Session #104, Work #100

 

I thought that this plate would be much harder but I really enjoyed doing this plate much more than the first. This was much closer to drawing from an actual face rather than just a drawing. I tried as hard as I could to make the lines as exact as possible.

 

The Drawing

51113b

 

 

The Setup

51113b-setup

 

Drawing Comparison

51113b-pre

This is how I began the drawing, unfortunately the line of the bridge of the nose was off and that difference continued through  to the end drawing. I used the Bargue guide on the left only as a possible indicator to how to begin the drawing but I found my own path.

 

51113b-drawing

 

I’m very pleased with the accuracy here, even though the bridge of the nose and the ends of the mouth are off a bit.

Session #104, Work #099

 

I’m using Stonehinge paper this time. And I think it is going to be my choice of paper for a while. Its like the Arches hot pressed watercolor paper but it is cheaper and comes in colors.

 

The Drawing

51113a

 

The Setup

51113a-setup

 

Drawing Comparison

51113a-drawing

 

Lots of mistakes on this one. I went fairly quick and didn’t measure most of the points, and it show a lot.

Session #103, Work #098

 

Plate 1, eye number eleven. I went quickly on this one, trying to get as much done with only eye judgement and not much measurement. Forcing myself to do this can only help me in the future I’m sure.

I did figure out one major thing for this drawing. I dislike the Strathmore 300 series charcoal paper for fine detail, the Arches watercolor paper is far superior for fine detail, although the Arches really clings on to the charcoal and makes it a bit harder to move around. If I added a light grey wash to the paper it would be perfect.

 

The Drawing

51013c

 

The Setup

51013c-setup

 

Drawing Comparison

51013c-drawing

 

These comparisons are really essential for telling me if I’m getting better or not. I feel like I’m getting better, my judgments are closer and these drawings are not taking as long, but I still have a long way to go.

For the top right lines that are so far off, I really didn’t measure those at all, they were added by just looking closely and trying to make the best judgement. Most of the rest was done the same. I can tell I went quick on this one cause I have much more lines incorrect than before.

 

 

 

Session #103, Work #097

 

I came in a bit under an hour here. I was able to speed up a bit by making judgments on the fly here and going for the correct line without much preparation.

 

The Drawing

51013b

 

 

 

The Setup

51013b-setup

 

 

 

Drawing

51013b-drawing

Most of the internal lines here I did without much point preparation and I’m happy that they are very close. Again, the lines further from the center are the worst, I need to find a more accurate way of judging these lines.

Session #103, Work #096

 

Bargue plate 1, eye number nine. I’m trying to do as much as I can without measuring and really trying to train my eye to see differences and make judgement based on that alone. I will make a judgement fix in my head what I need to change, but then I will double check that judgement with measurement, most of the time my initial judgement is correct. It seems as though I need to gain more confidence of my own judgments though.

Also, just seeing a difference is only half of the issue, I have to be able to judge correctly what needs to be changed. If a height is wrong between two lines, then which line do I change? This was this issue is several places on this drawing.

 

The Drawing

51013a

The Setup

51013a-setup

 

Drawing Comparison

51013a-drawing

 

Although it looks a bit clunky, I drew the eyeball curves just once with only minimal points plotted earlier. The small line above the eyelid I redrew three times and still didn’t get it correct. With all the incorrect areas here, there are still a few places where I have excelled and I’m happy about that. I still have 3 more of these eyes to do before I go on to the second plate. And I believe that I have about 50+ more plates after that for the first section of the course… WOW!

Session #102, Work #095

 

Not much to say, still working on the first plate of the Bargue drawing course. I really need to try and do more than one hour a night on this if I’m ever going to finish it.

 

The Drawing

50913

 

 

 

The Setup

50913-setup

 

 

 

Drawing Comparison

50913-drawing

 

Its seems to always be the case that the furthest from the center is more prone to mistakes.

 

Session #101, Work #094

 

I started drawing the two minute poses to night in a site-size method which quickly became stunted and ugly. I was focusing on seeing the proportions correctly and getting the drawing correct but the duration of time necessary to get the model on the page needed quick work. Unfortunately I didn’t see their opposition, but luckily Jamie made a comment that really changed how I was drawing from horrible to wonderful.

I must also mention that I was lucky to be standing next to an artist that was so kind to offer up a huge chunky piece of charcoal. Without his kindness and Jamie’s insight tonight’s would not have been as fantastic.

Basically Jamie broke me out of the rigidity of my method and allowed me to start much more expressively with broad strokes defining the figure as simple as possible quickly at first, then later working into those planes in more detail. This is why I love charcoal so much, the ability to push and pull it around like paint is a thing of beauty.

