Painting for January 23: Where did the time go?

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“January 23, 2017″ – acrylic on canvas, 6″ x 8”

I think we can dispense with all pretense that I’m in any way keeping up with the “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge.  So now that that’s out of the way, let me just say that this is my favourite “hair painting” so far.  Not only did I let myself get carried away with details (so much for “daily” painting), but bonus!  I also took the reference photo myself, so, FINALLY, I can claim to have created an original painting.  Many thanks to my lovely and patient model, S., who’s probably convinced by now that she works with weirdos.

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Two linearts and a WIP

20170122_213402Well, I certainly have fallen behind on the “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge, haven’t I?

The thing is, I can’t blame it all on my 9 to 5 job (or rather, my 8 to 5 job).  Yes, I’m tired when I get home from work, and then there’s supper and getting the kids ready for bed, etc, but I when I do muster the energy to paint, I always manage to get into a flow.

The main problem is WHAT I’m painting.  In comparison with the face studies from the previous challenge, paintings of the back of women’s heads has the ineffable quality that I think has always been missing from work – but seeing as I never really do anything truly original, this is hardly surprising.  At the end of the day, though, they’re still studies.  I’m in a state of constant practice and preparation, but I never get any closer to my goal, which is to produce original work (such a scary concept!!).  And I have to change that.  Time to learn by doing.

Bu-u-u-u-t… maybe I’ll just finish these last 3 paintings first.

By the way, of these 3 wips, one of them is actually based on a photo I took of the receptionist at work.  She’s the first person I’ve ever asked to pose for me, and she was so nice about it, too!

 

Painting for January 10: my new bff

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“January 10, 2017″ – acrylic on canvas, 6″ x 8”

Have you met my new best friend?  It’s Liquitex’s Airbrush Medium, and by gum, this just might be the answer to my prayers: a medium that makes acrylics just slick and blendable enough to make your life easier while still drying within a reasonable amount of time.

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Painting for January 7: Technique is overrated

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“January 7, 2017″ – oil on wood, 6″ x 8”

Ok, so I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit (a lot) for this “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge, but in my defense, I did say that I might not be able to keep up the pace all the way through.  (The village was already burning when I got here, Ma’am.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

And what strange paintings these are!  First of all, painting hair is totally different from painting faces because hair is essentially a shape, or collection of shapes.  Consequently, they’re coming out a lot rougher and more slap-dash than the portrait studies from the last challenge.

I *think* I like them, even if they weren’t at all what I expected.

Painting for January 3rd

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“January 3, 2017″ – acrylic on wood panel, 6″ x 8”

Dry-brushing appears to be my go-to method for painting hair.  So of course, I’m going to shake things up and try oils for the next one!

Done while listening to an episode of the “Trekabout” podcast, which I’m choosing to name-drop just because I think it’s a podcast that should be on every discerning geek’s podcast playlist.

New year – new challenge!

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“January 1, 2017″ – acrylic on canvas, 6″ x 8”.

I have survived both the Xmas season AND my first few weeks back at a full-time job, so obviously, I’m going to push my luck and attempt another “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge!  Nothing to it, amirite?

(In all seriousness, I really doubt I’ll be able to crank out all 30 paintings, but if I can produce maybe half of that, I’ll consider myself successful.)

My choice of theme this time around is a slight variation on the last one: instead of face studies, I’ll be doing hair studies.  Painting or drawing hair has always been a weakness of mine and is usually where I cut corners.  I’m hoping that this self-imposed hair-painting bootcamp will be just the thing to either cure me of my particular aversion or make me avoid it forevermore!

So here’s the first one out the gate!  I had a lot less time to work on it than my face studies from the previous challenge so I went for a more simplified style.  I miss my persnickety ways, but there’s a boldness to it that I like.

What I learned with this painting:

  • Cadmium Orange is a take-no-prisoners colour.  Proceed with caution (unless, y’know, you actually WANT that elusive “Cheez Whiz” tint to your background).  See reference to “boldness” above.

