Saturday, July 17, 2010

Oil Lesson 5: Using a Painting knife

I thought it might be a tad boring but it wasnt , not the least bit~
As a matter of fact I did enjoy the lesson thoroughly today….it reminded me of doing the sugar icing for cakes ;)

And well, I am no baker….in fact I suck big time at anything to do with cooking so it was daunting to try to use the painting knives at first.

Definitely the first stroke was the toughest.
Ms Shia showed me how to practise on my palette, after which yea, I did loosen up and soon was gleefully plying the paints liberally.
As usual, one starts with the darkest shades and Ms Shia said it was important to paint the eyes so as to get a firm anchor for the other locations…she was as usual right, of course! As soon as the eyes and nose, ears were in place, the rest came easy enough.
Luckily I had bought so many different types of painting knives….
Applying the paint thickly requires a large or medium trowel shaped knife; to get the illusion of fur, I found it best to use the small paddle shaped knife and for the outline of eyes, I prefer to use a small diamond shape knife but here I must admit that alas for Tobie's beautiful pupil, I had to cheat by using a brush !

At first my Tobie looked like a street cat until Ms Shia told me to fatten her up by making the head rounder and the eyes much much bigger. Wow, it works.
The magic touch was the whiskers….it pays to ensure that the paint beneath the whiskers are of darker shade and also not flowing in the same direction as the whiskers…such simple adjustments and I have my beautiful Tobie looking right back at me from my round canvas….

Mmmm, cant wait to finish the other two canvasses of Roxy and Tiger when I come back from diving the Maldives ~


Some of you may have been wondering whether water mixable oils are of any good….Well, for this painting I prepared the background 3 days ago with a combo of sap green and viridian hue from Reeves water mixable oil colors (box set of 12 tubes x 1.2ml for only RM $22.50 , just about USD7….what a bargain).
I know that I will use it often for backgrounds because it has proven to be very economical as well as efficient , looks good and dries super fast…

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oil Lesson 4: painting on "imprimatura"

Technique : Painting landscape on a green background

Step 1: the colored ground was prepared a week earlier with all the left over paints from previous lesson, thinned with turpentine and left to dry thoroughly

Step 2: since the background is now dark, I had to use white crayon to help me draw the outline of the landscape instead of my usual pastel pencils.

Step 3: As my chosen landscape was a golf course with a mountaineous background of which parts are reflected onto the lake, Ms Shia told me to block in the colors according to light and dark areas for the landed portions.
Likewise I was to repeat the same for those reflections on the water.

Step 4: Creating the water effects was simple enough~
a) by stroking the paints with a clean brush vertically , resulted in a smeared blend of vertical lines that mmmm, do give an essence of reflections!
b) Then at some areas near the lake's edge, we stroked in some horizontal lines to represent the water ripples.
Landscapes are never my cup of tea but I guess its nice to know how to do it ~
Pretty cool ~ oh yea.

I think painting on imprimaturas is interesting as well as economical to speed up the painting process . But I think it is critical to choose the choice of the colored grounds well before painting because when I look at some classmates' completed works which were done on a reddish ground, the feeling was a very old masters, matt dull finish.
I guess this is where our understanding of color wheel, opaque versus transparent colors comes in…. of which I am still unclear, so for now I prefer to do sons portraits on white ground!

today, our imprimatura was opaque because the colors were mixed with titanium white.
Next week I may attempt a portrait of my beloved Tiger or Tobie on colored ground with either
a) using thin acrylic gold wash
b) thin watercolor stain

Monday, July 12, 2010

oil portraiture of sons, part one~Jon

not quite there yet but at least I think I'm getting the hang of the blending monochromatic underpainting.

As I compare the photo reference, I know that I totally misjudged the angle of Jon's tilt and I dont know how to paint the teeth yet~ but Im gonna proceed to complete Julian's and Justin's head shots and the background and then come back to perform the dentistry for Jon….hahahah

Life is great, Life is a gift
and I give thanks for life's gift of the joy that my sons bring~

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Oil lesson 3: Mona Liza~ monochromatic opaque underpainting

Last Saturday I felt like I was getting to know Mona Liza really upclose and personal~
I scrutinized every inch of her face until even now I can even visualize her in my mind….and due to the close scutiny, to both Ms Shia and my surprise we both discovered that she actually was wearing a gauze veil on her head…mmmm Interesting indeed!