I want you to grab a large chunk of charcoal and define the entire figure in only a few very broad thick strokesJamie Bollenbach

I think you will easily be able to tell at which point in my drawings tonight that the change happened.

 

 

The Drawings

50413a
Two Minute poses

 

 

50413b
Two Minute poses

 

 

50413c
Five Minute poses

 

 

50413d
Five Minute poses

 

 

50413e
Five Minute poses

 

 

50413f
Five Minute poses

 

 

50413g
1 hour pose

 

 

 

Session #100, Work #093

Still working hard on training my eye through the Bargue course. Even though this session was only an hour long I worked really hard on getting the drawing as perfect as possible.

So this is the 100th consecutive session that I have done and I wanted to do something special but I have been so busy that I have been finding it difficult to even do more than an hour a night. So, I just continued with the course, although at this rate I  will finish the Bargue course in about a year… I do plan on working hard on my drawing for at least nine months before going back to mostly painting, I think this really strict schedule can only help me in the future. From session 1 this year the my biggest failure has always been drawing and I need to really focus on it hard.

Currently I’m also reading “The Practice and Science of Drawing” by Harold Speed, and it is giving a great account of the exact path an artist should take to become an excellent draftsman.

As I did a search for this book to link it I found that it is also a free e-book, of course I find this out after I purchase it.

The Drawing

50713

Drawing

50713-drawing

What is interesting here is that even the weight of the line is throwing off my ability to judge if a distance/width is correct. There are a couple places here that look incorrect but when compared are not.

Session #099, Work #092

 

One hour is not a very long amount of time to spend on these drawings. I still need to strive for perfection here, it will only help me more in the future.

Its interesting that this is the first plate of the course. A whole bunch of eyes. It makes since because the whole purpose of this is learning to see.

The Drawing

50613

 

The Setup

50613-setup

Drawing

50613-drawing
I knew that the top brow line above the eye was too far down, but I left it there anyway. Luckily I fixed the bridge of the nose placement, that was much farther off previously. The most important part of these drawing is learning to judge distances. And even though this drawing is not perfect I feel like I’m getting better at being able to see differences in shapes much more accurately.

Session #098, Work #091

 

So I couldn’t find a good painting spot anywhere down the mountains from Hurricane Ridge. I checked out a few spots on the way and another park on the coast, but I ended up driving for a couple hours before I found this good spot. Lots of shade that didn’t change one bit and  good and simple scene.

 

The Painting

50513b

 

The Location

50513b-location

Wow… everything is so blue compared to what I was seeing. I’m not sure if this is the camera or maybe I didn’t notice at all.

 

Value

50513b-value
I had a great setup here so there is no excuse for that being the cause of my painting issues. Here I made the distant shore values correct, but the closer island is too dark as well as the water is too dark in the distance. Making the island too dark compounded my issues throughout the painting because I made everything too dark and I think I was comparing against the island instead of the sky.

 

 

Session #098, Work #090

 

I couldn’t do much hiking on hurricane ridge due to the 10 feet of snow covering the trails. But I was able to find this wonderful scene on the side of the road. It was such a clear day, I only wish that I had an umbrella, I would have painted three paintings here. But, the sun was moving very fast and I ended up with a bit of a sun burn and only one painting as my shade ran out.

 

The Painting

50513a

 

 

The Setup

50513a-setup

Back to the Julian easel and sitting but, I was still using sight size here.

 

Value

50513a-value
I continue to paint the distant objects much too light. Parts of the mountains should be a bit darker. Also the highlights in the trees should be light, and I can’t believe that I didn’t even notice the cast shadows on the top of the snow over the patch of dirt. I think the distractions of the changing scenery and sun was too much for me to stay focused on the painting and getting it correct.

Session #097, Work #089

 

This scene was super difficult, it had every problem in the book. Quickly changing sun, changing tide, atmospheric perspective, moving water, mass of random foliage, intense color, lots of drawing and subtle values throughout. I was not ready for this scene at all. I’m glad I took some photos cause I will have to study all of these issues one by one.

The Painting

50413b

 

The Setup

50413b-setup

There is my new setup… I have already changed it as I was not happy with how functional it was.

Value

50413b-value

I can’t believe that the trees past the beach are that dark. I painted these values very far off.

The location change

I took several picture showing the change in scenery within one and a half hours.

50413b-locationa 50413b-locationb 50413b-locationc

Session #097, Work #088

I was a bit rushed to start this painting. After driving over three hours to get out here I wanted to get two maybe three paintings done. But due to this new setup and my forgetfulness I had forgotten my brushes for the first spot that I picked and had to walk all the way back to the truck to get them. After that setup, I decided to paint a different spot on the coast.

