed charcoal sticks, I was hoping it would give me what I wanted. So I did a bunch of tests of all the current materials that I have upon a sheet of Arches hot pressed 90lb watercolor paper. At some point when my drawing becomes strong enough I will spend the money and get the ultimate 300lb paper by Arches.

41113-test1

These are marks from various materials. Indicated left to right we have, a very cheap extra soft vine charcoal, Winsor Newton hard vine charcoal, Conte compressed charcoal HB, Conte compressed charcoal 2B. Then I did a single swipe with my finger to each one and below that a single swipe with a needed eraser.

As you can see the vine charcoal is easily moved and erased, while the conte crayon does nothing but smear… badly. Its like it has a bunch of wax in it, in terms of work ability the conte is terrible. But it does make a very exact dark line and building it up can achieve some really dark blacks, but if you put it on the page it will stay there no matter what.

41113-test2

Here is another test with the same sheet. I took a white magic eraser and tried to see how much I could get off the page for each material. I almost get back to bare paper with the vine charcoal, but again the conte just smears around and is terrible. If I ever use this it will be with finishing detail black strokes.

41113-test3

 

Another test, this time I added Generals extra soft charcoal pencil and a 6b graphite pencil. I tried to make similar marks with each, then on the top of the marks I did a single swipe with my finger, below that several swipes with a kneaded eraser and below that more furious erasing with a white magic eraser.

Again I turn my nose up at the conte compressed charcoal, and I find that a better alternative is the Generals charcoal pencil. It goes on with some really dark lines and can be built up in dark areas but its nice and dry and doesn’t smear like the conte. The more I think about it, more I like the vine charcoal, if I could only get it to stay on the page a little bit better it would be absolutely perfect. This is why I purchased online last night what may be the best charcoal you can buy, and its not that expensive. Nitram Academie Fusains Charcoal, I will be getting these in on Tuesday, right before my Wednesday class, I can’t  wait to try them out, and I hope they live up to the ability shown in this great post by Luca Indraccolo.
 

Session #073, Work #063

Life drawing at A & C supply. Tonight I worked with charcoal again and still loving it. A fellow artist, Karen, lent me some Strathmore charcoal paper cause I wanted to try and see if the charcoal would adhere better to the paper. I think the paper would be better used with charcoal pencil cause the sticks didn’t stick very well to the paper at all, actually I would think a bit worse than the newsprint.

The Drawings

41013a
Test for 1.5 hour pose

 

41013b
15 minute pose

 

41013c
1.5 Hour pose

 

41013d
30 second poses

 

41013e
30 second poses

 

41013f
30 second poses

 

41013g
30 second poses

 

41013h
30 second poses

 

41013i
2 minute pose

 

41013j
2 minute pose

 

41013k
2 minute pose

 

41013l
2 minute pose

 

41013m
10 minute pose

 

 

Session #072, Work #062

I will consider this probably the best painting I have done so far this year. It really has a bit of everything. Extreme color, reflections, naturally bright colors, full value scale and what I call fluff (a mass of jumbled information that is hard to paint).

This has also been the longest single session for a painting also, I wonder if there is a coloration? The last painting I worked on for a long time, which spanned several sessions, turned out really well also. I had a great time getting the reflection in the Google Nexus tablet just right. At one point early into the painting I was getting worried because things were not going well, but I stuck with it and trusted that if I worked at it things would turn around, and i did. The Kiwi was surprisingly hard to paint, it was hairy so it had a very structured fluffiness to it that was hard to capture. The paper hay, or whatever you call it, in the background was difficult. This kind of fluff is always hard to paint, its difficult to describe it without painting every single strand of hay. This kind a generalization I need to work on.

The Painting

40913
Photo in north light.

 

40913-easel
Photo on easel in unnatural light.

The Setup

40913-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

40913-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

This is interesting, I didn’t focus very much on drawing this perfectly, and I got a bunch of things wrong. But I believe the painting to be very strong regardless. I learned from my last two drawings that I need to really test those angles multiple times. I think if I would have gotten that correct the drawing would have been much more solid.

Value

40913-value

How can I improve the values?

The intense colors are very deceptive in value. Through previous paintings I knew that I would usually make the values too dark on things like apples and oranges and I corrected it well in this painting, but only for the apple and orange. The reflection in the Nexus is way to light, and the nexus box intense colors are to light in a few areas. Also the Kiwi is too dark on the side facing the light.

Practice makes perfect here, I really liked this setup, I may revisit it again.

Ross is awesome!

Last Thursday during a particular long release night we finally squashed all the bugs and finished late into the night when Ross and I had the following exchange on Skype.

fruitb5

 

I need your home address so I can send you a fruit basketRoss

I totally thought he was joking! I was wrong…

fruitb1

 

fruitb2

 

fruitb3

 

fruitb4

 

This is pretty amazing. Thanks Ross!!!!

Session #071, Work #061

So after last nights drawing being so ultimately inaccurate I focused really hard on getting the drawing of the Zen box perfect. I even did a preliminary picture when I was confused about some measurements. As a result I didn’t get much done but I’m really happy with the accuracy of the drawing and I feel like a learned a lot about what I was doing in correct to get such bad measurements.

The Drawing

40813

The Setup

40813-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

40813-drawing-test

This was a preliminary comparison of the box. I was measuring this thing multiple times and coming up with sizes that really didn’t make any sense. I would measure then look at where a mark was laid and I could tell just by looking at it that it was way off. So I would measure again and get a bit closer. I did that about 15 times, at least. What I found out was that my drawing was mostly inaccurate due to several changing variables.

  1. The closeness of the subject.
  2. My torso movement closer or farther away from subject.
  3. Not measuring a distance against to other measurements.

I plan to correct these by

  1. Always keeping my torso directly over my butt and straight.
  2. Dealing with the closeness of the subject here at home.
  3. Measuring for a base increment, then using that to measure a distance, then checking that distance with the base increment and something else.
  4. Trusting my own judgement over the measurements.

 

40813-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

Well I did everything I said I was going to do and the drawing is superb. Only A couple spots could possibly get closer with more observation but I’m not sure if the camera angel is effecting those areas.

Value

40813-value

How can I improve the values?

Not much of a focus on value tonight. Although I’m happy with the shadow side of the box.

Session #070, Work #060

Gonna be a quick post tonight.

I am really excited about my new blog design, so I want to work on that a bit more tonight. And hopefully get it to a point where I can just focus on little bits of customization for the rest of the week.

Here you will see that I was playing with color on Sunday. After painting with Rembrandt paints for the last few paintings I have pretty much figured out my palette for good, well, at least for now.

My new Palette:

Main Colors

  1. Rembrandt Titanium White
  2. Rembrandt Permanent Yellow Medium
  3. Rembrandt Permanent Madder Deep
  4. Rembrandt Ultramarine Deep
  5. Rembrandt Burnt Umber

Extra Colors for really intense subjects

  1. Rembrandt Manganese Blue Pthalo
  2. Rembrandt Permanent Red Light
  3. Rembrandt Permanent Lemon

This palette has everything I want. Paint that is nice and buttery, a limited set of colors to focus on color theory, the ability to make every color in the world, easy to store, easy to carry, easy to open, and doesn’t cost very much.

40713-colorplay
The colors on my palette here are just random tests, this is in no way how I paint or setup my colors.

Okay onto tonight’s drawing. I wasn’t really into doing some painting tonight, I felt like I had been painting all day with the color testing that I was doing. So I just focused on drawing my current still life and working on getting the drawing as good as possible.

The Drawing

40713

The Setup

40713-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing Comparison

40713-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

After Looking at this drawing from being away from it for a while, right away I noticed that the Zen box drawing was really wrong. I know I measured that thing like 20 times, I even was thinking that it was incorrect but I just kept the measurements that I was doing, I wanted to trust them. But they were very very wrong. My next drawing I’m going to figure out why the heck I got this so wrong and correct the error, hoping never to repeat it.

Value

40713-value

How can I improve the values?

Not too much to say about values, the focus was on the drawing more than anything. I really didn’t work these values up that much.

Session #069, Work #059

 

I painted the same still life again. I wanted to test out the same process again while trying to keep a stronger focus on drawing and value, and not worrying about finishing a painting from edge to edge. I definitely didn’t fill the whole canvas with paint and if you look at the progression below you will see how slow I was working.

Schmid said it’s best to have multiple painting processes and to use the process that would best fit the subject or painting, but I must say that I really like this process of starting on the focus and working outward. Although you really have to be ok with not covering the canvas or devoting much more time to the painting. At the moment I’m ok with not filling the canvas with paint. I’m not really trying to make paintings here, I’m learning to paint, there is a difference.

