Well, I finally finished the #indexcardartproject! It’s about a month late, but that’s okay. It really didn’t need to be completed in a set time and I found I didn’t want to rush through it. I was enjoying these little studies and I didn’t want to miss the lessons along the way, simply because I was hurrying.
One reason it’s taken me so long is that I’ve already been using these studies as inspiration for larger paintings, which was the whole idea in the first place.
I really enjoyed the freedom I felt from painting on a “disposable” surface. I was looser with my brushstrokes and more experimental with my colors. I learned a lot about composition, value, and the magic of impressionist-style painting. Seemingly random strokes look like a scene when you take a step back.
For the last one, I did a study of a James Kroner painting. I love his architectural paintings but have been intimidated to try any kind of architecture beyond a simple barn. I took on this bridge and was pleasantly surprised with how it actually looks like a bridge! I’m excited to take what I learned in this little painting and paint a few pictures I took while in Paris and Tuscany last fall.
I enjoyed painting on these index cards so much that I decided to continue the same idea with a binder of thick cardstock paper to paint studies on. This idea is a variation on one shared by my “art supply muse”, Michelle Wooderson. She got the idea of binding her own oil painting sketchbooks from Scott Christensen.
It works perfectly! I have enough room for two small paintings on each page along with notes in the margins for color mixes, compositions, etc. I also like that I can remove the page until it dries, but still use the notebook. It’ll become a nice reference for larger paintings as well as a visual reminder of my progress.
The binder is a little unusual in that it has a soft, floppy cover, but I like that. It feels more like a portfolio with rings.
Jeff picked it up off of my drafting table, inspected it, and said, “This is weird. I don’t think I like it.”
“Well, good. Because I didn’t buy it for you. I bought it for me and if you loved it and wanted to use it, we would have a problem.”
There is a tie closure, which emphasizes the “art portfolio” feel.
So, filling this will be my next little project. It’s going to take about 100 small paintings to fill it up, though! Aside from that, I do need to come up with a new challenge. For now, I’m bouncing around between landscapes, still life, and I’m dipping back into portraits again. I want to work on what’s inspiring and what helps me develop the skills I want to improve the most.
Speaking of oil painting, I’ve been asked by several people interested in oil painting, mostly on Instagram, If I would share some tips on getting started.
When I first started oil painting, I struggled to find answers to very basic questions. It seemed like most experienced painters assumed people knew how to clean a brush or care for a palette or store unused paint, use solvents, or why you should tone a canvas. I found the plethora of information (most of it went over my head) to be more overwhelming and confusing than helpful. I learned by doing, by trial and error, by asking other new artists if they’ve found the answer to that basic question, and by collecting answers scattered over dozens of books and online classes.
So, I’ve decided to share what I’ve learned and I’m going to put a course together for the very beginner, aspiring oil painter. I’m basically answering all of the questions I had and, hopefully, answering them in a clear and concise way, so it’s easy and approachable for anyone who is interested in giving it a try. I’ll be working on it over the next few weeks and hope to have it ready this summer.
Just tuck that in the back of your mind if you’ve been following my journey and you’re interested in starting oil painting yourself.
In the meantime, if you want to see the art supplies I use, the courses and books that have been my favorite, I’ve been working on building out an Art Resource page HERE. It’s not completely finished, but it’s filled with my favorite art books, supplies, and classes to help you on your journey.