Thursday, January 31, 2019

Art journal play: Shapes

art journal entry - Shape - Jan-28-2019
Art journal prompt: Shapes

The Day 7 creative prompt was Shapes. I started with this lemon yellow gouache and watercolor, and wanted to keep the colors simple with yellow, black, and white. It's been fun to play with messy layers, but I can feel myself wanting to bring in more direction. I'm trying to fight through that and not put expectations and too many limitations on the exploration. I think that will start to hinder this as a free space.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Art journal play: Texture

art journal entry - Texture - Jan-27-2019
Art journal prompt: Texture

The Day 6 creative prompt was Texture. The only direction I gave myself for this one was to use crushed up brown leaves from the yard, adhered to the grey journal page with acrylic medium.

With those pieces in place along with some tissue paper layers, I scraped on thick gesso and scratched some texture into that. It needed a bit of color so I dabbed in some lemon yellow gouache mixed with gesso, and smooshed in a bit of black acrylic paint for contrast. A water soluble pencil scratched some more texture and tone into the surface. I love the lemon yellow with the low intensity of grey and brown.

art journal entry - Texture - Jan-27-2019 texture detail
Layers of leaves, tissue paper, acrylic medium, gesso, and paint 

I wanted to do this all in one sitting, and the textured layers made this difficult. I wasn't going for anything specific, but didn't want to lose all sense of definition and just end up with a pile of mud. I think to work like this again I'd prefer to do a texture layer, let it dry, then go back in with paints and mark making. An overnight drying period would be good.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Art journal play: Work Small

art journal entry - Work Small - Jan-26-2019
Art journal prompt: Work Small

This Day 5 creative prompt was a lot of fun. Working small isn't something I would have intuitively chosen but I really enjoyed it. It was also a good opportunity to make another no-sew folded journal. It's something I learned how to make from a Cathy Johnson tutorial, and is the same type of journal I used for the 100 Day Project of daily patterns. One day maybe I'll make a hand sewn art journal, but this version is so quick and simple and good for instant gratification. You take one sheet of paper, fold it several times, make a few cuts, and fold it up into an accordion. I used an 11x14 sheet of 300 lb watercolor paper, and the folded size is 3 1/2 x 2 3/4. It's so dang cute!

My starting place was burnt sienna gouache and around that I built a triadic color palette of yellow-green and blue-violet. In addition to the gouache, I used watercolor, oil pastels, Neocolor crayons, and gesso. The composition was inspired by the landscape, abstracted to highlight subtle diagonals and a zig-zag movement.

color palette and mark making for art journal entry - Work Small - Jan-26-2019
Color palette and mark making experiments

The watercolor paper was nicer to work with than the mixed media sketchbooks, given how much layering and wet media I wanted to apply. This little folded book will be a nice option for art journaling as well as color palette exploration.

art journal entry - Work Small - Jan-26-2019 detail
Close-up detail of textures through layering

Study in composing values #3

composing values study of tulip Jan-28-2019
Gotta stand way back to tell what's going on in this one

When I chose this photo to work from for my next study in composing values (another that Dianne provides with her lesson), I thought it might be easier than the sunflowers one I did last time. It was and it wasn't…the shapes were simpler and there were fewer colors, but I actually found that made it more difficult for me. It's almost like with more simplification, it was harder to make a compelling painting. The petals are smooth which I didn't enjoy painting as much, and the macro nature of the photo makes it a confusing image for me to look at.

And what I love about this is that it forced me (well, the choice was mine to paint it, so it was a self-imposed force) to try different things and compare the experiences. I wouldn't have chosen the sunflowers reference image on my own because it was so complex and I felt intimidated by it. And I probably would have chosen the tulip photo because it seemed more straight-forward, but I found it wasn't engaging to paint. This is where my Upholder tendency pays off. And probably why I enjoy classes and workshops so much — I can get things done on my own no problem, but I don't necessarily choose the thing that will push me forward.