Also, purchased some Rembrandt paints today. I found that the paints that I mixed to be more fluid were great, but their viscosity would vary from time to time and it would be almost impossible for me to keep the viscosity the same all the time. So, I wanted to try out paints that would have the buttery feel that I wanted plus the palette colors that I need and Rembrandt was said to do exactly that. I painted this entire painting in Rembrandt oil, plus I used a bit of Cadmium Red from Winsor Newton for the light side of the zen box.

From searching on the internet I found posts saying that the replacement for alizarin crimson in Rembrandt colors was Permanent Madder Deep, well, it may be a good replacement for alizarin Crimson but it is definitely not the same shade as the Winsor Newton alizarin crimson. I’m debating on returning it to the store and getting a different color in its place.

Anyway, bottom line, I’m going to be painting mainly with Rembrandt oils. Their viscosity is the best. They may not have a ton of pigment per tube, but I love the way that I can work them.

 

The Painting

40613

 

The Setup

40613-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

40613-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

Wow, lots of angles off again. It looks like boxes are a really good subject for getting drawing down perfect. I’m gonna have to include a cube/box like structure in all my paintings.

 

Value

40613-value

How can I improve the values?

I’m feeling like there are certain intense colors that you can either match their color or the value but not both in paint. The front of the zen box is straight cad red out of the tube and when I look at the still life the color is dead on, and super bright. But the value is too dark, same with the book also. I know if I added a bit of white to that red it would turn into a pink… maybe it needs to be a bit closer to orange, I can’t really tell cause the photo makes the red look like a neon sign.

 

With Previous Painting

40613-sidebyside
Today’s painting and yesterdays painting next to each other.

 

 

Progression

40613-progression

 

Slow moving but it looks good and is very accurate.

Session #068, Work #058

 

I set this still life up and tried to get something in here with every primary color plus white and black. It turned out to be a lot of stuff but I painted it small so that it wasn’t too overwhelming. Although I think I’m going to try this still life again but with some of it removed.

Lots of ideas going through my head while painting this still life, but my focus was “Schmid Style”. I wanted to focus on this process of a quick and simple blockin’ with just  few simple strokes to indicate composition. Then pick out the focus of the painting and start with that and work outwards from this focal point. With each piece I would work on drawing value and color while loosely blocking in surrounding areas to help get values and color correct. At the end of this post I added images showing the painting progression.

This process what a lot of fun, very early on I was able to see where this painting was going and it was nice to break up the drawing into smaller sections rather than all at once at the beginning. I could mix in really exact brush strokes with quick flips of the brush to the canvas for areas that I wanted to quickly indicate without doing finishing strokes just yet. I even found it very easy to make adjustments while painting this way. I was never completely sold on one part of the painting and I had not issue with painting over foreground item edges with background color then cleaning them up to send a background element back. Or adjusting lines because drawing was incorrect, this process seemed very fluid and energetic while at the same time rewarding me along the way with finishing work. As I said in a previous post most of the work done on paintings is all done for preparation of final strokes and getting rid of any preparation and jumping right into final strokes is masterly.

 

The Painting

40613
on day I will figure out this glare thing and eradicate it.

 

The Setup

40613-setupa
Setup at the start of the painting

 

 

40613-setupb
setup at end of painting

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

40613-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

Wow, what the heck happened to my drawing. I really think I took this picture at a bad angle or something, this drawing seems much worse than it should be. The only way to confirm is to paint it again, which I may do again tonight.

 

Value

40613-value

How can I improve the values?

In almost every instance the most intense colors come out too dark when I paint. When I squint the relative values are close here, but I need to work harder on getting those really intense colors correct.

 

Progression Photos

40613-process

I liked the painting better when it was at its beginning stages. At 60 minutes into the painting I kinda killed it with too much background blocked in. I feel like the wavy edges that should be straight on this painting really make it look bad. I need to find a way to get those straight or totally make them stylistic… I think I will go for straight first.

 

Session #067, Work #057

 

I adjusted the viscosity of my paint for this painting today and I’m trying out a new painting process, I have a few things to figure out here.

  1. Why does drawing at the beginning not work well?
  2. Does hard focus on drawing only at the end of the painting work well?
  3. Is it better to fill the canvas with paint quickly then adjust, or should I start with the focus and work my way out from there?
  4. Why lower the viscosity of my paints?
  5. Is it easier to paint with pigment of lower viscosity?
  6. Would it be better to adjust viscosity during the painting?
  7. If it was best to adjust the viscosity during the painting, which medium should I use, and when should viscosity be adjusted?

 

Why does drawing at the beginning not work well?

I see two main reasons why doing a drawing at the beginning doesn’t work well in the painting. First is that it stifles your freedom. If you worked your butt off on this really amazing drawing you really want to stay inside the lines and not mess it up. So the painting basically turns into color by number. Secondly there is always a tendency to paint up to the line but not over it, again wanting to save the drawing, and the painting looks similar to an illustration with outlines everywhere.

Does hard focus on drawing only at the end of the painting work well?

Honestly I’m not entirely sure of this. I have done two paintings now with the idea of focusing on the drawing at the end, but my focus on the drawing was short lived. I will have to do more paintings where I focus on moving the paint around at the end to get the drawing as close as possible.

Is it better to fill the canvas with paint quickly then adjust, or should I start with the focus and work my way out from there?

It is definitely nice to have the canvas covered by a layer of thin paint that closely resembles your subject. Although I do find it hard to adjust those areas if they are incorrect in value or color. The landscape I did last weekend focused directly on one area and then worked out from there, I found it difficult to resist filling in the rest of the canvas, and because it was a landscape the light changed very fast and I was stuck adjusting the one area for the entire time. I feel like speed would correct that landscape though, and speed just comes with experience and time. I will have to try more paintings where I begin with the focus similar to Richard Schmid and work out from there, all the while thinly blocking in areas next to what I’m working on.

Why lower the viscosity of my paints?

I want to be able to put the paint on thicker, and mix larger batches of color on my palette. Lots of the time I will just run out of a color that I had previously mixed on my palette and then I find it difficult to reproduce that exact color, or it takes more time to mix a whole batch of it again. Also, it would be nice to lay the paint on thicker in areas. I found that with a lower viscosity paint I tend to paint flatter, with less pigment. I will say that laying on the paint in this painting was really nice. Although, I found that adherence was an issue. More than once I was pulling paint back off the canvas rather than putting it on. Again, I will have to paint like this more often to figure out if its worth it or not.

Is it easier to paint with pigment of lower viscosity?

Yes it is definitely easier to mix larger batches of paint and also much easier to spread a lower viscosity paint over an area. But, the painting gets a bit “slippery” after the first undercoat, and I find myself pulling paint off rather than putting it on.

Would it be better to adjust viscosity during the painting?

The only time I can think when I would need a viscosity change is at the very beginning of the painting and I need to block in areas quickly with fluid color. Throughout the rest of the painting I would just use paint right out of the tube. Also if my paints are way too stiff like Winton then it would be a paint to have to adjust constantly. So I would say it would be nice to have the option for edge cases, but not throughout the entire painting.

If it was best to adjust the viscosity during the painting, which medium should I use, and when should viscosity be adjusted?

I don’t think its better to adjust during painting, maybe just use a bit of medium, any medium to block in but that is it.

 

Unquestionably, a flexible response to the demands of subject matter and conditions is better than having a single individualistic style of working, however satisfying that may be to the ego. Fidelity to your perception of a subject is the whole point of working from life. You ought to paint what you see. Real life, whether it’s a landscape, or a person, or still life, presents an incomparable visual banquet, and capturing it faithfully the way you see it can be a stunning experience. To diminish that by subordinating it to a safe and set routine that everyone can recognize as yours makes no sense, and it’s no fun either.Richard Schmid

 

Note to self: do post based on artist Rosemary Frantzen, http://underpaintings.blogspot.com/2012/12/on-view-rose-frantzens-portrait-of.html

 

 

 

The Painting

40413

 

The Setup

40413-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

40413-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

 

Value

40413-value

How can I improve the values?

 

In process photo

40413b

 

Session #066, Work #056

 

Life drawing class gain at A&C supply. I changed to charcoal on newsprint half way through the session as I wanted to work more freely than graphite pencil would allow. I will be using this for most, if not all, of the rest of my classes. It just felt right and wonderful.

This is my goal for this class from now on, to get my drawing to look this good, at any stage.

 

The Drawings

 

40313a
35 minute

 

 

40313b
second 35 minute pose

 

 

40313c
1 minute poses

 

 

40313d
1 minute poses

 

 

40313e
5 minute pose

 

 

40313f
5 minute pose

 

 

40313g
5 minute pose

 

 

40313h
5 minute pose

 

 

40313i
10 minute pose

 

 

 

 

Session #065, Work #055

 

I purchased a mirror today and did my first self portrait in well over 5 years.  I was watching some videos from a Casey Baugh demonstration and his idea of painting uses a hierarchy that is much different from mine, and it makes sense.

