Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Joy of Sharing Art

I got an e-mail from the buyer saying "I love it!", then later in the day received this photo. She had gotten a frame for the painting and was so kind to share with me the joy she was experiencing.

This is what makes painting a joy: the joy it gives to others as well as myself.

She just said, "Here it is!" and there it was on my screen:

Her happiness made my day!

Happy New Year, everyone.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Merry Christmas Composite Painting

8x10 Oils on Wrapped Canvas

This painting was the November Challenge on Paint My Photo, and was supposed to be "white" but I had so much white at first it just looked dead to me. The other part of the challenge (for me)  was to use several photos and make a composite still life. This was based on four reference photos.  Had to block in with acrylics and then finish with oils. Turned out pretty cheery, don't you think?

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bowl and Oranges - and Learning to Love the Paint

 8x10 Oils on Hardboard Panel

I finally finished the first of ten oil paintings that are part of a course of instruction I felt I was ready for (in dire need of). The trial and error approach was becoming a frustration bordering on quitting painting, and as usually happens at those times, the universe answers.

Roaming around in the interwebs I stumbled across this site: Daniel Edmondson Art Studio and decided it was worth the money. I had already investigated maybe taking local art classes as I live near Montgomery College, which has a fabulous art curriculum, and the Glen Echo art conclave - but the prices for the courses (like $400+), plus the commitment to specific days and times seemed overwhelming.

So I went looking for a style I really want my art to look like and found Dan. Now, true, my painting did not come out in the looser style I was striving for but I did learn that the medium you choose to use has a lot to do with that. I have been learning to paint with Genesis paints which are a new medium that work like oils while you are painting, but you can heat set them rather than let them slow dry. If you like glazing, this is great. Mainly I started using them as I was frustrated with acrylics for certain paintings but due to some health considerations did not want the smell of oils and turps in my small apartment. They've been great and I will continue to use them for certain paintings, but they work better for a style that is very precise - where you don't really paint wet into wet, more like value change next to value change, then blend smooth. Also, the paint has to be 'worked' with a palette knife to loosen it up, and will set up on the palette and on the canvas after a while so you can't as easily move paint around as Dan shows in the DVD.

Anyway.......I stuck with that style for this first painting, however, I watched all ten DVDs first and it's impossible to convey the many facets of painting that Dan conveys in a 'natural conversation' style.

Also, because I have not yet begun to paint 'from life', I have painted from photos, and while I know you can push the color and change anything you want, from Dan I learned why I cannot learn to SEE from photos. Being in the middle of reading John Carlson's book on painting and the many nuances we artists must learn to see, this is crucial. I have learned from experience even looking at paintings on the computer, I am learning to see colors I had not seen before. So learning to SEE is now a priority for me.

The cameras try to balance everything out to middle gray, and he showed us this on the DVD by holding up white towel to show how even watching a DVD doesn't give you the truth of color or value changes.


This is an iphone photo of the painting against my dark couch.

Notice the flat whiteness of the bowl, the extreme color bands on the orange, the whiteness of the orange slices.

Here is the photo taken against a white board, same lighting. Now the darks are too dark, but that's easier to adjust in editing software.

This taught me as much about photographing my artwork as NOT relying on photo references to learn to see nuances in tonal changes.

This is a closeup of the bowl, which is my favorite part of the painting, showing the shadows. It could not be photographed without the white paper towel giving the camera a lighter light to factor into its computation towards middle grey.
So I was tempted to just go ahead get traditional oils, and found some at a yard sale to try out. Wow, I loved loved loved how they glide on. I got a major headache from the smell however so knew that's not an option for me. 

I have now purchased water mixable oil paints and will do the second painting with those to see if I can achieve that loose brushstroke I love so much. Watching Dan paint has made me see I make it too complicated, don't use enough paint, and "lick it down" ad nauseum, which is fine for the more traditional look but not so fine if you want to use the brushwork itself to achieve the result you are looking for. I want thick juicy paint!

I don't make any commission promoting Dan's course - but I can encourage you to feel comfortable spending the money because it's worth it. I plan to complete the still life course, then invest in the landscape course. I think in two or three years I may be an excellent artist!

Hope this helps you. Will post as I finish each painting!