Thursday, June 23, 2011

Heron Finished

Finished the heron. I am really pleased with the way this turned out. Thank you again to Kenneth Allen who took the refernce photo and made it available under Creative Commons license.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Heron WIP

Here is an acrylic version of the heron in progress. I plan to darken the lower bill, lighten the back. I am undecided about the background. I could keep the darker green, it needs some blending and colour matching to be a unified background, or go much lighter with the background similar to teh reference photo and the watercolour version.

The reference photo was taken in Ireland by Kenneth Allen.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Heron I

A heron with a nice brookie. Reference image from Creative Commons. Watercolour, I am currently painting a version in acrylics.

So far acrylics are agreeing with me better than oils, but watercolour is definitely my first choice.

I do have to put in a plug for CC image searches. Lots of great photos out there with attribution licenses. A great boon for those of us who are not professional photographers with unlimited budgets for travel and equipment.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cafe al fresco

Two more minis. The Gazeebo in Ives Park, Potsdam, and a cup of Jernabi's famous coffee.

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's a Small World

A couple of "minis" acrylic on canvas. These are about 2 1/2 inches square and are a lot of fun to do.
The church is a view of Trinity Church in Potsdam, NY,from the park across the street from my studio.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

First Thoughts on First Oils

Well I decided to stretch my artistic wings a bit and try oils. I now have a small panel with a pretty horrible looking start at a painting of a trout. I hope that once this base layer dries a bit I will be able to add some finish to it and salvage the painting.

A couple of things I have realized already, it is a myth that watercolour is the hardest and most unforgiving medium, using a big brush does not always help, and you should indeed "paint like a millionaire".

Maybe it is just that I have been wrestling with watercolour for several years now and have only just picked up oils, but I know my painting would look better if I had started it in watercolour. Oils just do not seem to want to do what I want them too. Some of this may be due to a slower drying time, I wonder if I would like acrylics better in this respect? I seem to pick up a lot of stray paint with oils leading to dulled colours in a way that doesn't happen to me often in watercolours.

I have been using a new half-inch or so angle shader, a brush that will sit up and sing for me in watercolour. With oils it feels crude and clumsy. Stiff when I want it yielding, soft when I want it stiff, and never does the paint behave as I expect. Welcome to the learning curve! I think I may have to invest in some seriously smaller brushes if I am going to continue with small paintings.

Painting like a millionaire is definitely a useful doctrine for oils. I am very much surprised by how much paint it takes to get coverage in oils. No squeezing out a tiny dab of paint, instead it's generous blobs and dollops. Luckily for my sanity I have been told that it will keep in the fridge for a day or two. I hope so. With watercolour it was no problem to load my palette generously. A little spritz of water and it was good as new again.

Oil painting may be the thing to get me painting large. Or even medium. In watercolour anything above about 10x12 feels huge to me. I often work in 4x6. Already in oils I can see and feel that painting on a large canvas and really swinging a brush loaded with paint across the surface could be a great joy. Larger areas of colour could also solve some of the contamination problems from working to small.

There is a lovely smell to oil painting that watercolour doesn't have. That nice resinous pine aroma of turpentine and linseed oil. I do like that, although I keep the ventilation going full out so I don't fumigate my self.