I finally remembered to take a progress shot: the block-in shows the in-shadow and not-in-shadow families. If I were to do it again, I'd try making the shadows of the tulip less intense and a little lighter, and actually would bring up the overall value range so it's not so dark.

composing values study of tulip block in
The initial block-in of in-shadow and not-in-shadow

Monday, January 28, 2019

Art journal play: Color Background

art journal entry - Color Background - Jan-25-2019
Art journal prompt: Color Background

The Day 4 creative prompt was Color Background. Wendy suggested choosing a color you don't typically use and I thought that sounded like a cool challenge. I mixed up a mid-value red-violet, a color I have pretty much no love for. And the fun part came with choosing the colors to use on top of it. I've been itching to use an earthy yellow ochre, so went with a triadic color scheme and rounded it out with blue-green.

color palette and composition for art journal entry - Color Background - Jan-25-2019
Triadic color scheme and compositional sketch

With the color palette and a basic composition as a starting point, I layered on more and more acrylic paints. It really pushed the poor paper to its limits! But it didn't actually break through to the other side, luckily. Right now I'm obsessed with the idea of putting warm and cool colors of the same value next to each other — something I'm learning about in my landscape painting study. So I like where the mid-value blue-green, ochre, and grey meet in different places.

I applied a lot of the paint with my fingers, which made me feel more connected to the page. It's something I'd like to do more of.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Art journal play: Layers

art journal entry - Layers - Jan-24-2019
Art journal prompt: Layers

I mostly like to paint representational art and that's the focus of my skill building right now. But I also believe it's important for me to play. So as a part of my (ideally) daily sketchbook practice,  I'm following a 30-day creative practice workshop led by Wendy Brightbill. Each day is a new prompt and she leaves it very open for interpretation. Her daily videos for the workshop help get the ball rolling if you're stuck. And of course tempt me to buy new art supplies ;)

I'm not putting expectations on these art journal entries, other than I hope to just have fun with them. But for the Day 3 prompt, Layers, I decided to experiment with establishing a color palette and a basic composition. I chose a split complementary color scheme based on a variety of media, and a cantilevered composition.

color palette and composition sketch for art journal entry - Layers - Jan-24-2019
A super simple starting point for the Layers art journal entry

With such a large number of tools at my disposal and possibilities for visual direction, it felt very liberating to have a few of the options narrowed down. I think it's probably why I was attracted to graphic design in college: having some parameters really helps me enjoy the experience. Too many choices = chaos + indecision in my brain.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Gouache sketch of a French Bulldog

French Bulldog gouache sketch illustration

I'm still not in love with this grey toned sketchbook, but it's pretty good for gouache. It seems to help me get a full value range with the opaque media. But I don't really like it for sketching with pencil because it's too hard to see the lines. The paper is also quite smooth, and I prefer more tooth.

On the upside, the grey paper encouraged me to push this grey French Bulldog into blue territory, making it more stylized. I continued the illustration with my favorite little leaf doodles.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Study in composing values #2

Continuing my series of studies in composing values with a cluster of sunflowers as the subject. This is the most complex image I've painted so far. After blocking in the shadow and light families I felt pretty wiped out, and took a break until the next day. I've always been a Power Through! type, whether it comes to a job or a personal project. But I'm working on relaxing that mentality somewhat, while not letting the days slip by without progressing toward my goals.

composing values study of sunflowers Jan-24-2019
I wasn't sure if I'd pull this out of total-chaos territory, but the accents of cooler colors really helped pull this composition together.

Taking a break for a day on this study really worked in my favor and I came back to it on day 2 with more confidence and enthusiasm about it. It also helped to have some notes written out from Dianne's lesson. Writing out the steps allowed me to think more logically about the process, which is useful to me at this stage in my learning. It's super easy to get overwhelmed by a subject this complex, but taking it step by step alleviates some of that and gives a path forward rather than bouncing all around. For example, by putting the dark colors in first, it keeps white out of them so that they're richer. By adding colors with white later on in the process, it pulls them forward and enhanced the illusion of depth.

I used white sparingly in this study, since the reference image was overall very warm. It allowed me to play with cooler accents and contrast of warm and cool. It's funny, but my single favorite part of this one is the swipe of grey in the center of the lower left flower. It's so small but I just love it! I'm on the lookout for more opportunities to do things like that.

composing values study of sunflowers Jan-24-2019-greyscale reference next to study
Happy with my value check! (Reference photo on the left, my painted study on the right)

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Study in composing values

I'm working on a series of studies focused on composing values as a follow-up to the basic composition exercises of the lime slices. The goal of this study was to block in the in-shadow and not-in-shadow areas with the average color, then add refinements of the degrees of values in each area.

composing values study of yellow tulips Jan-22-2019
The reference image for this study was mostly in-shadow, which threw me for a loop!

My colors are more intense than I had intended but it made for a few interesting areas that glow with ambient light. The color palette was made from color value lines of alizarin permanent to cadmium yellow light hue, and ivory black to cadmium yellow pale hue.

