Thursday, April 17, 2014

I decided to see if I could increase my interest in painting another still life by adding another element. Previously, I'd been painting a series of small still life's, just to get used to painting again. When they said, "If you don't use it, you loose it, " they were right!

Now that I at least feel like I'm headed in the right direction, I'm giving myself a little more to work with. Another object will let me work on problem-solving, and keep me from getting bored with single-subject paintings.

So, this one has a title! It's called "Conceptual Problem."

Just painting a glass of OJ might have been nice, but. . . You get the idea.

I'm hoping to start doing multiple painting each week, soon. I really need to paint more to get better!

Mike S.

Friday, April 11, 2014

After doing a third apple painting, I realized I wasn't seeing anything that looked like progress. So, I took a couple of days to review some of the very basics and decided to give myself a break and switch to a different subject. This time it's a bell pepper.

To my eye, this one is an improvement, in that it does look more dimensional. This is because I limited myself to just three values. That is to say, the same green for the color of the pepper, but three versions of it, a light, a middle tone, and a dark. After it was initially painted, there was some blending done, but not much. I really needed to simplify things so I wouldn't have to think about too many things at once.

Not something I'd want to sign and frame, but at least I now feel I'm making some headway. It's going to take quite a few more of the little paintings to get where I want to go, but I'm on the way.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL

Monday, March 31, 2014

After looking at my two little painting efforts, I can now say I do feel confident about taking up oil painting again. Not that those two were particularly good, (they weren't,) but I'm convinced that I still retain much of what I learned previously and can get back "up to speed" relatively soon.

The point where I left off was not a bad place, I'd gotten comfortable with moving the paint around, getting to do what I wanted it to, and was beginning to seek out and develop a sense of "personal style." But when you do get away from painting for an extended period, your skills do diminish. At least I find that is true of me.

Right now, I'm fairly happy with my drawing skills, but I see I definitely need to get control of my values. That is to say, the relative lightness and darkness of tones that give depth and shape to things that exist in three dimensions, but are being rendered on a two dimensional surface. If you get the value right, the hue (or color) can be off, but the painting will still be believable. But even with perfect color matching, when the values are wrong, the entire painting is wrong.

My next couple of paintings will be primarily exercises aimed towards understanding the values and getting them right. When I get a few done, I'll post them here and explain what I'm learning from them.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Well, here I go, painting again! It's been some time since I've picked up a brush and tried to "imitate life" with oil paints. Happily, I still have all my old equipment so I'm not starting completely over. But it seems I'm going to have to regain whatever skills I had before I can even hope to improve as a painter. Then again, it's learning. And that's the fun of it!

Got the easel dusted off and set up:

And my brushes, paints and various other tools of the trade:

And decided that I'd procrastinated sufficiently.  Time to actually do something!
So I started with something "simple." An apple:

It's painted on a 9 in. X 12 in. canvas panel. Kind of an odd size, I thought, but I found several of these packed away and they are just fine for what I'm doing.

And what I am doing is just getting the feel of manipulating the paint. I'm not thinking very much about the shape or color, just marginally paying attention to the values and chroma, mostly getting used to sliding paint around, trying to make it "behave."

Since doing that first painting, first in a very long while, I find that I've gotten over the fear of an empty white canvas and that's always been the hard part for me. So, the next day (today,) I've done another one. And this one is another apple, but I kind of think it looks a little more like a beach ball than I was hoping for. . .

This one (same size,) was still quite wet when I took the picture, so there is quite a bit of glare showing up. Again, this wasn't meant to be a "serious" painting, but an exercise. Something to let me re-learn how to manipulate or move the paint. After another 6 or 8 of these, I'll start to working on something more "serious."

By that, I mean creating  a credible visual recording of what I see. Not a photographic image, my camera can do that. But a way of showing others what has caught my attention, my fascination, and passing along this Imitation of Life, to others.

Mike S.
Spring Hill, FL