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:)

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!

Fun with Water Mixable Oils (Sketchbook Sunday)

Hi friends! I had a hankering to paint with oils today. Often oils seem like “a big ordeal” because I have to open tubes, squeeze out paint and then clean up afterward. If you have been on an art journey with me for any length of time you know how lazy I am and I just like to open a palette and go hence watercolor and gouache are my go to paints (and I did think quite hard about painting this is gouache which would be totally suitable) but in the end I wanted the smooth buttery consistency of oil under my brush and you just gotta do what feel right!

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I used an 11″x14″ cotton canvas painting panel but you can use a stretched canvas, hard board panel of whatever you like. I chose a panel because they are thin to store and easy to frame if I want to later. I really don’t have much of  a preference between non paper surfaces, I just choose one that has the tooth I want for a particular subject. Watch the video to see the process. The painting took just under an hour. It was a  ton of fun to paint! Let me know if you would like any real-time oil painting tutorials. I have plans to paint more in oils but I am not sure if I will record them, I will if there is interest tho.

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.

Keep in mind you can use traditional oils, there really is no difference in the working aspects of the paint or the drying time. For that matter you can use acrylics with a slow drying medium if you prefer. The big advantage of the watermixable oils in the clean up as you don’t need solvents. Honestly I don’t mind using traditional oils and solvents but with my wintertime painting area being right off my kitchen I really don’t want the fumes. And to be honest I get a bit panicky about solvent soaked paper towels. My old studio that I used to rent downtown used to be a bank and so I would store solvents and cans of oily rags in the old bank vault until trash day in case they combusted LOL! Since I taught two oil painting classes a week there were always solvent soaked paper towels about. I think it’s a good idea to be cautious when you use these products at home and I am glad that watermixible oils exist and now rival the traditional ones.  That’s all for today, thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Easy Beginner Sunset in Oils

Hi friends! I am away today so I am unable to live stream but I recorded a video for you instead. It is a beginner oil sunset painting!

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Feel free to paint it in acrylic or gouache if you prefer! This is a real-time tutorial so relax and enjoy!

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:

Don’t forget you can get 45% off any class in my online school with coupon code OFFLINE45 through Labor day! Have a great weekend and til next time happy crafting!

LIVE: Painting on Aluminum?!? Really? Learn All About This Fun Surface Today!

Hi friends! I tried a fun new surface yesterday and I thought I would share it with you during today’s live stream because I think some folks might find it very useful. Aluminum panels have many advantages. They are lightweight, double-sided (a smooth shiny side that would be nice for mounting art, pop art, vinyl transfer or silk-screening and a rough side that grips paint and primer beautifully), archival and easy to frame. That said I found this surface took a little getting used to. I did this painting directly on the brushed aluminum side.

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For today’s live demo I have primed another panel so we can see the difference between primed and unprimed. Because the surface is slick you can’t afford to waste many brushstrokes or you will have an oily muddy mess on your hands. To be honest I think this surface is much better suited to acrylics if you are not priming first (yes I said “better for acrylics” don’t be shocked) so I am looking forward to working on a primed version next because I like a smoother surface to paint on and these are lighter than wood panels. I also think it would be really fun to use one of these panels with alcohol or India ink. I will have one panel left after today so let me know if you would like to see that. Here is the reference photo I used to paint the apples.

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You can watch the live broadcast or reply in the video player below but if you want to chat live with fellow “frugalites” or ask me questions as we go be sure to watch on the YouTube watch page.

Tutorial Sponsored by 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:

Edited to add more notes about painting on Aluminum panels…

The primed aluminum panel worked a lot like a gesso board or primed hardboard panel with the advantage of being lightweight. I think to take the most advantage of the unique surface I’d use it unprimed with a permanent transparent media such as alcohol or india ink. I think either side would be fun to experiment with and yield beautiful results. I found painting directly on the unprimed surface a bit frustrating as I was trying to complete the painting all at once and I felt like my paint was sliding around. I’d recommend in working in layers and allowing drying time between them. If using oils I recommend Lukas 1862 as they dry to the touch overnight.

