I just wrote about I have to take a break from the fiddly work resulting from painting all those small details in my endless, circular river picture. And I have started a new picture, from where I grew up. A sea house, after a photo I took one winter night.
Now, I also have another project in mind, which isn’t a painting project, but one which includes the shaping of clay. Yeah, I want to make a clay figure. Some time. A figure that is painting, so I figured, I need a small canvas and easel. I could make it in clay, of course, but … I bought it instead.
Of course, such a small canvas requires painting small details. Which is fiddly work, right?
Good thing I’m taking a break from doing the fiddly work then. Except … well, it’s just such a tiny little canvas, it can’t take that much time to paint it. So I did. I spent quite a while to figure out what to paint, but ended up painting a miniature of the one I’m currently painting on a large canvas, just in summertime.
It was a fun, little project. Sure, I could spend more time on it and get the details even better, but this was more for fun than anything else. Besides, I can buy more of those canvases without ruining myself, and the paint expenses should be manageable, too.
I wanted to paint a special landscape motive, inspired by M.C. Escher’s “Waterfall” – as told in an earlier post. At that time I had figured out roughly how the landscape should be, to achieve the needed optical illusion. This was harder than expected, so it took time. Some changes to the layout have happened after that, but now I’m happier with it. It’s mostly the smaller details that are left now. Details like forests, villages, farms and such.
This is fiddly work. Fiddly work takes time!
Time is an illusion. Lunchtime, doubly so.
Ford Prefect, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
Another thing I mentioned later, in my Summertime-post, is my lack of activity on that painting. Or painting at all, technically. Of course, I’ve started painting again now, as the previous post clearly indicates. I’ve just taken a break from the fiddly work, needed something else to concentrate on. Still, I’ve done something.
The geography is now in order, it’s “just” the details that have to be added. Bit by bit. I’ll be working on it now and then, just to not get bored by the fiddly bits. In the meantime, I have a few other paintings of various sizes that need to take priority.
It’s time to paint again – and to finish the painting. And today I’ve done both. Judging from the ime I used, around five hours total actively painting, I think I do get somewhat better at it. I probably spent more time figuring out what to paint.
And, what did I decide to paint? The title of this post gives a hint, but you’ve probably already seen the painting below.
Quite a watery picture, with the splashing waves. Personally, I’m happy with the result. Just need to add my signature.
I have a confession to make: I have painted very little this summer. It’s not that there haven’t been enough opportunities for me, as the weather has been on the “stay inside and paint”-side a lot of the time. My concentration has been elsewhere, tho.
Part of the reason might be the “impossible” motive I’m working on, purely from my own imagination. I’ve done a few changes, have some more to add (or it would look very empty), and … well, still need to think a bit about how and where to add stuff. To make it look like a rather simplistic version of reality. It would, of course, be cool if I could make it look realistic, but I need to paint a lot more to become better for that to happen. Maybe revisit it as a project later?
But, while I painted very little, I did paint. A little. The front and back cover of a sketch book, again.
While the ideas for motives had roamed around among my thoughts for a while, when I sat down to paint it was done quickly. For me. A few hours, despite it not being the largest canvases to paint on.
Still simple, not too many details (small details on a small canvas can become too small) but I’m quite happy with the result. And just as important: I painted!
And in a couple of weeks, I’m back to painting classes.
Sometimes, you just have to test something, either because it’s a new, unknown product, or because you want to try something new. Recently, I made a quick little painting, just as a quick little test. And as such, I didn’t care much about getting the right proportions and stuff like that.
So, I took my sketch block, made a quick and dirty sketch – on the cover – and started painting.
OK, so I painted on the cover of my sketch block. Big deal. What’s that got to do with testing something new, or unknown?
Well, I did mention in an earlier post, about the various acrylic mediums I bought, and there was at least one of them I just had to test, to see how it worked. And did it work like I hoped, and mentioned in that earlier post? Eagerly, I brought the sketch block with me to a little, dark room to see …
It was partly successful! It’s glowing in the dark, but I must admit: I had hoped it would take on a bit of the colour I had mixed in, but it didn’t. It glowed green.
Well, come to think of it, the test itself was 100% successful. It didn’t give me the results I hoped for, but now I see what it does, and I can take that into consideration when thinking of other projects where it can be used. Some ideas are already entering my thought train. Let’s see what station they leave at.
I guess we all have seen various optical illusions; drawings that can be seen as two different things at the same time, images where the shapes also seem to hide or form other figures, geometrical constructs where the angles seem to be OK, but at the same time are completely impossible.
One well-known artist of the impossible geometry is the Dutch Maurits Cornelis Escher. Way more can be said of him and his art than I will do, other than that he serves as the inspiration for one of my paintings in progress.
The image I’m thinking of is “Waterfall” – impossible geometry where the water flows down in an aqueduct all the way, and ends up in a water all down into the beginning of the same aqueduct. All the action takes place in a limited space, and it’s easy to see how it’s done. But in my mind, I was playing with the idea of taking the same principle and transfer it into nature, making a believable picture, despite the water flowing downwards all the time, in a circuit with several waterfalls. Would it be possible?
I had a rough idea, sketched it on paper, just as rough, and decided that yes, it would be possible. Then I had to decide if I should make a more detailed sketch, using photos and stitch together something in Photoshop, or just start painting, with that rough sketch as my starting point. I went for the latter option, as the rest would have me spend way too long time before I could start painting at all.
