Thursday, October 25, 2007

Stoked - Part II

Okay - this is my first attempt at uploading a picture to the blog. It looks like it worked okay.

What you see above is my very first painting and it is in the very earliest stages of preparation. Because I don't think I really understood what 'underpainting' really is until after the class (and I had time to reflect on what I saw and learned), what you see is a very preliminary outline of what I'm working toward. What I have to do next is wash over the whole surface with a thin, neutral color - hopefully thin enough so that the darker areas I have mapped out already will show through. Then I can re-darken and then add highlights to map the lighter areas. When the underpaint is done, it should look like a relatively complete, but monocolor , painting.

The end result will be far more colorful. I hope.

My next class is the first Wednesday in November (it was NOT my decision to skip next Wednesday, but everbody else seemed to think it was important to be home for Halloween ;>) ). By that time I should be finished with the underpaint. If so, I will update this diary with another picture of the picture. So far, the working name of my piece is "Call me Ishmael". It will probably change by the time it's done - my son says the name sounds 'a little borrowed'. I think he means pretentious. Perhaps it is - but it helps me set the mood.


I am so STOKED! Last night was our first Oil Painting class and was it COOL. And let me tell you, boys and girls, it is way easier to create a grey scale in oils than it is in pencil.

We learned about brushes and canvas and gesso and Impasto and Alla Prima and all kinds of stuff last night. And then we started on our paintings. Actually, what we did was to begin an underpainting - which is where one blocks in the relative light and dark values of the piece. I have mine sort of blocked in and between now and the next class I am going to wash in a light grey tone over the whole canvas to make sure there is no bare canvas anywhere.

The subject of the painting is the beached fishing boat I took a picture of on the Ireland trip in 2000. There are actually, to my eye, several good paintings in that one photograph. I think I may wind up painting this scene (or elements of it) more than once - there is just so much there. Later, when I get better, I want to paint the picture I took of Alex standing on the cliff at Clifden, also in Ireland, and also from the same trip. Ireland is an amazing place. We were there in November, and at that time of year it's like the whole country is one great big art studio - the whole place is side lit because the sun never gets very high in the sky when you're that far North.

Anyway, back to class. I think I need better brushes than what I bought - I have a couple of sable brushes and they're great, but I have some synthetic brushes and they're too stiff - I don't like them as much as I like my hair brushes. And the Reeves paints - when I squeezed out my first dollops of paint onto my pallet to begin mixing up my 'neutral' for the underpainting, there was almost as much linseed oil as there was paint. Not good.

Tonight I am going to take a picture of my painting and post it here. I am going to try to document the progress of my painting as it becomes whatever it is going to be when it is done. So I will take a shot tonight and then another right before we go back for our second class - because I intend to have the entire underpaint done before our next class - which is in two weeks - we are taking Halloween off - so it is going to look different in two weeks than it does now.

Monday, October 22, 2007

All supplies in hand ...

Wednesday is the first painting class and Marilyn responded to the email I sent her asking what materials I should bring to class. The answer - bring one canvas and everything else.. Since all three of the canvases I own are 16x20, I think I need to fabricate something that will allow me to safely carry a wet 16x20 canvas in my car. Annie will probably have an idea along those lines - I must be sure to ask her about that.

Except for (possibly) some watercolors I did as a very small child -- Oh!! and some paint-by-numbers I did as a kid - I have never really PAINTED a picture in my life. I am coming at this from no experience or understanding or anything that will install any confidence in my ability to produce anything at all that might be worth looking at.

Again, we are prompted to use a photograph we have taken for the class. I think, this time, I am going to use the photo of the beached fishing boat I shot in Ireland during our Thanksgiving trip in November of 2000. I have a print which I rendered like a watercolor on canvas textured paper; it is a fairly severe crop of the original. I think it may make a good subject for a painting. So ... I have all my supplies, I have my subject, now all I need is the courage and the skill.