A little week ago, I got the challenge to paint an apple. And why not? I’ve painted an apple before, but at that time it was a digital painting and a realistic painting. Of an apple. Not so this time. I wanted to challenge myself and paint in a style I usually don’t try …
I want to be able to paint looser, with rough brush strokes. Much like I did with my autumn-painting, but even rougher, using larger brushes. Trying it with an apple, well, that seemed easy enough. Not that much that can go wrong ????
So, first, a thin brush, to make the black outline. Or well, first covering the canvas in a light brown colour, and then the outline. The next step was to find the main colours and drop them in, not worrying too much about getting it exactly right. Add some variations here and there.
Pink, yellow, orange, brown and red. That makes it a perfect red apple, right? And some dabs of different colours make the green leaves look a lot more detailed than what I painted.
I’m happy with it. I think I succeeded in what I set out to do.
I wanted to paint a lighthouse in stormy weather, and with the help of AI I made some images that I used for inspiration
It’s been way too long since I’ve updated this blog now. Shame on me. Admittedly, I did post my lighthouse painting on Instagram, but I never got as far as writing about it here. So, time to do something about that.
I painted this between Christmas and New Year, and was joined by mother who got inspired and wanted to paint a specific lighthouse on the Norwegian coast. One known as the most beautiful lighthouse in Norway. For me, it started with an idea: I wanted to paint a lighthouse, and I wanted it to be in stormy weather.
To achieve that I needed some reference pictures, but instead of searching for photos that I could use, I used one of the AI art generators to give me suggestions. A few tries and I got a few results that inspired me.
I mixed the ideas as I painted on the canvas; the sky from one image, the lighthouse and environment from another, and the waves varied a bit. The resulting picture is different from all of them, but I got the inspiration I wanted, and since the motive is imaginary in any case, I could easily take my artistic liberties and not make the lighthouse exactly as the picture. Although it mostly is. ????
There are still things I should practise, just to be able to paint better. There’s always something new to learn. Still, while I see the things I could do better, I’m still happy with what I made.
The topic: Trees. Theme: Autumn. At least, it was autumn for my part. And yes, this was a new challenge in the painting class, where we after an introduction to how different painters painted trees, and how their expressions changed during their lives, could either copy one of them, in our own styles or be inspired by them.
And there were many styles to choose from, too—anything from serene, naturalistic scenes to completely abstract, from many colours to few colours. Personally, I fell for a forest scene, with only trees. And painted in black and white (well, greys) except for one tree, with its leaves in full autumn colours. And a couple more.
That’s what I was inspired by. Except, I didn’t want a forest scene, I wanted something more urban. A little glimpse of the urban, but not any too straight lines. And, the result?
A few lines and squares in the background give the impression of buildings and windows. A car and a few streetlights make the impression stronger, and then the trees are in the foreground. Grey, except for the largest one in the middle, which is where all the golden autumn colours are concentrated. Spots of colours represent the leaves, both on the tree itself and fallen down on the ground.
All of this was done with loose brush strokes, much looser than the painting that inspired me, but – I’m happy with the result. It’s the first time I’ve tried something like that, so it was a win for me, all done in a short evening.
I am taking classes in acrylic painting this autumn, too. Technically the same class as before, according to the description, but we’ve always just continued from where we were on our path to professional artists. Or on the path to just enjoying painting in itself. This time, with a new teacher, things changed – but more about that in a later post.
Enough about that, except that we do get challenges every time. This summery painting of a sunflower field is the result of such a challenge.
A quick painting, but showing enough variety and detail to … make the impression there are details present. It’s really not, not much.
Around Halloween, it was time again for a new five-day portrait challenge from Paintable. Last time, this spring, was my first time trying it, and also my first time painting a portrait. At least in a serious way. Would I get a better result this time? Only one way to find out: I had to do it!
The task was like last time, except for one twist. Since Halloween was approaching fast, the final portrait should be of a monster; zombie, vampire, witch, whatever. Either make the monster from the start or take the finished painting and make it into a monster. I decided to make a vampire. A female one.
So I got my model, placed some lights where I wanted them to create the mood, and then I was ready to take the steps as usual.
Light, medium and dark skin tones. That’s how it’s usually done at this step. And I started that way, but … this time the lighting was more complicated. I had used both red and blue lights, and the shadows, were bluer. I had to fix that, so in my next step, the blue shadows were added in addition to the smoothing the colours.
With the colours I wanted in place, and smoothed out for a natural result, things are looking good. I still have to do something about that hair, and there are details that need to be taken care of.
Hair straightened out and made look more like hair. Earrings were added, in the shape of bats, of course. She’s a vampire, after all. Should the eyes stay blue, or should they be more mysterious? Red or yellow were too common for monsters – I made them purple. The teeth were still too white, so I changed those, too, slightly.
I also added the lighting to the background, and some other details, slightly out of focus. It’s already a lot better than the one I did in spring, but I want a final touch-up.
I wanted the hair to look even more like hair, so I spent some time brushing it. Digitally, at least. She got some slightly lighter irises, and some cute freckles were added. And a slight trickle of blood from the side of her mouth, after the free lovebites she’s been giving.
I haven’t forgotten about the traditional, analogue painting in favour of the digital versions, and I have no plans of giving it up. This summer I used acrylics again and painted some cascading waters. Was I finished, or did I need to do more?
I decided that I did not want to do more with it. Does that mean I’m finished with it? Well, let me quote a painter with more experience than me:
A painting is never finished, it is only abandoned
Leonardo da Vinci
Good enough answer?
Motive is inspired by (i.e. not identical to) a photo I took home on the island where I grew up. It shows that even a little stream can be a nice motive to paint. The motives don’t have to be limited to bigger, amazing views!
Exercise: Find a picture. Make a sketch of it, or rather three sketches, in 20, 15 and 10 minutes. Well, I did. The question is: How well did I do?
I do see that while I concentrated on different parts each time, I also got more secure in my lines. Even if I didn’t get all the measures correct each time … but if I did this exercise several more times, I’m sure the difference between the sketches would be larger.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?