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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Halloween Portrait

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.

Start sketching

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.

Starting out with a clean sketch
And block in colours

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.

OK, this is more like it!

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.

Got her some jewellery and coloured contact lenses …

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.

Finished. My own Vampirella.

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.

Am I happy with the result? Indeed I am!

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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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“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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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. 😉

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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 😉

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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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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!

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