Sunflowers in Spaghetti Jar

Sunflowers in Spaghetti Jar, oil on panel, 6x6 inches

Sunflowers in Spaghetti Jar, oil on panel, 6×6 inches

This was supposed to be a quick and easy project that went totally out of control. I wanted to try out Arches Oil Paper and quickly paint a bouquet of sunflowers in a tall glass jar meant for holding spaghetti noodles. I made and transferred a sketch (see below for process) and started painting on the paper, which I absolutely hated. It was dry, absorbent and paint wouldn’t slide or move on it. It just sucked in the paint and I was having no fun. I quit halfway through and cut off the parts of the painting I hadn’t finished. This is where I left it:

Sunflowers in Spaghetti Jar, oi studyl on Arches Oil Paper , 8x10 inches

Session 1: Sunflowers in Spaghetti Jar, oi study on Arches Oil Paper , 8×10 inches

The next day I started over on a 6×6 inch panel that I’d sanded down from a previous failed painting. Again I intended to paint for an hour or two and move on to something else. Instead I worked and reworked over and over until I finally had a painting I could stand to look at (at top of post). Sometimes I think reusing panels is a mistake because the bad juju from the first one hangs around and messes up the next one.

The one nice thing about Arches Oil Paper is that it can be cut down and cropped easily like watercolor paper. Although it does not need to be gessoed I’m going to try gesso on it next time to see if that will make it more enjoyable to use.

Below are the process photos from start to finish.The painting on paper is Version 1 and on panel is V2. The ones labeled “Photoshopped” were photos of work in progress adjusted in Photoshop to try to solve the problems and then the next image is those changes implemented in the painting. If you’d like more detail about the process you can open this PDF of my full process chart with notes about each step.

Persimmon and Green Beans Still Life and Steps

Persimmon and String Beans, oil on panel, 6x6 inches

Persimmon and String Beans, oil on panel, 6×6 inches

This was one of the those magical paintings that just worked from beginning to end. Maybe it was painting on Gessobord, which I love, or maybe it was because I tried to stay really focused. It’s available here on Daily Paintworks.

I was careful to paint the string beans from the garden and their leaves first since I knew they would change quickly. I stopped when I found myself getting tired or losing focus and took a break. And I closely followed my pre-planned goals for each session.

See my session chart for Persimmon and String Beans (pdf) with all the steps, plans and session images or see the images of the steps below without details. One new step I added this time was studying the nearly finished painting in Photoshop on a large screen before declaring it finished and then finding and noting areas that needed adjustments, including completely changing the background value at top.

Let me know if you’re finding these charts or step by steps interesting. I do them for myself but if others find it interesting it’s worth posting them.

Pumpkin and Gourd on Black Glass

Pumpkin and Gourd on Glass, oil painting on linen panel, 10x10 in

Pumpkin and Gourd on Glass, oil on linen panel, 10×10 inches

What an interesting painting challenge this was: strong warm light on a white gourd and a small pumpkin, with reflections and shadows on a shiny black plexiglass surface. Below are the steps as I worked on this painting (available for purchase on my DailyPaintworks gallery).

As usual there was one session where I did some “unauthorized painting” (see previous post for explanation) so the next session was all about trying to restore those areas. I’m trying to learn when to preserve the freshness of the “alla prima” first attempt and when to rework it. To see notes about each step and misstep, here is the link (PDF) to the Session Chart at the bottom of the post.

Screen Shot 2014-10-25 at 11.10.44 AM

To see notes about each step and misstep, here is the link to the PDF Session Chart pictured above.

To see notes about each step and misstep, here is the link to the PDF Session Chart pictured above.

Have you downloaded a Session Chart? Do you find it interesting enough for me to keep uploading them? Do you prefer just seeing the work in progress steps without detailed commentary? Thanks for visiting!

Sunflowers in Old Crock

Sunflowers in Found Crock, oil on linen panel, 8x8 in

Sunflowers in Found Crock, oil on linen panel, 8×8 in. Click image to enlarge.