It was more important to get the values working than to make an entirely accurate depiction of the subject. It was fun to let that quest for accuracy go a bit with this one. And as instructor Dianne Mize says in this lesson, being too uptight about perfection takes the fun out of painting, and it's not even the goal anyway. Good reminder for me because perfectionism is something that can hold me back at times.

composing values study of yellow tulips Jan-22-2019-greyscale reference next to study
Testing out the value accuracy: reference image on the left, my painted study on the right

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Compositional studies of lime slices

This series of studies was painted based on a video lesson from instructor Dianne Mize. The purpose of the study is to place the lime slice within the chosen format so the distance from the lime to the edges are different on every side. It's also an introduction to blocking in shadow and not-in-shadow areas, using color value lines, and a limited palette (yellow and black, with white).

In addition to the compositional considerations, I explored different brushes and brushwork. I noticed my tendency to get more detailed than I want, but I think that was somewhat influenced by the extreme simplicity of the subject. With just one object to paint on a plain background I just couldn't stop myself from painting, lol.

Lime study Oct-9-2018

Lime study Jan-16-2019

Lime study Jan-17-2019

Lime study Jan-18-2019

I prefer the top two versions, where I didn't add little highlights indicating the shiny pulpy areas. But I like the traditional canvas surface texture of the lower two more.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Pet portrait of a very special cat

I know, all pets are very special. But this portrait has a personal tie: it's of my cat Big Guy. Matt and I adopted Big Guy and his brother, Little Guy, from a farm near our hometown in Iowa…pretty much the minute we moved in together after I graduated from university. These cats were not your ordinary cats — I could gush for days about how wonderful they were. We miss them dearly and are grateful for getting 16 years with them.

hand drawn mixed media portrait of our cat Big Guy
Hand drawn portrait of Big Guy (nicknamed "Biggsie"), our orange tabby

I drew this portrait after a stylist from Country Living Magazine reached out to me via Etsy. She was looking for unique pet items for a special feature they were creating for the October 2018 issue, and wanted to include one of my portraits. It was such an exciting surprise! She asked if I could do a ginger tomcat. Little did she know I had many, many years of experience with that exact critter.

My concept for the portrait was inspired by lumberjacks. Big Guy always had this strong and silent personality, so I gave him a buffalo plaid scarf to allude to this. Plus, being from Iowa, he needed to bundle up a little. He would get noisy when his favorite toy came out though! He loved this feather on a wand and would go after it with great intensity. The frame around him is made of oak branches, which remind me of the farms in Iowa.

Super cool project, and I'm grateful to be included in the magazine. At some point I need to make it fair and create a portrait of his brother :)

Pet Portrait feature - Country Living Oct 2018 - featuring orange tabby by Oxford Dogma
"Best in Show" Pet awards featuring custom pet portraits, in the October 2018 issue of Country Living Magazine

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Sketchbook portraits of cute dogs in gouache and acrylic

As a big believer in the power of daily sketchbook exploration, I'm doing a mini-challenge of painting dogs in a variety of media. Partially to get better at drawing and painting dogs, but also as a vehicle for playing with different materials.

four little sketchbook paintings of cute dogs
Four small dog portrait sketches in acrylic (upper left) and gouache (the other three)

This little grouping was made in my Stillman & Birn Nova sketchbook, which has grey toned paper. I wanted to warm up the surface so instead of the grey I applied a medium value ochre-ish color made from white gesso and acrylic paint. The Chihuahua in the upper left was painted in acrylic, and the other three are gouache.

I started each of these with a gesture sketch, which has been tremendously helpful for improving my accuracy of drawing animals. The acrylic paint has its merits, but in this set I'm preferring the way the gouache handles. Especially when it comes to fine details with a small brush like around the eyes, and textured fur.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wrap-up of my 100 Starts project

When I started my 100 Starts project on September 10, 2018, it sounded like something I'd be able to finish in 100 days. In my naive optimism I failed to consider how much life happens around time in the studio. Along the way I was reminded time and time again that sometimes it's not about a finish date, but rather about the process. And that the process should be as enjoyable as what it would feel like to ultimately reach the goal.

When I finished the project on January 13, 2019, I was actually quite happy to count that it was 125 days since I began. It felt like so much longer from my vantage point in the middle of it!