What I’ve learned with this theme so far (yes! already!):

  • finding good images of the back of people’s heads isn’t NEARLY as easy as finding good images of people’s faces.  This could be tricky…

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“30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge post-mortem

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Just FYI, I am ALL about post-mortems, and I’ve been itching to do this since I started this whole venture!  So without further ado, here are my observations from my first time participating in the “30 in 30” challenge…

Greatest benefit:  Instead of only talking about painting and building up a body of work, I actually DID it!  And, bonus! I learned that I could actually handle the paint pretty well.  Well, most of the time…

Biggest letdown:  A sense of… I don’t know if I’d call it boredom, but rather the nagging feeling that I should have been devoting my energy to making original art and not just studies.  You can see that by the end of the challenge, I started to waffle and take more time with my paintings.  This was less because I had become a fussbudget, and more because I frequently contemplated abandoning them altogether.  I’m still not sure if I took on this challenge just as a way of putting off the more difficult task of coming up with original imagery.

The Mediums are the Message:  I tried more than a few on my acrylic paintings over the last few weeks, but I’ll save that breakdown for a future post.  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this: they are NOT created equal.

(F)oil paints:  They took me for a ride, no question!  Remember Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, when he first flies the Tie-Fighter (“WHOA!  This thing really MOVES!”)?  Well, that was me with oils.  It was a bit of a bumpy ride at first, but I’m proud of myself for giving them a go and getting to know them a little better – one more tool at my disposal!

Painting mistakes I made all the way through:

  1. mixed too many colours together and ended up with mud
  2. painted thoughtlessly and ended up with too many layers (i.e. more mud)
  3. didn’t take the time to establish VALUES

Things I’d like to try with my painting from here on in:

  1. less mud, more vibrant colour
  2. gestural brushwork
  3. non-linear imagery, i.e. don’t rely on the reference images as much

Saving the best for last:  The engagement with other artists who were crazy enough to do the “30 in 30” challenge, and their support, has been one of the best takeaways from this experience – bar none!  It was a welcome opportunity to connect with fellow artists, learn from each other, and see some great art.  You can bet I’ll be back when the next challenge rolls around!

(More or less) One-line summaries of each painting:

  1. Scared and nervous, but rarin’ to go!  Then I chicken out and use acrylics on PAPER.
  2. Convinced I can’t paint accurately so I try some faux 1920’s European look.  Whatever.
  3. Screw it!  Go fussy or go home!  And, miraculously, it works!
  4. Matte Medium almost makes me want to chuck the whole thing but dry brushing saves the day.
  5. First oil painting!  It’s about %300 linseed oil and is STILL not dry.
  6. Brazenly mix (water-soluble) oils with acrylics and nothing explodes.  Yet.
  7. 2nd oil painting!  I try blending and start to understand why people love oils.
  8. Try “Painting Medium” with oils and, well, let’s just forget that ever happened, ok?
  9. By this time, I’m feeling so “oiled”, I’m practically marinated.  Back to acrylics!
  10. And I get fussy-fussy-fussy, AND… run out of time to finish.
  11. Try to keep things loose and rough.  Add blue hair because why not?
  12. Learn that too many layers of acrylic paint is a bad thing.  Love her hair, though.
  13. Oils again!  And sweet perfection!  One of my favourites!!
  14. Oils aren’t so bad after all, at least that’s what I think until I start with the hair.
  15. Starting to miss the crisp detail I can get with acrylics, so this is my last oil for now.
  16. Worked my butt off on this one and I LOVE it!!
  17. I’ve had a few successes in a row and am feeling the pressure so I choke and avoid finishing this one.  Too bad…
  18. Feeling guilty because of my over-reliance on internet images so I cobble together a Franken-picture, but don’t have the guts/drive/self-confidence to finish.
  19. Feel like going out with a bang, and what could be easier than African Albino skin tones, amirite??

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