January 5, 2022 at 2:27 am #2065018
Day 72 04/01/22
Quite a simple but productive day today, completing a still life sketch with the Zorn palette. I started with a few thumbnails and a rough pencil sketch to try and figure out the composition (which I ended up changing midway through anyway)
I thoroughly enjoyed painting the jug and the muted yellow/greens really suited the limited palette. The jug was very little effort and I think it looks better for it. I struggled with the fabric ground and the tea strainer -which was foreshortened, shiny and transparent in parts. So I sort of gave up as the drawing worsened with each new attempt, knowing that there’s a section of Russian Drawing coming up on drapery, and a lesson on metallic objects upcoming in the Still Life class. So between them both, hopefully it’ll allow me to improve some of my weaknesses.
Practice Time: 4.5hJanuary 5, 2022 at 1:36 pm #2065700
Hi Jac, you are so right about your jug – I love it – There is something wonderfully liberating about having to post every day regardless of where you have got to – I think I am learning a lot about learning art (as well as about faces) doing this challenge – its good to press “stop” – accept what you have created, and then to move on the next day… as Steve Houston says – we need to make a lot of starts… and before this 100 day challenge, I simply didn’t get that….January 6, 2022 at 1:21 pm #2067040
Definitely Jo. Liberating is the right word!
Day 73 05/01/22
- I watched Fenske’s demo of the alleyway, lesson 14. I’ve got a few I haven’t watched from Introduction to Landscape.
- I spent a few hours working on another William Wendt study. Quite a few lessons in this one:
- Brushwork really showing the form of the ground slope, a lot of fun to try and imitate. It hadn’t really occurred to me to use the direction of brushstrokes to effectively provide a line through a landscape. In this painting, it’s like a big arrow to the subject.
- Cloud – when I really zoomed in, the cloud was rose coloured except for the edges, which were a pale yellow. I thought this looked really overdone in my own paint, but when you step back it actually has quite a pleasing effect.
- Storytelling. – I had largely missed the two figures in the shade of the tree until I went to paint the thing.
- Tree Light/shadow contrast – I couldn’t quite get this right. Wendt had a lot of contrast, as mine does if not more, but is able to better integrate them to look like one whole. I tried using transitional values, but then it made the shadow distinction blurry and unstructured. Tough one to get right.
Practice Time: 4hJanuary 7, 2022 at 9:14 am #2067990
Day 74 06/01/22
Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time for practice today. By the late evening, when I did have some free time, I was starting to feel a bit feverous from having the booster vaccine in the morning. I was pleased with myself for getting an hour in, even when my energy was low.
- Landscape sketch from reference photo – trying to apply lessons from the previous day’s study of Wendt.
Practice Time: 1hJanuary 7, 2022 at 11:01 am #2068122
Great what you can do in an hour!January 8, 2022 at 3:38 pm #2069574
Day 75 07/01/22
- I watched week 4 of the Introduction to Painting Still Life class. The plan is to do the assignment tomorrow, see if I can improve my painting of metallic things.
- I spent another hour on the landscape above. Full disclosure. I cheated yesterday. Having forgotten to take an in-progress picture, I posted the final picture instead. Fraud!
- I drew one more ear for the Russian Academic Drawing course. I would usually want to do more assignments before moving on, but I’ve taken a real dislike to the 3D ear cast. I’ve filled a panel, so four is enough. I did the last one (bottom right) today in charcoal, to spice things up. I have little experience in charcoal – so it’s a real mess of a drawing.
Practice Time: 2.5hJanuary 9, 2022 at 5:14 am #2072037
Day 76 08/01/22
- I watched week 10 of Designing Your Landscape Painting. It was a seascape, which just looks impossibly hard to me.
- I worked a bit more on yesterday’s ear, which I don’t think made much of an improvement.
- I completed the assignment from Introduction to Still Life Painting from a reference photo.
Practice Time: 3hJanuary 10, 2022 at 1:11 am #2074213
Day 77 09/01/22
The goal of the day was to take yesterday’s practice of depicting metallic objects into a painting from life (and not a picture). It’s hard to justify this as having much to do with landscapes …except maybe honing one’s observational skills?
Painting this coffee-themed still life was a bit of a rollercoaster. I started by being immediately overwhelmed with the highly reflective surfaces of the can and espresso thingy. They almost looked invisible, so I just put down shapes of colour where I saw them. Then about halfway through my confidence started to grow as I thought, “damn, this does look like reflective metal, this is going well”. It was only when I painted in the background colour (quite late in the process) that I realised I hated the overall tonality of the piece. The turquoise towel I chose as the ground just made the whole thing look oppressively cold and sickly, it was too late to change it given the dominance of the colour in everything. Then I couldn’t get the background to harmonise, after a few hue/temperature changes I scraped it off and decided that leaving the background unfinished and messy was the best I had gotten it to look (which says a lot!).
So overall, I had good fun and achieved some success with the goal of the exercise (getting things shiny). Like the jug earlier in the week, the can was the least worked and it looks better for it. Funny how that works. I think I managed the reflections and handle of the espresso thingy well too. The drawing is decent. Next time, I’d put more thought up-front into the environment/context when dealing with shiny things.
Practice Time: 3.5hJanuary 11, 2022 at 3:35 pm #2081658
Day 78 10/01/22
Back on the landscapes. I opted for another combo of doing a master study and then taking those lessons into an original painting (tomorrow).