The parameters of the project remained fairly consistent throughout, with some minor adjustments along the way. From the start, my goal was to paint relatively small studies (beginning acrylic paint and 8 1/2 x 6 1/2 panels and changing to oil paint and a size of 6 1/2 x 5 part way in) from life in about 30 minutes. The studies were to be simplified color masses rather than detailed, fully-realized paintings. I wanted to learn how to mix colors quickly and accurately based on what I was seeing in front of me, and to distinguish the shadow family from the light family as a foundation for developing my painting skills further.

Complete set of my 100 Starts project
The complete set of my 100 Starts project

What I learned

  • with fewer values and strong separation of light and shadow families, the studies look really good at small sizes (good for online gallery situations where I want my painting to stand out among many)
  • the value of staying loose and blocking in shapes and colors before going to detail
  • be open minded about subject matter — something that seems interesting could be a really dull painting subject, and something that seems lackluster can come alive
  • how to draw faster and more accurately
  • how to simplify shapes
  • how to mix colors more quickly
  • how to distinguish between shadow family and light family (at least in direct, single light source situations)
  • compositional improvements with angles, lighting, and relationships between objects
  • I have a lot more fun painting subjects that are based in natural, organic shapes with irregular volume that makes interesting shadow shapes (such as a plush dog toy or fruit versus a wood bowl or ceramic pitcher)

Biggest successes

  • pushing myself into more challenging territory with subject matter
  • learning how to use oil paints (after switching from acrylics) — I had hesitated for so long to pick up this medium and I'm so glad I did! I love painting with oils now
  • developing the habit of jumping into painting without building it up into something I can only begin "as soon as there's more time"

My top five favorites

The shadow shapes on this lemon helped me see the impact lighting angles have on describing form

I doubted my ability to paint these petals, but pushed myself into new territory and was delighted to see that it actually looks like a flower!

I struggled with mixing the colors here, but in the end they came together well, so it felt like an unanticipated victory. Also, cute little hedgehog!

I like the composition, contrast of warm and cool colors, and how bright the orange looks next to the muted colors

There's a real sense of volume and form with this one that was fun to see 

Opportunities to improve

  • distinguishing light from shadow by deepening the shadow colors rather than adding a bunch of white to the lights (basically retaining the purity/intensity of color of things in the light)
  • composition and more diverse lighting conditions
  • pausing to check and correct the drawing before moving to color and being willing to correct the drawing as the painting progresses

Next focused practice

For my next focused practice, my goal is to become comfortable completely finishing paintings. I'll create a series of 50 paintings, 6x8 inches, in about 60 minutes each. My intention isn't to work them until I feel they're beautiful, but rather build the muscle memory of going through the stages of a finished painting quickly. I also want to build my experience painting from photos so for this project I'll use photos as my reference.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

100 Starts - Number 100

Number 100 of my 100 Starts project
Number 100 of my 100 Starts project

My nephew (Hi, Anthony!) gave us this adorable ceramic frog for Christmas one year. He had hand painted it, which posed a challenge for me to paint as my Start because I had to figure out how much to simplify the colors. I knew I didn't want to paint every different color, so I focused on a general local color that would make a reasonable amount of sense if viewed separate from the figurine.

I really like his red feet and fingers so I kept those in and they are a great complement to the green. The reflected light under his belly is a little too light, and not clearly in the shadow family. So I'd do that a little differently if I were to do this one again — but I love the subtle color temperature changes in the shadow shapes on the body because they add so much interest and life to the shadows.

I'm excited to be finished with this fantastic prompt from Kevin Macpherson of doing 100 Starts! My next step is to reflect on what I learned, what the biggest successes were during the project, where the opportunities to improve are, and what my next focused practice will be.

Now that I'm in the home stretch I wanted to start posting these daily. The previous studies can be found here.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

100 Starts - Number 99

Number 99 of my 100 Starts project
Number 99 of my 100 Starts project

Scrounging around for what to use as a subject for Start Number 99, I came up with Sharkie — one of our dogs' toys. I first painted a study of Sharkie back in early October. I can see that my drawing skills have advanced since then (yay!) and my overall brush work is looser, which I love. I know the intention of these studies isn't to have a completely modeled form or finished painting, but I just can't help going there just a bit the deeper in to this project that I get.

Speaking of which…just one more to go and then my 100 Starts will be wrapped up!

