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Landscapes

I haven’t been painting as much as I planned but I’ve started sketching again so hopefully I’ll start turning those into paintings again soon. I have two new ones, the first is a small color study in oil of Cutthroat Pass and the second is a somewhat larger (but still small) painting of some hay and a house we saw in France.

Cutthroat Pass Blueberries
8×10 oil on panel
Haystacks
11×14 oil on panel
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Last of 2020

There’s no theme here, but I wanted to get in the last few things I did at the tail end of 2020. Two of my previous pastel frogs are promised to family members and I wanted to have one to keep for myself. The still life is the latest in what’s turning into a series of light shining through glass bottles. For a while in the middle I regretted my decision to paint green light shining on green apples, but I think it turned out in the end.

Are those words?
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October 2020

I haven’t done as much painting as I intended, but I did get a lot of hiking done before the smoke drove everything indoors. It’s cooler weather now and I’m struggling to get back outside either hiking or kayaking. In the meantime, I have some new art.

I consider these all ‘studies’ where I’m still figuring out how the medium works and most of them are on cheap canvases or paper. I am pleased overall with how the wave turned out – this was my first attempt at water. For the honey jar I really like the glowing spot and somewhat regret doing it on such a poor canvas. Same with the bottles – I had some canvas paper that I found in some art supplies from 40 years ago and used it because it was convenient.

The tree frog is pastel pencil on ‘pastelmat’ from a free reference image. I did it in something of a hurry along with an online class/tutorial, but I think it came out well.

I don’t think I’m going to reach my goal of 100.

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More paintings

I set myself a goal – and that goal is to paint 100 (small) paintings before the end of the year. I’m working on the theory that what I need most is practice. I’m still doing some sketching, mostly people, but they’re not good. When I get something I like I will record it here.

First some updates on my two landscapes. I’m not sure Dun Flodigary is completed. I haven’t worked on it for a while, but I also haven’t signed it, so there we are. If I had to do it again I would tone the sky WAY DOWN, but I don’t want to go back and mess with it now. On the Cascades – I’m just starting to add details to the grass and put the flowers in the foreground.

And now for some tiny art. The biggest one here is 6×9. These are the start of my 100 paintings. I’m still working on Dun Trodan, but wasn’t sure what to do next so I set it aside.

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Oil painting

I’ve never painted with oils before last fall (I haven’t done much painting at all and never taken a class in it) but from the limited amount I’ve done since then I like them better than acrylic and I can’t really explain why. If you’ve ever had a game that you like because the pieces are nice, they are smooth and rounded and have a nice weight to them so that it just feels good to pick them up, that’s how I feel about oil paint vs acrylic paint. In November I was invited to start painting with friends and hopped in, hoping I’d figure out what I was doing as I went.

I started working on a landscape from a photo I took on the Isle of Skye of a heather-covered hillside and the shoreline and sea beyond. Did I mention I knew NOTHING about oil painting (or any painting?) so it’s been slow going as I stopped every time I had to work on something new.

I think it looks very much like someone’s first oil painting. The colors are too saturated, particularly the sky, and my brushwork leaves something to be desired, but I’m working on it. I need to finish up the heather and there are some details in the mid ground I want to touch up before I call it done.

After we’d been stuck in our houses a while because of the pandemic, I decided to bring the paint supplies to my house so I can at least work on something. I was not previously a fan of the still life, but these are small, have simple shapes and are very ‘low risk’ compared to a portrait. If I’ve got some lines off on a lemon, it doesn’t make the lemon look angry.

Things I noticed: when trying to paint a white, shiny object, I should not have made the highlights pure white – it looks too chalky. It is very difficult to figure out what the shadow color on a lemon is. I am not good at painting thin lines. If I do a blend from purple to red to orange I need to really keep my brushes clean and possibly break it down over several days.

Finally, I went through my photos and decided to try another landscape. This one is small (14×11) and I’m thinking of it as a ‘practice sketch’ for something to maybe do again later but bigger. I’m playing around with a style and want to work a bit looser. I started with a practice practice sketch – a thumbnail that was only 4″ wide to get an idea of the colors.

The oils take a while to dry between layers and I’m prone to wanting to rush everything (I can create grey!) so my current solution is to always have 3-4 paintings in progress so I can jump to another when one needs time to dry.