His hierarchy: Value, Color, Edges, and drawing. Composition is done before the painting is started. This is much different from my painting hierarchy, but mine is ranked in order of importance, his is in order of completion. This is an amazing breakthrough for me, I had never thought about my current hierarchy as an order of completion, I just automatically ranked them in importance and completed them in the same order, with no thought of if the completion order would work well. So, I did this painting tonight to see if my hierarchy needs to also be structured in order of completion and if it needs to be the same order as Casey Baugh has.

I started the painting very loosely, I even used some liquin medium to thin down a wash for the background. By the way, the more I use liquin the more I don’t like it. Liquin seems to thin out the paint and at the same time destroy its adherence to the canvas. My main thought while working was to get the value as correct as possible while at the same time blocking in the major shapes of my face and keeping the drawing very loose. After getting the canvas filled with paint and all of the major shapes and values present I then began to refine values and color with thicker paint while working the drawing better. Honestly I found it very easy to move the shapes around after the paint was on the canvas so I could get the drawing correct. What I didn’t do much of was measuring. I think if I incorporated a bit of measuring into this it would have worked much better. In the end I was fairly happy with what I had accomplished in only an hour.

I’m not sure yet of the effectiveness of this change in completion of a painting. I will have to do many more like this in order to decide.

 

The Painting

40213

 

The Setup

40213-setup
For my apartment living room this is the only light setup that I could come up with that would produce the least amount of glare on the painting. The drawback is the extreme light on the canvas. When viewing this painting in regular light it is much more dark.

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Trial hierarchy of painting completion

  1. Composition
  2. Value
  3. Color
  4. Edges
  5. Drawing

 

Drawing

40213-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

With my lack of drawing focus or measuring I’m surprised that  the drawing comparison is this close. I feel like if I would have incorporated a few measurements the drawing would be spot on.

 

Value

40213-value

How can I improve the values?

This is the important part. I was focusing the hardest on values. Relatively I think they are pretty close. The beard is too dark for the parts that are in light. I also think that the brighter areas could have been toned down a bit. I purchased a lower wattage light bulb tonight, so I think the next time I paint my values should be easier to figure out.

Session #064, Work #054

 

Yes this painting looks absolutely terrible, it was an exercise, a very scary exercise. I still had the elephant setup from my last time painting it and I figured I could utilize it for this exercise. Basically the exercise was to only make final strokes. No drawing, no pre-work, no adjustments. If I laid down paint with a brush stroke in a particular area it stayed there without any adjustment at all. I have had this idea for a while, and I kept putting it off because I knew it would turn out terrible and it would take some extreme focus to get close to the subject.

So why do this crazy exercise? Well, all paintings are just a massive amount of brushstrokes and all of them lead up to finial strokes in their respective areas. Some brushstrokes are drawing, others determine value and some do everything in one, drawing, value, edges and color. But, when a painting is “finished” what the artiest is showing is his indication that everything on the canvas are the final strokes the stokes he wants you to see. I figured, why do we need all those previous strokes? Is it possible to contain all predatory strokes into the first stroke while at the same time having perfect drawing, values and edges for that stroke. This is basically what a printer does but the strokes are super small dots, the computer has broken the image down into such small pieces that each and every stroke only has one difference, color. But I don’t want to paint in super small dots. I want the brushstroke indicating the glare on the ear of the elephant to have the exact value, shape, color and edges as I lay it on the canvas. I think it is very well possible to do this, but only as a master level artist. So this is my attempt to make a final stroke only painting.

I think that in the end, I should always strive for the final stroke as soon as possible, or maybe with every stroke. Maybe the key, is to act like every stroke should be the final stroke but allow for adjustments throughout the painting.

Theory: What separates masters from novices is time, the time it takes to gather experience and knowledge to make strokes perfectly accurate. What separates masters and really great painters is time, the time it takes to complete a painting, because the really great painters if given enough time can render life perfectly, a master can do it in a short session. So based on this theory a master painter is a person that can complete a perfectly accurate and beautiful painting quickly and with ease.

Now lets see what I have learned…

 

The Painting

40113

 

 

40113b
After I finished the painting I wanted to soften it down and kill all the edges. I was hoping that this would give me a better idea of how close this would be to a normal painting if I had better edges.

 

The Setup

40113-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

40113-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

Of course the drawing is off. Honestly I thought the contour would have been worse than this.  The real issues are the internal strokes everyone of those have drawing problems also, and most are in the wrong place. While doing this I found that I really had to load my brush thick with paint and when I moved it over the canvas I went in very slow and deliberate movements. Most of the time I would adjust / twist the brush while I moved it so that I could depict the shape that I was trying to make as accurately as possible.

 

Value

40113-value

How can I improve the values?

Seems like the value is the closest thing here. Except for a couple places I got it pretty close.

 

Edges

Edges seem to be the biggest issues here after drawing. Really, without sensitive edges this whole thing turned into a very abstract looking painting. I know now that one of the hardest things for me to do is to put edges in with a stroke of paint rather than adding on edges after a stroke as been laid down. Typically I would lay down paint then soften certain edges afterwards.

 

Color

Well the color isn’t correct by any means, but I still feel like it is unimportant compared to drawing, edges and value. It really doesn’t matter how close the color is if those three things are wrong.

Session #063, Work #053

 

This will mark the very first time I have ever painting Mount Rainier. I had to really zoom in here to get a nice view of the mountain though. But this really made for an easy painting. Most of my focus was just getting the values and colors correct. The park itself was huge, and even though it had some good possibilities for subject I couldn’t find any good places to setup. I’m not sure if I will return to this park.

I think I even drew the mountain a bit larger so that It would look a bit bigger in the painting. Also as I look at these paintings I really notice how thin I’m painting, I wonder if I should use bristle brushes more, throughout the painting.

 

The Painting

33113b

 

The Location

33113b-location-pre
I had to really zoom in on this subject.

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Value

33113b-value

How can I improve the values?

I think I got the values on the mountain correct in their relative nature but the values for the land mass and water are way to low. I haven’t had any experience with atmospheric perspective so it makes sense that I’m not doing well on it just yet. All the trees are much too small here also, you can tell I was just flubbing in the land mass and not really focusing on drawing or placement.

Session #063, Work #052

 

Today I traveled to Matthews Beach Park. The park was small, but the views were great. I had a clear view of the cascade mountains but I learned quickly that mountains in the distance are pretty tiny, so I left them out of the painting and focused on a nice tree that I found. I also found a nice piece of shade to sit under. It was a wonderful day to paint, perfect weather. And since I learned that I need to face in an eastern direction after 12pm it made this session much more enjoyable.

I really took my time drawing this tree. And when I worked I really worked hard on putting everything down correctly. This is partly why the canvas is not fully covered. I really just wanted to have whatever I laid down to be correct the first time, so I really took my time. I so many great painters leave the canvas blank and focus on a certain area, so I don’t feel bad that the canvas is not covered. I believe that what I accomplished on this painting was as best as I can do right now. Which I must say, after looking at a photo of it, isn’t much to get excited over 🙁

 

The Painting

33113a

 

The Setup

33113a-setup
The setup, in nice shade.

 

 

33113a-location-pre
Photo of subject taken before I started painting

 

 

33113a-location-post
Photo of subject taken after finishing, check out the light change on the tree, wow.

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Value

33113a-value

How can I improve the values?

Still too light with the background land mass across the lake. I’m also too light with the dark areas of the water. The colors there area so intense that its really hard to judge the values.

Session #062, Work #051

 

This is my second time painting at Richmond Beach Park in shoreline. I tried to find a shaded area that where I could look out over the water at the mountains, but there was no shaded area with a good view. So for both paintings today I was facing into the sun. My face really hurt by the end of the day from sunburn and squinting so much. Luckily I had sun glasses but I still had to squint a lot. I realized later in the night while tending to my sunburn that this is why we always looked for shade when painting in Florida.

So, after the first painting today at Gas Works Park I got fueled up on my favorite dish Shawarma and headed to my neck of the woods. I knew that I had probably messed up on the atmospheric perspective of the previous painting so I wanted to focus on that for this painting. I cropped out must of the trees and shrubs so I wouldn’t have to deal with them then started on the sky and mountains trying to get those subtle atmospheric values correct.

 

The Painting

33013b

 

The Location

33013b-location-pre

This picture was taken when I started the painting.

 

33013b-location-post

This picture was taken when I finished the painting. If I was out there much longer the sun would have been directly in my eyes.

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Value

33013b-value

How can I improve the values?

Maybe a bit too dark on the mountains, and the edges are a bit hard also. Wow I need to work on rendering “fluff” also. Those leafless tress in the foreground are so hard to render convincingly.

Session #062, Work #050

 

For a reason unrelated to painting I was looking at “Gas Works Park” during the week and I decided to paint it on the weekend. Of course this was Easter weekend and there were a ton of people there. I was skeptical that I would even paint there because of all the people but I found a place a top a hill and backed against some trees so I wouldn’t be bothered much. Luckly I wasn’t bothered too much. And I must say, I need to get over my fear of people anyway. Everyone that did approach me was very nice.