The Painting

50413

 

The Setup

50413-setup

Here you can see that I’m using my new easel which is perfect for site-size. Although it was kinda hard to get this easel setup on the rocks and in a correct position. Then I realized that I had forgotten to fill my medium cup, which I had to do on the spot. Later to realize when I pinned my palette to the easel that I had filled it way too much….

Really the whole start to this painting was very annoying. I found that my palette was way too bouncy and I had to constantly support it with my left hand while mixing. Also my brush holder that I made up didn’t work well at all and it was a bit annoying throughout the painting. Needless to say I need to make some modifications to my setup and for the remainder of the trip I used my Julian easel. Which I was very happy that I thought ahead and brought it with me.

Value

50413-value
My main focus for this painting was the values and drawing, unfortunately I failed on both. I keyed the sky correctly, but the lighter part of the rocks on the shore is extremely inaccurate.
50413-failspot

 

This was the scene that I was going to paint until I realized that I left my brushes back at the truck.

Session #096, Work #087

 

For this drawing I’m using two sheets of paper. First is a Strathmore 300 series charcoal paper, second is a Canson pastel paper. After putting the first stroke of charcoal down on the Canson paper I immediately hated it. The texture was much to prominent to even be useful in making a drawing. Luckily, after the drawing I tried a few strokes on the back of the paper and it wasn’t too bad, so the whole pad will not be a total waste.

The Strathmore 300 is good though. I’m not liking the vertical line texture much, but I have found ways around that. This will be my go to paper for a while. Its kinda cheap, and works well.

 

The Drawing

50313

 

The Setup

50313-setup

 

The Strathmore paper is on the right and the canson is below. You can see how far I got on the canson paper before I didn’t bother with it anymore.

 

Drawing Comparison

50313-drawing

 

I really need to work on my accuracy here. I’m happy that I got a lot of the line weights done well, but moving forward I think I may need to go for an exact 100% reproduction.

Bargue Drawing Course and Charcoal Paper Review

As I was drawing the fourth eye of plate one of the Bargue drawing course, I noticed that any time I would erase a line on the Arches 90lb hot pressed water color paper the next line that I would put over that erased line would skip like crazy, it was terrible, like trying to draw with a pin out of ink, all I was doing was making a channel in the paper. So I decided that I was going to do this drawing on all the paper types that I had with me.

Session #094, Work #085

 

So at life drawing class tonight I set my easel up so that my paper was really high and I was able to view the model in a spot where she fit on the page. Unfortunately the class was so packed with people that I couldn’t set up my vantage point far behind my easel. I has to be pretty close to the easel and just keep head in one place.

I was very self conscious trying this method out in the class because I know that Jamie would prefer a more fluid approach to drawing, but I really feel that right now what I need is a good drawing foundation and eye training. So I stuck with it and the proportions turned out good, but the drawing didn’t turn out too well. If I had the skills to get the proportions correct right at the start then I could be more fluid and I think the long pose would have turned out better.

The Drawings

50113e
30 Second poses

 

50113d
30 second poses

 

50113c
10 minute pose

 

50113b
10 minute pose

 

50113a
1.5 hour pose

 

 

Bargue Drawing Plate 1

I have had the Bargue Drawing book for going on 7 years now and this is the first time I have really used it, and I believe that I am in a mental space now to continue with the Bargue course for a long while. I’m tired of my frustration and the almost debilitating  feeling of failure when another painting or drawing goes horribly wrong due to lack of draftsmanship.

After last nights failure, I started today fresh and new with Plate number 1, its going to be a long journey but I’m confident that at the end of it I will be a much better draftsman. Plate one has a total of nine linear drawings of eyes, tonight I did the first three.

Charcoal Drawing Frustration

My studio is a million times better now with all the work that I have put into it, its almost done, and I have no excuse that my working conditions is causing issues. Now if my drawing turns out bad its simply because I lack the skill yet to do it correctly.

Session #091, Work #082

 

So I purchased some Generals charcoal pencils, pan pastel with a cool palette knife like applicator, they call it a sofft tool, and some really cheap ingres pastel paper. Turns out that after working on the drawing for over an hour I figure out that I hate this paper tremendously and totally stop in disgust. So the following is what I have ended up with.

 

The Drawing

42813

 

The Setup

42813-setup

 

Drawing Comparison

42813-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

Luckily I was able to get far enough so I could still compare the drawing. I’m pretty happy with my accuracy of the countour.

