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30 paintings for June

As I mentioned last post, I did a 30 oil paintings in 30 days challenge for June over in this forum thread (I’m yellow_oxide). For me it was an extra challenge because I had travel plans for this month and also my church follows the Sabbath on saturdays in which we rest from work, so in all I only actually had 18 days to do all 30 paintings. Some of the paintings may be a little rushed because most days that I painted I was doing 2 paintings, and couple of times I got behind and needed to do 3.

Most of these I painted on half of an 8″x10″ canvas board, with one painting on the top half and one on the bottom half. A few of them are on matte board scraps that I covered with gesso or on a 7″x5″ canvas board. Most are original but a few are based on paintings from either Van Gogh or Monet.

Overall I think this challenge was a lot of fun and helpful. Ideally I wouldn’t be so rushed, but because I didn’t feel like each painting had to be a masterpiece I was also more able to experiment with, ideas, paints, and mediums that I don’t normally use. If I do this again it won’t be a month with travel plans though.

Misty Waterfalls

Misty Waterfalls

Oil on Canvas, 8″ x 10″

This is the kind of place I’d like to go to. When I started this, as I often do, I wasn’t sure what I would make and just had some basic forms. This is the result of me exploring those forms.

It’s been too long since my last post, but it’s not like I haven’t been painting. I’m actually working on a challenge in this forum thread (I’m yellow_oxide) to make 30 paintings in 30 days for the month of June. I think I have about 20 of them done, most of them already posted there, and when they’re all done I’ll post them here all at once on June 30th.

Blueberries

Blueberries 1

Blueberries 2

Blueberries 3

I’m experimenting a cheap accessory I got for my camera to help with macro photos. Here’s a few photos I took of the blueberries in my garden this morning. They were the best tasting blueberries I’ve had.

Firefly Forest 2

Firefly Forest 2

Oil on canvas, 7″ x 5″

A moonlit forest with fireflies.

I painted over this a few times with different paints and I don’t remember everything that I used, but I know the white is zinc white (PW4, Daniel Smith), there was a greenish black mix I made with ultramarine, transparent yellow medium (PY128, Rembrandt), and I think quinacridone magenta (PR122, Daniel Smith), and some atrament black (PBk31, Mussini). There may have also been some viridian (PG18, Williamsburg) from a sample tube I have. The fireflies are dots of nickel titanate yellow (PY53, Daniel Smith).

There’s a little bit of glare from the camera, which kind of obscures the fireflies a little.

Anticipation (updated)

Anticipation updated

I made some updates to this painting. The old version is below this. I added shadows along the ground to break up the main area a bit. The fox had a very faint shadow before that was too faint for the camera to really pick up so I made it stronger. I also adjusted the silhouette of the trees/bushes a little and added a second layer of them behind for depth. There’s a bit of glare in the photo, but the colors are also more accurate.

Anticipation

Oil on canvas, 8″ x 10″

The paints I used for this are raw umber (PBr7+PBk11, Grumbacher), magnesium ferrite (PBr11, Daniel Smith), yellow ochre pale (PY42, Winsor & Newton) and both Portland gray deep and medium (PW6,4+PBr7+PBk11, Gamblin). I’m trying to get better color accuracy in my photos but this is a little bit lighter and warmer than the real painting. Tomorrow I have a grey card coming in the mail that’ll help me get a proper white balance with my camera.

Anticipation Sketch

This is the digital sketch I made in Photoshop. At first I was just testing out some new brush presets and I liked how it was starting to look like a wind blown landscape.

A Perilous Climb (revised)

A Perilous Climb 2a

Oil on canvas, 5″ x 7″

I had wanted to call this done before, but maybe it was a little too rough. In this revision I’ve added German black (natural PBk11, Williamsburg) to the sky and more of the previous Davy’s gray and my own white that I was working with in the first version.

Here’s a comparison of the white I made against a titanium white from Blockx-

Custom White 1 Comparison

You can see that the white from Blockx in the bottom row, which is Titanium white pigment in poppy oil, has a distinctly cooler/bluer color when mixed with German earth black. It’s also a shorter paint consistency, more opaque, and higher tinting.

My own white that I mulled is a mix of these pigments- titanium white (Blue Ridge), zinc white (Gamblin), and marble dust (Daniel Smith).
The oils used are walnut (M Graham) and refined linseed (Gamblin).

I didn’t measure the amounts used, but if I had to guess it’s around 60-70% titanium white and of the rest it’s probably more than half marble dust. You can see there’s a little bit of oil separation, but not much.

I actually like my own white paint for a couple of reasons. First, pure titanium white is normally very opaque and has very high tinting strength, far more than it really needs to be for artists. The addition of zinc white and especially marble dust has weakened the paint enough that it’s a little easier to control it in mixes. Second, titanium white has a reputation of having a “cooling effect” on other colors. I tested that out by comparing titanium white with zinc white in this post and found that the difference between their effects on color temperature to be situational, with some colors more affected by others, and at times nonexistent. Still, in this case my own white was clearly warmer and so its tints with the black were closer to neutral.