I watched a video posted this week by James Gurney where him and some friends did some urban landscapes and I was thinking that I should be more like them, and welcome people, they had a great time, I’m sure I could also. By the way, this guy can fracking draw his @$$ off!

So the park was very nice and there was so much I could paint here. Literally I could paint at this park every day all year and still have interest in it. The park literally has everything. Although I must say that I should have painted this park later in the day and my next painting in the morning. I ended up facing into the sun on both paintings. I really don’t care that it was difficult to paint, I just hated that I got a bit of sun burn on my face 🙁 .

 

The Painting

33013a

 

The Location

33013a-location-pre

Tons of people enjoying the first day of summer weather here in Seattle. Check out the super cool gas works structure on the left. This was I picture I took right at the start of the painting.

 

33013a-location-post

I took this picture right as I finished my painting, you can see that the light has changed a bit on the city.

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Value

33013a-value

How can I improve the values?

When I was painting this I was thinking that I had the city too dark and I lightened it a bit. With this comparison I see that I have made the city just a bit to light. The glare on the picture of the painting doesn’t help the comparison also.

Session #061, Work #049

 

Tonight I painted one of my wife’s elephant book ends. I have always liked these book ends I finally plunked one down and started on it. While painting I felt a bit rushed because I want to only take one session on each painting and I don’t want those sessions to go beyond 2 hours. At least not far beyond two hours. I think the problem may be that even though I’m painting small, I try to get the whole subject in all at once. I need to really try and do the Schmid technique and start with my focus and work out from there. Of course that takes really great focus and drawing has to be right on for each stroke.

Besides feeling rushed I had some trouble with this one, I’m not really happy how it turned out. Actually I’m much less than happy, but I think I can learn a lot from my mistakes here.

 

The Painting

32913

 

The Setup

32913-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

32913-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

I really expected my drawing to be worse than this. At one point during the painting I focused hard on the head and worked my way back to the book. This was after starting my under drawing with the book and working towards the head. The drawing of the head turned out pretty close and as I progressed to the right I became more haphazard and my drawing was lacking because of it.

But why does this painting look so bad? I have had paintings with the drawing worse than this, yet the painting turned out well. Maybe values…

 

Value

32913-value

How can I improve the values?

Right away I think the painting is too dark in the lighter areas. The highlights on the ear and the side are too dark, and the paper towel base is too dark closer to the light. This has in turn caused my cast shadows by the legs to be to light. I know when I was painting I hit my darkest dark in paint right away but I still wanted to progress beyond that. I think the issue is my light setup, its so close to my painting yet way to bright. I need to get a weaker light bulb.

In relative though I believe that they are pretty close, the values are not perfect but they are close enough. I have had paintings where the values are further off in relation to each other but the painting still looked fine.

 

Edges / Squinting

32913-edges-squint
I think I have only done a post on edges for one of my paintings so far. Here I used a “paint daubs” filter in Photoshop to simulate a “squinted” look at the subject. What is nice about this filter is that it will generalize the subject well yet, if the edge is hard it will stay hard, if the edge is soft it will stay soft.

The more I look at this painting the more I’m thinking that the problem with it isn’t the draw, values, or edges themselves. I’m thinking that the problem is HOW I dealt with them.

Here is an example of a master dealing with drawing, value and edges with command.

tumblr_mkfxzchCCz1qly7zyo1_500
Anders Zorn (1860-1920). Omnibus, 1891-1892. Oil on canvas. Oil on canvas. 99.5 x 66 cm. Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

I really feel like my issue here is not having any confidence in this painting, or better yet, I didn’t have any confidence in the execution, in my decisions to lay day a stoke and leave it there. I didn’t have any confidence in myself. I have been pondering the possibility of doing an entire painting where I lay down only decisive strokes, and once they are down I don’t touch them. I think it is time for that.

As for Saturday though, I will be painting on location, probably at Gas Works Park in Seattle so I will have to take on the decisive stroke painting another time… besides its kinda scary.

Session #060, Work #048

 

It seems like any time I paint fruit it is because I’m feeling pressed for time. The drawing goes much faster, and its fun.

 

The Painting

32813

 

The Setup

32813-setup

So I spent a couple hours today re-arranging my living room/ studio so I could possibly stop the glare on my painting. Unfortunately no matter what I did I was getting some glare. I ended up with my easel back in the same place as before but I changed the light a bit. What really helped the most was putting the canvas lower than my head and tilting it forward a bit. I still get some glare with strokes that go perpendicular to the light, but I can easily move my head left to remove that glare when I need to.

 

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

32813-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

Close enough I believe. I didn’t put too much care into the shadow behind the apple and its not that close, not to mention that apple is a bit big.

 

Value

32813-value

How can I improve the values?

I knew that I was making the apple a bit too dark. Actually its way too dark. So is the cast shadow by the orange. Also the drawing of the terminator edges on the orange are way off, I should be better than that.

Session #059, Work #047

 

Tonight we had a more robust black female model and I must say, drawing her was much more interesting than the previous models which were petite. Plus she could hold a pose perfectly for a super long amount of time. By far she is the best model I have had in Seattle, of course that is out of three models.

Even though she was very interesting my drawings were not the best tonight. A few of the quick poses were good, but the two long pose drawings seem to have major issues with proportion. I wonder if that was because of the nature of her pose. She was standing almost vertical for each, the second she was facing directly toward me. I feel like for that drawing to be good the proportions need to be absolutely perfect. I don’t think I was super far off on the drawing, but definitely I can do better.

Short post for tonight, I just went through my whole site and finally got all of my art posts in correct session and work order, it took super long, so its way past by bedtime.

 

The Drawings

32713a

 

 

32713b

 

 

32713c

 

 

32713d

 

 

32713e

 

 

 

 

Session #058, Work #046

 

I really enjoyed painting the fabric here. It had a lot of value changes and I really didn’t need to worry so much about the drawing. I especially like the extreme lights on the fabric compared to everything else.

You will also see tons of glare on this painting. This is really bugging me and I’m going to move around my entire living room / studio so that I can maybe reduce the amount of glare on my painting.

 

The Painting

32613

 

The Setup

32613-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

32613-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

I didn’t really focus much on drawing here, I was just having some fun painting. It makes since that it is off.

 

Value

32613-value

How can I improve the values?

The values I did focus on so I hoped these were close. And they are, except for the parts that are obscured by glare. I think I got the brown stool a bit too dark though…

 

Session #057, Work #045

 

So I thought that this was the 60th painting session or maybe I was close to 60 pieces of artwork, so I did this painting to see how I have progresses since the first painting that I did almost two months ago. Turns out that this is not the 60th session nor is it close to the 60th piece of art that I have done yet. I took a bit of time today but I went back through all of the works and made notes of when I painted them, what session and which number they were.

I added the first painting that I did in 5 years below this one and an easy comparison. I would say that I have improved tremendously in a short period of time. I really happy with the out come of today’s painting it is really showing me that my hard work is paying off, and it just makes me want to do more.

 

The Painting

32513

 

 

12613

 

The Setup

32513-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

32513-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

Well I have definitely improved my drawing from two months ago. But how can I do better?

First, I can’t believe that I got the angle of the background board so wrong, its leading me to believe that I took the photo at a weird angle or something. Next would be for me to slow down a bit more for the compact parts of the painting, like the candle and the lotus flower in the center. I could have zeroed in on those shapes much better, I put them in there quickly and wasn’t as sensitive to each pedal as I could have been.

 

Value

32513-value

How can I improve the values?

I really need to do something about the glare on my canvas, I had to substitute my straight on shot of the painting for this one which was at an angle. Overall I think the values are pretty darn close, its hard to tell exactly what I could do better giving the conditions that I’m painting in with glare and all that. I couldn’t even use a color checker if I wanted to unless I build a better studio…

Landscape Painting: Carcreek park in Seattle

So I changed how I name these posts, from now on they will be called Sessions, and I’m going back through all my posts and adding a session number plus a painting number. One day I will take all this data and do some cool thing with it… not sure what though.

My first time doing a landscape painting at Carcreek park in Seattle. I stayed close to the entrance of the park as there is usually tons of people down by the shore.

Session #055, Work #043

 

I was inspired by my own kitchen, but I wouldn’t have painted this because of its location if I wasn’t influenced by two people.

First, a post by James Gurney here, where he posts about John Singer Sargent finding a subject to paint. My favorite quote from that post is the following.

The other painters were all astonished at Sargent’s never ‘selecting’ a point of view, but he explained it in his half-articulate way. His object was to acquire the habit of reproducing precisely whatever met his vision without the slightest previous ‘arrangement’ of detail, the painter’s business being, not to pick and choose, but to render the effect before him, whatever they may be.