It started out nice and quick. I blocked in the colours for the first shapes; sky, mountains, water, ground. Added some more details after I decided where the light should come from. Made the river flow from the lake in the distance towards a lake in the foreground, with some waterfalls on the way to make it obvious. Then the time came for me to make the river flow back, down from the current low point to the starting high point …
OK. It’s easy enough to make the river flow downwards, but it should also look natural. I spent some time thinking of this. It started getting hard …
As it is still a work in progress, I’m not finished. By far.I’ve blocked in the main colours, so I see the shapes and things are getting clearer. There’s still a lot of details that need to be painted though, but there is one thing that’s getting very clear to me: I was overly optimistic about the time I would use on it. There’s more thinking to do than expected, to make it look convincing. So much that it has been hard to sit down and do some actual painting. There are other pictures I want to try, too, so maybe I’ll just start that before I finish this one. Luckily, that’s very much allowed. Getting my spirits high on painting something that doesn’t require this much thought can only be of the positive, and it’ll make it easier to start on this one again. I hope.
Sounds like I’m trying to convince myself here, but in any case, I’ll have to get some painting done again, and show it.
Painting with acrylics doesn’t have to be on canvas or paper only, it can be used for a lot of projects. I’ve mentioned models earlier, pre-made or homemade sculpts in clay, but of course, there’s 3D-printed stuff, objects made of wood, fabric, smartphone covers … Quite a lot, really.
Of course, some surfaces needs to be prepared in some way; they might be sanded, or primed. A wooden plate, or object, might be primed with gesso, to make it easier to paint, and using less paint in the process.
There are also different acrylic mediums, to be used with different materials. A fabric medium is perfect if you want to paint on your clothes, for example; it makes the paint easier to work with, and the clothes won’t be stiff like they might be if painted without the medium.
But there are mediums that are useful on your canvas (or other preferred painting surface) too. I got a little selection myself …
I was looking for some clear gesso, to prime a little wooden chest that I want to paint, in the style of an old treasure chest. I found it, but there were also a few others that caught my interest: What about a glow-in-the-dark medium? Cool! An image from computer games came to mind: A dark cave, with glittering, illuminating gems … Can be fun to see it in the dark.
A pearl medium? I’m sure that can be fun to try, too. And what about a shimmering/iridescent medium? Oh yes. I’m sure that cave with the gems can have a nice treasure, too, with shimmering valuables …
My mind is toying with the idea, and is a lot further on the path than my painting. I still have a special nature-motive I’m working on. But I’ll get there, it will all be used!
As you know, if you’ve read previous posts, I paint. I’m not a fast painter, but I paint. Hopefully, with practice I will get enough experience to be able to paint both faster and more often. And of course, better. That usually follows practice. 😉
Anyway, I’ve finished another painting now. Unless I at some point have a close look at it and decide to do more with it – but as for now, it’s finished: The watermill.
Almost two months. That’s how long it’s been since I painted with my mom, but what have I done after that? Anything at all? Apart from acquiring the acrylic markers, I’ve been so silent …
It’s true, I feel like I haven’t done much at all, at least not painting. January was full up with other things on my mind, and I didn’t manage to do much at all of what I love to do, be it painting or other things. But don’t worry, I will continue to paint, and to show the results, both here and also on Facebook and Instagram. Hopefully, I will also be able to show you some of the other things that I would like to do. Computer graphics, sure. Sometimes I use that as a starting point for painting, but there’s also one other thing I’d like to try. When I found my Folk Art paint, I was looking for something essential to be creative in that area. Hopefully, I will be able to show you something from that. While I still haven’t found what I was looking for, I have done some purchases, and if would be such a waste of money if I didn’t manage to do anything about it.
But at the moment, it’s painting. I may not be fast, but I’m painting, and I’m sure I’ll be more confident and quicker the more I get at it. Currently, I’m working on a watermill. But unfinished as it is, I’ll show you the work in progress here on the blog.
Christmas came and went, and so did the New Year. In the period between – the “Romjul” as we call it in Norwegian – I showed my mom how to paint with acrylics. Plus some general tips. She is no beginner, having painted for some years, first with watercolours before switching to oil as her preferred medium, but she was curious about how it was to paint with acrylics.
So what was more natural than painting together? We looked through a lot of photos she and my dad had taken and figured out which one would be best to paint. It wasn’t easy, as there were many interesting motives, but ended up with a detail from the coast.
Off we went, first priming the canvas with a dirty ochre colour. This not to let our eyes be fooled by the white canvas about how dark and light the colours really are. And it might give the painting a bit warmer feel, as a bonus. Depending of course on the thickness of the paint. Second, we divided a printout of the photo up in squares (8×8) and the same on the canvas. This makes it easier to place the elements in the picture where they should be. Two general tips she loved.
Then we painted. Well, mostly my mom, with me sitting beside her telling about the differences to oil as we went. But I did a bit, too. Some things were a bit too different from oil …
In the end, she finished it alone. It wasn’t quite as she had wanted it, had she painted it with oil paints, so she wasn’t sure what she thought about it, but it grew on her. And their friends have commented on how much they like it when they have visited, so I’d call it a success.