I shared all about the paints, brushes, and painting surfaces I’m using in PART ONE of this series following my oil painting journey. The post was getting really long, so I split it into two posts. I would suggest reading the first one, if you haven’t, so you hear the story behind this journey. I also want to restate that I am new to oils, so I’m just sharing what I’m doing and take it with a grain of salt. I hope that I communicate – If I can do it, you can do it.
And I don’t mean that we’re going to be good all the time! But we can have fun learning and expanding our horizons.
So, let me share about inspiration…
I am regularly sucked down the rabbit hole of oil painting tutorials on You Tube, painting blogs, forums, etc. and I’ve picked up a lot just browsing around. I’ve already shared that I really like Jessica Henry’s You Tube channel and also Draw Mix Paint.
And I love Sophie Ploeg’s blog. Her work, like that painting of a dress, is insanely good (it almost makes me want to throw in the towel), but then she has the most practical, non-pretentious posts that are so encouraging.
I have also taken advantage of the Jeanne Oliver creative network and signed up for a few classes (to work on once I finish the 100 meadows project.)
Over the past few weeks, I have been scouring the internet for landscape paintings that I love and I’ll print them up and add them to my pin board. Sometimes I’ll pull them off the board to study the brush strokes, use of color, etc. and use them as a reference when I’m painting a picture that has some similarities (like color, composition, subject, etc.)
I like art books for that reason. I find it’s much easier to see how to paint a tree when I can look at a tree that’s been painted (as opposed to a picture of a tree.) A more experienced artist can show me, through their work, where the highlights and shadows are, how the light behaves, successful colors for stormy skies, etc.
A couple of books I’ve enjoyed lately are Color Theory (it’s only a $6.00 book, but it’s packed with great information)…
…and Think Big Paint Small…
I am drawn to the loose style of Joyce’s work, so that book has been a good study as well, especially since I like working small at this point!
Another source of inspiration has been the pictures all of you have been sending me! Some of them are going to be very challenging, but it’s nice to have a seemingly endless supply of pretty views to paint.
As I’m working on the 100 meadows, I’m trying to make changes to my process to see what works for me. Trial and error is one of the best ways to learn, especially when pursuing creative endeavors. It’s so personal and, while there are rules of thumb, there is always an exception and successful rule-breakers. So, you just have to muddle through until you find your sweet spot.
I started out just painting one 4 x 6 landscape from a reference picture. No sketching or anything. Just jumping right in.
With the last few paintings I’ve done, I have tried doing a rough sketch in a journal first with pencil.
And then, when I have time, I will do two paintings – one that has more detail (like the one below)…
…and one that is painted quickly, in about five minutes…
Of course. the detailed one is more, well, detailed and the quick rendering looks a little unfinished or just suggestive, but it’s been a great exercise to relax and focus on overall color, shape, and composition, and not get stuck on the details (which can be frustrating to me at times!)
I haven’t had time to do the sketch and “quick version” of each painting, but I like to do it when I can.
For my palette, I’m using this glass palette. I can just scrape off the paint that’s dried and then I have a nice, clean palette. I try to use small dollops of paint, so I don’t waste very much.
For the easel, I’m using a Lyre easel, like this one. I bought mine at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon, so it was around $50. I was going to get a huge H easel on wheels, but then it dawned on me that I am not going to be working large scale so I don’t need the biggest easel in the store. This one can still accommodate large canvases, but it wasn’t as expensive.
I haven’t branched out into any mediums or glazes, but I have purchased some and just need to start playing to see what I like. I just tested out varnish on the paintings I kept, though. I like the paintings varnished, since it gives the paint a consistent gloss and brings out the darker colors. I used Gamblin’s Gloss Varnish.
I’ll keep you posted as I learn more! If you want to follow my journey more closely, I am sharing all of my paintings and more on my Instagram Stories.
In home decor-related updates, I painted the kitchen island today and hope to snap some pictures in the next day or two to share!