Friday, February 27, 2009

...keeps on slipping

ahhh well.

I have continued a bit further on the portraits (as you can see, below), and I think that they are coming along nicely...

...though, it seems, my brief foray into landscapes has crashed before it has even taken flight... I suspect my issue was that I was trying to rush. I have succeeded to some degree in slowing my thinking and being more patient with the work, as that seems necessary with oils, aside from this one issue. It has met with the hand of mighty Zeus wielding a brush full of gesso!

So in order to spare us all horrors unimaginable, I won't post any progress pics of that one. As a matter of fact I did not take any photographs of it; consider yourselves lucky! ;)

In an attempt to redeem myself, I have begun a couple interior paintings. I am, among other things, endeavoring to learn how to better render an environment. In much of my earlier work the focus is so strictly on the figure/subject that the environment/setting is an after-thought... IF there is one at all!

Not only that, but I think that oils are a much nicer medium to work in for what may otherwise be mundane subject matter... you can't really convey color with graphite ;)

Here are 2 stages of one of the interior environments. This is actually the corner of my bedroom.

I will post up the other interior (which is of a staircase) during my next update... hopefully within the next few days. Until then, "may your blade (not) chip and shatter", and as Morbo says "may death come quickly to your enemies.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

...and the beat goes on

Yes I have been working on my paintings these past few days... I think I have stalled out for the moment on baldy, but the portraits are progressing apace.

I am wrestling with the details, and I think I may be looking with too narrow of vision as I get further along with these 2 pieces. I find myself trying to draw with the paint rather than actually painting with the paint... ahh well. Press on, as they say.

On a lighter side, I decided to take one of my less used sketchbooks (I don't much care for the quality and weight of the paper, but it does have a wonderful hard cover!), gesso over the cover, and slap some paint on it for the sake of doing something silly... I have no idea what it is supposed to be since it really only represents me using up extra paint. But who said all art needs a point?

Well... now that the portraits are nearing completion (or are seemingly near completion) I am beginning to ponder what my next paintings should be; I don't want to do the same thing over and over again (at least not yet) so I was trying to conceive of subjects not-typical of my usual work...

...perhaps a landscape or a building... we shall see. We shall see.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Can it be?

Who said drawing (drafting) skills don't matter when it comes to painting?? 

Honestly? I don't think anyone who actually knows how to paint would say that; as a matter of fact I have often heard people in the art community cite draughtmanship (drawing skill) as a prerequisite to be a successful painter ... but I needed a intro line ;)

I am really beginning to appreciate my drawing skills when it comes to this whole oil painting thing, though. I am thankful that I can understand the shapes (to a certain degree) that I am trying to paint. That is huge!

I spent a lot of time today and yesterday gessoing over those paintings I mentioned that I was going to cover, as well as preparing a few more surfaces... those stained pieces of illustration board I haven't been using for the past 15 years might actually get used for something... even if it is not their intended use!

Anyway; brush to paint to "canvas" ... I continued today and here is the progress:


And yesterday, as I was waiting for 4 surfaces to dry, I started looking through an old portfolio of mine and stumbled across the 3 (count em' THREE!!) oil paintings I did whilst I attended college... now, they are nothing spectacular, are only still-lifes, and the third is a bit damaged; BUT, prior to the past 3 weeks or so, they are the only examples of oils I have ever done. 

Without further ado, here they are...
...wait, let me run and hide my head in shame first ;) 

More messes requiring mineral spirits to clean up to come, so keep those paraffin candles peeled for the next scroll.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

ahh well... the point was to learn, right?

What an interesting day of painting... I think I have decided that my first painting this decade is going to wind up gesso'd over and re-started; I really did bite off more than I could chew when I started it. All of those figures in classical poses at such a small scale was more than my (oil painting) in-experience could handle! Not that that is a BAD thing, you see... it was SUPPOSED to be a learning tool, and it was.

Also the female figure in doorway is going to get white-washed. I don't think I really had an idea for it, as my sketch is barely a finished idea... I think that I just wanted to keep my painting hand moving; which is, in itself, not such a bad thing. I am not going to repaint it, though. 

I am going to repaint my first painting this decade but I think that I am going to remain closer to how my original sketch is laid out... and THIS time it won't suck ;)

THAT being said... I am very happy with the progress that I have been making on my 2 "portraits". 

BUT... After almost ruining one of the paintings...


When mixing paint on your palette, make sure that glob of zinc white or titanium white you are using is OIL ... and not that tube of white acrylic you keep around to add high-lights to your watercolors (Aquarelles) . Suffice to say, when you are mixing your colors/mediums and it seems like your paints are separating like bad milk... something is amiss.

Here are the Works in Progress for today:



Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I am beginning to think that I should name this one Waste of Paint...  I mean, I knew going into it that it would have more than a few faults being my first oil painting in over a decade, but I just don't know where the hell to go with it:


On the other hand I think the one below is coming together a bit better than the the painting above; It's far from perfect and I think it is suffering from the same things the first one is; namely my lack of quality brushes, scale (I think the figures are too small), and the issues of approaching it, not like an oil painting, but like an Aquarelle.

