Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sea Shell Study - Color Pass

Sea Shell Study - 8x10" Oil on Panel
This is the third stage of the sea shell painting I have been working on.  The first session I painted the open grisaille and the second session I painted the closed grisaille.  This session I use a full color palette of colors that I had premixed.

I mixed up strings of yellow, orange and purple for the shell.  For the cloth I mixed up a string of blue.  Mixing up strings takes a bit of time but make the painting process so much more enjoyable as I do not need to think about color as much and I can focus on just painting.  With the premixed colors, I still need to mix during the painting process, but only small adjustments to shift the value, hue and chroma as needed.

Of course I was making drawing adjustments all the way along. Even if I had done a drawing prior to starting painting I would be doing drawing adjustments but they would be much smaller adjustments.  As I drew directly with paint for drawing, I found I was making much larger drawing adjustments than I normally would be, even in the color stage.  I also found I had to work much harder on portions of the shell where there was very little value change yet there were several hue shifts, very tricky.   I think this is where the drawing really becomes a huge value as you are able to really understand the form before having to understand how the color is behaving by the light.

All in all I learned a lot from this study and I really enjoyed the process.  It will make painting a more finished painting so much easier (I hope!) and I am looking forward painting the rest of my seashells soon.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Oil Landscape Sketch - Around the Bend

Oil Sketch - Around the Bend $95 Framed
This is another quick little oil sketch I did during the summer when I was trying to get ready for an upcoming Plein Air workshop that I signed up for. 

I worked from my imagination for this one and was experimenting with mixing various greens as I do not paint greenery...at all.  I was quite happy with how the distant mountains turned out.

Working from imagination it turns out is much harder than working from real life, at least for me it is!  When I finally did get to go to the Plein Air Workshop I was pleasantly surprised with how my practice of mixing and trying different brush work paid off and I could just focus on what was in front of me and enjoy the day. 

I am definitely hooked on plein air painting and hope to do some over the winter as well...when it is not raining that is.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sea Shell Closed Grisaille - Work in Progress

Closed Grisaille - Oil on Panel 8x8"
This is the second stage of the sea shell painting I started earlier this week.  The first session I painted the open grisaille which is just a painting completed entirely using very thin layer of an earth color such as burnt umber, burnt sienna or in this case, asphaltum.The toned or white substrate shows through slightly.  I used a flat stiff brush and mineral spirits with the asphaltum to draw out the basic shape of the shell using straight lines and focusing on angles and shapes, trying to not think of the actual object as a shell but as a series of puzzle shapes.

Once the open grisaille was dry, I used my premixed tubes of neutral grays to paint the closed grisaille.  The closed grisaille is a painting usually using neutral grays that allows the artist to focus on the value structure without the complexity of color.  I have values pre-mixed and tubed from a value 2 neutral gray to a value 9, titanium white is a value 10 which I did not use.  Pre-mixing and tubing your oil paints takes time and can seem a little tedious at the time but having your own tubed paints is priceless!

As this painting was done from life without a prior sketch, I used the beginning of the session to correct drawing errors that were painfully obvious once I came back to the easel with fresh eyes.  Even if I had done a prior sketch before jumping in with paint, I find I am always fixing small drawing errors.  As long as they get smaller as I progress, I think that is ok ;)

The closed grisaille was completed in two short sessions as I was dragged away mid-session, argh.  I was not able to soften the edges in the background as much as I would have normally but hopefully it will not cause me too much grief. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Plein Air Landscape Sketch

Ocean View - Oil Sketch $95 Framed
This is a little oil sketch I did during the summer when I was trying to get ready for an upcoming Plein Air workshop that I signed up for.  I do not usually paint landscapes in oil so it was definitely a challenge but fun to do. 

I painted this one in a couple of hours and learned a lot. Plein air painting is really fun because you are trying to figure everything, color, composition, paint handling, in one go in a very short time so it forces you to make faster decisions than you would normally make.  So much fun!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Alla Prima Seashell Painting....

Open Grisaille - Oil on Panel 6x8"
well that is what I planned on doing this morning.  I thought I would start with a quick underpainting of a seashell that I have.  I set up the lights and quickly blocked in the angles and shape of the seashell on my panel using diluted asphaltum oil paint with mineral spirits.

Then I got sucked in and rather than moving onto the color portion of painting, I ended up painting a very developed underpainting or open grisaille.  Oh well, it was too much fun to stop.  Working from life is so much fun, hard, but fun.  

This will give me a chance to mix my paints properly while the first layer dries.  I have several shells that I have collected over the years so I plan to do at least on painting alla prima of a seashell....or many indirect seashell paintings.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Suite E Life Drawing Sessions are Back!

Life Drawing - Francoise Sketch

So happy to be back at our life drawing sessions and at our new digs at Port Moody Art Association.  This is from the second session which was a sustained session.  In other words, we have a few warm up poses for 1 minute each and then the model is in the same pose for the rest of the night.

I prefer to do portraits so I honed in on her face as I never have time to do a whole figure.  I posted the process shots below.  Each image below represents a 25min sitting.

I was surprised to get so much done in the first 25min on the block in...perhaps I should have spent more time but hey, I was excited to get going.  I am really trying to focus on using straight lines only and blocking in the major shapes before moving to the smaller shapes. 

As you can see, by the time I got to her lips I had already added too much detail rather than thinking about the larger form.  Her eyes I had just roughed out the socket area as her eyes were closed during the first 25min session.  I really have to fight to not draw the eyes in at the beginning so I was trying to focus on the shapes underneath the skin rather than her actual "eyes". 

I used comparative measurement and tried to take my best guess, then measure and adjust as needed.  Apparently all of my hard work has been paying off (or I got lucky) as my guesses were pretty darn close right from the start.  Once I felt the proportions were ok, I then moved onto form modeling which is a very slow process using only an H and 2H lead, but so much fun.

Block In

Mapping Out Features
Form Modeling

Form Modeling....still



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Shell, Leaf & Pitcher Study - Graphite on Stonehenge Work in Progress

Pencil Drawing on Stonehenge Paper in Progress
I decided to start a separate blog to document my fine art training that I have been working on.   I just realized that from my commissions blog which I have not updated sinc February that it looks like I have been up to a whole lot of nothing.

Not true! I have been studying the classical method of drawing and painting which takes much more time but I think the results are so worth it.

The drawing I am currently working on still needs a fair bit more work but it is getting there.  The darks seem to take a lot more time to build up on this paper and using harder pencils.  I intend to do an oil painting of the drawing once it is completed.  Normally I do a very rough sketch or a mock up in photoshop prior to starting a painting.  I decided this time around I really wanted to work out as many issues as possible before I even get to the canvas.  I may also do a monochromatic oil study and then a full color poster study (that is my goal) prior to starting the final painting. 

The more I learn I find the less I know and it seems that the artists that I admire the most have a firm process of creating thumbnail, sketches, poster studies and then the final painting even though they have finished their official training years ago.  In hindsight, it seems a little arrogant on my part to think that I could produce something even close to the calibre that I am shooting for without all the prior effort.  Yup, the more I learn the more I realize how little I know!