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I’m thinking a lot about composition and have been watching videos and reading a book written by Ian Roberts (both called “Mastering Composition”). One thing he finds helpful is to make first a quick thumbnail of the overall composition, and then a small 4″x5″ value study in pencil. I’ve already indicated my dislike of pencil so I started trying this in pen. Then I had to (HAD TO I TELL YOU) buy some grayscale markers to fill in big areas and a few white gel pens for highlights.

The result is that I’m finally using up pages in a gray toned sketchbook. Some of these are failures, but what kinds of things fail is also useful information to have. (And by ‘fail’ I mean the sketch doesn’t read – I can’t tell what it is.) Some of them are also copies of famous paintings by Van Gogh or Hopper. I shared some of them for #inktober.

The plan, of course, is that something here will sufficiently inspire me to make a whole oil painting.

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Early 2021

So – what am I working on now? I was joking that I’m no longer making art, I’m just looking at it. But it’s probably more accurate to say that I’m not finishing any art.

I’ve got 3 oil paintings in various stages of done-ness, one of which I had previously put away for over a year and now I’m trying to salvage it. One is a bottle painting where I decided i was unhappy with the composition so I may not finish it. Third is another portrait of my dog, because everyone loves my dog.

Other than that – I’ve just been making tiny sketches to see if I like the layout – to avoid the problem of not liking a composition once I’m half way through. I think the rock in the forest and the sketch of Chain Lakes have potential. The other looked better in my head. The chameleon was just for fun and because I wanted to see if my multimedia paper would take watercolor (it does). The glass of water was a practice study. And the portrait is about half done, I’m letting it sit a few days to see if the proportions still look right when I’ve been away from it.