Sketchbook Sunday: A Lesson in Values

Hi friends! I get the opportunity to view and critique student work every day and the most common issue I see is weak values. Today I am going to give you some tips to help assign values for depth, volume and clarity. I hope you find it useful in whatever medium you paint in!

I will have a 2 hour narrated tutorial of this painting in Critique Club in a couple of days but for a rundown of the concepts you can watch the time lapse below.

Supplies available at sponsor Jerry’s Artarama! Use coupon code: frugal20FS49 for 20% off $49 + Free Shipping (Excludes: Sale, Super Sale, Egift Cards, Buy It Try It’s and Vendor restricted items. Look for the green coupon eligible icon on the product listing.

Supplies:

I hope you had a good weekend! My oil painting challenge is going well but I am going to need to buckle down if I am going to get my 20 done by the end of the month. I think this painting is #7 or #8. I am enjoying it! Til next time happy painting!

The Antidote to Feeling Bad About All of Your Art Supplies…

Hi friends! I love it when I set a personal goal and it ends up having positive side effects I didn’t anticipate. When I decided to paint 20 mini oil paintings in November it was more of a way to beat the “winter blues” and ride the high of having an art goal like I experienced during Inktober. I had really missed painting in oils so I thought hat would be a nice medium to focus on. I didn’t expect the other positives…

I had A LOT of oil paints back from when I had a downtown studio and taught two oil classes each week. I bought my oils in large economy tubes and had jars of mediums and brushes galore. Luckily oil paints hold up well and I haven’t found any spoiled paint in my stash. With each completed painting I felt lighter, any guilt over having so much paint dissipated with every canvas panel I used up. Knowing that I was putting the stuff I had (and my time) to good use while I worked on improving my skills was the shot in the arm my creativity needed. I loved that I didn’t have to run out and buy something new to improve myself.

I would wager that many of us have an excess of some supply we bought years ago when we were really excited about a project. The more those supplies sit around we either feel bad about them or become blind to them. Neither is a great solution. I think many of us think if we use up our supplies on a project that doesn’t turn out well it is a waste but think of the waste of space the supplies take up if they are not getting used regularly. Or the waste of supplies if they dry up or go bad in the package. Even if you paint an canvas and it is “bad” you have created something. You may have failed at the idea you had in your mind but you succeeded in finding out what didn’t work. Often the painting looks different the next day and you can always try scraping back or adding more paint. You can even cut the canvas off the stretcher bars and staple on some fresh canvas and try again if you feel bad about wasting a canvas.

Nobody creates a masterpiece every time, especially if they haven’t done it in a while so why do we think we need to produce a winner every time we sit down to paint? I’d go as far to say that if you do create a great painting every time you sit down to paint that you are not challenging yourself and trying new things. With failure comes growth. Life if made in the mistakes and so is art.

I hope this post helps you lighten up your expectations a bit in your art journey. Take care and happy creating!

P.S. I’ll have a new real time watercolor tutorial for you on YouTube this evening and tomorrow here on the blog:)

DIY Drying Rack

Hi friends! This month I challenged myself to paint 20 small oil paintings, I quickly realized that I would need a place to safely dry these out of the way so I created this drying rack that I can put up on a shelf in my studio away from my work area and my cats! This is what I came up with:

I built this from some leftover foam board (foamcore) I had but you can also up cycle a couple of cardboard boxes to do the same thing. This is sturdy, lightweight and should last a long time.

Supplies:

  • Foam board/foam-core or cardboard
  • craft knife
  • Hot glue (duct tape could also be used but I think it will be more difficult.
  • Yardstick

I love crafting with foam core, I have made many storage items over the years with it like this ribbon storage and this ink pad holder. There is so much you can do with it! Some viewers on YouTube said they were going to make a card display for craft fairs using a similar method to my drying rack and I thought it was a wonderful idea. What have you made with foam core? You can find it at the dollar tree or order it in bulk from any big art supply retailer. Happy crafting!