Material Testing

42813-testing

Here I did some test of the pan pastels, it goes onto the paper nice and smooth, I can build it up really dark then easily remove it all the way down to the bare paper with an eraser. And the best thing about it is that it stays really well in one place, only the eraser picks it right off the paper.

Session #090, Work #081

 

I didn’t take this drawing very far tonight because I setup my site size and the figure turned out to be way too small for any kind of detail. Lesson learned there, and I’m going to have to change where I place the still life in relation to my easel so that the figure is larger on the paper and I can really work into the detail.

 

The Drawing

42713

 

The Setup

42713-setup

 

Drawing Comparison

42713-drawinga
30 minutes comparison
42713-drawingb
1 hour comparison
42713-drawingc
1.5 hour comparison

How can I improve the drawing

Again site-size drawing is really the way to go. This drawing was dead on at the very beginning and continued to be very close throughout. It’s so much easier to see the differences and changes when you can compare your drawing to a life size subject.

Session #089, Work #080

 

This is by far the most intuitive way to draw. I found it much easier to compare my subject with the drawing when I didn’t have to figure out size difference. Further into the drawing it became unnecessary to measure with my pencil, I could flick my eyes back and forth to see issues.

I don’t have my new taboret plan setup so I had to set some fruit on our tiny shelf above the fire place then use my easel at its most highest position. At some point when I get time I will do a lengthy post on my taboret master plan.

 

The Drawing

42613

 

The Setup

42613-setupa

This was about an hour plus into the drawing.42613-setupb

 

 

Drawing

42613-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

The drawing is super close, except for the apple, which I fixed as soon as I saw this comparison. I’m still trying to figure out why I got the apple so wrong. I think it is still hard for me to see differences that small I guess.

Value

42613-value

How can I improve the values?

Well the background is extremely far off, that should be much darker. And the difference between cast shadow and the fabric in light is much more close than I thought.

 

Session #088, Work #079

 

I didn’t do much drawing today. We had plans to see the European Masters show at the Seattle Art Museum then right after that we had to rush home because it was Thursday and that is release night.

So, here is the very short drawing, I basically set a rolled up poster on the window sill. It was a really nice day out and I had the door and windows open. I’m really fortunate to have big windows with north light streaming through, I really need to take advantage of it.

The Drawing

42513

 

 

The European Masters Show

It was a good show,but I didn’t find myself moved by any of the pieces. I will add a few pieces here and give my thoughts but I have to say, as I look through google images at paintings, every single picture of these paintings that I just saw in person are absolute crap compared to the real work. I can’t stress this enough, NOTHING compares to the real thing. I’m not saying this because I’m an artist and I have a feeling for this that maybe most people would not say. That is not it at all, literally if you say the painting in person then looked at any of the photos online you would think it was a different painting. Even my wife said “Wow these pictures really suck”. Now that that is out of the way.

The star of the show, Rembrandt.

J910070

 

Everyone knows, Rembrandt is great. They have heard it since they were young, even if they weren’t an artist they have heard about Rembrandt. Everyone uses Rembrandt as the ultimate comparison for every other artist. “Who do you think you are Rembrandt?” is synonymous with “Who do you think your are Shakespeare?”.

I was no different, I was taught that Rembrandt was the best and I believed it. Then I grew up, became an artist and at some point in my life learned to question everything. So, I questioned the belief, and honestly Rembrandt really didn’t move me. I don’t care what the historians have said about Rembrandt I really didn’t care for his work. Kinda like the Beetles I really don’t like the Beetles that much, I have to be careful when I say that, I may get stoned or something… Maybe I shouldn’t say “stoned”… Anyway, the point is, I didn’t care about Rembrandt. UNTIL, The National Gallery of London, I can’t remember exactly which self portrait it was that I was looking at, but the painting actually moved me. I, after questioning Rembrandt’s rule over all artist for years, saw the light and I never questioned his supreme mastery further.

The self portrait above, painted in 1661, isn’t his best, but it was displayed in the middle of the room surrounded by masters who came along close to 100 years later. It was like mannequins surrounding one man, the room was full of lifeless portraits modeled into stone while a scruffy old man moved within his frame.

Yeah, that is a bit dramatic, I’m trying to be eloquent here. Basically the Rembrandt self portraits have life to them, movement, air and power. And I’m kinda tired of the overly modeled perfection of the other portraits. Of course, they are all amazing, but we all know who the king of artists is in this room.

Unfinished-Self-Portrait,-C.1792 Joshua Reynolds Self Portrait late in life catherine-lady-chambers.jpg!Blog Joshua Reynolds portrait right out of school.