Second, Duane Keiser, an artist I found by surfing blogger. This guy is awesome, he freaking paints anything and it all is done well! Who would paint looking down into an open bag of coffee beans, this guy. How about a not yet assembled puzzle of a master painting, yep. How about shelving full of about 10 still life painting worth of stuff, yep. And last but not least, a red tea kettle in the kitchen, yep. And the next awesome thing about this random guy that I found, his site is called “A painting a day”, now he doesn’t post every single day, but close to it. And I went back as far as I could go in his blog and his first post was in 2004!!! That means if he painted every single day since 2004 he would have a stock pile of 3,285 paintings! Through massive amounts of work he has “acquired the habit of reproducing precisely whatever met his vision without the slightest previous arrangement of detail”. This is why Duane can render anything and do it well.

And this is why I painted the following painting. An I’m happy to say that I did it well. Now its time for me to look at it and see what I can improve upon.

 

The Painting

32313c

 

The Setup

32313c-setup

If you wondering why/how my spices are hanging from below the kitchen cabinet look here.

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

32313c-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

So the drawing is a bit off. I fell into the artist focus inflation that most of us do. I was focusing on the spices so of course I drew them larger. What is interesting though is that it does not hurt the painting. That really depends on subject matter though. If I was drawing a nude model and I was off by this much everyone would know right away that the drawing was off. There are tons of things in life that needs specific drawing or they will scream at you letting you know without a doubt that your drawing needs improving. This is one reason why I try to hit a life drawing class at least once a week. Which reminds me, I need to get a mirror and start some self portraits.

 

Value

32313c-value

How can I improve the values?

So the shadow side under the cabinet is a bit too light. This is a natural thing that us artists have to contend with. If you stare long enough at a dark space your eyes will begin to dilate a bit and you will see more detail and higher values in those shadows then what really should be painted. The fix for this is to squint more. Squinting will generalize the subject and get rid of all those details that shouldn’t be painted. Other than that, the values are pretty close.

As I’m looking at this painting though I notice that I didn’t finished the cord from the plug in the wall, it ends in mid air, doh!

Session #055, Work #042

 

So, why did this painting fail. Number 1 is the bad drawing with the pagoda on the left. That was just really bad on my part, I know I can do better. Second, the whole bottom right of the scene is nothing but a mass of random fluff. I have a ton of trouble painting areas like this without them looking like a mess. Lastly the values seem to be off everywhere also. I think it would have been better if I would have focused in on one thing and went from there, but I was all over the place with this painting and I didn’t get near enough correct.

 

The Painting

32313b

 

The Location

I took two photos of the location since the light was changing so quickly.

32313b-locationb

 

 

32313b-locationA

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Session #055, Work #041

 

For this painting I went to Richmond Beach park just north of Seattle, I think it is in Shoreline. I was planning on painting the coast, so I setup on one of the highest points of this park. The park was built basically on the side of a sloping cliff so it has a lot of elevation changes. But, there was still a level higher than where I was and I happened to look up and see this awesome grouping of trees surrounded by a clear blue sky. So I turned my back on the coast and was very happy for doing so. I really enjoyed this painting, even when I was being watched by a family of nice people, even after a bird decided to relieve itself on my head. 🙁

The main thing that I take away from this painting that I need to work on, is generalizing a mass of random shapes/fluff into something structural and resembling the subject. You can see the issue in this painting with the mass of tall grass at the bottom right.

 

The Painting

32313a

 

The Setup

32313a-location

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

I didn’t feel a need to do a drawing comparison. There are obvious problems with the drawing.

 

Value

32313a-value

How can I improve the values?

Overall the values are darker in the painting then they should be. I’m not sure how to fix this, the painting looks good. I guess I need to get used to painting quickly on location.

Session #054, Work #039

 

I quickly finished up this painting. I wasn’t having fun with it anymore and it seemed to be falling apart the more I worked on it. So, my focus was longevity today, at least I accomplished that.

The leaf really turned out to be a tough subject. Because I have so much trouble generalizing shapes with lots of detail while making it look like the subject I fall back into just rendering in the highest detail that I can. That becomes tedious, and kill the life in the painting. Needless to say I’m not really happy with the end product here, but I learned and that is what matters most.

 

The Painting

32213

 

The Setup

32213-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

32213-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

The drawing throughout this entire painting was a struggle. At the end, its not near as close as I would like, but I lacked the longevity to continue to re-work the drawing.

 

Value

32213-value

How can I improve the values?

There are so many subtle variations in value here, and the intensity of the color was really messing with my ability to tell the difference between them.

Session #053, Work #040

 

After a drive that took about an hour, I was late to the life drawing class, as was everyone else due to the crappy traffic everywhere. We had a female model and I was placed on the opposite side of the light. There was a couple other artists that complained about the dark on this side of her body but I thought it was great, Like Sargent says.

 The painter’s business being, not to pick and choose, but to render the effect before him, whatever they may be.

Always challenging and stepping out of my comfort zone is what I always need to strive for.

 

The Drawings

32113a
45 min pose

 

 

32113b
10 minute pose

 

 

32113c
2 min pose

 

 

32113d
2 minute poses

 

 

32113e
15 second poses

 

 

 

Session #052, Work #039

 

Having internet trouble tonight so no uploaded images. I will have to add them later.

So I did exactly what I said I was going to do and it worked out really well. I was super focused and took my time on each and every stroke to try and get it as perfect as possible. Eventually I sped up a bit and wasn’t as exact with every thing, but for the most part, every stroke that I laid down was thought out tremendously, the results and my feeling of the painting has turned around 100%. Of course I didn’t get much done as you will see, but at least what I did do was informed, accurate and as educated as possible.

The other awesome thing I did was, I limited my palette down to 5 colors so that I could focus on color changes along with value and drawing. Man I loved the limited palette. I can still make every color in the world but its much easier to think about color when your not looking at a large selection of colors.

My palette from now until whenever is:

  • Titanium White
  • Cadmium Yellow Pale
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson
  • French Ultramarine
  • Burnt Umber

I even made a color wheel to consult and posted it next to my easel.

colorwheel

The Painting

32013

 

The Setup

32013-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

32013-drawing

 

Value

32013-value

Session #051, Work #039

 

Just a note about my posts, I’m one day behind, so this post is actually being written on the 20th but I’m changing the date to the 19th as that is the day I did this painting.

I started in on value and color with the leaf. I’m not sure exactly if this painting is going well. First off, it has seemed like every time I measured the drawing it was off. First I would measure the height and it was too short, then I would look and measure and it was too short… The process of measuring is flawed and not exact, but I can usually break it down to a point where it is really close. For this painting, I feel the control slipping. I fell as if everything I put down is a guess and I don’t like that. I want every stroke to be informed by something and to the best of my knowledge as correct as possible.

In hind site, I feel maybe that I was moving too fast. Tonight, my goal is to NOT finish this painting and to take my time and try and get every stroke as perfect as possible. If it takes me 2 minutes to but down each brush stroke then that is what I will do. I will not lay down paint unless I’m absolutely sure this is best as I can do with the color and value. Then when I add the stroke I will attempt to get the drawing as perfect as possible and the edges correct. This is going to be tough and demand great focus, but I’m going for it.

Also I’m thinking about limiting my palette to force myself to think about the color and value more. Too long I have mixed the color without giving it the thought it needs.

 

The Painting

31913

 

The Setup

31913-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

31913-drawing

How can I improve the drawing?

 

Value

31913-value

How can I improve the values?

 

 

Session #050, Work #039

 

From last post I decided that I need to set a goal for each painting I do from now on. The goal for this painting was perfection in drawing. I knew it would take me a while just to get the drawing correct so I expect that this painting will take on several days of work. That is cool because the leaves that I picked up at Carcreek park are amazing.

I went to the part to scout out how busy it would be on a week day, and also decided to find some driftwood and items from the beach that would be interesting to paint and challenge my drawing. I would rather have a figure but, that is kinda hard to do. Anyway, I went to the park and picked up some drift wood, shells and rocks but then realized that pulling things from nature is not really a good idea for the environment. After checking the local signage my theory was confirmed, that I may have disturbed an animals home and quickly put the items back. But while leaving the park I was looking at all of the dried leaves everywhere and was struck of how beautiful and intricate they were. These are perfect! Infinite amount of detail plus, monochromatic. There is enough information in one leaf to keep any artist busy for weeks. I’m reminded by something Sargent said about challenging and artist to his/her highest ability with a single flower, I paraphrase but it is very true.

Basically with my new setup these leaves are on fire and really exciting. Giving me more than enough energy to work on this for several days. I started the drawing, and worked in 30 minute spans for 1.5 hours. I was super tired so I didn’t work too much longer than that. It was midnight when I finished anyway.

