My First Portrait

When I took the challenge of painting my first portrait ever in five days, problems arose. Did I overcome them, or not?

My digital painting of an apple started a new era, I said. Or wrote. To follow up on that claim, I need to show it, right? Show that I’m doing some digital painting now. I guess it’s time to rejoice just a little bit now then because the week after the “apple boot camp” the “one week portrait”-challenge started.

The same steps used in the previous boot camp were used now. Day one: Make a rough sketch/line art of the portrait. Get the proportions correct, but the details weren’t that important just now. So I did that.

Day two: Add the main colours; skin colour, including light and shadow versions. Same for lips, eyes, hair, clothes and whatever else is needed. Just add them in the main areas, leaving hard edges between the colours. I did that. It looked kinda weird, but I trusted the process.

Day three: I left for Easter, bringing my laptop and drawing tablet with me. The task was to blend the colours together to make it look nice. A little bit more focus on details. When I was ready to do it – my laptop failed me. Or rather, Photoshop failed me. When I opened the file I was working on, all that was showing was a white canvas. All the layers were there, but they didn’t show.

I could turn the different layers “visible” and “invisible” and save the ones I wanted as a flattened image, just one layer. A one-layer file would show, and I could edit it. Doing everything in just one layer.

Ouch!

That complicated things.

I would have to do things differently from how I normally would do stuff. More like painting with acrylics on canvas: I couldn’t just undo mistakes easily, and had to be a lot more careful. I did the best I could.

Day four: Take care of the details and textures. Again, I did what I could. My drawing tabled acted up, too, giving me a hard time.

Day five: Make the finishing touch to make it pop, and make it my style. I fought Photoshop, which I had made partly working, and my tablet. Was I victorious? At least I managed to post a result on the last day.

My finished portrait

Am I happy with the result? Actually, yes, I am. It’s not that I don’t see weaknesses and things that can be better, because I certainly do. But not only did I struggle with the software and hardware this time, but it’s also my first portrait ever. I don’t think I should be ashamed of this painting.

I like it.

Will I try to redo it later? Maybe. Or maybe I’ll just try painting a completely different portrait. Or something completely different. I do know I will continue with digital painting, but also with acrylics.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

A new era

OK, so it’s been a while since the last update. I must’ve made good use of all those tubes of acrylic paint by now then, right? Well, not right. Unfortunately. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to, quite the opposite, but for various reasons, it didn’t happen.

One reason is my limited space, having to sit by the kitchen table to paint. Slightly inconvenient.

I do have a balcony though, that should be a nice place when the temperature permits it, so when the temperature did rise and made it pleasant to sit there, I was quick to set up a nice place to paint there. My painting studio.

Alas, when I had done that – the temperature went down again. Making it too cold for me to sit down and paint.

Sigh.

So, when I saw there was a challenge to digitally paint the best portrait I’ve ever done, I couldn’t resist. I wanted to join that. While I’ve done various things with graphics, digitally, I haven’t really done any digital painting. So, I prepared myself with a crash course on painting an apple.

My version of the apple.

For my first real try at digital painting, I’m quite happy with it. Actually, I think I’d be quite happy with it with lots of experience, too.

So, what about the portrait challenge? I’ll write about it later – the challenge starts tomorrow. But the claim made, that it’ll be my best portrait ever so far, is given. It’ll be going to be my first portrait ever.

But I titled this “A new era” – will I stop painting with acrylics, going fully digital instead? Certainly not! It’s just going to be one more addition to things I’m interested in doing. And, maybe easier to sit down with for a little time than anything else?

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

“Get painting already!”

Nobody has actually said what the header says, but I’ve got hints now and then, in the form of questions. And as you can guess from my previous post, I haven’t had anything to show for me.

It has been annoying me. Not the questions, but that I haven’t managed to sit down and paint. (Or stand and paint, but my easel is a tabletop one.)