The setup of these two painting in the gallery by Joshua Reynolds was great. They both were set next to each other. The right was painting right after he left school as a young artist. The left was a self portrait late in life just a few years before his death. I stood in front of these paintings for a while, comparing, trying to find growth or change in his work. Maybe a bit more bravado with the brushwork, maybe a bit more confidence in his work, something anything. But I couldn’t come up with anything. These could have been painted within the same year, maybe I just can’t see it, but as far as I’m concerned I don’t think he changed as an artist at all. Its as if he became his greatest early on, and then never surpassed that, or maybe never tried.

J910503 J910498

This was another great setup in the show. On the left is a portrait by George Romney and on the right is a portrait by Joshua Reynolds. And they are both of the same woman. Its great to see that the likeness is there in both images. But what I was most interested in was how each artist portrayed “Mrs. Musters”. The plaque next to the painting said she was a very solemn woman and I think Romney nailed it. But Reynolds is was trying to bring the depiction of classical mythology back into painting  so his painting is more like he put Mrs Musters on stage and had her play a part.

J920722

Kitty Fisher as “Cleopatra” Dissolving the Pearl was one of the better of all the paintings there and another depiction of Reynolds bringing classical mythology back into art.

There were a few other painters there that it was nice to see. William tuner, one of his earlier pieces. It was a very sober painting compared to his later work, I prefer his later work much better. Now here is an artist that grew and changed and became absolutely amazing further along in his career, Reynolds stagnation through his entire life really confuses me…

We saw a Henry Reaburn portrait of a child. I have always liked Reaburn since I saw him in the National Gallery in DC. And it was necessary that he be in this show with Reynolds, Romney and Rembrandt. Every good curator knows that you have to have the four R’s to really confuse your patrons.

And for the last, I saved Thomas Gainsbourough. Both my wife and I agree, he was terrible. Wow, I was amazed, and I think you can only come to these conclusions when you view artists in a room with their contemporaries. Because they all are amazing artist and in a room by themselves they shine bright, but its that comparative that really enlightens us to why historians say, “this guy was the best in the mid 1800’s”. This is also the main reason why I live the National Gallery in DC, all the rooms are organized by date so you get to see everyone next to their contemporaries, and you really pick out the best in an instant.

At the end of the day the biggest thing that I left with from that show is that I really need to step up my game. To even get to Gainsborough’s level I need work my butt off.

 

Session #087, Work #078

 

Life drawing with a male model. O stood for today’s class and my feet didn’t hurt too bad when I was done. I enjoyed standing as I was able to move around a bunch more and get away from my drawing easily. There were a ton of people in the class tonight, for the long pose I even drew in one of the artists sitting in front of me. Like always I had a great time.

What did I learn today?

  • Massing in blocks of value makes for a better looking drawing but really doesn’t help me to draw better, or get proportions correctly. The contour is the real challenge, and what keeps me on my toes and learning the most.
  • Press harder for darker areas, lighter for light areas. Feel the change in values and thickness in line needed for coutour and transfer that sensitivity to the drawing a most physical manner with the charcoal.
  • Make sure I have adequate light on my paper when drawing.
  • “You cannot describe an organizem fully without also describing its environment”… do the background.

The Drawings

42413a
1.5 hour pose

 

 

42413b
5 Minute poses

 

 

42413c
5 minute pose

 

 

42413d
30 second poses

 

 

42413e
5 minute pose

 

 

42413f
5 minute poses

 

 

42413g
5 minute poses

 

 

 

 

 

Session #086, Work #077

 

At some point I will do a post on this but I’m building my own taboret. I have a great Idea and I hope it works out. But I was on my way to IKEA to get the major piece of my future taboret when I stopped to paint this scene in a Boeing parking lot. While painting I was hoping that no one would thing I was doing anything nefarious and run me off the lot or worse. With all the bombings and crap, it makes since that a security guard would be super paranoid at a facility that manages something about airplanes.

The painting was fun regardless, but as soon as I got home and pulled it out of my wet panel carrier, I said “holy crap that is way too yellow!” I really need to get these high chroma colors under control.

The Painting

42313

 

The Location

42313-locationa

The following photos are of me playing with the scene on my iphone while painting.

42313-locationb 42313-locationc 42313-locationd

 

Value

42313-value

How can I improve the values?

Well at lease the value on the super yellow is pretty close. Looks like I got most of the ground plane wrong here, it all should be much lighter. I have to say, when I get rid of the crazy yellow in this painting I think its not too bad.

Session #085, Work #076

 

Let me start off by saying that I think this painting was a failure. Why was it a failure? It was rushed, the values are off, the drawing is really bad, and most of the painting was just very complicated fluff. But, I think I can learn a bunch from this painting.

