The process

After a bad series of paintings lately, I feel that i´m finally back on track in the sense of seeing some improvement. I have often, recently, regretted not taking pictures during the process though, because I often feel that the paintings looked better before I did the last finishing touches to them. It would then be great to have a photo to look back on when the depression sets in.

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Step 1

Anyway, thats why I decided to take some photos from each phase of the painting process during the four hours I used completing one today. That way I had pictures to look back on if something went wrong, but I also got the opportunity to write a step-by-step-post showing how the painting came together. Which I think is cool. The painting is based on a tutorial from the book The Art of Painting Landscapes, Seascapes and Skyscapes in Oil & Acrylic . This is how it went:

Step 1:

As you can see on the picture to the right, I started out painting the contours of some rocks and mountains along the coast line. Without going into the specific colors, having now stuffed all my equipment away, i used a mix of black, blue, green, red and white for the rocks. I also painted in the dark spots of the ocean, which I gradually finish a long the way. Here I used a blend of blue, black, green and white, with emphasis on blue. Painting seperate parts of the painting this way also makes room on the palette ro mix out a good amount of paint.

Step 2:

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Step 2

By blending out the sea colors in different ways, I finished the sealine part of the picture by painting various mixes of the sea colors in on small parts of the canvas, with an emphasis on the use of white and green. I also made a skyline using green, blue and white, with clouds on it, which is a blend of white and yellow. I also painted in a wall of clouds on the breaking point of the horizon. At last I used a fluffy brush to kind of soften out the clouds.

Step 3:

Time to finish of the sealine and rocks, and put in some waves and foam to make things come a little more alive. By using a mix of blue, white and green, I painted in the shallow water around the rocks, which often looks a bit light green.

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Step 3

By using a mix of white and yellow, I also put in some foam where the waves crash against the rocks. Topping it off with some pure white, just pushing it on the canvas with the brush.I also wanted to make some contours on the rocks themselves. So with a mix of black (small amount), blue, yellow, red, and some gold yellow ochre, I finished of what I believe became some more lively rocks.

I hope someone got some joy out of this post. I had a lot of fun painting it at least. And I think the result was something to be pleased with.

 

 

Back to basics

After throwing several of my recent paintings straight in the garbage, being so bad that I actually got depressed looking at them, I finally made a painting worth showing people. It´s not a perfect painting, but in contrast with my recent tries, I´m really happy with it.

I used a fair amount of time on it, i guess about four hours. By then i felt it was time to start dinner and do some housework, so I decided the painting was done as it was. If I was to keep going, I would have made some more details on the rocks, and made the bottom line of the beach less oval. Having as mentioned had bad sessions several times making my last paintings though, I was a little afraid of ruining it. I needed it to look OK this time.

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I guess the biggest difference between this session and my last ones, was that i had a form of inspiration this time. Whilst in the recent tries, I´ve not really had a plan when I startet out painting other than that “I would like to paint something with trees, or a mountain..”, wich I think has caused these uninspired sessions when the painting never really looks promising during the process. The most inspiring feeling, on the other hand, is to be satisfied with the way it´s turning out as you go. As I was with this one.

I bought the book The Art of Painting Landscapes, Seascapes and Skyscapes in Oil & Acrylic recently. And used a concrete example painting from the book as inspiration. The book also helps you with mixing out the colors the right way, which i must admit I have been a little lazy with in the past. You also learn a lot using the directions and tips presented. It´s the only book i´ve tried about painting, but I think it was excellent. A nice blend between step-by-step guides, without overexplaining it. It really helped me out.

Total failure

After starting up painting again, being back from a longer vacation, I felt that my first painting ended up pretty decent (ref. last post). The second try however, must be one of the greatest collisions of color and smudging of paint I have ever made.

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The idea was to make a sunset (finger)painting, with nice, colorful water and a nice sailboat crossing over it. Separated by a dark, sharp mountain line. After making the skyline, I thought it would work out ok, but disaster struck instantly as my motivation and consentration for the day startet to decline.

In an attempt to make a nice painting in less time (to get a snack and head out), I started out by making a half-assed mountain line and a even more half-assed sun. Seeing how awful it was, I kind of panicked a bit. The solution for the problem ended up being smudging random color over the the sea section of the canvas, hoping it would turn out as a magical seascape…

As it turned out, it didn´t. A thick, smudged, puke colored sea slowly filled up the canvas, and as my panic increased, I just kept going. Being all done, looking down on this horrible sight, I was very close to instantly throw the whole thing in the trash. I was able to hold back the urge though, and the canvas is now hidden in a corner of the room as an “unfinished object”, (maybe as a warning for future sessions) that may be able to improve (although i doubt it) when the paint dries.

It is extremely frustrating ruining hours of work because of a lack of consentration or motivation. It just feels like a waste of time and paint afterwards. I guess this is another lesson to learn about quitting in time, being able to pick the painting up again when the concentration is back.

I think my next painting will be better though, having learned this lesson, again.

Back in business

After a seven week long vacation, with no painting included at all, I was a little worried that I might have forgotten how to paint anything at all. So after a few days back home I

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Water soluble oil paint.

picked up the brushes, and had a go at it.

After watching a tutorial on youtube about making waterfalls, I wanted to try out the technique. I thought it worked quite well for being one of my first tries, and the painting itself looked okay.

The thing i´m struggeling with though, and have been struggling with all the way since I started, is making realistic nature paintings in daylight colors. It all seems a bit cartoonish when i try it. I guess i´m a little lazy when it comes to mixing out and choosing the right colors for it, but I think I still have a long way to go improving my techniques.

If anyone is reading this, and have a tip. Please leave a comment. I suppose it´s a good thing to have something to reach for.

Drawing + painting = ?

In an attempt to improve my painting skills, I recently took up drawing after buying a book on vacation in Bangkok about street sketching. After giving it a few tries, i really enjoyed the concept of drawing people or things in front of you. For instance, as a general practice, I tried to draw the person next to me on a bus ride.

Most of the time though, I have tried to draw celebrities by watching tv or pictures. This makes it easier to decide if the drawing actually looks like the real person or not. I also hope to some day be able to paint people by free hand, and would think that these kind of drawings could help me to also improve my painting techniques.

The more I draw though, the more I actually enjoy the sketching in itself. It is a great way to keep improving my skills, without having to pull out all the equipment you need for dooing paintings. An easier and fun option if you have less time to spend, or are traveling around.

I guess the most important tip I´ve read for sketching so far, is to draw what you actually see and not what you think or expect to see. This helped me a lot for the drawings above. I sure got to use my eraser though.

Here are some more of my sketches:

 

Finger painting

So I guess my first real post on this blog will be about using your fingers instead of a brush when doing oil paintings. After a lot of video tutorials on Youtube, learning different techniques, I got the idea of trying to apply the paint on the canvas using just my own hands. And as it turned out, it worked much better than I expected.

By working in one color at the time, dragging the paint from one side of the canvas to the other in a horizontal line, I was able to make a quite decent and colorful skyline. Especially when the different colors intertwine, and the results just kind of appear in front of you as you go.

When you have laid down the groundwork, it´s time to pick up a brush and spatula and make some more details in your painting. In this case some pretty basic mountains, trees and silhouettes, wich is easier to paint because of their small requirements of details.

I hope this tip could be helpful to someone. At least it broadended my horizen a bit.