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Final result. Finished, still on the easel. Block-in stage

Flower pot - 8x12in/20x30cm - #7

Very happy with how this one turned out! About 1h and a bit for this painting of the flower pot sitting on our balcony, as evening was setting in.

Then came the first attempt at a self-portrait in the mirror (8x12in/20x30cm).
I’m happy to report that the Titanium White ground i’ve pre-applied to the polyflax canvas fixed the absorbency issue, so now the paint doesn’t sink in that much. Plus you get a beautiful background texture to the whole thing!
Not that it had any positive effect on my drawing, as you can well see…

Then came the first attempt at a self-portrait in the mirror (8x12in/20x30cm).

I’m happy to report that the Titanium White ground i’ve pre-applied to the polyflax canvas fixed the absorbency issue, so now the paint doesn’t sink in that much. Plus you get a beautiful background texture to the whole thing!

Not that it had any positive effect on my drawing, as you can well see…

Still-life setup with the snail Charcoal drawing stage. Blocking-in and a starting with colour. Here you can see a shot of my setup: shadowbox with light on top for still-life's and next to it my easel set-up for sight-size painting.

Third project was a still-life setup featuring a ceramic snail next to a candle on top of a book. Creative, i know :)

Besides the inherent frustration i’m having with getting used to the handling of oils, the polyflax canvas i’m using (Fredrix Red Lion) is very absorbent! It seems to take ages to put in the background, which makes me loose patience and get tired with the overall painting.

Perhaps i should go with a pre-coat of Stape’s recommendation for the “Seago ground”: thick layer of Titanium White applied with a bristle brush…

Another try at a still life, but stopped again after a bit over 1 hour. Became significantly annoyed with the absorbency of the canvas and the amount of paint and time needed to cover the background properly.
I also think i should be painting smaller dimensions (this is a 12x16in/ 30x40cm) as i’m still getting adjusted to oils. Perhaps i’ll try 8x12in/20x30cm next time. 

Another try at a still life, but stopped again after a bit over 1 hour. Became significantly annoyed with the absorbency of the canvas and the amount of paint and time needed to cover the background properly.

I also think i should be painting smaller dimensions (this is a 12x16in/ 30x40cm) as i’m still getting adjusted to oils. Perhaps i’ll try 8x12in/20x30cm next time. 

Beginning in oils

Do not for at least the first year of study, attempt to work in water color [..] but rather get your experience and knowledge in oil colors. Watercolor is a master’s medium.

I started laughing when i read the sentence this summer in Carlson’s “Guide to Landscape Painting”, after more than 1 year of struggling with watercolors. Carlson was one of the great American masters of landscape painting, so i guess he knew what he was talking about.

For the past months i kept playing with the idea in my head to move to oils. Watercolor as a medium is amazing, both in terms of artistic possibility as well as portability. But it’s also extremely unforgiving, with 0 tolerance for mistakes. I’ve come to feel that i would advance faster in my learning if i could get a bit more flexibility in terms of fixing technical mistakes and errors in composition, but i knew that it will be harder to handle all the mess, the paints, the mediums, the turpentines, etc.

So i’ve finally succumbed to the temptation and took the leap! Even though getting set-up for oils is much more complicated than it was for watercolors, both in terms of space as well as money, i feel that long term it’s better to have the choice of working between them both.

Throughout the month of August i’ve done all the setup, supplies ordering and toddler-proofing, as well as the inherent negotiating with the family on why i need to permanently occupy a third of the living room with my easel and still-life setup :)

               image

Almost done, so i’ll be posting soon pics of my first highly-unsuccessful (and i’m being optimistic in saying this) tries in this new medium.