Technique : Painting Mona Liza using monochromatic opaque underpainting on white ground

The lesson was to concentrate on the form and tonal value of the face using one color i.e vandyke brown and mixing with white to get the mid range tones.

Step 1 : mix the vandyke brown with white to get some half tones and apply these to the areas where there are shadows following the contours of the face, paying
careful attention to the eye sockets, cheeks, nose , lips and brow areas.

Step 2 : fill out the left overs with pure white, NO blending….just block in the colors.
To make sure that I followed this rigidly, Ms Shia hovered over me like a mother hen :)

Well, first draft of my Mona looked like she was of Asian origin, very voluptuous and looking very post natal ! Hahaha

OMG I cannot imagine how we were gonna achieve any similiarity to Mona Liza's face with all the blotchy spots all over!!

Step 3: Ms Shia told me to watch the magic as she used a medium fan brush and lightly fan Mona Liza's face ~ incredibly the colors blended so naturally, wow it was indeed magical!

Step 4 : Ms Shia then handed the fan brush and told me to finish the job…and horrors I actually made Mona Liza's face full of scratches !
Ms Shia goes "AIYA, cannot simply chincai bongcai sapu her face any direction you like !!"
Hahaha, the key was to imagine stroking Mona's face as if I was applying powder or blusher….

Oh ok, hahaha.

Believe you me, that made a heck of a big difference indeed.

Also with the right stroke of the fan brush, apparently we could make Mona Liza appear fatter or leaner just be slightly altering how the cheek bones flow or by adjusting the strokes above her bosom….ooooh, interesting!

I cant wait to see how we will glaze and restore Mona to full color spectrum after I finish off painting all the tonal values on her clothes and the background and let the paints dry .

Stay tuned for future lessons update to see how my Mona turns out in early August because before we can glaze, all the layers of underpaint have to be thoroughly dried!


Since I still had so much more paint left over, I decided to just for the heck of it also practise on a more contemporary beauty….a Dior model in Her World magazine ;P

Thursday, July 1, 2010

oil lesson 2- still life, direct painting/alla prima

technique: softening contours using high key colours of bright primaries red/yellow/blue in one session, mixing colors on the brush

step 1
I first position the apples whereby the best shades of reds/contours of light and dark are well reflected

step 2
then as in first lesson squeeze the yellow , red and white paints out generously with the blue very sparingly and place them onto different portions of the palette, taking care not to mix

step 3
today, we were to try painting the bright colors of the apples directly onto the canvas without blending on the palette,
wow, by painting the yellows reds loosely mixed on the brush , they do seem to work both separately and together in the stroke to make the color more alive

step 4
We had to step back now and then to view from a distance whether the strokes mimic the contours of the apples. At first I didnt appreciate painting in curvy strokes but after awhile, yea I do agree that this way, using different tonal values, from a distance the apple can appear 3 dimensional

As in lesson one, we use white paint to represent the light reflections.
I have since learnt that white should be applied in one stroke and then blend keeping care to wipe the brush clean after each and every stroke. This way, then the color is not muddied.
Alternatively, I made sure that a particular area that has light reflection is totally left unpainted with any other color except zinc white and then while the paint is still white I try to blend the white towards the color and not the other way round ….

step 5
to get a uniform grey color to use as shadows, mix red/yellow/blue together on palette until blended , then the shades can be dark to lighter by varying the thickness of the stroke or by adding more white to get paler grey

step 6
lastly for the background, we could apply white color generously direct from the tube onto the canvas and blend with clean dry brush to finish the entire background

step 7
I cant wait to see how the glaze will be done after 4th lessons~


Hee hee, I am quite happy with my outcome of the apples even though hubby, my #1 fan laughed and pronounced that my apples look more like red capsicums…hahaha.

well, I just told hubby what Ms Shia taught me … helps to step further back and view the painting from a distance.
I also "cheated" and told hubby that he had to view my apples with one eye closed.
After that he said Yea yea yea and nodded more enthusiastically!
He agreed that at a distance and with only one good eye vs 2 good eyes….my red apples do look more like apples. Kakakaka!

Hope you have as much fun viewing too.
Any suggestions, feel free to text me please~ don't worry I am a big girl and can handle any comments :)))))