Sketching. What lies beyond it? When does one jump into the world of color, of rendering, of painting?
I’ve painted digitally, with one big complaint: if you can’t put it on your wall, who cares? It is not yet tangible.
As a result, I’ve been diving into oil painting. With the aid of an amazing book (Traditional Oil Painting by Virgil Elliott) I feel like the amount of progress I’ve made has been wonderful. Stay tuned for my first oil painting worth looking at by the public!
In the meantime, I’ve been keeping a journal of oil painting notes as I go. Here’s the main entries so far:
- Suffered due to the toned canvass. In future, go less extreme chroma.
- Spilled shit due to wind. lock easel down.
- Fill in big shapes first? paint front to back? Still a tough call. Paint back to front, but know that, unless it’s dry, dark layers on top of things better than light; if it’s light, stick to border filling?
- Small canvass? Paint small subjects! Would have been better off painting the gnarly old table, perhaps with some fruit on it, as a for instance.
- Block in EARLY. Don’t put be drawing lines and realize your porch is half as long as it should be.
- Fun fact: the word “cartoon” comes from the medieval painter’s term for a line drawing before your paint.
- Line art/sketching/cartoons are your friend! They fit your style and play to your strengths!
- Have twice as many finished cartoons as you have active paintings. The leftover paint at the end of a layer feels wasteful, so you’ll ALWAYS try to stick it on a canvas. By having said “sloppy second” canvas ready, you can block something useful in.
- Color illusions: white pigment cannot be as bright as light. Therefore, darks have to be darker than real life to make them look true.
- Ink your cartoons with a smaller brush; much of the 2nd glaze will be to blend these lines, so thickness works against you. Pen?
- AO gradients are great. And you can always let it dry and paint back into it with lights.
- Mix orange (by which I mean Cad Yellow Deep) with red, NOT yellow (Cad Yellow) and Red. Red+Yellow looks like ketchup and mustard, which is ugly and feels gross next to its two neighbors.
- Light HAS to be a final, isolated glaze. Painting it ala prima means it’ll just mix with every darker wet paint it touches, and quickly turn to nothing. Only by going on top of dry paint can it stay verified.
- Mix with neighbors. Yellow light with GREEN. Yellow Deep with RED. Need to lighten black or Van Dyke brown? Mix it with a pure chroma: red, blue, purple, green, etc. Need a darker white? mix it with red, blue, purple, green, etc.
- Have a light green? Do NOT darken it with black. Have a dark red? Do NOT lighten it with a white. Stay neighborly to avoid mud.
- Titanium white is an OPAQUE paint. Do not expect it to glaze more saturated, as if you’re color dodging. Worth looking up whites that DO glaze? If you mix it with something, it will get lighter but also less saturated.
- Tint your white, then put it on opaque, but NOT pure white. As a FINAL step, brush white on with bristly strokes, then fade gently w/ fan brush.
- “Glow” is relative, and glow needs chroma. Go from pure black, to pure chroma, to pure white, and blend in the middles.
- Rose madder deep is a VERY transparent paint. This can be frustrating to work with, but it’s very fun to work with.
- Fuck toning the canvas. Just fuck it. Fuck it hard. It’s a waste of paint. It doesn’t fit your painting style. Everything about it is against your artistic personality. ALWAYS have charcoal canvases ready for ink, at the WORST. better off to have ‘em already inked.
- New painting rule: Edge over gradient. Paint the edge, THEN blend.
- Wet, thin paint goes on runnier (good) but also less gradientable.This mean it makes edges better, but you need a contingency plan for blending it into its mass.