This Christmas, I got yet another hint that I should get to work. 😉

It’s a hint that can remind me of the blog post Painting? Seriously? or maybe Mark My Words. Because, in one gift I got something …

Ten different colours of Lefranc Burgois acrylic paint
A nice collection of acrylic paints

… I got some paint. No more excuses now, eh?

Admittedly, I bought something myself, too, that I got early in December. Something more special stuff, more in the style of what I wrote in Oh, the possibilities.

4 containers of different coloured LIT, medium, and the mirrorest mirror paint
Stuff from Culture Hustle

Yeah, I bought some LIT. Four containers of glow-in-the-dark powder, superbase – a medium to mix them with so I can use it as paint, and a little bottle of the mirrorest mirror chrome paint.

Did I have an idea of how to use it, or what to use it for, before I bought it all? Or did I just think it was cool?

Admittedly, I do think it’s cool, and that it can make some nice effects when used, but I did have a couple of ideas in mind when I decided to get it.

I got a few more ideas later.

Now I need to make some nice sketches to make those ideas stand out clearer to myself before I even start thinking of painting with it. But in the meantime, there are a lot of other paintings that I want to get to.

So, while I’m not saying what ideas I have myself, maybe you have got some playing around in your minds now? What are they?

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Space – the Final Sketchbook

It has been a while since the last update here now. To be honest, it’s been too long since I have managed to write something about my painting projects, and it has annoyed me quite a bit. The reason why is unfortunately an easy one.

I haven’t painted anything. Or rather, I haven’t finished painting anything. There are three paintings that I have started.

This was the situation until a few days before Christmas. The evening of the 21st December, I finally managed to do something again. I painted the cover of a sketchbook!

Picture of the sketchbook cover
The top is photographed in the light.
The bottom with the lights off, showing the glow-in-the-dark effect.

I wanted to give it away, so it was an extra encouragement to get it done. The inspiration came from a mural, and I figured: Hey, I can manage to make a space motive, and use some glow-in-the-dark medium.

That medium wasn’t quite as flowing as I had hoped. Getting thicker by the age? But I managed to make something nice out of it anyway.

All in all, while I could do more out of it by spending more time on it, I’m quite happy with the result and got some positive feedback on it, too. Mission satisfyingly completed.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The River

A friend of mine took a picture and posted on Facebook – and I instantly fell in love with it and wanted to paint it. Luckily she didn’t mind that, and even more luckily I found a canvas that suited the format perfectly: A tall picture, cell phone format 😉

At 35×70 cm, it’s the largest canvas I had painted on. Funnily enough, it’s also the painting that took shape the quickest for me. Almost like I’m starting to get some experience. Hmmm, could that be so?

Anyway, it’s a nice autumn picture, with the lovely autumn colours.

Motive from Volda

How could I not want to paint this? Sure, it’s a bit more simplistic than the photo I used as a reference, and there are always things I can get better at, but I’m learning! Most importantly though, I’m very happy with this. This is showing my abilities at present, and my current style of painting.

Seeing how I develop, both in knowledge, abilities and style is part of the fun, to be enjoyed in the time that comes. 😉

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Aurora Borealis

Last year (which is not that long ago) I made this little painting of the northern light – and tried it with a much looser brush than I’ve done in my paintings so far; they’ve been more detailed. But this was a well-received present, and I’ve been told it has got many nice comments.

Northern light – the Aurora Borealis – over a winter landscape

It’s also a bit nice to hear about the little “wow” added when the light is turned off, and the glow in the dark effect is visible …

Glow-in-the-dark

It’s fun to experiment like this. Other ideas are forming in my head, too 😉

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

By the water

I have finished another painting, with a motive from near Odda. Yep, another nature motive – and in my humble opinion, I’m getting better at it. OK, it’s certainly not photo realism, but the colours are certainly getting more natural painting by painting. Which is what I’m aiming for in this kind of paintings.

Plus, of course, that the result is pleasing.

A lovely view

I painted this one only in the classes in evenings, and for this one, I made a very short video of the progress I did after every class.

My progress, evening by evening.

