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…
In which our fearless (or should that be hopeless, useless or brainless, perhaps?) “artist” discovers that — who knew — there really is a lot more to making those pretty abstract paintings she so admires than just slapping a load of bright paint all over a waiting surface and slopping it around a bit. It’s bloody difficult. Another garish and abysmal mess in progress…
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!
Now THIS is what I’m talking about!
Seriously… WTF am I even trying to do here, you might ask? And that would be a very good question, as I have absolutely no idea. “Still life”, I thought to myself, “I should try to paint one of those”. So I scoured a free stock photo site until I found a still life photo which appealed to me in that I wanted to eat and drink all the foodstuffs the photographer had captured, and decided (based on nothing more than that) that it would be an ideal painting challenge for a beginner such as myself.
I started off attempting to do a bit of a monochrome underpainting thing, having read that that is a very good way to start. Instead of choosing colors that you might normally think of when you think “monochrome” (say, black and white, or something nice and muted and neutral) I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to use up some of the ungodly amount of Phthalo Blue I ended up scraping off my palette on Saturday (more on that later, maybe) and keeping in a jar that previously contained Thai red curry paste. My all-shades-of blue attempt at painting the scene was garish, and it was bad, but it was not actually AS BAD as it might have been. It looked like something that could maybe be salvaged, given lots of effort and knowhow.
And then… yeah, yesterday I thought I’d start trying to put some color on there. I Googled to find out how you mix paint into a wine color (although the stuff in the bottle is actually supposed to be vinegar; same difference, right?) and came up with a reasonably close, ish, approximation. Then I started slapping the stuff onto the canvas. Which made rather a mess. All this stuff I’d been reading about values and such? Yeah, that all went by the wayside. All my attempts to identify the different tonal values in varying depths of blue were painted right over with my newly-mixed paint that turned out to resemble not so much wine as BBQ sauce, but oh well.
Then I attempted to mix a color somewhat resembling that of a tomato. Yes, the round blobs at the front are supposed to be cherry tomatoes. I seem to recall it involved Cadmium Red, Cadmium Orange and Cadmium Yellow Light. Lots of cadmium. Luckily (in one sense, at least) my cads are merely the “hues” rather than the real thing, so not too hideously poisonous. Slopped that on (although it was rather fun, that bit, as the paint went on nice and thickly, regardless of what a mess the blobs look as a result), added in a bit of some other color (Burnt Sienna? Some sort of green? I forget now) in an attempt to come up with something that I could pass off as being the color of an apple. Painted that onto the bigger orangey blob in the middle. Just so you know, the various unidentifiable objects lurking on that canvas are supposed to be, variously, a basket of bread, an apple, a salami, two red onions, some cherry tomatoes, a tumbler of wine and a bottle of red wine vinegar. Oh, and some cheese. Brie or something.
Then I thought I’d try to paint in a background color, so I mixed up yet more orangey/browny stuff and thinned it out with turpentine (or pretend turpentine, whatever that odorless stuff is called), painted it on… oops. It was at once WAY too bright, and WAY too thin. Started dribbling down the canvas. The dark stuff you can see underneath it is Phthalo Blue. Not sure what I was doing with that. I’m sure it made sense at the time.
Yup. This one is pretty much a disaster, I think. But I’m going to force myself to keep at it (although… maybe not today!) to see what I can fix, what I can learn, what I can make look passably OK after I paint over it 27 times. I will be sure to post the end result (and intermediate stages leading up to it), whatever happens. But seriously. Look at this thing. WTF?!