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.
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.
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.
That’s what he said, our art teacher in class. Or at least strongly suggested it. There is a good reason for this, of course. Staying inside while painting isn’t particularly unusual, and it comes a no surprise that the sunlight is different from the artificial light indoors. The normal light bulbs emit a yellowish light, while the sun – the daylight – doesn’t.
So what – is it that dangerous? Why does it matter? Well, the reason is easy: Colours!
We want to have the correct colours for our motives when we paint – and the colours we see are the colours of the light reflected. When we mix our colours to paint with, we want them to be correct and represent what we actually see. This is where the artificial light can cause a problem; a yellow-tinted light is what we’re used to inside, but it will also fool us. When we mix colours, we will compensate for that yellow tint, which appears to be mixed in with the rest of the colours.
The result might look fine until we see the painting in daylight. Then the colours will be obviously wrong, and the painting doesn’t look good. Not fun.
Won’t the problem be the same, just opposite, if you paint in daylight, and then see the finished painting in the light from normal light bulbs? Nope. The light from the sun isn’t tinted with any colour, and thus there’s no colour to compensate for. And of course, that again means the colours are the correct ones, even when inside.
Sure, a tinted light inside will still affect the colours we see, but we’re used to it, and our eyes automatically adjust for it without we really noticing it. To compare what we actually see, we can use a camera. Cameras are quite stupid – we have to tell them what kind of light it is, be it outside in the sunshine, or overcast, or inside with normal light bulbs, and some other options. Then we can, for example, in a room with normal light bulbs tell the camera that it’s outside in the sunshine, and take a picture. Then we tell the camera that the light source is light bulbs, and take another picture of the same motive. The camera should then adjust its settings to compensate for the tinted light. Then we can compare the two pictures and see the differences in colour.
So, what did I do? I found what I needed, of course. It’s not just a daylight bulb, I can change both the intensity and temperature, so it can simulate sunshine, overcast, evening, plus of course the normal warm light bulb colour. And I can control it from the phone.
And I could immediately see the difference by switching between daylight mode and normal mode. And it was quite a difference, too. It will be nice to paint “in the sunshine” rather than that warm light after this. 😉
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.
First of all: Yes, I’m taking my painting seriously. And I have no plans getting tired of it any time soon, so stay calm.
Secondly, what’s about the title of this post you’re currently reading?
Well, it could of course describe the flying dragon, having changed the fate of the town behind him … Or it could describe me, and that I’m taking my painting seriously, wanting to continue with it after my two paintings so far.
Or – of course – both.
As should be apparent from the image above, I’ve now finished my second acrylic painting. Sure, there are always things I could do better, or more detailed, but for now I’m really happy with the result. I’d rather try to get better at those tiny details and other things I can do better by painting new motives – it’ll be more motivating, too that way, and I can see the progress as time and paintings go by. Well, at least I’m optimistic enough to think I’ll be making progress 😉
So, am I ready to take on my third painting? What will it be?
I’m not completely sure yet. I do have my figure, Dionaea, and I want to paint that one, too. Will it be my next project, or will I try another motive first? You’ll have to wait and see, just like me.
So, I started painting. Attending classes to learn how to express me through acrylics, in a way that looks good. While I’ve always had an artistic side, it’s the first time I’ve tried acrylics, and for one single exception the first time I’ve seriously tried painting. (Whatever I did with watercolours when I was a child I don’t count as serious work.)
Of course, to start painting some things are a necessity. Like paint. Some of which I had bought before I even had enjoyed the thought of attending the classes. Acrylics are also nice to paint other objects with, like figures and models. I bought a set of paints for that – never got around to do anything about it though. But I will. Some time.
This means that when I signed up for the classes, I already had some paints. Even in the colours I should have. As luck wanted it, they were even bought in the shop where they sold the recommended brand. Or at least one recommended brand. I also bought myself an easel and a starter set with paint, brushes, wooden palette and even a canvas in that same shop. Turned out the brushes were more suited for oil painting, but I’ve bought more brushes and canvases from other shops, so no problem.
So, why was the brand sold in one shop recommended over another shops own brand of acrylics? It was due to the amount of pigments in the paint and how well it covered. Good thing I bought my paint from the “correct” shop then.
Except – they sold two different brands. I had bought the other brand. Only the name of the shop had been mentioned, not the brand of the recommended paint, so how could I know?
Now, it didn’t prevent me from enjoying painting, and how was the brand I bought, Sang, compared to the other brand, Liquitex Basic, anyway? Amateur as I am, I didn’t feel I had a bad paint – it seemed to cover nicely. I even bought a silver-colour from the not recommended Søstrene Grene for a special project. That colour was very pigmented and covered very well. I also bought a recommended colour, Paynes Grey, from yet another brand, Amsterdam. That one’s still untested, though…
It was Liquitex and Sang that was on my mind, though, and after a while, I did get a bit curious, though. How didSang compare? Time to turn to the internet.
I found quite a bit of tests and comparisons between different brands. Many different brands, most of which I don’t remember now. The only one I remember the name of is one called Folk Art. As that one was irrelevant to me, I don’t remember how it did, except it wasn’t bad. Liquitex had two variations, the Basic and one Artist Quality, even more pigmented and better covering. Amsterdam also did well. But Sang? I didn’t find anything about it, except on the shop pages. No help there, so I guess I have to test out myself. I’ve bought some Liquitex colours myself now.
While writing this article, it occurred to me that I hadn’t searched for any test of Søstrene Grene, so now I did. One page popped up, where their brand actually was described as a good buy; more pigmented than other well-known brands, and cheap. Not artist quality, but still…
Before I sat down writing, I also got another surprise: While looking for something completely different, more paint turned up. Acrylics. Of the Folk Art brand. I have no recollection of that one – I must’ve had it for years, unopened. Well, it’s going to be fun, trying it all out. What’s “best” also depends on the painting style, I’ve learned. 😃🎨
So with all this said, the question remains: Painting – do I take it seriously?
I’ve started learning to paint with acrylics. Classes one evening per week, for ten weeks. How successful will I be, and how good will I become? No idea. It’ll take a lot longer than the ten weeks before I’m really satisfied with what I manage to do, and I can say this with the knowledge that the nine first evenings are over. So there’ll be much painting after the course is over too.
But of course, that’s what I intended anyway; learn how to paint, so that I have a new hoppy to spend some time on. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to paint as much outside of the classes as I hoped, due to Real Life TM being filled with not only fun stuff. But I’m not complaining – I’m having fun with painting.
A grey box
The first evening was a test to see what we could do: A simple motive in black and white. Or rather, various grey tones.
The lesson here was for us to learn how to mix black and white to make the various needed grey tones, get the right perspective on the box, and actually paint it. Our teacher could then see where the different of us needed help, which varied a lot: Some had painted before, others not at all.
Homework after this was to find a picture we’d like to paint. Abstract or naturalistic, that was up to us.
My first “real” acrylic painting
I found a lot of potential pictures before I settled for a photo of an old building partly in ruins.
So I primed the canvas with a dirty ochre colour, so that a bright white canvas won’t fool the eyes and make it harder to get the correct colour values, outlined the motive with a coloured pencil, and started painting.
It is quite a bit more detailed than the simple, grey box, so it should come as no surprise that it took longer than one evening. The picture I show here is after for or five evenings (plus a bit at home) – but there are still a few details I want to change a bit before I get it as I want. However, I thought it was finished enough for me to start another picture.
That picture is still unfinished, and not one I’d like to show here right now. Someday I will though. A fantasy motive with a castle and a flying dragon in the moonlight.