A note about the Charvin Extra Fine Oils…

These are a very high-end paint and a bit more spendy than I usually use. They are made in small batches and triple milled for a smooth buttery consistency and the color load is robust meaning you get lots of color in a small amount of paint.  The paint is made with poppy oil rather than linseed oil (they say to reduce yellowing but the kit I got has a bottle of linseed oil in it which seemed odd but I did not need it on the silky smooth surface of the AlumaComp board) and it uses high-grade pigments with a range of 205 colors. The tubes have hand-painted swatches of the color at full strength which can be deceiving as the rose in my set looked black straight from the tube but turned into a lovely mauve as white was added. I can see how it would be a useful deep shadow color in floral paintings. I wasn’t familiar with some of the colors in the landscape set I received from sponsor Jerry’s Artarama but I found them to mix well and perform as expected for an artist grade oil paint. I think they are a bit pricey for beginners but someone who has experience with oils will enjoy and appreciate the subtle differences in quality in these paints. *Charvin also makes an extra fine acrylics line as well.

What do you think of painting on aluminum? If you want to give it a try I recommend starting on a small panel to see if you like it before investing the time and money of a larger one incase you don’t care for it. It’s growing on me but it was pretty aggravating at first getting use to the slippery surface (kinda like going from driving a big pickup truck in 4-wheel drive to a sports car on an icy road LOL!) Once you get used to it you can see the possibility it holds! Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you live at 12:30 on YouTube, til then happy crafting!

Beginner Oil Painting: Peonies

Hi friends! Today I have a fun and relaxing oil painting tutorial that would be a good project for someone who would like to try out oil painting for the first time.

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I am using water mixable oils which behave exactly like traditional oils (slow drying, rich color, buttery consistency) without the need of stinky solvents. You can simply use water to rinse your brushes and thin your paint. The misconception is that oil paints are stinky and fumey but that’s not quite true, it is the solvents that can be stinky and harmful. As with any paint though you should respect it and work with it as it is intended in a safe manner. I’ll share safety tips at the end of the post 🙂

This tutorial is sponsored by 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:

Studio safety tips!

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  1. Don’t eat your paint! I know this sounds silly but it is important to keep food out of your studio and to wash your hands properly before eating and drinking. I have dipped my paintbrush in my coffee before and luckily I noticed it before I took a sip! 🙂 If you do want to have a drink handy use a covered water bottle or travel mug. This will also save you from spilling your drink on your art! Also if you use a cup for paint water or a dish as a palette don’t use them again for food.
  2. Get the gloves! If you are worried about absorbing chemicals into your skin you can wear surgical gloves. I prefer to use a barrier hand cream but I am not too worried about absorption because I don’t get that much paint on me and I don’t often use the toxic stuff. I know the chalky feeling of pastels give some people the “oogies” so gloves would be a great solution to this!
  3. Say it, don’t spray it! Watch how you apply your paint. Many paints (especially expensive quality artist ones) are not meant to be spray applied due to hazardous chemicals in the pigments. Read the labels before you airbrush or spatter your inks and paints and never blow your pastel dust. Instead tap the paper into your trash so the dust falls down and doesn’t get kicked up into the air where you might breathe it in.
  4. You gotta keep it ventilated! Our paints, sealers, fixatives and adhesives can emit fumes. Even the odorless products are not great to breathe so you need to make sure you have air circulating. Cracking a window and using a fan is great or wait til the end of the day to use the worst offenders and then let your studio air out overnight. Listen to your body, if you start to feel light-headed or get stuffed up open a window and take a break. Some people are more sensitive than others so when possible take a whiff of a potential product at the store before buying to make sure you can tolerate the smell.
  5. Protect the pets! Dump out rinse water (or cover it) at the end of the day so curious cats won’t imbibe your delicious paint water. Also store wet paintings up on a high shelf or easel so they are not walked on or rubbed against….don’t ask me how I came up with this tip…
  6. Watch the young’uns! Your art materials are perfectly safe if used as intended. The labels will tell you if there are hazardous materials and often how they should be handled and whether they are safe for children. And “safe for children” also means if used for their intended purposes.  Obviously you don’t let your kids drink glue or eat crayons. Still, the best way to keep your kids safe in the art room is to always supervise them. If you can’t, then, an inexpensive latch on the door too high for them to reach is cheap insurance. If you can’t block the kids away from your supplies as they are in a shared space use containers that the little ones can’t open. This is one reasons I don’t particularly like odor free products like Gamsol. It looks and smells like water even though it is a powerful solvent. It makes me nervous because small children or pets might not know the difference so always I keep it in its original safety capped container. *Gamsol is a great product for dissolving colored pencils and I use it but the fact that is has no odor freaks me out!

I hope these safety tips made you aware of potential dangers without scaring you. There is no need to be afraid, just be aware of what you are using and how it should be used and you will be fine. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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