Paintings Are All Over the Place!
I have been quite busy with painting over the past couple months. I know there is a limited amount of things one can learn from watching YouTube videos, but at the same time you can learn a lot from careful observation. This painting below I did after watching a few videos on painting a still life. I can’t remember the exact video(s) I watched but unknowingly I was paying close attention to color values — something very important in nearly all paintings. That being said, other than observation, I had no idea what I was doing aside from some basic knowledge, such as blue and yellow make green. What I didn’t know at the time of this painting was that burnt umber and ultramarine blue will make black, so perhaps that’s one less tube of paint I have to buy. Mixing paint is super important and being able to get the correct values will make your paintings look good, even if you paint loose. There”s many different techniques and styles, so this is very much a way of expression.
So that was an early painting I done and probably one of the big mistakes I have made so far as been breaking the “fat over lean” rule. So the layer of trees I painted on top of the sky blue in this painting cracked because it contained less oil and the pigment dries much faster than the layer below. I have corrected this buy adding a slow drying medium which contains more oil to pigment and now just waiting for that to dry up and pretty soon I’ll be able to varnish the painting. So it is an adventure all the way around.
The painting above is based off a photo I took a couple years ago on top of Wayah Bald in western North Carolina. Probably my biggest obsession here was getting the clouds right and I think I got them pretty good. Since I’ve started painting landscapes I have payed a lot of attention to clouds and depending on the time of day they’re usually not white, I’ve seen orange or purple tinted clouds and they become a bit dulled down in the distance towards the horizon. The way I painted the clouds was that I laid in the shadow color first which is a blue-gray color. Generally speaking it if is early or late in the day the shadow might be a tad more on the purple side and your highlights might be more on the yellow or orange side — but just a small bit at a time, it’s always easier to add more color than to take it away. The next thing I would advise is to get the color right from the start and avoid blending on the canvas.
Ideas for Different Techniques
If there has been one person I have come across online is has been Mark Carder. He has his own YouTube channel, DrawMixPaint, and has his own line of oil colors and supplies at Geneva Fine Art. I’d love to get this easel. While it is out of my budget, this is the stuff you want to consider if you’re getting serious (I’m getting there, need to sell some paintings or win the lottery – or both). That being said, there’s nothing wrong with Winsor Newton paints either and they’re good paints starting out and you should know how to add medium to oil paints and thin it down properly. I will not lie there is a lot to oil painting, especially if you want to do certain things in a certain way.
Maxfield Parrish is one of these artists that did some very interesting things with his paintings and many of his works were not really finished. You really ought to check out his work, if you don’t get the chance to see his stuff in person (I haven’t yet) check the link out. Maxfield used a well-known technique called glazing but he took it much further. Glazing is going over a painting with a small amount of transparent pigment to add or modify colors in a painting which was popular back in the days because pigments were expensive (and still are). Maxfield on the other hand would start his paintings by covering it with gesso and sanding it down. I’m not talking about the same gesso you can readily find today, I’m talking marble dust, rabbit skin glue and titanium white pigment — make this stuff outside if you’re getting the idea to try this. After applying the gesso Maxifeld would then apply several layers of varnish before laying in the under painting. After that it was varnish, glaze, varnish, glaze and on and on. One of his works has something around 60 layers. Now you might think that’s crazy and I guess it is but because of this technique his paintings are often very bright and vibrant. What’s happening here is that the light can penetrate all these layers and reflect and scatter from the back layer of the painting, giving his paintings sort of a backlit effect. This is something I plan on trying in the future.
Abstract paintings for me in the past were something I didn’t quite wrap my head around and to make a long story short I’m now understanding it better because I finally got around to trying it. Actually a few different ones.
Now I can’t say I have the techniques completely down. One of the things I’m battling is putting in too much detail and not taking my time. However, probably one of the bigger problems I face is having the appropriate brushes. Now the 2nd painting shown here I did with a palette knife while the one on top was done using acrylic paints and I did also use a palette knife with parts of it.
I think being able to turn reality into something beyond our world, something vibrant and just being able to get your mind to escape the real world is what it is all about. It has been all about not just being inspired by Bob Ross but bringing back my imagination which frankly hasn’t been able to stretch over to that left side of the brain for some time.