This view is towards the Folgefonna glacier, of which we can get a glimpse of.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

A particular tree

Once upon a time, I was walking up towards a local mountain top. Honest. Despite the beginning, it’s not a fairy tale! Didn’t walk alone, I had good company. But the point is: On the way, we were walking past a tree that I thought looked quite photogenic. So I snapped a photo.

Time came for me to find a new motive for me to paint. Well – why not use one of my photos? Like, the one of a particular tree? So I did.

Yeah. No plein air for me. I need much more experience and paint quicker for that to be a viable alternative for me. Maybe some day, but for now I’m happy when I can paint inside.

So, with the photo next to me, I started to block in the colours.

In the beginning there were bright colours …

The colours weren’t exactly accurate, comepared to the photo, but at least I had got the main shapes in place. And this process went fairly quick. For me. But this was only the beginning. I needed to do more!

Colour changing nature

The colours couldn’t be that bright. While the original photo is quite saturated, I’ve learned that more realistic paintings need to be more moderate to be believable. So to perform the necessary adjustments, colours were changed, and some details added.

I must admit, it looked a lot more “boring” after this, but it’s not always the right thing to go wild and saturated!

So I continued.

Leave the leaves

Some more colour adjusting helped immensely, and the tree shouldn’t be bare. It was autumn. It should be full of green leaves. So I added them.

Ah! This was starting to look like something. While not as saturated scene as I might have wished for, I was happy with what I saw at this point.

Finished!

The last details were added. The painting was finished. The artist was happy. That is, me.

Is it identical to the photo?

Oh no!

But I think it’s a nice representation of what I saw, if simplified. And I’m ready to try a new motive, with new challenges.

What about the original?

OK, some may be interested in seeing how close to the photo the painting is. And I can help you there. I’ll show you:

The photo itself

This is how the original scene is. As you can see, I’ve taken some liberties, and there are definitely some differences. Not only in colours. But it was a very nice inspiration for me, and I’m happy with the result. Which is more important than have it identical. At least this time.

The eagle eyed among you have noticed the square pattern over the picture. This is so that it will be easier to keep the proportions correct when transferring the image to canvas. You may also notice that I don’t have the correct proportions in my painting, compared to the photo.

Yeah. Well. I originally drew it nicely – but painted over the lines when I blocked in the colours – and didn’t bother to draw it in exactly as it was afterwards. I did it quick and dirty after memory.

Still, the lines are there, and if anyone wants to try to paint it themselves, feel free. It would be fun to see the results!

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

By the sea

A sea house by the sea. Well – where else would it be? I was out with my nephew (one of them) one winter night photographing. Among several photos of this sea house, I thought this particular one would be very nice as a painting. So, I did what I had to do: I painted it!

A sea house from where I grew up

There are as always many things for me to learn still. I probably could work with this for many days or weeks yet to reach “perfection” – but I prefer to go on to the next motive. It helps me keep the enjoyment in it all, and it’s just so inspiring and encouraging to see the progress I do, it makes it all that more fun to paint. And to be honest, it’s the fun in this creativity that’s the most important for me.

Still, I do of course hope that you enjoy watching what I do, too 😉

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Painting A Sketch Block

I have painted sketch blocks earlier. Not inside them, but the covers. Apart from a quick and dirty test of something on my own sketch block, I’ve only shown the one I painted this summer. Now I’ve painted another one. I had a clearer picture in mind before I started, what I would paint.

The recipient of this sketch block enjoys playing his guitar, so the front cover wasn’t difficult to decide.

Whats better than a guitar player on the cover?

What should go on the back cover? Since its a black canvas-like cover, I wanted something that could light up in the night. Like a bonfire.

A bonfire on the beach
But where are the marshmallows?

A bonfire on the beach, a log to sit on – I wondered if I should paint a guitar leaning towards the log, too, but as the picture shows: I decided against it.

I’m happy with the results. While there, of course, are things that could be made better, I do see the progress I do myself. Which is fun and encouraging. And that is the main reason for painting in the first place, having some fun.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail