The latest in my journey to rediscover how to be an artist; I am learning how to paint! I have been attempting to do some still life, some impressionistic scenes, and also trying to create some misc illustrations as paintings. I don't really want to share these out, but am doing this to get better. Here we go.
What I am doing is just trying to learn the basics. My goal is to translate my illustration into more dynamic and layered paintings. I have no idea how to get there. I figure I should just _try_ to paint and see what I can learn.
First go at an Impressionistic Painting
My first "painterly" painting in, forever? Maybe first ever? I found an online art school run by Will Kemp (http://willkempartschool.com/). One of this beginner lessons is to paint this scene of a cottage and some landscape. I learned a lot from this. Learned about mixing colors (before this I always just went straight from the tube) and a bit about layering. I would like to try this scene again. I would do the following things differently:
- Less "blendy" paint strokes. There are several areas with no implied detail that are driving me crazy. The areas that let the under-painting through are more interesting, as are the areas where you can see strokes.
- I'd slow down. I rushed though this and was not paying attention to the scene. I'd get a smaller brush and get a more square-ish edge on things that should be square.
Something a Bit More Loose
This was practicing creating lines with a medium sized filbert brush. As a piece of art though, the composition is all fucked. I didn't center the sun and then felt it was unbalanced so threw an extra dude in there. I also deviated from the sketch because I couldn't get the intricate detail. With more practice with layering paint and being more careful/deliberate I am sure I could do it. This is an attempt to recreate my sketches and illustrations into a painting.
Things I would do differently:
- Pay more attention to the composition
- Have a bit more of a plan and try to keep color simple
Closer to My Illustrations
More line practice. I actually really like this. If anything, I'd spend more time modeling and forming the structure. Quinacridone red is weird and great.
My First Still Life
First attempt at a still life. I have this little cactus in a blue pot on my desk. I took a photo to use a reference. I hate the base. But overall, and pretty happy with it. I redid the pot like 4 times. Similar to the previous paintings, I forgot I had smaller brushes. I think I could have improved the base had I switched brushes after blocking in the major tones. Oh, right, so with this I tried to handle things in 3 stages. 1) Blocking, 2) Modeling, and 3) Detail. I am impatient though, and really rushed through modeling, and then rushed over detailing.
Next time I do a still life:
- Change brushes, use a smaller brush for details
- Slow down…
- Mix more paint (I had to re-mix paint too many times because I used it all)
I am very impatient when it comes to painting, especially watercolor. However I was shown a great exercise for practicing and warming up that helps me slow down and focus; Creating smooth watercolor washes. It’s actually kinda hard to do. My first attempts are not that great. But I think this is a great exercise.
The images below are in the order they were created. I improved by the 3rd and 4th but there is still a long way to go. These should be perfectly smooth solid colors.
Definitely a few things to practice here. First being water control. Gotta get rid of the streaks. I am not using enough water and/or letting the paper dry. Second, brush control. I can see the strokes, and the directions are inconsistent. Finally, the paper warped and the water pooled up. It’s kinda shitty quality paper though. I’ll stretch it out next time.
I have started painting. I would say again, but I don’t think I can really say I was a painter before. In the past I have half-assedly tried to paint with various levels of success, but it never stuck. It was a frustrating experience because I did not know what I was doing. I either lacked a real desire to learn or maybe assumed that “since I draw gud I should paint gud too”, or both. Definitely both. I would not have admitted this in the past but I need help and guidance. The ego is a real son of a bitch.
Swallowing my pride and searching online I have found some really great painters that I like who offer online courses and instruction. I have just barely dipped my toes into the water here but I already feel empowered to become the artist I have always wanted to be, at least the painter I have always wanted to be. It feels great! I’m not ready to share any paintings just yet, but I will. I have years of sketches and drawings and concepts that are dying to be realized.
So now I am starting to get into it. And reflecting on my attempts to do this in the past. It is pretty silly, but in the past I was hesitant to mix paints to get the color I wanted. I was always super impatient about it and would just go straight from the tube. I’d only ever mix white or straight up black into the paints. It was so damn limiting. And I was missing out on a surprisingly fun part of the process. I have also learned about the joy of stay wet palettes. Super nice so far.
I had read a story many years ago about a man who spent his whole life planning and preparing to create. He built the perfect studio, bought all of the best supplies, organized things perfectly. He spent all of his time building the studio, that he never created a thing. I do not recall where I read this, but the message has stuck with me. I have been doing this to myself for years. I’d buy art supplies all the time, but would never use them. They would sit beautifully on my pristine drafting table, arranged elegantly on my shelves, collecting dust, etc. I feel strongly that the cycle will end. Time to put these supplies to good use.