Start number 27 next to Start number 99
Number 27 on the left and number 99 on the right

Now that I'm in the home stretch I wanted to start posting these daily. The previous studies can be found here.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

100 Starts - Number 98

Number 98 of my 100 Starts project
Number 98 of my 100 Starts project

Haven't painted this little yellow dish in a long time, and wanted to use the pear from a couple of days ago. It reminds me of someone taking a bath in a tub that's too small…

I got more detailed than intended for this project, but all of the colors I saw in the pear had me a little mesmerized. As an experiment I converted the study to greyscale and flipped back and forth between the color and greyscale versions. Somehow this made me notice the analogous color scheme of the composition — it wasn't something I set out to do intentionally but it was a serendipitous surprise!

Start number 98 in monochrome next to color version
Comparing the greyscale version and color version of Start Number 98

Now that I'm in the home stretch I wanted to start posting these daily. The previous studies can be found here.

Friday, January 11, 2019

100 Starts - Number 97

Number 97 of my 100 Starts project
Number 97 of my 100 Starts project

This was a good lesson in how a white plate isn't actually painted white on the canvas. The highlights on the curved edge were actually the brightest parts, so I needed to make the rest of the plate darker than white for those highlights to show up.

The highlights on the cherry tomatoes were really fun to add at the end — they're a light red rather than pure white, but against the intense red of the tomatoes they appear much brighter. I'm intrigued by that aspect of working with color! The way it looks on the palette is so different from the way it looks in context next to the other colors.

Since the white plate is so shiny and reflective, I had fun adding reflected light into the cast shadows, making them come more alive.

To help get the objects in this still life drawn where I wanted them, I did a lot of looking at negative spaces. I'd say this was fairly successful, except for the rim of the plate which doesn't look very realistic. Another check with the viewfinder probably would have helped with that.

Now that I'm in the home stretch I wanted to start posting these daily. The previous studies can be found here.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

100 Starts - Number 96

Number 96 of my 100 Starts project
Number 96 of my 100 Starts project

Crazy-jumbo pear stem aside, I love this study. The colors and shapes are so pleasing to me, with the cool grays on the white napkin and the warmth of the rest of the colors. The shadow cast onto the napkin and green surface by the pear is intriguing to me and I like the way the white napkin affects the different shadow colors.

I like how the composition is mostly quiet and calm, with just a hint of a dynamic quality from the angles of the white napkin. Once I complete this 100 Starts project, I want to go back and pick out my favorite compositions, colors, and subjects and see if I can determine why I like them in order to incorporate more of that moving forward.

Comparison of a pear done previously with this one:

100 Starts Number 67 next to Number 96
Number 67 on left and 96 on right

Now that I'm in the home stretch I wanted to start posting these daily. The previous studies can be found here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Dog portrait in oil

5x7 oil portrait of Maks the Morkie
5x7 oil portrait of Maks the Morkie

Sometimes when I really want to do a good job with something, I can put off starting it to avoid potential failure. This is something I've been actively working through on this blog and with the assignments I give myself. I am aware mentally that failure is a perfectly OK outcome — especially with something like making art, where the consequences are purely psychological — but that doesn't magically remove the block for me.

So when I do venture into something new and it goes well, my general reaction is "Why did I delay this for so long?!" This was basically the case with the oil portrait I made of Maks.

Maks is the Morkie that I have done a lot of sewing for with my handmade business Oxford Dogma. His mom, Missy, has been a delight to work with on a variety of custom projects. And in November I decided to transition my business away from making hand sewn accessories toward artwork. As a way to thank her for all of the work she's allowed me to do for her and Maks I painted her this portrait as a Christmas gift.

The project started out in acrylic, with a different reference photo. It was a really cute photo where he had a super happy expression with his tongue out, but the painting just was not going well. I initially thought it would be easier and quicker to make it in acrylic, but struggled against it the entire time. The next day, I set it aside and switched to oils — which made a world of difference! I was able to stop fighting the media and sink into the enjoyment of putting down brush strokes.

I used a limited palette of terra rosa, yellow ochre light, ivory black, and titanium white. Plus a tiny bit of cobalt turquoise light for highlights. This is the palette Johanne Mangi uses in her video course The Fine Art of Painting Dog Portraits and it worked beautifully for my painting of Maks.

I followed a process of blocking in the darks, then an average color for the lights. Once I was happy with the placement of these shapes, I worked on details. I wish I had taken progress shots as reference, to help me remember the process that got me to the finished painting! I'm deep into my 100 Starts project, which is all about getting simple shapes and flat colors blocked in — not detail. So it was a treat to work with the oil paints in a way that takes advantage of their slow drying qualities and with brush strokes that highlight the fur texture.

I was happy to hear that Missy loved the portrait and has already framed it. I'm excited to continue my exploration of painting animals!

