Thursday, February 19, 2015

Back to School

I have started back to school again, taking an oil painting class at New Hampshire Institute of Art. This is an evening class for continuing education students.  So far we are doing still lifes, definitely not my favorite. I struggled with them in my drawing classes too.  The other part that is hard for me is that I have no emotional or spiritual connection to oranges, apples, pitchers, cubes etc. However, as an artist, I need to look at the shapes and their relationship to each other. Then I try to get them on the canvas somewhat in proportion (definitely not doing too well with this yet). Once the images are on the canvas, I am learning how to mix the colors (also not too accurate yet) and values (light/dark) on the objects.  I'm hoping that my struggles with this medium will be worthwhile and will help me with other media too.

Lesson 1 was dreadful. When I brought it home, I fixed the color on the orange a little better, but the objects were not in proportion. I sort of remembered how to do the folds in the drapery.  I liked the feel of the paint.

Lesson 2 was a little better. The teacher had to help me with perspective. He also showed me how making the shadows a bit darker really helps the image.  Again, I enjoyed doing the drapery folds.

Lesson 3 was on white objects with a splash of color. I didn't get the pitcher shape right (again, I need more practice with measuring objects), but I liked the way it came out.  I didn't pay close attention to the dark drapery in the back and later on realized it was a dark blue, not black. Good thing I don't have to worry about getting graded on my artwork!

Meanwhile, I am still working on my 4' x 5' canvas project with acrylic paints. I am enjoying that and hope to finish it within the next 2-3 weeks.  Then I can focus more on the oil paints. As a landscape painter I would like to be able to do more plein air painting and that definitely works better with oil paints. Acrylic paints dry too quickly.

On the positive side during this week, I sold a painting! Naturally, it was a beautiful flower. A good choice to look at when there is so much snow outside, over 80 inches so far (this is higher than 2 meters). Cards and prints are available on my website of that painting. I'm happy with the winter, but a little tired of shoveling so much snow. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

A snowy winter and painting process

It's been a good winter for cross country skiing, but we are getting a little tired of shoveling and snow blowing. I feel sorry for the birds too. Any time I put out seeds, they get covered by the snow, or the squirrels dig them out first. Anyway, I still like snow and cold weather, but I'll be happy when the seasons change too.

Meanwhile, I have been enjoying painting.  I have started on the 4' x 5' canvas for my art project with Friends of Art Manchester.  We are painting big panels for Webster House.  It has been interesting just figuring out how to paint this size canvas since it is not on a frame or stretcher bars. We tried curtain rods (and that is how they will be hung when finished).  I took down paintings I had on the wall in my studio and stapled the large canvas up.  The wall already had some holes in it and needs repainting anyway, so I will do that in the spring. We bought the primed canvas online. I posted a review (before I started actually painting).

This is the same scene that I have at the top of the blog.  The top painting is 16" X 20".  In my last post I think I wrote about scaling up from 8" x 10" to 16" x 20".  I did a grid for those studies.  I borrowed a projector to scale my original photo up on this big canvas.  It was much easier than doing a grid and I'm thinking about buying a small projector for myself (although I am happy with 16" x 20" and don't know if I'll go much larger with my painting).

Meanwhile I signed up for an oil painting class (continuing education) at New Hampshire Institute of Art and I'm back to doing still lifes.  I don't actually enjoy them, but I'm determined to learn how to paint with the water mixable oils so that I can eventually do more plein air painting (that's very hard to do with acrylic paints as they dry so quickly).  I am not going to post that first painting here since I was very unhappy with it. I'll try harder this week and hope to get the proportions and colors correct. I did learn one very important thing to share - do the darkest darks first. (With acrylics, you can always add layers). Because the oils take so long to dry, you really can't keep going over them to make them darker. Hope this helps some of my readers.

I'm also working on another urban painting scene, but this one has to wait for me to finish the big canvas first.  Here is a little glimpse of this work in process. I have been taking photos of this painting along the way and I will post some of the steps when it is all done.

And a few more winter scenes from cross country skiing in Auburn (NH). The top scenes were in Hooksett, NH at Dube's Pond. It was a much sunnier day on the trail in Auburn.