I think I need some pointers from someone who legitimately knows how to paint with oils.


On yet another hand ... I think that my "portraits" are coming along nicely. Of the 5 (?) or so paintings I am experimenting on, they are the ones that I worked on the least early on, and also most recently.

A few things of note; I don't feel they suffer the issues of scale that my figure studies suffer from:

1) They are larger details and this allows one to more accurately build the shape.
2) They are not being approached like an Aquarelle (Watercolor)
3) There is an actual environment for them to exist in (currently exhibited in the first of the 2)

I am trying 2 different methods in how I approach each of these pieces; in the first I am trying to underlay the cool low-lights of the skin-tone and in the second, just the reverse with the warm tones... I hope one of them works out!



oh well... life goes on & paint dries.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Failures, stumbling blocks, and other gumption busters...

Ahhh well... it can't always be forward progress, can it? 

I apparantly have no idea how to work with turpentine, because old paint seems to go rancid in it, and just cleaning your brushes in the turp is'nt good enough... so says a small round that would rather look like a splayed bouquet of beach-grass. 

The painting itself seems to be coming along; though I do find myself inadvertantly returning to habits from my years of watercolor.


Going back through my WIPs (Works in Progress) you may notice that I start with light skintones... this is a very common thing to do with w/c, but apparantly something that is not as neccessary with oils, given their opaque nature. 


Painting in a background around an already existing foreground (subject/figure)  is not as easy as just painting a BG and then placing the figure/subject in the space you have created. Oh well... live and learn. I really need to start thinking more about the environment of the piece; at least as much as I regard the figure/subject...

...THAT being said, I started yet another painting. 


As they say in Poker, I am "all in".  

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Houston..? and updates to my WIPs

Oh my oh my... I wasn't kidding about learning a whole new language of painting! Between liquin, galkyd, linseed oil, glazing, drying medium, turpenoid, and the umpteen other things involved in oil painting, my head is spinning! I'm either going to go broke and/or crazy trying experiment with everything while figuring it all out and trying to create a usage/style for working with them.

With watercolors I was a bit more stingy as far as how I used them; I never used masking fluid, nor did I ever use any texture mediums, or any mediums at all. Hell... I only ever sketched the most rough of underdrawings prior to starting a painting. Again, oils vs. w/c has massive differences.

Well anyway; here are the 3 paintings I have been working on plus one more I started... I also prepared 2 more surfaces, so If I get really crazy I'll have 6 (SIX) paintings going at once. I need something to do while waiting for the paint to dry in between layers ;)


My first oil painting this decade, and this century. Yup, a lot of issues because of that. Lessons learned? 

1) Pthalo Blue does NOT dry quickly... ~sigh~
2) Mediums are available for a reason!

here is the sketch I did that this painting is based on; it's a study of a sculpture that can be found in the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston.



Lessons learned?

1) "ahh, a using a medium is good!" (but...)
2) ...straight linseed oil takes a LONG time to dry!!


Lessons learned?

1)Ahhh Galkyd works better than linseed oil; BUT...
2)ancient brushes really suck!

Sketch based on a pose froma stock image:



Lessons learned?

1)hmmnn... let me get a little further on this one before I decide.

Sketch based on pose from something, somewhere... damned if I remember.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

feast or famine!

So I have noticed one thing about oils... you have to wait a l-o-n-g time between layers/colors/etc... what have you.

Now, I knew this intellectually, but I have never realized in it actual practice; this is both a trial & blessing! It not only forces you to be patient, but it also allows you time to start or work on other paintings, drawings, etc!! This is a fascinating concept to me because, for the most part, watercolor is a demanding medium, and requires constant attention while in process.

As a result of this windfall of extra time, I started 2 more paintings. I have now, in the past week, began more oil paintings than I have ever painted in my life... weird. 



A day late and a dollar short? THE FIRST POST

So I fancy myself an artist; and like so many artists I just want to "paint pretty pictures"... I am not all that motivated to create cultural, political, or religious imagery, so I don't. Simple as that. 

What you see below is a painting. Nothing particularly amazing or special about a painting... It's mine, so I have an attachment to it, although I am not very happy with it yet. It is, more specifically, an OIL painting... now, oils are the traditional medium (so I have heard) of the "painter", and I have been remiss about actually learning how to paint in them. This painting in progress represents my 3rd oil painting ever; 2 in college (12 years ago) and this one now.

Prior to my foray into oils I had primarily worked in watercolors when I wished to actually paint. To this I can say that I have over 20 paintings completed in the past 2 1/2 years or so... I also like to think that I am somewhat competent with a pencil and have decent drafting/drawing skills. As a result I hope that I am somewhat fore-armed for my adventures into the realm of oils. 

I must say that oils are a tremendously intimidating medium, but one I am willing to commit to. What I think is the most daunting is the idea of learning a whole new language of materials, a whole new way of thinking about a painting, the radically different behaviours of the media/medium/stuff associated with oils, and last (but certainly not finally) the differences in technique from what I am "used to"


That being said; welcome to my blog... I hope to have more to say, and more to show as time goes on. :D