100 Starts - Number 95

Number 95 of my 100 Starts project
Number 95 of my 100 Starts project

I've avoided the egg assignment long enough, lol. And to make things even harder, I included a piece of silverware! More than studying the tines of this fork, I wanted to address the colors I saw in the handle, so I set it up so I wouldn't get caught up in painting the details of the tines. I had learned in the book Daily Painting by Carol Marine that silver objects are rarely as light as we imagine them being in our minds, due to the reflective nature of them. I think I went too dark with my study, but my goal was to simplify and get it in the ball park. Taking this to a completed painting would be an opportunity to reveal more details in the light family.

My favorite part of this one is the transition from the shadow side of the egg to the cast shadow. It's a warm shadow, but in contrast with the very warm brown egg color it looks cool. I love that sort of interplay. I just wish I'd included the occlusion shadow where the light is completely blocked by the egg — that would have added nice definition between the egg and its cast shadow.

Now that I'm in the home stretch I wanted to start posting these daily. The previous studies can be found here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

100 Starts - Number 94

Number 94 of my 100 Starts project
Number 94 of my 100 Starts project

Mushrooms are really delightful subjects to paint! I was lucky to find a carton of them in the fridge, along with some grape tomatoes. I love the way the mushrooms are a soft, natural white, with great shadow shapes due to the combination of round caps and straight stems.

I'm becoming more aware of how the order that the colors are painted has a significant impact on my brushwork and ability to make the shapes I want. Since I want to paint alla prima, the risk of colors mixing into each other unintentionally is something to keep an eye on.

I had a fun moment while finishing the grape tomato, when I went back in to add a brighter red area on the right side. Using a smaller brush to apply some color without blending it in (i.e. put it down and leave it alone!) gave me a little thrill and preview of what's coming soon after I complete my 100 Starts and move to painting complete paintings.

Now that I'm in the home stretch I wanted to start posting these daily. The previous studies can be found here.

Monday, January 7, 2019

100 Starts - Number 93

Number 93 of my 100 Starts project
Number 93 of my 100 Starts project

I felt like painting something with an organic shape today and chose the same hedgehog squeaker toy from Number 91, but with a different position and ground color. I loved going back to Number 24 to see how I interpreted this toy back in early October (3 months ago) compared to today. Although the lighting angle is different, it's the same bulb and general lighting conditions. In early October I was brand new to oils — just 6 days of experience with them on Number 24. Seeing how these have evolved over the last 69 studies is so cool. And it's not just the way they look, but also the experience of painting them that's evolving. The more I paint, the more I'm able to take into account the image as a whole, making the shapes and their relationships work together better.

Number 24 next to Number 93 of my 100 Starts project
Number 24 on left, and 93 on right

Color mixing and drawing are coming more quickly for me, and when I look at these two side by side, I just see so much more life in the more recent one.

It'll be interesting to tackle the fur on this toy one day, to see how that changes things!

Now that I'm in the home stretch I wanted to start posting these daily. The previous studies can be found here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

100 Starts - Number 92

Number 92 of my 100 Starts project
Number 92 of my 100 Starts project

Continuing the squeaky dog toy studies with Brown Monkey. I painted our dogs' Blue Monkey for Number 51:

Number 51 of my 100 Starts project
Number 51
Number 92

My shapes and brushwork have improved over the last forty Starts. And I worked hard on this one to align the head position well with the rest of the body, noting where key points sit in relation to each other. It would be smart to start including quick gesture drawings to my process (like my previous focused practice exercise on animal gesture studies), at least at the thumbnail stage.

Now that I'm in the home stretch I wanted to start posting these daily. The previous studies can be found here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

100 Starts - Number 91

Number 91 of my 100 Starts project
Number 91 of my 100 Starts project

For this start another hedgehog toy, but a different one from yesterday. It's one I painted for Numbers 25 and 25 — when I look at the three in succession I see improvements. Although I will be working on brushwork more deliberately in the future, I like seeing how it's changed so far during the course of this 100 Starts project. The strokes are more painterly and fresh, less self-conscious.

Number 24
Number 25
Number 91

With this particular setup of surface and background colors, it has a subtle, understated quality that I like. If I were to take this subject to a completed painting, it would be really fun to work on different hard and soft edges to shape how the subject and background relate to each other and create emphasis in some places. There's also an opportunity to play with temperature more since so much of it is in the mid-value range.

Now that I'm in the home stretch I wanted to start posting these daily. The previous studies can be found here.