That part where I said that being back at work after the holidays is not remotely conducive to blogging? Yeah, that. Oh well. I will do better from here on in! Or out, whatever the phrase is. Hmm, am I still even allowed to tag this “postaday2011” given that I have failed so dismally at this pathetically early stage in the proceedings?
But anyway… where was I? Oh yeah. I posted my attempt at painting an apple a week or so back, and mentioned that I was scared to do anything else to it as at least it vaguely resembled a (grey and white) apple at that point. But then over the weekend I thought “what the hell” and decided to try to make it, y’know… apple-colored. At this point I realized that the orangey burnt sienna background I’d already painted on there was going to result in an invisible apple if I wasn’t careful, so I slapped a load of white over it just so I’d be able to see what I was doing without losing the apple while painting! Then glooped a load of reds and orangey colors onto the canvas, with the result you see below. Then I thought I’d use up some green paint that was sitting on my palette to redo the background yet again… this is the reason for the fuzzy area around the edges of the apple. I need to paint over it yet again in a few days, this time getting rid of that fuzzy edge… and, of course, finally giving the poor apple a shadow to stop it floating in minty-green space.
Well… it looks kinda appley, doesn’t it? Just a bit… flat. And that light reflection is awful, I will have to fix that!
OK, so I now have the whole canvas covered in… something! What is going on in that foreground, I have no idea, and I’ve succeeded in messing up the hills in the background quite horribly. I’ll have to figure out how to fix them. Not now, though… I think I’ve officially had enough for today! Back to work tomorrow. Ugh.
Hmm… if I squint REALLY hard I quite like it. Then I open my eyes and the effect is ruined! Sooo many things that are totally… ugh!… about this. But oh well.
So this is this morning’s efforts. Green splodginess with little idea of what it is I’m supposed to be doing to make that foreground look like, well… anything. Right now what it looks like is an ugly, incoherent, ridiculous mess. It really does look like something hanging on the wall of a primary school classroom. Wait, make that infant school. Ick. Not quite sure what to do to turn it around and stop it becoming even more of a disaster than it currently is.
I should have got MUCH more done (messy or otherwise) but… what can I say? The WordPress tag surfer is a thief of time. As is the WordPress iPhone app, which has just had me gnashing my teeth repeatedly while trying to accomplish the simple task of taking a photo and posting it from my phone. The app doesn’t want to play nice, and instead hangs infuriatingly while uploading the photo every… single… time. Well, OK, after about the tenth attempt it finally worked, but… ugh! I don’t have the patience to deal with that thing.
Oh well. I need to clean my palette. It’s a big muddy mess of sludgey greens and browns, and I should probably wipe them all off so I don’t give in to “well since that paint is on my palette, I might as well just use it, right?” syndrome…
And this effort-in-progress is the latest state of affairs. Blurry iPhone photo, looks even worse than it does on the canvas, but… oh well. Obviously there is still a huge amount to do, although right now I am… stuck. As a reference I was using a photo (another iPhone one, which doesn’t help) that I took somewhere along the Tennessee/North Carolina border when we had a break in the Smoky Mountains in September. The photo reference really doesn’t help though, as it printed out so dark that it loses all the interesting details I wanted to remember and try to capture. The whole foreground is just a big dark splodge in the printed photo, pretty much, which keeps me running back to my laptop to try to remind myself why I even liked the photo in the first place. Not that I’m trying to copy the photo (I’m led to believe that is a bad idea, and in any case, I’m not remotely capable of copying a photo, so…!), you understand, but… there’s not much point looking at one if it’s missing all the details that led me to take it in the first place. Oh well! Also, I keep reading all these oil painting books and researching all this stuff online, and when I read it I think “Ahh! I get it now! Yes, I must do that next time!”… but as soon as I break out the paints, I just go “Yeah, whatever” and brush off (so to speak) all that invaluable advice I’ve attempted to absorb, and the results are… well, the results are a bit like you see below. Sigh.
Rather surprisingly (to me, at least), the Husband claims to like this one, and thinks it’s “coming along nicely”… whereas I’m having flashbacks to painting scenes with Christmas trees in 20-something years ago.
