Berries YouTube Tutorial

Remember those berries a painted a while ago?  I made a video tutorial on how they were painted.  If you look closely, you can see the pink redberry has a touch of yellow ochre giving it dimension and interest creating a hint of warm-orange in some of the mid tones. I hope everyone is getting into the holiday cheer and painting some berries–because that is what we all think of doing this time of year, right?  On a side note, I accidentally added some strange music to the background.  I am going to have to figure out what that is all about.




What do I have to share this week?  Mel produced a fun, impressionistic painting experimenting with thinned oil paint producing gloopy brush strokes.  Here are a few of her words about the project:

“I’m Back!! So I’m finally feeling 100% better, and inspired to try a new style. While I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve done so far, I can’t say that I’d hang them in my house and have them fit my style, if you know what I mean. I was feeling bored with realism, and while I’m sure I’ll enjoy doing it once in a while, I’d rather not do it always.

“[After adding the clouds, I] Ran out of colors cause I was applying THICK as to not pull up a ton of blue from beneath! I probably will not start by doing the whole sky blue at first!! Learning at lot about alla prima and what the paint likes to do. Eventually it will all be just second nature, hopefully. Definitely forces me to be more decisive about brush strokes!!

“It’s done!!….Now that I’m done, I’m pretty happy. Looking at it from a distance makes me happy. 30 min ago, I was tempted to wipe it off though!”

This is likely the second painting for Mel’s online gallery that we will be opening in October.  I love how the sections where the blue sky did end up mixing with the cloud color simply look like thinner clouds in those spots.  The effect looks natural.

On another note, Mel and I are toying with a YouTube channel idea.  I have been doing more research than painting this week as well as editing videos and starting to learn about how to be a good channel creator.  Today, for example, I studied the effective ways to design a thumbnail that will encourage people to want to click and watch your video.  I am happy with the first one I designed.  The video it will be attached to goes into detail about my tracing-from-a-photo-to-get-started method and will go live on Thursday.  Of course it’s going to be filled with rambunctious snaps because I love to entertain myself while making the videos.  I especially love to hear about my little nieces and nephews laughing and loving them!

For anyone who is interested, our (Mel’s and my) very baby YouTube channel that we might quit after a few months if it’s more than we bargained for is called “Art Snap”.  Here is the link!

Yellow Leaves

Guess what I’ve been up to.  You’re right!  Making a silly movie about my painting process.  How did you know, dear reader?  There you have it, my little “how to” video.

Colors used:
Grunbacher burnt umber
Grunbacher burnt sienna
Grunbacher yellow ochre
Grunbacher cadmium yellow
Grunbacher cadmium red
Winsor Newton (II) cobalt blue hue
Winsor Newton (II) titanium white

And the individual progress images for a closer look:

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Flowers in a Field

Listening to artist podcasts while resting between each burst of painting, 20 minutes at a time usually, I heard the host and her interviewee joke that the solution to an overworked painting is more work.  I thought, “So, that’s the answer!”  There is always the question of, “When is this painting done?” or, “When is this portion of the painting done?  Because, parish the thought, I don’t want to overwork it.”  Painting this field of flowers I was committed to working faster than I usually work and to be less of a perfectionist.  Rather than wonder when each piece was done and I gave myself time limits.  Once the time limit was reached, I made myself stop working on that section.  When if finally came together after 7 hours, it was different than I could have predicted and looked nothing like my reference photo.  I will explain the sages below starting with the original reference photo taken at the Chicago Botanical Gardens.

Below is my under-painting, blocking in general shapes and getting some shadows set down.  You can see that I am not using my method of meticulously copying the original.

Next, I start painting the background in a way that I think I will keep.  At this point I begin questioning whether it will really look finished once it’s complete.  It looks so scrappy still.  I Start adding some detail in the leaves at the bottom.  I was liking the work less with each change I made and had to decide if I would scrap it and start over or keep going.  This is when I decided to keep going.  One more hour for each section and then, it’s got to be a hard stop.

And then, after those few more hours, it was done.  There are some things that I really like about it, but it’s so different, I keep shaking my head and wondering it that’s a good thing.  Because I am so perpetually indecisive about my opinion, I kind of like it because it confuses me.

After the field of flowers hullabaloo, which was so interesting that I kind of want to paint the same picture, but differently so see how else it could turn out, I finished another abstract painting in an effort to save paint.  This reminds me of a patchwork quilt my Grandma gave me that didn’t have any matching squares or rhyme or reason.  The star crackle patterns showing through from underneath are from dried linseed oil.  As the oil dried, it puckered into these sunny patterns.  With time, they will likely continue to pucker and add fissures in the paint which will harden faster than the oil long-term.

Some Experimenting

Mel and I have added one to our little group of daily painters.  Meg, a friend who used to be a part of our photography social circle is serious about learning to paint and the three of us have built an ongoing texting conversation to share what we are doing and learning.  I can’t express how motivating this is for me.  Since Mel likes me to share her work and progress alongside mine, this is what we have been up to this week.

I made some progress on this family masterpiece.  I keep getting bogged down by it because I want it to be perfect.  I want to feel the satisfaction that I felt when I finished Eliza, but another part of my paralysis is what I want to do with it.  Initially I was planning to give it to my father-in-law, the subject of the painting, but my sister-in-law-in-law wants it and offered $20 when I told her how fun some of my family auctions were when I painted little pictures of my siblings.  Now I am torn.  Would my father-in-law prefer having it in his own home, or prefer seeing it in the home of one of his children? 

Mel did this one on canvas and it is worthy to be called her first painting for her online gallery once we launch!  Go Mel!  1 of 30

This is the beginning of a painting that I started this week.  I didn’t use my usual trace and paint method in an attempt to use a looser painting style.  It’s not going too well.  I might start over with a different approach.  I have been rereading a book called “Daily Painting” by Carol Marine and wrote about how she approaches a color pallet.  I made a couple of color wheels to help me with this painting and have learned quite a bit.

Here is where I get a little art geeky.  Above, we have a color wheel with almost no white.  I am combining Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, and Cadmium Yellow.  If you can read my notes, it points out a few things that I was shocked by, for example: The transparent blue mixed with a little opaque yellow made the blue darker and adding opaque white to the transparent purple made it darker.  Crazy, eh?

These are the same colors, but I have added opaque white to all of the transparent colors to make them all opaque.  Where they meet in the center is supposed to be grey, but there was no way I could figure out how to get grey with this specific combination of primary colors.  Does this mean that if I am painting with these three colors that grey=muddy green?.

This is just a darling painting Mel did of her daughter using a photo as a reference.  She whipped this out in 5 hours!  She isn’t selling this in her gallery, it is too sweet.

And last, we have Mel experimenting on paper instead of canvas.  She thought that mentally she would be less of a perfectionist if there was no way it could end up in her gallery, hence painting on paper instead of canvas.

Do you see, reader, what creative juices I am getting to marinate in?  It’s like I am in an art homeschool with three students and we are building our own curricula!