I found this wonderful old crock set out on the curb, adorned with a “Free” sign so I carried it home for my “Found Stuff” painting series. One handle had broken off but the owner had thoughtfully placed the pieces inside and I glued it back together. I love the way the flowers are reflected and shadowed on the crock. The painting is available here. Below are photos of the work in progress.

It takes two to paint. One to paint, the other to stand by with an axe to kill him before he spoils it. William Merrit Chase 

My biggest painting goal is to stop what I call “unauthorized painting” — I finish part of a painting, like it and write my plan for that area: “Don’t touch it!” Later I decide to just do a little “touching up” and the next thing I know I am wishing for a “REWIND” button as I try to wipe off the “unauthorized” paint. Where’s the guy with the axe when I need him? I need to draw him, axe and all, and stick it on my easel!

If you’d like more details about each session’s goals, my thoughts, missteps and corrections, click Autumn Sunflowers and Found Crock (PDF) to open the chart. As promised in my last post, here is a Session Template (click to DOWNLOAD Word file), for anyone who would like to use or modify it to track their own work. I’ll also post it on my Resources Page.

 

Two Sunflower Survivors with Process Chart

Two Survivors, oil painting of sunflowers and white vase on linen panel, 7x5 in

Two Survivors, oil painting on linen panel, 7×5 in

Persistence, patience, perseverance, determination, curiosity, courage, confidence, wonder…these are all qualities needed to become a better painter. Another essential is learning to really see and understand the subject. I titled this painting (available hereTwo Survivors because only these two survived from the big bouquet during the week I struggled with two previous sunflower “studies” (aka failed paintings). Sometimes it takes a while before the “blinders” fall away so that I can see the shapes, colors, and values instead of the named bits (e.g. petal, leaf, or nose) that interfere with seeing as a painter.

I was inspired by artist Chris Beaven (whose sunflower painting I purchased and love) by his Session Detail charts that he embeds at the end of each post (sample). I modified his chart to create one for myself to focus my goals and intentions for each session and the painting as a whole. Completing  the chart at the end of each painting session with image, results and plans/goals for the next session is making a big difference in my process and helps me avoid random, unfocused messing about with paint.

Below is the chart I used for this painting. If you’d like to see all three session charts for this painting with my notes about goals, composition mistakes and corrections, and corresponding images, click here to open 3-page PDF file.

Session 1 Detail Chart (Click image to enlarge or click PDF link above to see all 3 sessions)

I loved the original painting of the vase in Session 1 above, with wonderful warm highlights and cool shadows created by the new LED lightbulb I’m experimenting with. My intuition told me to leave the vase alone but instead I started adding the pattern from the actual vase. After a few strokes I realized I didn’t like it and tried to wipe the pattern off the still wet paint. Then I tried to return to the original shapes of color, temperature and value.

I revised the chart layout after this painting. In my next post (another sunflower still life) I’ll include the completed chart for that painting’s 6 sessions and a blank template for anyone who wants to experiment using or modifying it for their own artwork sessions.

Playing Dirty Ball!

Dirty Ball, oil on Gessobord, 8x8 in

Dirty Balls, oil on Gessobord, 8×8 in

I had so much fun painting these dirty old baseballs my dog found at the dog park next to the batting cage at Albany High School. It felt like fun and play, not work while I was painting it and I’m really happy with the results. I’d been struggling to find my way with oil painting the past couple months, so it feels good to get my confidence back. Playing Dirty Ball is available on my DailyPaintworks site here.

The first baseball Millie found and tore apart had a computer chip, wires and a tag with different speeds on it deep inside. Is that normal for baseballs? She loved shredding that ball, gradually tearing off the leather,  then unwinding the yards of tightly wrapped black twine until she finally got down to the wonderfully bouncy little black ball inside that she played with for weeks. At one point it rolled under the gate so she started digging a hold trying to get to it. I was surprised by the hole, worried she was trying to escape, until I found the ball on the other side of the gate.

Now that I’ve painted these dirty balls I can give them to Miss Millie for her shredding pleasure.

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