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!