 

The Painting

31813

 

The Setup

31813-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

Drawing

31813-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

Some hard core focus on drawing here. I just about nailed it. I feel like the only way I could improve the accuracy here is to just work longer. The next possible improvement is to be able to get to this point faster, but that just takes practice, and is something I will not rush. One day I will be able to whip out a perfect drawing in minutes, but not this week… month… or year. I’m OK with that time frame, I want to do this right, if becoming a master artist only happened in a year everybody would be one.

 

Session #049, Work #038

 

I finished up the shoe. The glare wasn’t a huge issue, I had to watch the direction of my brush stroke or I would create a huge glare, other than that it wasn’t too bad. I would love to setup my studio like was indicated in the last video I posted but that is a bit too much work and money at the moment.

I don’t have much to say about this painting, and I don’t like that. So from now on I’m going to make up a process in which I must answer a few questions before I begin a painting/drawing session. One of these questions will definitively be, “What is the focus of this painting?”. By focus, I don’t mean, what object should be the focus of this painting, but  the objective of this painting specifically in regards with how I want this painting to make be a better artist. Do I want to focus on drawing and make sure that is perfect? Do I want to focus on taking my time on the landscape so that I see more accurately? Do I just want to focus on nothing for this painting and just have fun? It can be anything, but as long as I know what I want to achieve with this painting and go for it.

 

Here is a list of other things to ask from Richard Schmid’s book.

  1. Which side of the subject is lightest or darkest? This may seem simple, but in landscape painting, it is not always obvious.
  2. Is the light clear and sharp or diffused? Are there strong cast shadows or are the darks softly modeled? Look at the edges of the shadows for that, bright light by itself will not necessarily produce hard edges. Is there any strong reflected light bouncing around?
  3. Where are the lightest light areas, the darkest darks, the sharpest edges, the completely “lost” edges? This is particularly important in establishing the range of values and edges in a painting. (Chapter 5.)
  4. How warm or cool is the light? Are the shadows warmer or cooler than the light areas on the subject?
  5. Where are the most powerful colors? What are they?
  6. Is there an obvious color harmony in the subject as a whole, or is the harmony subtle, as in daylight? (Chapter 7.) Is the harmony created by the light amplified by related local colors in the subject? (This happens with snow and water and fields of grass.)
  7. What sort of technique do you envision? How do you want to put your paint on? Are you going to use a broken color rendering, or strong fluid brushwork, or something else? Do you intend a thickly painted rendering or thin? Where are you going to shovel the paint on, and where do you want to keep it thin? (Chapter 9.)
  8. Where are the strong simple areas, and where do you have to be especially careful?
  9. Are there any drawing problems? Is there foreshortening to contend with? Are there perspective distortions, or areas of ambiguity or confusion? Is there anything in the subject that would look weird if painted?
  10. Is there good light on your canvas? Is the light going to change?
  11. Are you going to have a problem with glare on your canvas? If so, how are you going to deal with it?
  12. Is the subject going to change? What are you going to do about that?
  13. Lastly (as if all of that weren’t enough), consider how much of what you are looking at you really need to paint, or want to paint, or have time to paint.

 

 

The Painting

31713

 

The Setup

31713-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

 

 

Value

31713-value

Session #048, Work #038

So tonight didn’t go so well. We had a release tonight and it was going bad, plus I started very late. I did manage to get some paint down on the canvas and I was very excited about my new lighting setup. But I had a huge issue with glare. I’m going to do some research on the web tonight to find out how I can paint without glare.

After doing some research tonight I looked at DrawMixPaint.com. This guy is Great! He has videos for everything. There is so much great advice here, its priceless.

Here is a Youtube vid on how to setup your studio without glare. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMOSvmdFKY4

The Painting

31613
Here you can see the left side of the painting was knocked back with vertical brush stroke and the right side with horizontal brush strokes. You can see the massive amounts of glare on the right side due to the light directly above.

My Setup

31613-setup

My new lighting setup is pretty great. I have two lights with the exact same light bulbs. One is on the still life and one is on my painting and palette. Plus I have a gray shield up to block any light coming from my painting light. Now all I need to do is fix the glare.

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Session #047, Work #037

I changed the setup a bit today. I wanted to get the same light on my canvas as was on the still life. That didn’t work out too well, I ended up getting a lot of glare on my painting. That is why the photo is at such a weird angle.

31513

Overview

31513-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

31513-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

Lots of drawing issues here. I’m not sure which ones were caused by the weird camera angle to avoid glare. I know that the top of the hat was wrong, and the placement of the jewel on the bow was too low. Also the brim of the hat on the right is curving around and meeting with the hat in a very incorrect place, can’t believe I missed that.

 

Value

31513-value

How can I improve the values?

I’m happy with the values, the left side of the painting could be darker, but other than that I feel like I’m very close. As I type though, I see that the shoe laces are way too bright.

Photos I took of the painting to avoid the glare from the paint.

31513

 

 

31513b

 

 

 

Session #046, Work #036


The second life drawing studio with the same teacher. Good class even though the model had to cancel. we drew from skulls and skeletons then we paired up with other artists and drew each other. I got to draw Steve, he had all kinds of good features to draw, plus a hat, glasses and a mustache.

Anyway, I’m really tired, so I will end this now and go to sleep.

Overview

31413c

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

31413a

 

 

31413b

 

 

31413c

 

 

 

Session #045, Work #035


Today was the first day in over 5 years that I have drawn from a live model. I went to an open life drawing class held at A&C Supply in Seattle. We started out with very short poses, the instructor, Jamie Bollenback gave the model a letter and she had to interpret that letter with her body. The beginning poses were less than a minute and Jamie was trying to get all of the artists to get the entire model within each drawing.

This was very difficult for me. I had to work at a very fast pace, there was no way I could get the proportions correct and all the drawings were more symbolic than realistic. At some points I just tried to get the movement of the models body down in a gestural way, but that didn’t work most of the time. Needless to say the first very short poses were very frustrating.

Eventually the poses became longer, from two minutes to 5 minutes, I still felt rushed. And because of that my drawings were very inaccurate and unfocused. Eventually I had to give in and just accept that currently I couldn’t capture the model true to life in that short of a time span.

I began to think that maybe the most important thing to remember is that each mark must be absolutely important. That was one thing that Jamie said that made a lot of since, and I’ve heard it before by previous teachers. Don’t just play with marking on the surface, decide what you want to accomplish with the mark, see it happening, trace it in the air if you have to, but when you make it get it correct right out of the box. Most of the time speed comes with accuracy, not going fast. The greatest and fastest race car drivers are the ones that hit the accelerator and break at the perfect time, consistently.

Well we ended the class with a very long pose, I think it was a bit more than an hour long. This drawing turned out ok, I had to make adjustments for the models movements but during this drawing I think I was feeling how important it is to see each mark as important as the whole.

 

 

Drawings

31313a

 

 

31313b

 

 

31313c

 

 

31313d

 

 

 

Session #044, Work #034

I feel like this is the best painting that I have done so far. There are some issues but on the whole it is accurate and executed to the best of my current ability.
I’m happy to say that the last two paintings I have not used any mineral spirits at all. The previous few paintings I was getting a head ache from constantly cleaning my brush for each color change, even after I started keeping my spirits closed only until I needed to clean the brush. What I started doing was just lightly pinching the bristles between Viva paper towels a couple times and that removes about 95% of all the paint from the brush. The only time I encountered any contamination of color during change was when I was using Pthalo Blue for the handle of this coffee cup. Pthalo Blue is by far the strongest color I have ever encountered. It will take over any color pile with even the smallest amount. So, I’m very happy to have found a solution that will keep me away from brain damage, yay!

31213

Overview

31213-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

31213-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

Just some quick comparisons with the drawing. I was really way off with the placement of the letters on the t-shirt. Unfortunately those were totally an after thought, or maybe I was putting them off for so long that I lacked the energy to concentrate on them. Then the left side of the cup is a bit off also. I must say though, I don’t take any of these too seriously. I had to take the photo of the painting at a weird angle just to get rid of the glare from the black, so I’m sure that there is going to be some mismatching due to just the camera angle.

 

Value

31213-value

How can I improve the values?

I’m happy with the values here. The really white areas can not be achieved with paint, I don’t think pure white would even match the letters on the t-shirt. But the relative values for most of it is close. Again, their is going to be some things that are off due to the camera though, it is so hard to take a picture of black paint.

 

New Palette

31213-newPalette

This is my new awesome glass palette. I picked up a 12×16 piece of cheap somewhat thin glass at Lowes and a corrugated plastic sign. Because the glass was so thin I wanted something light but rigid enough to support it, first I was thinking thin wood, but then I would have to get it cut. The I thought cardboard, but just didn’t like the idea of it. Finally I found some sign kits at Lowes that were plastic but constructed exactly like cardboard, rigid yet light, perfect. So I cut the sign down to size and doubled it, then I cut a piece of Canson Artagan gray drawing paper eventually making a palette sandwich out of the materials. Glass, Artagan paper, then two pieces of sign board. All wrapped around the edges with masking tape, I didn’t have any duct tape, but I figured this would be just as good. The end product turns out to be very light and perfect for an almost vertical setup on my Julian easel.

