Oil on gessoed Museum Board, 7.5″ x 9.25″
I did this oil sketch from life in the studio yesterday evening. One of the “rules” of oil painting is to keep your darks thin, with no texture and you can see why on the background here. Those brushstrokes catch the light and draw attention to it. Here’s the preliminary sketch with the darks blocked in first:
I liked the way this looked and enjoyed getting back to painting glass again which I find so much easier than painting landscapes. I know it’s just a matter of what I think of as peeling the layers off my vision until I can really see exactly what’s there instead of “things” that have names, like tree, road, field. With glass I see colors and shapes but with landscape I still see “TREE”. Someday soon I hope I will break through and be able to see masses, colors, shapes that when put together will read as “TREE” but without painting each leaf, trunk, branch, etc.
I discovered in one of the books on painting I was reading a way to make still life painting so much easier. Build a little stage for the still life that raises it to the desired height and allows light to only come from one direction. Then focus a lamp on it so that you control the direction of the light, the reflections and shadows. Here’s a picture from the back of the stage I made out of a cardboard box that I stacked on top of a plastic drawer from an organizer cart (and taped down so that if the cats tried to climb in it…which Busby did–he thought it was a special kitty spa bed with a nice cloth and warm lamp…the boxes wouldn’t fall off the table):
And here it is from the front with a floral setup that I made it for (that painting is in progress).
And here it is with the little glass butter dish and tomatoes from the painting at the top:
And while I’m doing this little show and tell of nifty stuff I made, here’s a brush holder I made from a shoebox:
It’s really handy for messy oil painting brushes, both while I’m dirtying them and after I’ve cleaned them so that they can dry horizontally, which helps keep the brushes in better condition longer since they’re not standing in the water that drips off them. I didn’t measure, just cut little triangles in the side and it works perfectly. By the way, those are some really crappy brushes in there that are now relegated to my drawer of bad art supplies. I bought them for using with acrylics and they came in a package of 10 brushes for about $18. Absolute rubbish…useless as they hold almost no paint, streak, shed and feel icky to hold.
As Maya Angelou said her mother always told her, “You don’t always get what you pay for, but you always pay for what you get.”