The drawing is obvious, I know I need to draw every day and work my butt off on it. The masses of fluffy nothing craziness I know that I need to work on how to generalize such areas so they look convencing. But the most exciting here is how far the values are off, and why.

The Painting

42213b

 

The Location

42213b-location

 

Drawing

No focus on drawing here, just value.

 

Value

42213b-value

How can I improve the values?

This is crazy, I can’t believe that the yellow areas that I painted are so dark in value. I’m so misled by these high chroma colors that the value is completely wrong. This is definitely an indication that I need to work on dealing with very intense color and judging their values correctly. My only idea to help this is to use my phone on location and turn the painting into grey-scale so that I can learn to see the difference better.

Session #085, Work #075

 

Lately I have been really influenced by Marc Dalessio not only is he an amazing artist, he does a ton of landscapes, and he give wonderful information on his website. So today’s influence from Marc was three thing. First was wearing a lighter shirt to paint in. The last time I was out here my canvas was super dark and Marc indicated that he only paints in light blue shirts indicating that its reflective values lights up his paintings a bit without any side effects. Second influence was standing up. I usually sit down when I do a landscape because my feet tend to hurt but for this painting I stood the whole time so I could get away from my painting and use a more site size approach. The third influence was medium. The last painting I felt as if the paint was really hard to move around, so I decided to use a Gamblin out of the bottle medium and it was great I should have been doing this the whole time. Not only will I get a better idea of what medium I actually prefer, but its much easier to paint with it.

So with all these changes to my normal technique I think the painting turned out rather well. And I had a ton of fun painting it. So much so that I did another painting after this one, I will post about that next. The focus for this painting was values. Marc indicates that values are the most important in landscape painting with drawing coming in at a close second, and I will have to agree.

Note for a tip that I need to add. “You can only paint as good as you can draw”. Not sure who said that but, I heard it recently, I’m pretty sure it was from Marc Dalessio.

 

The Painting

42213a

 

The Location

42213a-location

42213a-location-edit
I edited this image on my iphone using Photoshop express. I think I may do this more often to help me see better

Drawing

focus on values.

Value

42213a-value

How can I improve the values?

So the distant pine trees are too light. Looks like I tend to make distant dark object too light, I did the same thing in the last painting. I think the tops of the right pine trees need to be a bit darker, but that could be incorrect as the light and dark areas at the top of the tree are so broken up that they are tending to blend together.

What is most interesting is that the light areas on the grass are only light due to the high chroma of the paint. Their real value is very dark, wow! I have such issue with these high chroma colors I may have to do a bunch of paintings just dealing with this.

Session #084, Work #074

 

Sunday, and the weather wasn’t the greatest. The clouds were moving quickly and it was raining just a bit. I setup under a tree to keep the rain off and my canvas was so dark that it was difficult to see anything at all. I ended up moving my easel a couple times, once to get more light, and again to get the patch of sunlight off my canvas once the sun decided to come out.

Wasn’t a bad painting experience though. I was focusing mainly on values. Then I got caught into the mass of crap that is this tree in the foreground. Wow, nothing but a bunch of scattered twigs everywhere. It was very difficult to get it to look any good at all, and I feel I failed there.

The Painting

42113

 

The Location

42113-location

 

Drawing

Nothing to say about drawing here, my focus was totally on getting the values correct.

 

Value

42113-value

How can I improve the values?

In my attempt to push the items across the late further back, I made them way too light. The values of the water and the foreground mass of twigs is good, I just need to darken up the background to get it spot on. I also need to learn how to deal with a mass of twigs and reflections in water.

Session #083, Work #073

 

I was determined to do a landscape painting this weekend. I even filled my backpack with items to spend the night wherever I ended up. But, it was raining all day so the trip didn’t go so well.

I drove down to Enumclaw Washington and began looking at the state parks to try and get a good view of mountainous terrain. After driving around for way too long and not finding anything I finally settled on a scene by an over flowing river.

The most important thing for this painting while I was working on it was the values, I was trying really hard to get the values just perfect, I even worked on the painting at home from a photo of the scene on the ipad. Turns out that my values were much too light when painting from the scene. I noticed that issue as soon as looking at the ipad image, and began correcting, but I still find them to be far too light in some areas.

Also, I think from now on I’m going to opt for the closer painting trip rather than on farther out. The only way that I will go more than 30 minutes away to paint is if I know for sure that its going to be a nice weekend and I want to stay over night to get more than 4 paintings in over the weekend.

The Painting

42013b

 

The Setup

42013-setupa
The scene from the edge of the river, at one point I was afraid that it would rise 2 more inches and I would be soaked.

