Thursday, February 2, 2017

Collage from the 30 in 30

Well we actually have 12 in 30 as I faded badly in the last two weeks.    However I'd like to thank Leslie Saeta for running this challenge - I always look forward to it even if I don't deliver.  Also many thanks for people who've visited and commented.  It means a lot to have contact with others going along the same path.

Now the challenge is officially over I thought I'd compare to previous efforts to see how things are changing.

This was my first go round back in 2015.    Not having looked at this for a while I was quite surprised at the quality.  There are some that were really a big leap for me.   In particular the Turl Street, Oxford one (2nd row 4th from the left) and the plane one (3rd row 2nd from left).   

This is last years collection.   Frankly not as impressive at the 2015 lot although I still like one of the Venice ones (2nd row, 3rd from left) and the plane and bus ones.

So sadly I think I have to say I'm not really getting any better.   The first time I did this challenge in 2015 I came on by leaps and bounds.   Looking at the first and last from that month (the first two tiger pictures) there is a big change in execution and composition.  I also made strides with the city pictures.    

But then I really knuckled down to it in 2015.  Up at 6am painting before work and making sure I had the time to get a painting done every day.     This isn't rocket science.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Day 19 - Old Fire Truck

Something a little different today from a suggestion by James.   No initial washes and not a lot of lost edges.  Lots of thick paint in cadmium red, cadmium orange, yellow ochre, and burnt sienna.   Darks are mostly ultra and burnt sienna with the odd splash of cerulean blue for interest.

No initial measuring done for the drawing.  Just straight in - start one side and continue with angles, inner shapes and cross referencing up and along the drawing to make sure everything's lining up well.  Concentrating on the negative shapes helps to get things fitting together.

Painting progressed pretty much the same way.  No initial washes this time as I wanted to keep the reds bright and to emphasize them using flecks of exposed white paper.    

Here he is done.  I love painting red things.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Stockbridge Fire Station take 2 - Day 17

I was a little dissatisfied this morning after reviewing yesterday's post so decided to have another go with a slightly different view.   A definite improvement and there are many things I like about this.  Not perfect but then what is?

First the drawing.  This is a pretty much a square on view which I tend to gravitate towards.   I cropped closer in and made more of the surrounding foliage.

First I went over most of the paper with light diffuse washes.  This gives a hint of color but is mostly a kind of walkthrough to rehearse where the darks will go.   I started the final coat with the tower keeping some variation in color in the darks and letting some edges bleed so things didn't get too rigid.  In particular I painted the spindles and then washed over them with a clean damp brush so they are more diffuse and don't leap out at you. 

Onto some foliage and the main windows.   The darks are starting to define the building and again I kept the darks in the window colorful and diffuse.  

The final thing.   The red garage door had a lot of wash through it which I decided against tidying up.  I like the visual disconnect you get between something looking like an object and the wateriness of the medium.    Pretty happy with this but often tomorrow morning I have different opinions.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Day 16 - Stockbridge

Something quick today and no progress shots.     This is the old fire station in Stockbridge Mass.     Definitely getting some variation in subject in this month if nothing else.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Sheep and Collie - Day 14 of 30 in 30

Something a little different today.  I wanted to do another dog to increase my chops and James suggested a collie with some sheep.  Pretty happy with this one.  The background is a little scrappy but has a certain charm.

I started off with a couple of thumbnail sketches. I still quite like the first one as it fills the paper a little better but in the end I went for something like the second one.   I liked the pose of the dog and the way the sheep were all bunched together into one big shape.

The initial drawing.   Came out pretty well although the background was worrying me.

I started with the dog to get some darks in .   He's rather fine I think.  I left the whites completely white at this point intending to go back at the end to put in some very subtle shading.   The dark parts of the coat came out well. Just a little variation in the value and added in some color to liven things up.

Some background now.   A grey to contrast with the whites and the darks made up of cadmium orange and cerulean blue.

Now onto the sheep.  A lot of yellow ochre and again leaving the whites completely white until the end to put in some shadow.

The final thing.  Maybe a little heavy on the shading for the sheep's faces but pretty happy nonetheless.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Portrait - Day 13 of 30 in 30

It was the end of the work day and I put down the keyboard and quickly dashed this one off.    I had some decent paper but only a waterbrush and my small portable watercolor pans.   Even so it had to be done.

First the drawing.  I really should have taken more time over this but...

The first washes.  I was very glad of the good Arches paper I had as this made it much easier.

Further along - pretty happy but I was rushing.

The final thing.   Not too bad given the circumstances.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Day 8 - Bulldog

This is a bit of a departure for me but I needed some preparation work for another project.   Someone has requested a large picture of 'dogs playing pool'.  Yes.  Quite.   But it is a bit of a challenge and I haven't had a lot of success with dogs before so some exploration is required.

Turns out that bulldogs are quite fun to paint and a bit like painting people.  I think he came out quite well.  A bit tentative but not bad for a first attempt.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Day 7 - Irish Castle

Something a little different today.    Enjoyed this one very much.  Tried to keep things simple, loose and colorful.   Nothing overworked and very little detail.

In other news the new painting room is now fully equipped.  I have my new painting cart and leaning desk and we found a light in the basement that works really well for direct lighting.   I even have a mat to catch paint splatters to keep them off the carpet.  Much easier than balancing everything on my knees.  At some point I'll have to change the wall color but for now there's no excuse for paintings not to come out thick and fast.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Day 4 Boat - The Bad and the Ugly

Well it had to happen sometime but not usually this early in the month.   Nothing went right and everything was a struggle.   The drawing is askew, the washes are muddy and the reflections just wouldn't behave.  I couldn't rescue it even throwing caution to the wind and slapping some broad color washes on at the end.   I'm definitely out of practice - too many birds.

Does a cropped version help?   No, not really.

Postscript:   I came back into the room after washing my pots out and found the poor thing felt so bad it had thrown itself off the easel onto the floor.  

Monday, January 2, 2017

Day 3 - Pin Mill Boat

Day three already.    I'm still setting up the new painting room and the light isn't great.  Hence the somewhat subdued color.   I'm not too displeased with this although I was winging it pretty much the whole way through.  Onwards and upwards.

Oh and I'm out of cerulean blue again!  How does this happen?
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