For a lot of you this is your first art email! But this has actually been going on for almost a year now, and hopefully I’ve improved a little bit in a year for you…enjoy!! SO, our assignment in Oil Painting II was to paint an impressionistic picture…I don’t think I did very well as far as impressionism goes, except for maybe the tree and the shrubbery…but that’s not the point! I didn’t completely fail on this one! I’ve been struggling for almost eight months on oil painting. I couldn’t find my true nitch, but I think when we got away from the rendering and the perfect trees and the so-realistic-you-can-jump-into-it paintings, I started to open up on this assignment. This is the first oil painting where I was enjoying the whole process, and I was so excited that I put my whole heart and soul into it. It may look easy, but this took over twenty hours to construct, resulting in late night painting at the spori, an 8 hour straight painting episode, AND, waking up at 4am on Monday morning so I could continue to work on it before class. I’ve never painted that much on any subject, and I’ve never wanted it to succeed so badly before either. However, through the painstaking task of slowly watching this picture come to bloom, I have never learned more from any other painting than this one. My professor had said that you have to paint a series of paintings until you get to that one that where you learn a great deal, then you rise to the next level and create another series until you reach the next painting that lifts you, and so on. It’s like steps. Well, I finally reached my first rise in seven and a half months of oil painting, and I am so proud to show you all. I didn’t know what to call it…US postal? Let’s Go Get the Mail? I couldn’t think of a cool name, so I simply stated the obvious title: “Mailboxes.” I have some pictures to show you on it, and for non art majors I think this is pretty cool to see. This is a picture of what the painting was at the beginning:
It’s kind of cool to see the beginning stages because it’s nothing like the finished product. If you notice, everything is mapped out on the canvas as to where each object is supposed to be, and there a lot of dark spots. In watercolor you go from light to dark because once you go dark you can’t lift all the paint up to make it light again. In oil painting, however, you do the opposite: you go from dark to light. You paint on top of dark places, and leaving some of the dark that was meant to be in the painting, thus creating a sense of depth…if that makes any sense. It’s also important to make the outlines of everything in the picture so you’ll know where everything is supposed to be (nothing out of proportion.) In the very beginning I actually took my photo reference, brought it to a copy machine and blew it up to fill the paper. Then I made a grid over it and then made the same grid on the canvas. I drew in pencil where everything should be (it was a lot easier breaking it all down into sections so I could draw it all better.) Once that was done I sprayed a fixative so that the lead doesn’t blend in with my paint, and then I mapped the lines and darker spots in pre mixed colors so I could see where everything should be. I painted really dark on the more shadowy parts of the painting….trust me, I didn’t get all this in a day. It’s harder than it looks to make a sketch in paint. The paint can’t be too thick or else it would blend in with the paint that goes over it, and you can’t make the lighter parts of the picture too dark….that tree looks like one big blob…it’s very unclear in the beginning how it’s going to turn out. ….I just put you all to sleep, I know it….I’m so sorry! If it’s any solace, you can make fun of my “ribbon.” I didn’t have a hair tie so I got a little creative with the masking tape! : }…and here’s some pictures of me having a little fun with James taking photos!
Ok, so I got carried away. I hope you’re laughing, because I was! If anyone told you painting wasn’t fun…well they’re right, it’s actually a lot of work…but SOMETIMES you crack up, and then it’s fun! (that’s what twenty hours staring at a canvas will do to you! Only a true artist is one that has gone completely out of his or her mind….I’m just kidding.) Alright, so I’ll show you the picture you’ve all been waiting for – the finished product!!!!!
There was something I decided to do different in this painting compared to all my other paintings, and maybe that’s one of the reasons why I did so well. I put away all of my other colors and left out only my reds, yellows, blues and white. I used bright and dark shades of red yellow and blue, and did you know that if you mix ultramarine blue and crimson red together, they make such a deep purple that it looks black? That’s what I used for the darkest shades. Now if you look again at the painting, taking to mind that there’s only reds, yellows, blues and white in there, it’s really awesome to see all of the colors that emerge from so few choices! Well, that’s all I really have to say about this painting, because I think I said too much. I guess when you do something that is enjoyable from beginning to end, the work isn’t so much work anymore, and the outcome is more of a success.