Waterfall Cave

Waterfall Cave

Photoshop, 333×500 pixels

I’ve started a digital sketchbook with lots of quick sketches made in Photoshop. I just start drawing whatever I think of or whatever a scribble starts to look like. This started as one of them but I liked it enough to make it a little more finished and developed. The brushes I used are from a set called “dry media brushes” but I don’t remember where or when I downloaded them. They’re very nice though, so I’ll be using these a lot.

A Perilous Climb

A Perilous Climb

Oil on linen, 5″ x 7″

This is the latest in a series of black and white mountain paintings I’ve been working on recently, each one painted with a different kind of black. For this one I used Davy’s Gray Deep (PBk19, Williamsburg), which is made from powdered slate. It’s very transparent and not quite dark enough to be called black. I really like it for its unique working properties. Although the name “Davy’s gray” is used for a few pigment mixtures by various brands, Williamsburg is the only brand that makes it from just PBk19 alone so theirs handles differently. The white that I used here is a custom one that I made using a blend of titanium and zinc white pigments, linseed and walnut oils, and a generous amount of marble dust. I wasn’t measuring anything as I mulled the paint though so if I wanted to make it again I’d have to just guess.

Originally I painted a basic outline of the mountain with Davy’s gray brushed very thinly on the mountain and slightly thicker for the sky background. The darker areas of the finished painting are made from two layers of the Davy’s gray after the first layer had dried. Transparent paints have a lot of benefits and visual interest, but are sometimes hard to use if you make a mistake because the act of fixing the mistake may harm the transparency and that will change the way it looks. White paint is very opaque, so having to use some of that to fix mistakes or make changes ruined the transparency in a few places.

The other two paintings I made before this weren’t very interesting to look at though, so I probably won’t bother uploading them.

Puzzlewood

Puzzlewood

Oil on canvas, 7″ x 5″

When I started this it was to try out a new paint I had just made, but as I expanded the swatches and added more colors it began to look like a forest, so I named it after a place in England I’ve read about called Puzzlewood.

There’s a system to how I placed the swatches. Look at the far left column and go down to the 4th row, in the center. That’s orange ochre. The square to the right of it is the same paint but brushed thinly, and then to the right of that is a 50/50 mix of orange ochre with titanium white. So every color I used is a set of three swatches that includes one full strength, one thin, and one mixed with white. Above the orange ochre I mixed increasing amounts of lemon ochre and for each step I repeated that pattern of also including a thin swatch and a swatch with white. Below it I added burnt sienna dark.

Now look at the next set of three columns. The pattern is reversed so the swatches with white come first in the 4th column, then the thin swatches in the 5th, and full strength in the 6th. In the center I started with malachite. Above that it’s mixed with lemon ochre again and below it’s mixed with viridian.

The next set of three columns goes back to the first pattern. Venetian red is in the center, and it’s the paint that I had made just before starting this painting. This is actually where I started from because I didn’t plan out all of this before starting. Above it is a mix with lemon ochre again, but this time it’s different because the very top set is actually just straight lemon ochre, with none of the paint from the center mixed in. The bottom set is straight German earth. Again, I hadn’t planned out everything at this point, so the top and bottom swatches of the center column set is the only place that I actually used paint straight from the tube for either a top or bottom set.

Columns 10-12 start with viridian in the center and mix upward with more lemon ochre and down with burnt sienna dark. The last set of columns has burnt sienna dark in the center and goes up with lemon ochre and down with German earth.

Puzzlewood Guide

So here’s the list of each color I used and the brands-

1. Orange ochre – PY43, self made with pigment from Natural Pigments
2. Italian lemon ochre – PY43, Williamsburg
3. Malachite – synthetic malachite, self made with pigment from Kremer Pigments
4. Venetian red – PR102, self made with pigment from Natural Pigments
5. German earth – Natural PBk11, Williamsburg
6. Viridian – PG18, M Graham
7. Burnt sienna dark – PBr7, self made with pigment from Natural Pigments
Titanium white – PW6, Williamsburg

Morning on the Seine

Morning on the Seine 2

Oil on canvas, 10″ x 8″

I made another painting based on Monet’s series on the Seine, such as this painting. This is yet another painting that I started a couple of months ago and then finally got around to finishing just a couple of days ago.

I don’t remember what colors I started making this with, but at the end I painted over everything transparently using lapis lazuli (natural ultramarine, Daniel Smith), lemon ochre (PY43, Williamsburg), and a lot of zinc white (PW4, Daniel Smith). Getting a good photo with accurate colors was hard, so I did some editing to this and maybe the colors are close. They’re still a bit off though.

I think that the paintings in this series by Monet are among my favorite paintings. I keep them in a folder on my computer, along with many other artworks, that I labeled ur-poems because it was the best term I could think of for them. Everything in that folder are things that, when I look at them, seem to me to be the closest representation of an ideal in my own artistic vision that I want to achieve.

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