 

 

 

Session #043, Work #034

Long day at work, and a late start on the painting tonight so I will keep this short.
Take your freaking time! Cause when you do, your paintings turn out 1 million times better. I’m so happy with my performance tonight. I took my time, I even set a timer and took a break every thirty minutes. I think the breaks were the most useful, it forced me to take my time, to setup away. I don’t know why I get in such a rush, I think its because of all the amazing artists I see and for some reason I put their speed of painting over everything. I forget that they have had years of steady slow painting that gave them that speed.
I also made an awesome glass palette tonight, holy cow the glass and the grey background I used makes mixing painting super fun, its almost heavenly.

31213

Overview

31213-setup
The setup. You can see my new palette in the picture also. Man I love this palette, I may take it with me when I paint landscapes, I don’t want to part with it, its my precious!

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

31213-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

I took my time with the drawing, and guess what, its almost perfect. I found the key, I just need to remember it.

 

Value

31213-value

How can I improve the values?

I’m a bit dark above the apple, and light to the left of the cup and apple. I will correct these with the continuation of this painting tomorrow.

 

Session #044, Work #034

Changing up the format today. After going to Daniel Smith art supply and buying some Fredrix canvas boards I learned that they suck without any Gesso applied. Not a big deal, I want this to be a longer painting so I’m just using this session as a study session for my t-shirt still life.

During this painting I did figure out what I wanted to focus on for my next paintings, Longevity and Drawing.  Of course I need to learn to draw better, that comes with time, but if I lack the ability to stick with a painting or drawing for more than an hour it is going to take forever to learn anything. I need to work on sticking with a drawing or painting for longer and longer sessions.

My process will be to time myself on how long I spend on an painting or drawing and try and beat that time next session. I also need to plan breaks in between, this may be the key to keep going for really long sessions. So tomorrow I will be really strict about timing myself and taking breaks. My goal will be 1.5 hours, and each painting after that I will increase the time by at least 5 minutes. So 6 painting from now I should be at 2 hours, 12 paintings 2.5 hours and so on. I may increase the time that I try to beat each painting by… On second thought I’m not going to set a time to beat it by, I will just try and beat my previous time, I’m sure that within 6 paintings I will be pushing 2.5 hours, then beating that time will be harder.

To sum up, here are my goals for the next n number of paintings and drawings.
Drawing focused and accurate.
Longevity and timing my sessions to beat my previous.

 

031013a
I took this pic after scrapping off most of the paint that is why it looks so horrible.

 

031013b

Overview

031013a-setup

 

031013b-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Comparison

031013b-comparison

Session #043, Work #033

I wasn’t happy with the drawing of the egg carton and how long it was taking so I decided to do a painting of it. This didn’t take near as long and I was a bit more dashing with the brush then usual.
For today’s paintings I started using a bristle brush to lay in the beginning drawing and initial values. I really like the feel of this, I wasn’t going easy on the bristle brush like my other monarch brushes due to their price and it was a nice an fluid way to start a painting. It seemed like a warm up or stretch you do before a focused workout. Getting the juices flowing before starting to get all serious.

030913c

Overview

030913c-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

030913c-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

This drawing was much better than the last. Although I know by looking at the inaccuracies as I go farther down that if I had done the entire carton the drawing of the bottom of the carton would have been pretty far off.

 

Value

030913c-value

How can I improve the values?

I moved my easel today for the plein air painting I did and now I’m getting glare on my paintings… this is super annoying, not only can I not take a good picture but, trying to paint through a glare sucks.

Anyway, the values here are a bit dark but after pulling the values down on the picture everything seemed to match up well. So that means I have a good grasp of all the relative values for this still life.

 

Session #043, Work #032

The egg carton I felt would lend itself well to graphite rather than paint, so I actually used my drawing board which usually serves as a backdrop for all my still life paintings.
I stopped after an hour on this drawing, I felt like the rest would be very repetitive and I wanted to mainly use this to see how well I would capture the major drawing with graphite instead of paint.

030913b

Overview

030913b-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

030913b-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

Wow, my drawing here is way off. I think I was so convinced that the repetition of the same distances for the top egg holes would be easily repeated going down that I barely even measured if that were true.

 

Value

030913b-value

How can I improve the values?

I’m happy with the value but I really think I want paper that is more smooth next time.

 

Session #043, Work #031

This is my first landscape in over 5 years. I had forgotten about all the possible distractions and especially the mass of leaves and trees that make it hard to determine any shapes at all.
I felt majorly rushed on this painting, I only spent an hour on it but by the time I was finished the shadows had move so far that I could only make up what I thought the values would look like. And because I was rushed the drawing and values are pretty far off.

030913a

Overview

030913a-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

030913a-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

I was so rushed on this painting I understand that the drawing is way off. I’m going to have to start painting landscapes earlier in the day when the sun is high and more stable.

 

Value

030913a-value

Session #042, Work #030

I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to drawing from Bargue as a exercise in learning how to draw better. So I had this idea to mix two dimensions with three dimensions. Drawing exact and perfect lines with a brush is very difficult. Right after starting this I learned my folly, but I persisted and I’m fairly happy with the outcome.
I missed the past two days paintings due to a business trip to Chicago, so this weekend I will be making up for them by doing three paintings tomorrow. I may even venture outside for a plein air painting for the first time in over 5 years!
I’m feel as though I need to assess my direction in art right now and focus a bit more. I still need to work on drawing, all the time and probably forever really, but I need to set down an exact direction that I will take to improve my skills. I’m still battling with using pencil and paper and my want to keep brush skills at their best. I may relent to graphite soon, at least for a while, or I may just have it handy for on the go art sketches.

30813

Overview

30813-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

30813-drawing 

How can I improve the drawing

Focus more, work on it longer.

Value

30813-value

How can I improve the values?

[acf field=”value_improve_text”]

Edges

[acf field=”edges_improve_text”]

Composition

[acf field=”composition_improve_text”]

Color

[acf field=”color_improve_text”]

Business Trip

Business trip to Chicago, no painting. I did a sketch but not pics or info… 🙁
I made up for the lack of art in the next few days by doing twice as much work.

Business Trip

Business trip to Chicago, no painting. I did a sketch but no pics or info… 🙁

Session #039, Work #029

The night before I leave for a two day business trip, my heart is not really into anything at the moment. I did the painting regardless, but I’m not saying much of anything about it. Its simple, I did it, the drawing is off cause I wasn’t super focused on it. I’m sure the value is a bit off, but I didn’t really analyze that either.
It is just important that I do a painting every day, or a drawing. At least 1 hour, I have to work as much as I can on seeing every day.
If there is one move I make every day I want to make sure that move is toward my goal.

30513

Overview

30513-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

30513-drawing

Value

30513-value

Session #038, Work #028

More fruit tonight. I’m painting simple shapes so I can work on my drawing without being overwhelmed by my subjects complexity. At some point soon I believe that I will be transitioning into pencil on paper instead of painting for a bit.
My main reason for drawing with a brush is so that I can work on my drawing while learning to handle a brush with great dexterity at the same time.

30413

Overview

30413-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

30413-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

Not too bad on the drawing. The issue is the large arc of the banana. It seems like one of the hardest things to draw is the long slow arc in space. The perfect drawing of this banana continues to elude me.

 

Value

30413-value

How can I improve the values?

Wow, that yellow was way off. And the green at the top of the banana was much too dark also. It seem as though the brighter the color the hardest it is to judge its value correctly. This yellow I put down was so far off that I thought that Photoshop was doing something weird with it. But after some testing I concluded that Photoshop wasn’t lying, it is really too dark. I even look at the picture and the painting now and it still looks light enough… this is going to be a tough one.

Session #037, Work #027

Up late after dinner out, yummy pizza, so I’m tired and I don’t feel like writing much. Easy painting, drawing was simple, I wasn’t being super focused, but the drawing still turned out well. I also did some color to value tests on this painting. If they are correct in value the brushes of color will disappear when I remove all the color from the painting, we shall see below.

30413

Overview

30413-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

30413-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

Meh… easy drawing just two circles really. I’m sure if I was really up to it tonight I could have gotten it much more accurate.

 

 

Value

30413-value

How can I improve the values?

I forced the values to be a bit darker here since the last painting was blown out and too close to white. I think I over compensated on the apple though, it is too dark.

I like that some of the color brushed tests disappear when I remove all the color. The red on the apple values are way off, they don’t match what they are painted on.

 

 

Session #036, Work #026

Home late after the Emerald City Comicon, so I will make this brief.

