Friday, 24 March 2017

The big blue teapot

This is my big blue teapot. It really is quite a big pot, and I haven't used in about 15 years. I bought it when I spent a year studying in Stockholm. Me and my friends used to spend a lot of evenings together, and whenever we met up in my room, I used this pot to make tea for us. So it has huge sentimental value, and that's why I've been hanging on to it. For 15 years. But I never use it, and I've been doing a lot of clearing out in my home, and I've decided that it's time to let it go. But before it goes to the second hand shop, I'm drawing and painting it with different mediums, so I'll still always have it with me, in my sketchbooks. The first one was done in oils. I intended to work some more on it once this first layer was dry, but now I think I'll leave it like this, as a sketch.

For the second one I used coloured pencils, in my Hahnemühle D&S sketchbook that I just finished. It has great paper for dry medium, and I enjoyed working in it, trying out different mediums. But I have to admit I did miss being able to use watercolours.

I started a new sketchbook this week. I'm back to a Seawhite one, the same that I used before the Hahnemühle. The paper takes watercolour well enough to serve as an alround sketchbook, but what I really like about it is, that it quite thin. It only has about 45 pages, which makes it about half as thick as the Stillman and Birns, and about a quarter of the Hahnemühle. With all the notebooks, journals, sketchbooks, books and various pencases I've been carrying around lately, my rucksack has become ridiculously heavy, and as consquence, my shoulder has been aching like mad again. So this thinner, lighter sketchbook comes in very handy.

And after all this blue, here's a bit more colour. I found this Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook, that I started in 2014, but only filled four double pages. It's about time to finish it. I just grabbed the first pen that was lying on my desk, a lovely fountain pen filled with brown ink, which I thought was Noodler's Brown, a water resistant ink. As it turned out, it wasn't, but instead a water soluble ink, which created a bit of a mess. Or an interested effect, if you choose to look at it in a more positive way. The radishes were delicious anyway.

Friday, 10 March 2017

More oil painting exploration

There's so much about oil painting to learn. I adore the paintings of the old masters, and I do want to learn how to build up a painting through layers - eventually. But at the moment, I'm trying to concentrate on the Alla Prima, or direct, painting technique first. Which is basically to finish a painting in one go, wet in wet. A technique that, actually, many of the old, as well as more recent, masters used too, for different reasons. It's certainly tricky to add layers to a still wet layer of paint without turning everything into mud. And I'm definitely at the struggling stage. But when you're just starting with oil painting, you want to see some results, a finished picture, quite quickly, without having to wait for weeks and weeks, with each layer having to dry first, before you can continue.

Well, this isn't really an Alla Prima painting, as I intend to work a bit more on it, once this first layer has dried. But I did try to get down as much as possible in the first layer. It's really just play. Seeing what you can do with the paints. How you can move them around, how far you can go. It's entirely done from imagination. Inspired by my upcoming holiday near the sea at the end of the month. And while I want it to be loose and slightly abstract, I do want to give it a bit more definition and depth. But first I have to wait a good week or so. Inspired by this blog post by Lisa Sonora, I started to keep a studio journal at the beginning of the year, at the same time I decided to finally tackle oil painting. With such long drying times in between, it's useful to make notes of the colours used, as well as anything that comes to your mind. In this case, I made some notes about what I want to do with it next time.

To help me learn more and dive deeper into oil painting, I did what I always do in such a case - I bought some books. I just started reading the top one, Alla Prima, and it's fascinating, and very inspiring. All the beautiful images in the book are Alla Prima paintings, and at this stage, I really just can't get my head around how it is possible to achieve that!

I worked a bit more on my still life a couple of weeks ago. It still needs a lot of work, obviously. I made the shadow areas far too green, due to a tinge in the photo I'm using as reference, since I put away the original set up a long time ago. The bright pink in front is completely wrong too, but I'm quite pleased with how parts of the book have turned out so far.

And last but not least a touch of spring. The weather this week is very dull, grey and wet, but these lovely tulips bring a bit of spring into my home. Did I mention that I love the macro feature on my new lens?