All or nothing

My art is taking presence over everything else. I'm forgetting to eat. Kinda crucial...eating. I'm working on my skills as an oil painter. I've only painted in oils about 10 times total or so. Most were abstract. I felt I wasn't really taught the basics. College painting was all about the feel and interpretation, and not really how you actually do it. It's kind of like trying to learn to swim by just jumping in. It would be much quicker and with less casualties if I was taught basic strokes first. (Ha ha...groan.)

YouTube is a great reference. I decided to use the blocking out method. I did an under drawing with a red pastel pencil, used lots of thinner with a little bit of paint to block out colors. Blocking out just means you find a certain color and fill that shape in. It looks blotchy and weird, but you should see vague features. I used only a few colors: white, raw umber, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and crimson. This kept the oil from getting too dark and muddy. Do not use black! Then, with more paint and more white, you go back in with a smaller brush and with a dabbing/small stroke motion, add more color. No broad sweeping! I learned that the hard way. The only place for broad sweeping is for sky and reflections in water.

With my first painting, I'm not going to get likeness. That might be a lofty goal. I'm striving for resemblance, and that it actually looks like a human in the correct race, sex, and age. So far so good on that count! A lot can change in a painting!

The other oil painting I'm working on is a fun and easy one. It's basically a sunset sky with a bridge. I grew up in Charles City. It's a small town in Northeastern Iowa famous for being America's Hometown and also for it's wonderful walking bridge. Two "hundred" year floods took out the old wood swinging bridge. The city replaced it with a solid suspension bridge. It's modern and beautiful.

So far, only the sky is done. So much fun to paint! Once again, I found blocking to be a great advantage to keep the color from mixing too much. It becomes a very unattractive color of gray, browns and greens.  I will wait for it to dry a bit before layering over it the dark bridge.