I reverted to easier subject matter, and I included value again, but not color. I’m also working a bit on edges. Still focusing mainly on drawing though. This entire painting felt good, I knew that I had made some drawing mistakes but became too lazy to change. I like that I knew how the drawing comparison would turn out before I even did the Photoshop comparison tonight though.

 

 

30213

Overview

30213-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

30213-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

I knew, before I even finished the painting that the apple was too high, I just didn’t want to change it.

I worked hard on the banana stem, so I”m glad that turned out accurate. The curve of the banana seemed much harder to get accurate than I thought. The subtle curve was so long that it was super difficult to measure correctly.

 

 

Value

30213-value

How can I improve the values?

It has been a bit since I did some focus on value. This one turned out pretty far off the mark. What I have noticed during my paintings is that I push the lighter colors too far most of the time. Things would work better if I painted everything just a bit darker than what I actually thought. That would allow me to have the very top most range of values open for highlights or punches.

 

 

Edges

I still need to get an edge comparison layout going in Photoshop, anyway, I felt pretty good with the edges although I have not analyzed my accuracy at all.

Session #035, Work #025

Tonight’s painting was a failure. I’m cutting out all the BS on this post and just focusing on why this painting failed, or why I feel it failed.

My original idea was to knock down the drawing a bit that I had been working on for several sessions and then paint over top and try and render the still life accurately with  correct value and colors.  Before I started I was excited, I felt that it would be easy, I didn’t have to worry about the drawing that much at all, just get the values and color correct and I would have a great painting… it didn’t work out that way.

From the beginning I felt like I was being stagnated, it was like painting by numbers I guess. Have to stay within the lines, I felt urges to pick up a larger brush and just let it fly. Not too crazy of course but, at least some freedom. But I didn’t, I even pulled out a smaller brush and began doing details with it.

Even then I should have had  a well rendered painting right? No, for some reason I felt lost from the very beginning. I felt like I was always guessing, is this the right value, and second guessing. After about 35 minutes into the painting I was hating how the whole process felt and was wanting to quit. I pressed on though, in hopes that it would get better. It did not.

I had lost focus somewhere, I wasn’t calm, but agitated. It seemed like every stroke I laid down was wrong in some way, either drawing, value, color or edges. Plus I was hindered by all the lines and in some instances had to force myself just go over them.

I still can’t place exactly what went wrong. I think it was a combination of a very dark background making it hard to judge values and my overwhelming urge not to mess up the drawing underneath that was stifling any painterly spirit.

For the next few paintings I will be sticking to simple shape still lives. I will work to get the drawing perfect then I will obliterate it during the same session with correct color and value, making a point to not pay attention to the lines too much. I keep looking over at our basket of fruit and thinking that apples, oranges and bananas would be great. It would feel like freedom.

 

 

30113

Overview

30113-setup

Session #034, Work #025

More drawing today and I did some gesso tests with some inconclusive results. Not much to say about this painting now, this is my third session with it. The sessions are short, although I have a tendency to feel bad that the painting is taking very long. Which is pretty interesting, when you compare those feelings to all other master artists. Their paintings take a huge amount of time to complete. I’m thinking that my earlier training in Florida has conditioned me to think that speed is paramount. This is simply not true. Especially since I’m just learning again and trying to get skills better. Like Richard Schmid says “Take your time, speed will come with experience”

22813

Overview

22813-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

22813-drawing 

How can I improve the drawing

Drawing is good, I need to fix the bottom right of the base that is way off.

 

 

 

Canvas Gesso Tests

22813-canvas-gesso-3
3 coats of gesso
22813-canvas-gesso-2
2 coats of gesso
22813-canvas-gesso-1
1 coat of gesso
22813-canvas-gesso-0
0 coats of gesso

I did four envelope starts tonight. Mainly to test out if the different coats of gesso would make a difference when painting, but I found the quickness of the envelope and its freedom liberating. I should test the accuracy on these before I continue.

As far as the gesso is concerned I couldn’t tell a difference between each canvas although I made only a few strokes on each canvas. I wonder if I will ever see a difference between the coats when I work further into each canvas?

 

 

Session #033, Work #025

Tonight, more drawing, and a Gesso test. I broke the drawing session today into two parts, and took a small break in between. When I returned to the drawing my focus was still intense and accurate. I’m going to try and take a break every 30 minutes from now on. Hopefully break will lead to longevity.  Tonight there were too many distractions and I couldn’t get in more than an hour of drawing.
22713a
Before break drawing

 

 

22713b
Continued drawing after break.

Overview

22713-setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

22713-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

I’m extremely happy with the drawing so far. I improved the drawing further from the last session and I didn’t even use the previous comparison to guide my changes. The top of the mushroom was drawn on pure measurement and its accuracy is almost perfect!

I really need to work on the face though, it needs help. The brush strokes are so tiny here that my hand needs to be absolutely steady in order not to make a mistake.

 

 

Canvas Gesso Test

4 canvases each with a number of coats of Gesso, and stained with burnt umber. To test which one I like best
4 canvases each with a number of coats of Gesso, and stained with burnt umber. To test which one I like best

Gesso test

So, I have several canvas boards and I’m not very happy with their painting surface, so I wanted to try some gesso and different number of coats to see what I like best. At some point I’m going to find some triple primed oil canvas boards and try those expensive things out, but until then I’m going with the budget solution.

First off, the gesso was sanded a bit with 220 grit sand paper just to make the surface a bit smoother. The surface of gesso reminds me of chalk, it seems like it would soak up a bunch of paint so I applied my usual ground.

Now, for this initial stage of the boards I will say that I like the plain Blick canvas board without any extra gesso applied. Its smooth after being sanded but not too chalky and the color applied to the canvas is much more even without the gesso brush strokes showing. I guess I could have used a non bristle brush to apply the gesso so that there was less brush strokes. I will try that only if the extra coats of gesso turns out to be promising.

Beyond that, I really don’t see that much difference between 0 to 3 coats of gesso. The true test is going to be when I start drawing on these. I will have to set them up all on the same day and start an envelope so I can get a direct comparison.

 

Session #032, Work #025

So it looks like 1.5 hours is my limit for drawing currently. That is a very small span of time. I need to work on drawing longevity or consciously take more breaks so I can last longer. It’s almost like standing at attention for over an hour. For this drawing I was very focused also, so I’m guessing the focus took a lot of energy.

I’m really happy about my focus though, I can see much more now then when I started over a month ago. I feel like my focus and these blog post analyzing the painting and drawing are speeding up my learning tremendously.

Tomorrow when I continue I will try for drawing perfection. I’m thinking also that I should actually take this painting all the way to the end, maybe three more sessions. One more drawing session, one value session and a color session.

 


22613

Overview

22613-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

22613-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

The drawing doesn’t look great, but the contour is very accurate. Except for the base which I kinda threw in real quick before stopping. I’m going to try and not use my Photoshop comparison to finish the drawing, I feel like using this too much could be a crutch.

 

 

Session #031, Work #024

Today I wanted to try out a change in my canvas surface because I felt that the last painting’s surface was very dry and scratchy, but I didn’t have any Gesso for the canvas board and I didn’t want to wait six months for an oil prime to dry, so I just used some red acrylic paint that I had. UGH!!! I will be getting some Gesso after I throw this canvas out, it is way too slick and the color is killing me.

Well, I drew for 1 hour and 15 minutes today and marked out everything. The problem is that I didn’t get the major shapes down before I started in on the details and I was really hurting for it. In most cases I couldn’t even see the bigger shapes. Below I did some Photoshop work to help me with that.

 

22513a
My first attempt tonight before wiping it out.

22513b
second attempt at drawing tonight, I wiped this one out right after taking the photo.

Overview

22513b-setup
the setup

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

22513b-drawing
Drawing comparison of the second attempt
finding the major shapes on the figure.
finding the major shapes on the figure.

How can I improve the drawing

I was actually closer on the drawing then I thought, o well, its gone now. Doesn’t really bother me, I want it perfect, and repetition is the best way.

 

Session #030, Work #022

22413

Overview

The setup
The setup

Thirty days of painting and I have seen a lot of improvement, but I still have a long way to go before I reach my goal.

This was the second part of this painting and by being very patient and taking my time it turned out very well. I have an understanding now that drawing a subject for a huge amount of time is normal and not out of the ordinary at all.

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

  1. Drawing
  2. Value
  3. Edges
  4. Composition
  5. Color

Drawing

Drawing comparison
Drawing comparison

How can I improve the drawing

For now I will take the time necessary to get it correct. With experience speed will come.

 

Value

Value comparison
Value comparison

How can I improve the values?

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William Wendt

William Wendt (1865-1946) was an American landscape painter. He was called the “Dean of Southern California landscape painters.” Wendt was a founding member of the California Art Club, along with his wife Julia Bracken Wendt, and served as its president for six years. Wendt built his studio in Laguna Beach, California. A Laguna street, Wendt Terrace, bears his name.

 

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