Saturday, August 22, 2009

August 22, 2009 - Day 12

Da Vinci watercolor on 140 lb Bockingford cold press watercolor paper

A more "painterly" approach to a subject that I would usually try to work to death. With having to complete the ACEOs in one day I am finding that my style is starting to loosen up a lot. In the past, when I painted animals I would obsess about every detail and hair. I guess because I really admire the work of Robert Bateman I thought that I HAD to paint animals with his level of expertise in order for my painting to be "good enough". Below is the link to his official website where you can see his fabulous nature paintings:

I don't know if I will ever have the skill to paint photorealistically like Robert Bateman but I think that with time and practice I will be able to accurately portray the essence of the animal that I am painting. At least I hope so.

Friday, August 21, 2009

August 21, 2009 - Day 11

Da Vinci watercolor and Prismacolor colored pencil on
140 lb Bockingford cold press watercolor paper

Well, this painting was definitely outside of my comfort zone. I had taken the reference picture while on holidays 2 years ago and was just too scared to attempt to paint it. There is just so much going on in the reference image with all the white and the brick that it was very intimidating to me. Once I started it though I found that everything could be broken up into different projects so to speak.

First I concentrated on getting the brick work done then I moved on to the door and window. I continued the rest of the painting by just focusing on one object at a time. Usually, any book that I have read on painting has said that you need to look at the painting as a whole and not focus on any one area. That you need to move freely about the painting.

I just couldn't paint it that way. Maybe after I have painted 365 paintings I will be able to paint the way the books say but right now I have to use whatever style works for me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

August 20, 2009 - Day 10

Da Vinci watercolor of 140 lb Bockingford cold press watercolor paper

Had one of those days today when I just woke up tired. Even my 2 cups of morning coffee couldn't get me started today.

I chose something fairly quick and simple to paint this morning because I won't have time to paint when I get home from work tonight. The reference photo was a picture I took of the Gorge waterway in Victoria, BC Canada at sunset. I have always loved that photo because of the super dark land contrasting with the bright sky and water. It is something I have wanted to paint for awhile now and I am glad that I finally finished it.

I am finding that after completing the grapes on Tuesday that I am becoming reluctant to tackle anything really detailed. I am feeling some anxiety and my thoughts are "what if I try something difficult and don't have the time or energy to complete it?" I don't know why I am feeling this since the grape painting came together really easy. I think that tomorrow I will have to do something more challenging just to break through this block that is developing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

August 19, 2009 - Day 9

Da Vinci watercolor and Prismacolor colored pencil on
140 lb Bockingford cold press watercolor paper

It was so tempting today not to do the project. I was busy all day and didn't sit down to paint until late afternoon. I didn't know if I was even going to be able to complete the card tonight.

I am finding that I am able to save a lot of time by using Corel Paint Shop Pro to identify my color values. I am able to get my colors dark enough the first time so I don't have to re-do any of the painting. This has cut my painting time down tremendously.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

August 18, 2009 - Day 8

Da Vinci watercolor on
140 lb Bockingford cold press watercolor paper

After yesterday's painting turned out to be lighter in value than I would have liked I decided that for today's card I would use Corel Paint Shop Pro Ultimate Photo X2 (yes this is a shameless plug for an image editing program that is just awesome!) to "pick" the colors and then "paint" them on a plain white background so that I could see how dark the colors really were.

The highlights are the white of the paper but the next lightest color was much darker than I thought it would be. It was a lot easier painting today's ACEO because I was using colors that were more accurate. Yesterday's painting involved a lot of going over different areas of the painting to darken them up but today I only went over the shadow areas of the grapes a couple of times and this was to add a bit more depth of color rather than to change the value.

I think I am going to use Corel Photo more often to determine what the colors in my reference image are rather than just trying to estimate them. It really does save a lot of time and guess work.

Monday, August 17, 2009

August 17, 2009 - Day 7

Da Vinci watercolor on
140 lb Bockingford cold press watercolor paper

Very frustrated again today at my lack of ability. I would love to paint vibrant landscapes of the places that really inspire me however every time I try they fall flat.

After I scanned the painting into my computer I played around with the image a bit. This is what it looked like once I tweaked the brightness and contrast.

This is closer to how I WANTED the painting to turn out.

I just wish I knew how to paint the brightness and contrast so that it would look more like the altered image. Previously I have tried adding darker colors to the shadows but then it just turns ugly on me and completely ruins the painting. I guess I have to remember to paint the mid-tones and shadows at least 3 shades darker than what I think they should be. I will have to try that next time I paint a landscape.

One good thing about this project though, I think by the end I will be able to look back on everything that I have painted and say "OK, I can do a really good job painting this type of subject but I could use more practice painting that type of subject.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

August 16, 2009 - Day 6

Da Vinci watercolor and Prismacolor colored pencils on
140 lb Bockingford cold press watercolor paper

I finally had to admit defeat on this ACEO. I tried everything that I could think of but I still could not achieve the depth, dimension and realism that I wanted for the apples.

Part of the problem was that in my reference the apples were a red and yellow apple (Gala) and not a solid red apple. I really had no idea on how to paint that type of apple or what color I should make the highlights. I guess because I did not have a clear vision on what I felt the apples should look like I wasn't able to make the apples look like anything.

Earlier today I was thinking about my success with the Carousel Horse and I thought "I really love painting ACEOs" almost immediately came the thought "but I want to paint larger paintings as well". That was followed by "larger paintings would sell better" and "I can't make a living making mini paintings". Suddenly all the stress and tension was back and I wasn't enjoying the whole creative process anymore.

I guess when you look at it that way it is no surprise that I lacked any enthusiasm for painting tonight. Oh well, tomorrow is another day and another painting.