Still… mess or no mess, I’m actually enjoying myself. Which means I will stick at it, right? And maybe… hopefully… if I’m lucky… get a tiny bit better… right?!
Very blurry photo, but oh well, that’s what you get with my ancient iPhone. This looks like the work of someone under the age of ten, but what the hell… I’m having fun. Blob, blob, blob with the painting knife. There are still lots more “leaves” to go (have to wait for the current crop to dry first so I don’t make too much of a smeary mess when I try to paint overlapping ones), and then… what? I have no idea. Like I said, it’s fun, no matter how ridiculous it looks! And oh yeah… Happy New Year. One “post a day” down, 364 to go.
I don’t have a photo, but I tried to scrape more paint off of the Mess from the below post, and… well, I feel stupid for not realizing instantly that this would happen, but obviously the thing had started to dry on the outer layer. So It was like trying to scrape fine lines into a bowl of custard that had been developing a thick skin on it for a few hours. The paint beneath the skin was relatively creamy and spreadable, but there was this thick rubbery… skin on the top, which dragged everything else along with it. If I had infinitely more talent I could maybe have done something with the “skin” with solvent, and gone from there, but… no. I scraped the lot off and dumped it, and rubbed the canvas down with mineral spirits so I could reuse it. There’s some texture on there in places from where the “skin” of the last paint stuck to the gessoed canvas beneath, but hey… it’ll add character, or something, right? I’ve no idea what I’m going to do with that canvas, but tonight I had fun brushing on a very very very thin layer of paint in assorted very bright (Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Orange, Magenta, Dioxazine Purple… I think that’s everything) colors, all thinned down a little with OMS and spread on in a spirally mess with a palette knife.
Yeah, I have no idea why I did that, either. But it should be dry tomorrow, I can paint… something… over it, and it was very relaxing and soothing to paint, somehow. Shame it looks like a section cut from one of the tie-dyed/batik creations that I thought were the height of fashion (hello, Saffron Moon!) twenty years ago, but oh well… maybe I can go the whole hog and stick some of those tiny mirrors in the thing and be done with it. It’ll look just like that ridiculous smocky dress I used to strut out in on a Saturday night with my para boots and bright magenta hair…
… yeah. I digress. I’ll show the mess in question when I do something with it.
OK, so this photo is a little bit blurry and a little bit glarey (OK, very glarey) and you can’t see the whole canvas either, but I think you get the picture, so to speak. It’s a mess.
What I was trying to go for was something like this guy’s approach, which I read about a couple of months ago and thought “hey, that looks like something I could do, I’m sure!”… I watched his tutorial videos and everything! The Husband clearly thought I had lost the plot as he watched me spend Christmas morning layering an insane amount of paint like I was spreading marmalade on toast or something, but I knew (or thought I knew!) there was method in my madness. Sadly, after spending HOURS on the preparation, I then rushed into the next part (where you scrape away the paint – CAREFULLY – to reveal what is below, and actually make your painting) after realizing we were running short of time and would need to leave for my mother-in-law’s house imminently. So after all that careful layering and all that paint, I ended up with a haphazard and ugly mess.
Luckily I have a feeling that paint is not going to be even remotely dry anytime soon (although I may be wrong; it may be just dry enough to be unworkable now), so I am going to go back to it and see what I can do. I think a good start would be to work on it on a tabletop, rather than on my easel, so that I can attack it from all angles. I will report back with the results, whatever they may be…
Oh yeah. This is how come I ended up with a (former) Thai curry paste jar half-full of Phthalo Blue paint – it’s from all the scraping-off I did on this thing. Also, we got back on Boxing Day to find ourselves the proud owners of a tabby cat with an ever-so-slightly blue face. He’d obviously got up on the easel while we were away and rubbed his face possessively against the side of the canvas, to mark it out as his very own property. After a brief panic and a lot of Googling, I figured out that a little bit of Phthalo Blue was unlikely to hurt him… I wish I’d taken a photo of his bright blue beard. We thought it might never come off, but he’s all back to normal now. Still, that happened within 48 hours of me unwrapping my oil painty Christmas presents; I’m sure the cat will find plenty of opportunities to get himself covered in it soon enough.
Right. I’m going to grab a palette knife and tackle the mess. Wish me luck!