Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Rocky Road to Erin

I CAN NOT BELIEVE THAT AN OIL PAINTING IS IN PROGRESS IN MY STUDIO?





Success is lined with failures. And this weekend was fraught with bumps in the road as I stumbled along relearning oils at poor Erin's expense. How shall I count my blunders: 1) Painting on an old canvas already occupied by a very poor painting of the kid; 2) Not whiting that painting out entirely with an oil based primer before beginning this one; 3) Using brushes that have been used for acrylics--making them unfit for acrylics and a trip to the supply store immediately necessary; 4) Not buying a large container of odorless paint thinner/brush cleaner when the clerk suggested it when I picked up the first tube of oil paint I've bought in decades; 5) setting up shop in the neat section of our lower level; and 6) Being too cocky and not putting my smock on as soon as I opened a tube of the stuff that won't come out in the wash.

What is really making the road hard is doing drawing corrections as I go. Instead of beginning with an accurate, relatively monochromatic painting done with thin oil washes, I chose to start with what was--and it just wasn't good enough!

But oopes aside, Erin is progressing. She is losing weight. Her eyes are her eyes. And her hair, ear, mouth, chin, neckline will fall into place the more my hand follows what my eyes see and my heart feels. --You do realize that this return to oils is another study I'm doing before beginning that double portrait--those babies are crying for the softness that only oils can do.

14 comments:

  1. Oh dear, it does sound like a long list of disasters, but in the end the result is very good , and even if not finished, you can see that it is going to be excellent. The skin tone is just spot on ! xx

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  2. Really nice. I ordered new brushes last night--most of mine have been used for acrylics, too.

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  3. LW, she is looking great! It's a testament of your considerable talent that you can jump in like this and have such a good result and resemblance (Are those Reeves paints in the photo?)

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  4. Hi Linda, to me Erin is progressing very well, I'm sure that at the end it will be a masterpiece. Ciao!

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  5. The skin is what I've been concentrating on Jane. There are so many slight variations in her face that make the shapes hers. Skin tones will be my primary concern when I get into that double portrait; poor Erin is suffering my experimentation. Thank you for your encouragement.

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  6. Well Hallie, I'm having second thoughts that I may have to get new brushes for the acrylics. As luck would have it, a catalogue came from Dick Blick and it reminded me that there are brushes that are for both acrylics and oils. That reminder made me recall that what I'm using may be that sort, (I always liked play in my equipment).Besides, I have narrowed down to three for this little painting; they are small points--the brushes I never use for acrylics. I've decided not to worry. It's the thinner I'm nearly out of having become a stickler for cleaning the brushes thoroughly.

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  8. I doubt anywhere close to a masterpiece Tito, but thank you. I don't think any artist ever thinks that the painting just finished is their masterpiece. The masterpiece is always the next one.

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  9. PS Celeste: I had to look at what oils I had bought on a lark. Yes, they are Reeves. They behave well, but do come out of the tube a bit dry. This is the first time I'm actively using linseed oil for mixing. I was reluctant to do that due to fear of extending the drying time, but I have been able to pick up painting the following day without disturbing what had been done previously. I would buy again.

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  10. Hi Linda. Here's what I've read about brushes. The same ones can be used for both oils and acrylics, BUT once they've been used for acrylics, they shouldn't be used for oils. I need to mark my brushes; I'll pick a color for acrylic, oil, and w/c--then paint a circle on the handle. (They all look alike after a while and I just grab one.)

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  11. I suspected that Hallie as soon as I wrote they were suitable for both mediums. I'm going to mark the ones I've pulled for the oils with nail polish and hopefully keep them segregated from the acrylic brushes. I don't think I'll have a problem. I'm using all the tiny brushes on Erin. I never use tiny brushes when I paint with acrylics-- I never paint tiny--I never paint portraits! This is a first in a very long time.

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  12. I really like the colours in the face. I have never worked with oils before. Best wishes

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  13. Melanie you should give them a try. I am have a ball with them. After painting with acrylics for a zillion years, a portrait commission, made me buy a Reeves starter set with eighteen colors, some odorless paint thinner and a little bottle of linseed oil. I selected a previously started, but never finished picture of my granddaughter to get reacquainted. Painting from dark to light with tiny brushes I never use for my larger acrylic paintings, this little picture is coming along and I'm enjoying the slow drying time that allows you to make corrections easily and the richness of the surface finish I hope the portrait goes as well; I am not a portrait painter. All the portraits I've ever made were done in pencil with the exception of one painting of my spouse in acrylics which came out very so so.

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  14. I find that you are making great progresses, Linda! I admire your courage, because I've always been afraid of the oils... they seem so difficult to me! I love the skin of Erin, and also the green of her dress! It will be fantastic when you finish it! Ciao!

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