I’m enjoying getting to know Wendt’s work better, I’d love to see what the place actually looks like. A few lessons learned:
- He commonly looks for a way to darken a corner in the foreground, presumably as a compositional device to guide people into the painting.
- He repeated colour notes from foreground to background to emphasise aerial perspective. Background colours often had way more yellow in them that I’m used to – I think I’ve been interpreting the ‘yellow fall off’ too dogmatically.
- The ground planes are arranged in shapes intended to direct the eye or stacked to create depth.
- As the viewer is facing the sun, the sky is greener and lighter. The opposite effect occurs when facing away from the sun, with a darker, redder blue.
Practice Time: 3.5hJanuary 12, 2022 at 12:06 am #2082863
I love the way you analyse things, a beginner like me can learn a lot by reading your thoughts… You could turn all this into a blog… I think a lot of people would benefit… Jo.January 12, 2022 at 2:09 pm #2083509
Thanks Jo. They say teaching is one of the best ways of learning – so I suppose I write these little blurbs to try and teach my future self! If anyone else benefits, all the better 🙂
Day 79 11/01/22
An unproductive day. As soon as I’m trying to squeeze art practice in before/after work, my learning starts to suffer. Or perhaps it was just a bad day.
- I attempted to take lessons from the previous day’s study of Wendt into a landscape sketch of my own from a reference photo, but I just couldn’t get any of it to work. I scraped back the hills several times until I could get it in a bearable shape. I left the whole thing a bit wooly-looking simply to move on to something else (perhaps I should face down a picture when it isn’t playing nice).
- Post-mortem: I think the main problem was that the photo I used was awful. Bad to the point that I figured I’d either invent my own light effect or copy the effect from the Wendt study. Unsurprisingly, neither worked. I think the lesson is that you can’t paint your way out of a poor concept. Your best chance of producing something good, is to have something good in front of you to start with.
- A positive to take away from the effort is, to my surprise, the background hills. After a few failed attempts to get what I wanted, I decided to experiment with a yellow/purple complimentary palette. The desaturated yellow went down like a green, and the purple does (as Kearn suggests) suggest distance. I’ve tried for this effect before, normally by leaving yellow out of a green mixture, but it just creates chalky pale greens.
Practice Time: 4hJanuary 16, 2022 at 12:07 pm #2091480
Day 80 14/01/22, Day 81 15/01/22, Day 82 16/01/22
Jeff Watt’s in a Youtube video “how to train to become a successful working artist” mentions that you’ve always got to be working, even if you’re unwell (it’s worth a watch). I had this notion of commitment bouncing around my head for two days as I succumbed to lethargy and sleep. Maybe I had a cold, or maybe it was losing a night’s sleep after the vaccine. Whatever the reason, I practised very little art for two days (12/13). I couldn’t muster the energy. I did manage a couple hours in drips and drabs, but I was just going through the motions.
For the following three days things got a bit better and I focused on the cadaver cast assignment from the Russian Drawing course.
- Still tired, I spent 1.5hrs laying in the cast, getting some big shapes down and the proportions about right.
- I watched Introduction to Painting Still Life lesson on glass, just to try and consume something art related.
- A bit more on form, I completed most of the cast in 3.5h.
- I watched the opening few lessons in Fenkse’s indoor painting series too. I was hoping it would be useful for still lifes and perhaps shine a bit more light on his methods for landscape. He’s definitely more talkative and at ease, so I think I’ll continue watching for a few more gems.
- I finished watching Mirochnik’s lessons on the cadaver and then drew for a further 1.5h to call the piece “done”.
In all, I probably spent about 8 hours over 3 days on this cast – and when I compare it mark-by-mark to Mirochnik’s, I’m just stunned how good his is. He just sees details, and planes, and transitions, and edges, that I only see after he’s pointed them out. There’s a great deal to learn here! I like to think I’ll return to the cast tomorrow, as I’ve rushed it just to finish – but I doubt I will.
Practice Time: 8h over 3 daysJanuary 16, 2022 at 12:10 pm #2091491
Wow, this is great… Especially if you’ve been feeling rough!January 18, 2022 at 1:04 am #2095872
Thanks Jo! Mirochnik deserves most of the credit, I couldn’t have gotten as far with it without his drawing as a reference.
Day 83 17/01/22
- I watched week 12 of Designing Your Landscape Painting. It’s probably my favourite piece of Kearn’s that he’s demoed – a bit less conventional and modern, and the scenary is closer to my own than his Californian pieces.
- So I thought I’d use the reference photo from the lesson and try a little sketch myself. The sketch below doesn’t hold a light to Kearn’s effort, but it also didn’t take particularly long either (by my standards at least). It sort of occurred to me that I don’t really know how to take paintings beyond the stage of laying in the composition, defining your shapes, getting rough colour/value families right, getting a bit of variety in. Perhaps I need to try painting on different size canvases, or just continuing to add detail and variety. Not sure.
Practice Time: 2h – must practice more!January 19, 2022 at 11:16 am #2101018
Day 84 18/01/22
I was feeling a bit directionless (which often seems to happen after particularly enjoying working on something, highs and lows aye), so I grabbed a near-random reference image and set about doing a small sketch. It’s almost entirely a work of fiction, having chosen to impose a light effect not in the reference and re-arrange its main parts. Not a winning strategy, I’m starting to learn. I kind of like the sheep though 🙂
Practice Time: 2.5hrs
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