Thursday, March 31, 2011

Plein Air - Week 1

I'm going to spend the next few weeks focusing on loosening up my style, and painting outdoors. This will really force me to work on some of the things that I'm not good at, particularly perspective, composition, sketching, painting plants and buildings... pretty much everything!

Recently I've been using a lot of paintings or photos as my source, and it will be good for me to simplify real scenes.

This first warm-up I did at home, and I was just trying to paint loose and relaxed. I'm including it here because I think it may be the best sky I've ever done. I wish I could remember my trick! The rock and the figure are hideous, but you get to see them because I like the sky so much. :)

And here are a couple of things I did on lunch-breaks. The first one is at a park really close to work and I will probably continue to paint scenes from there quite a bit because it's quiet and quick to get to. This house is supposed to be a cube, with the front corner right in the center of the picture. It just looks flat though. The only thing I kind of like about this one is the lower left corner, which was just a fluke because there's no pond here in real life.

I don't think I'm going to ever finish the second.  I spent quite a while on it and it has a couple of nice things and some unfortunate things as well, but when you don't finish your outdoor painting and didn't bring a camera it's definitely challenging to try to recreate it from memory.

Week 8 - Lace and Cloth Draping

I wasn't too excited about the topic for the last class and having tried painting lace curtains I don't think I'll be adding them to my regular subject matter!  I think this came out all right, but I think it's a subject that is difficult to rush.

I did like the teacher though, and maybe next fall I'll sign up for her class again.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Week 7 - Fish

Usually I try to practice the class subject at least once before I have to do it in class. I think it helps me get more out of the class time. This week though, I just couldn't get excited about practicing fish paintings so my only fish are these that I did in class tonight:

And to tell the truth, I actually really enjoyed painting these guys and might try a few more.

The teacher gave us a specific technique for painting like this. First, wet the paper with clear water where you want the spots. Then add an opaque yellow to the water, followed by a wet overlay of opaque red. Next use ultramarine to add some shadow to the sides, letting it run into the other colors. Thin with water and bring to the face of the fish. Bring some more colors to the fins and add a light lavender. Make sure to leave lots of white paper in the fish. Once the face is dry add the eyes.

The water was interesting. It's the first time that I mixed up some puddles of color in dishes, got the paper wet, and the poured the paint on. It was interesting to see what happened, but trying to get the water to move nicely between the fish was impossible and I ended up glazing blue over the whole thing to try to hide the mess, and then dark-lining the fish to give them more depth.

The other thing I did this week was just a quick sketch of my church on the rainy day. I clearly overworked it in almost the whole thing, but I kind of liked the sidewalk. Plus I think I could do the steeple right now that I've tried it once. I wish I'd saved more whites!

My current class only has one more week, and now that the weather is getting really nice I think I might try to start doing some on-site painting. I'd really like to get better at painting from life.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Week 6 - Flowers Close-Up

Another week of flowers. I wanted to find something a little looser than trying to paint true to life flowers and ended up doing a step-by-step that I found in a book by Charles Reid. I probably like this one better than the one I did in class.

The class one is having some composition problems which I won't list. I kind of like the rose on the table blending in to the vase. I did that on purpose and it's almost what I was going for, but the flower part needed less brushstrokes, and better shape. The droopy pink flower is my favorite.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Week 5 - Flowers in a Field

Here are my little practice paintings of flowers. I wasn't really looking forward to this subject, foliage is still very challenging for me, but I ended up having a good time with it.

Here's the one I did during class. I love the mountains and the bright colors. This might be the most colorful painting I've ever done, and there's definitely a range of light and dark.

I like it, but I also really overworked it in a lot of places.

Cropping for the win! :)