 

42013-setupb
Later in the evening fixing it from the ipad image.

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

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

 

Drawing

No need to show a drawing image here, the drawing is incorrect enough to pick out the issues in the value photo.

 

Value

42013-valuea
Left is the photo with a Photoshop filter to simplify the values. Right is the painting photo before edits, lit by my crappy shop light.

This is the painting before my edits in the evening, unfortunately my studio setup really kills the values. But, I can still see that the work I did from on location has the background forest much too light and the foreground of the river much too light also. And yet, the large rock and land at the bottom of the painting is much too dark. I really need to be better at comparing values on location.

42013-valuea1
Left is the original photo with no edits. Right is the edits to the painting lit by my terrible shop light.

This is the painting after my edits at night. Background forest is still a bit light even after I darkened it. I’m not going to comment on any of the other value here cause my shop light is really killing any comparative that I can do.

42013-valueb
Left, is the photo with Photoshop filter, Right is the painting after edits lit by natural light.

This is the edited painting taken in natural light this morning. I really would love to setup my studio with natural light, or bulbs that are close to natural light, but my apartment is way to small, definitely not a studio.

The painting is using straight titanium white for the lightest parts of the water so I know for sure that that is as high as it can go, which means that the surrounding area in the water needs to be darker. Basically most of this painting is keyed much too light.

42013-valueb1
Left, is the photo with no edits, Right is the edited painting taken in natural light.

Same painting photo as before but the photo of the landscape is without the Photoshop filter. And again my painting is too light.

Session #082, Work #072

Nothing crazy tonight, just a portion of the statue. I really enjoy charcoal. There is literally no setup, within seconds I can begin drawing.

Short post today, not much to say I have many other things I want to accomplish today and I’m feeling a little pressed for time.

The Drawing

41913

 

The Setup

41913-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

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

 

Drawing

41913-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

The drawing is further off here than I would have liked. The legs were very deceptive, I expected their simplicity to be easy, and it most definitely was not.

Value

41913-value

Session #081, Work #071

After my drawing class on Thursday I was still motivated to draw and figure out some issues with my process, which produced the following drawings.

41813b
Not very good drawing here.

 

41813a
Better drawing then the previous but still has issues that I need to clear up.

I did some tests of all the charcoal that I purchased and I must say that I think I prefer the Winsor Newton medium and soft vine charcoal, only because it is softer and easier to spread than the Nitram H, HB, B.  But I was using the nitram for details and the winsor newton for big areas of dark, which works well considering Winsor newton charcoal is cheaper.

For the most dark areas I will use a generals extra soft charcoal pencil, only at the end of the drawing cause once you put the general charcoal down it doesn’t like to move. Same with the whit Pitt charcoal.

For this drawing tonight I used a process that I’ve been looking at for a while outline at this post on the LARA site. I have to say that this process worked extremely well for a long drawing. But I would only use it for a long drawing. For quick sketches I would prefer to use an approach similar to Charles Hu at the 3kicks artist studio website. I haven’t found anything written about his process but here is a video, and its pretty awesome.

 

The Drawing

41813c

 

The Setup

41813-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

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

 

Drawing

41813-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

Strange how large the hand is. I got that wrong but I’m happy with the rest.

Value

41813-value

How can I improve the values?

 

Edges

I really need to figure out a good way to compare edges. One of the most important things in this drawing was edges.

Session #80, Work #70

 

I was working with my new Nitram artist charcoal tonight plus some Winsor Newton artist charcoal. I have figure out that the choice of paper really changes how the charcoal works. For the very soft charcoal newsprint is better, but for the harder charcoal a hot pressed soft paper is best.

After the class I had a good talk with Jamie about the best subject for improving drawing, well that was the beginning question, but our conversation really hit on a lot of great topics and ideas that I need to think about. Most importantly is the balance between choosing subject matter solely for skill improvement or choosing for excitement or message. This is one that I will be thinking about for a while.

Also when I came home I was surfing and found these great 3min drawings by Charles Hu at the 3kicks artist studio website, here is an example.

IMG_3734_resize

 

And while looking for Charles Hu’s website, I figured out that he is the head of the 3kicks artist studio from James Gourney’s site. I love that guy, he’s amazing.

The sensitivity of value and line here in just 3 minutes is amazing.

