It’s Autumn

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 glimpse of autumn in a grey town?

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.

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Sunflower Field

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.

Wonderful clouds over that field, right?

A quick painting, but showing enough variety and detail to … make the impression there are details present. It’s really not, not much.

I think that’s cool!

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Cascading Waters

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?

Cascading waters

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!

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Sketching exercise

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.

Shipwreck, original, 20, 15 and 10 minutes
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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.

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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?

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“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?

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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.

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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.

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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 😉

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