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.

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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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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Painting for September 27

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The Star’s Daughter – acrylic on panel, 6″ x 8″

I have… mixed feeling about this one.

First of all, you really should see it live and in person.  Trust me – the colours of her hair have a nice depth, and her skin tones are far more delicate than what you see here.  For some reason, WordPress just makes this one seem garish.

But wonky colours aside, I’m not sure about proceeding this way.  I can look at this painting and know exactly where I stitched stuff together (and I will always see that!), and don’t get me started on how long it took to find all the right elements!  Even when I got the right shoulder and head pose (and the hair!), it didn’t always follow that the shadows matched.  In fact, finding all the reference images ended up taking much longer than the actual painting!

What I like about this painting:

  • the fact that it’s an ORIGINAL work.  I promise: there ain’t nobody nowhere walking around looking like this!

What I like less about the painting:

  • I couldn’t find very hi-res references, so it feels a little “fudged and slurred through the difficult passages”.  But more than that, I started the painting with a sense of “why bother?”, and that’s just not the way to do it…
  • I will always and forever look at this painting and wonder “Do all the elements coalesce?  Can anyone tell it’s a Franken-painting?”

What I learned through this process:

  • coming up with original ideas is HARD.  And SCARY.
  • and ultimately, that is why some artists are strictly representational.  If it’s not directly in front of them, they won’t paint it.
  • I miss the zen factor of painting from internet images.

What I MIGHT change…

  • Her hair.  I liked my initial colour layout and just kept it that way, but now I wonder: does it look too unfinished?

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Painting for September 23 WIP

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Face Study no. 17 – acrylic and oil on wood panel, 6″ x 8″

I always lose steam by the end of the week, so today’s painting for the 30 in 30 challenge might be a little late…

On the plus side, I might have figured out the best working method for me:

  1. Apply acrylics for the base “flats”, smooth where possible
  2. Paint the eyes and other fine details in acrylics ONLY
  3. Paint over only certain areas in water-soluble oils as needed.

And that way, I’ll get my nice, smooth surfaces, and my fine detail, and not want to tear my hair out! 😉

In case you were wondering, this painting is 90% acrylic.  I only painted over in oils parts of her nose, lips, ear, and the lower part of her cheek.