Painting for September 23 WIP

30 Paintings in 30 Days, Blog, my art
september23-wip-bettercrop
©2016, Emma Pittson, “Face Study no. 17”. Acrylic and oil on wood panel, 8″ x 6″

I always lose steam by the end of the week, so today’s painting for the 30 in 30 challenge might be a little late…

On the plus side, I might have figured out the best working method for me:

  1. Apply acrylics for the base “flats”, smooth where possible
  2. Paint the eyes and other fine details in acrylics ONLY
  3. Paint over only certain areas in water-soluble oils as needed.

And that way, I’ll get my nice, smooth surfaces, and my fine detail, and not want to tear my hair out! 😉

In case you were wondering, this painting is 90% acrylic.  I only painted over in oils parts of her nose, lips, ear, and the lower part of her cheek.

Painting for September 13

30 Paintings in 30 Days, my art, painting FAILS

september13

This one’s a-goin’ in the garbage, yes sirree!

Well, it had to happen eventually: I finally conducted an experiment that ended up being a near-total failure.  This one definitely put the PAIN in painting.

We have two bottles of oil (both Holbein products) that go with our Holbein water-soluble oil paints.  The first one contains linseed oil (which I have used with some success), but the other contains a darker liquid, and it’s called “Painting Oil Medium – Water Soluble Blending Oil”.  This confused me somewhat because that sounded an awful lot like what linseed oil was supposed to do.  Were these products interchangeable, then?  Short answer: NO.

First of all, even with proper ventilation, this stuff REALLY stinks… which kind of defeats the whole point of using non-toxic water-soluble oil paints, no?  Secondly, it didn’t deliver on its promise of being a blending oil.  Oh sure, it extended the paint somewhat, at first… and then it started to clot and gunk up on my palette.  Behold the beautiful results above!

Anyways, between the smell and the clumping, I ended up rushing through the painting.  My only goal was to approximate a portrait, then get it downstairs to off-gas in my garage as quickly as possible.

Oh, did I mention that I chose to paint on an ultra-smooth panel?  Well, guess what?  I now know that oil paint doesn’t like being scraped across ultra-smooth panels!  Who knew?

On the plus side, I do like the unfinished clothing and the eggshell white background.

The Blue Lady

acrylic, Portraits
20160426_115959
©2016, Emma Pittson. “The Blue Lady”, acrylic on paper.

Every now and then, I like to get back to basics and do a proper study.  Since most of the paintings that I have planned center on portraits of women wearing late 60’s – early 70’s clothing, an image from my copy of La Fileuse (a French knitting pattern catalog) from 1968 was a good place to start.

Being a sucker for punishment, I also decided to use only white and Phthalo Blue (“the priceless troublemaker”, as Carol Marine would say).  Here’s what I learned from this particular experience:

  • I’m pretty happy with the results, but I have to say: Carol Marine was right about Phthalo Blue.  Even the tiniest drop will have far-reaching consequences.  Use with caution!
  • Along those lines, no amount of white on top of Phthalo Blue will be nice and bright.  Best to use a light touch.
  • Because I wanted crisp lines along the edges of the painting, I applied a light coat of matte medium along the edge of the artists’ tape.  The paint didn’t bleed, but it did form a kind of “shelf”.
  • Also, when you look at the painting from the side, there’s a slight difference in sheen where I applied the medium, and where I didn’t.  I’m pretty sure that can be solved by applying a varnish all over, but that reminds me that…
  • … I forgot to varnish the painting before removing the tape.  Oops.