Going tiny

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.

My new canvas and easel. And the brushes too.

Of course, such a small canvas requires painting small details. Which is fiddly work, right?

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.

Sea house 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.

And I will!

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Fiddly work

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.

Notice the flattering shadow in the lower left corner …

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.

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Add some water …

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.

reaking waves

Quite a watery picture, with the splashing waves. Personally, I’m happy with the result. Just need to add my signature.

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Summertime …

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.

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1, 2, 3, testing

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.

Not at all proper proportions on the figure – but a lot better than the sketch 😜

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’s dark. It’s glowing. It’s … green.

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.

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My corona fight

First of all: No, I’ve not got corona, I’m well and healthy. Admittedly, it’s said that several people can get infected with the virus without noticing anything at all, but until proven otherwise, I’ve not had it, nor do I have it. My fight against the corona is not a fight against the virus itself, but against what the fear of it causes.

Sort of.

My life has been more or less as normal these weeks; I’ve been shopping food as normal – only a bit better place in the shops, and as for other shops I haven’t missed anyone that might have been closed. The only way that I’ve been directly affected, is when painting classes were cancelled.

Image of paint brushes

Painting classes aren’t exactly considered essential, so having them cancelled isn’t that big of a deal. Except, if I shall be honest, it was much easier getting done some painting when there was a class every week. It has been harder to get a grip on myself and paint now, and it isn’t only about a complicated image to get correct. Breaking up from the usual habits has made it easier – too easy – to tell myself that the painting can wait a little bit; it won’t run away. Just that after not too long, my good habit of painting isn’t there anymore. I have to restart it.

This is where I am now. I have to just put aside whatever else I’m doing, and paint something. Either continuing on a painting, or a new painting if I struggle with the first one. Only good thing is that I’ve managed to get some other needed things done, so at least I won’t think of those anymore.

OK, this was just a little sigh of the heart, to let you know why I’m not posting anything to show my progress (or lack thereof).

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Optical Illusions

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.

M.C.Escer: Waterfall
Waterfall by M.C.Escher

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 …

Work in progress of my "impossible nature painting"
Work in progress. I’m getting there, but lots of work left.

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.

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Oh, the possibilities

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 …

Various acrylic mediums, for future enjoyment

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!

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The Watermill

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.

The watermill
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Buy a daylight bulb

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.

My new, fancy light bulb

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.

Quite smart.

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. 😉

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