Painting the same still-life in watercolors & oils

Hi Friends! Woah, this has been a busy week! I just realized I had forgot to update the blog in a couple of days, my apologies! I stated a new personal painting challenge (20 oil paintings for the month of November) and I have been finishing up a new watercolor class (more on that tomorrow!) and it has kept me on the move! Today I have a tutorial of this watercolor painting:

I took this reference photo the other day because I wanted to paint it in oils as part of my November personal challenge. Part of the challenge is also working from my own reference photos as much as I can.

Here is the oil version, I think I need to wipe out some of the reflected highlight on the bottom of the grapefruit because it makes it look a bit moldy LOL!

I enjoyed painting it in oils so much that I wondered if it would be fun to paint with watercolors (a media I am much more proficient in) and I recorded the results in today’s real time tutorial:

Supplies (affiliate links used)

Which version do you like better, the oil or watercolor? I have really been enjoying the challenge of getting back into oils but I find myself fussing too much in an area and basically redoing the same spot multiple times. I think I need to set a timer and when it goes off be done with it. I don’t mind spending the time if I am making progress but fiddling doesn’t improve my skills or the painting so I am trying to identify when I do that and break myself of that habit. I hope you have some art goals you are working towards, it makes the journey so much more rewarding:) Til next time happy creating!

Sketchbook Sunday & My November Art Goal!

Hi friends! I really enjoyed participating in, and finishing, Inktober this year even tho some days I didn’t feel that motivated to do my daily drawing. That said I always felt better once I started drawing. I thought I would be relieved once I drew my last Inktober drawing but instead I felt a bit of a let down. I took November 1st off to rest and reflect on October and then it hit me! I really love having a goal to work toward and I love completing things I set my mind to. During this eureka moment I had another idea to do my own November challenge. I have a stack of small canvas panels and enough oil paints to choke a horse! I used to love to paint in oils so I decided to paint 20 mini oil paintings this month! Here is the one I did yesterday:

It was fun! I am keeping the size small, I have nineteen 5″x7″ canvas panels and a few other oddball small sizes kicking around so I am set there. I was hoping for each painting to take about 45 minutes which I think I will get to once I knock the rust off LOL! The avocado took about 2 hours to paint but I loved it! The Iris took me 1 hour 20 minutes so I am moving in the right direction. I waste a lot of time fussing and overworking an area and then having to rescue it and I attribute that to being out of practice. Both of the paintings were painted from my own reference photos and I liked that. I am going to try and work from my own photos as much as possible this month as I rely on stock photos more that I want to. You can see a timelapse if the iris painting below. You might remember we painted this in watercolor a couple months ago, I really liked this flower! I took the photo in my sisters garden. I’ll take a proper photo of this painting in the morning once the shine dulls and post it on Instagram.

Supplies (I am using a variety of brands, I don’t notice as much of a difference in oil paint qualities as long as you go with a recognizable brand you should be all set) *Affiliate links used

  • Oil paint in colors: Titanium White, Yellow Ocher, Alizarin. Crimson, Sap Green, Ultramarine blue, Burnt Umber (I listed a couple under $20 sets if you want to try oils) Water mixable option with colors needed (rinse brushes in water while painting and clean with soap and water after, good if you don’t want to use solvents) or Traditional oil paint with all colors needed (clean up with paint thinner, then soap and water)
  • 5″x7″ canvas (affordable multi-pack of different sizes)
  • Pentel oil pastels for sketching
  • Assorted brushes (smaller ones, 1/2″ flat and #8 round are the largest ones I am using) I am not very picky about the majority of my oil brushes but for details I like the Royal & Langnickle Fusion line.

I hope you liked the time-lapse, the real-time version will be in Critique Club in a day or two. Critique Club is a membership group where artists can upload 2 paintings a month for detailed feedback from me and also get access to 2 new real time tutorials per month as well as all past Critique Club tutorials. There is also a monthly prompt design to stretch you out of your comfort zone and inspire you to create but you can work on whatever you like even if it doesn’t fit the theme of the prompt. I meet you where you are. Cost is $5 a month. If you want to level up your skills as an artist please have a look and see if it would benefit you. Thanks!

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