The Drawings

41713m
2 minute pose

 

 

41713l
2 minute pose

 

 

41713k
2 minute pose

 

 

41713j
2 minute pose

 

 

41713i
2 minute pose

 

 

41713h
2 minute pose

 

 

41713g
2 minute pose

 

 

41713f
2 minute pose

 

 

41713e
2 minute pose

 

 

41713d
2 minute pose

 

 

41713c
2 minute pose

 

 

41713b
2 minute pose

 

 

41713a
2 Hour pose

 

 

 

Session #079, Work #069

 

I did one good drawing tonight. Then after that I decided to do some starts. Basically just some beginning drawings without working them up further. I don’t know what happened but they all fell apart and I was really frustrated through the process. So frustrated that I moved the fairy statue back and pulled out a simple box and started drawing that. I figured that the simple shape would bring me back from whatever frustration I was feeling. Maybe I felt that if I could just do something correct I would feel better.

Well, I do feel better after looking at the first drawing I did. I wasn’t able to do a comparison because I moved my subject several times tonight, but I think it looks good.

Tomorrow during work I may practice making single marks every 10 minutes, just one very thought out mark every 10 minutes. Maybe that will teach me to slow down and respect the subject and materials more.

The Drawings

41613d

 

41613c

 

41613b

 

41613a

 

The Setup

41613-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

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

 

Session #078, Work #068

 

Wow what a breath of fresh air. I don’t know what it is, maybe the subject or the larger working space but this was a lot of fun compared to the castle. Something about drawing a figure really is exciting, even when the figure is a really small anatomically incorrect fairy statue.

I really felt like something clicked with a few parts of this statue. I was able to really see and use the weight of the lines better to describe the figure. I always keep repeating in my head, “Try to be more sensitive to what you see”. There is a part in the bottom of the wing where I really used differences in pressure of the charcoal against the paper to describe the wing as best as possible.

I’m definitely drawing this again tonight and the focus will be on sensitivity and line variation, along with accurate drawing.

The Drawing

41513b

 

The Setup

41513b-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

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

 

Drawing

41513b-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

I really went fast on this one, only 30 minutes. I didn’t measure that much, I just went for it, and it turned out pretty good. I will have to see tonight if that was just a fluke or I really can observer and record correctly without exact measurement.

Funny thing, I re-drew the length of her right art and made it longer, I think If I would have left it alone it would have been dead on.

 

Value

41513b-value

How can I improve the values?

The lower part of her dress is too dark here, and I went a bit too dark on the parts of her wing that are in shadow. But the relative values around the upper body and head are pretty accurate.

Session #078, Work #067

 

Determined to go as long as I could tonight on this drawing I sat down and began to really focus hard on this drawing trying to get the value and everything as correct as possible. About an hour into the drawing though I really began to loose interest in the subject, it just became very tedious. I was mostly done with the drawing anyway so I put on the finishing touches and decided that I was going to hit another subject before I was done for the night. That will be the next post.

The Drawing

41513a

 

The Setup

41513a-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

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

 

Drawing

41513a-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

The drawing turned out pretty close for such a small subject. I was really focusing hard on the bottom half of the castle and I re-drew a couple areas more that once to get them correct. Mostly I was constantly adjusting values.

 

Value

41513a-value

How can I improve the values?

The charcoal is so light that a lot of the time I ended up wiping too much off and having to put it back. It seems like I went a bit too dark in some of these values, but I think that the relative values are good.

The more I look at this drawing the more I think that I need less detail. Again this come back too the other issue I have of being able to describe forms simply but accurately.

Session #077, Work #067

 

For some reason I really couldn’t get motivated today. I went to Carkeek park after deciding not to go for a long hike in the mountains somewhere.

carkeek

 

But, even at the park I didn’t feel like painting, mainly because there were so many people. I ended up driving to Saint Edwards Park on the east side of lake Washington. I walked around there for a bit and did a small hike down to the lake.

sted-hike

The building there was interesting, but no matter what I saw I just wasn’t in the mood for a painting.

st-ed

So I ended up driving home and re-visiting the sand castle that I painted a long while back. Here, here and here. I was even out of sorts with the drawing, just no focus and I only spent an hour on it. Not really happy with my performance today.

The Drawing

41413

 

The Setup

41413-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

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

 

Drawing

41413-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

I’m only comparing the drawing today, I didn’t get into much values at all. Its fairly accurate, but could be much better.

Session #076, Work #066

 

Not much to say for this one, just wanted to focus on drawing again and try to get it as exact as possible.

 

The Drawing

41313

 

The Setup

41313-setup

 

My hierarchy of painting importance

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

 

Drawing Comparison

41313-drawing

How can I improve the drawing

Happy with the drawing here, but the shadow is way off.

Value Comparison

41313-value

How can I improve the values?

Not really happy with the values here, I seem to have missed a bunch in the bottle. Although the overall values are very close.

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