As I type this we are covered in a 2″ sheet of snow and sleet, and I don’t think we are done yet. This gives me a great excuse to stay inside and practice my “hermitude”.

This week I spent time on a head-study.  Working on it was a struggle.  I just could not get into it. You know that grove you get into as a creative where everything else disappears and hours pass before you know it? Yea, that didn’t happen. But in hind-sight I like some of the looseness of it. Although it seems very neutral and non-committal, it reflects my mood at the time. So I am going with it.

NFS

NFS

Today I will be beginning the first in a possible series of vintage cameras. There is a turquoise colored model in particular I am interested. But, I do not want to go too far down the rabbit hole of still-life right now.

flower

Flowers in Feb

treelight

Kansas Sky

chalkboardwall

Chalkboard wall In work room always gets attention when people pop over.
I think it’s supposed to be a dragon?

 

Facial proportions can vary according to ethnic background and gender. Traditionally men have more angular faces and more pronounced brow just above the eyebrow line. Examine the images shown to see how the eyes fall in the middle of the entire skull, between the tip of the head and chin. In-between the eyes is a space equal to the width of one of the eyes. Halfway between the eyes and the tip of the chin is the line where the mouth opening will fall. Although the model on the left is a young adult female the proportions are the same as an adult. Her features are simply softer and less angular than what would be found in an older mature looking individual.

Remember these are merely guidelines and will need to be adjusted to fit the subject that you are depicting. Below is that of a middle aged male’s profile. When you are drawing a subject keep in mind where your light source is coming from. The same rules apply to drawing a human being as to drawing anything else. The trick is to be objective and to over romanticize, draw what you see and not what you‘think’ you are seeing. Look at the subject carefully and try to look at the person you are drawing more then the paper you are drawing on. Always work from life whenever possible, if you can not find a model or do not feel comfortable doing so as of yet, simply use a mirror and do a self portrait.

 

Part Three – Palettes

Part Two –  Mediums

Part One – Materials

 

This week included a couple of head studies in oil, and an unexpected field trip.

da2

9X12″ Study Oil on Canvas

lucy

9X12″ Study Oil on Canvas

I had a meeting to go to this week in Garnett, KS.  You can imagine how pleased I was to see that their Public Library also included an impressive Walker Art Gallery.

I did not plan ahead and only had my cell phone to take pictures. And well my cell phone takes terrible pictures due to the lens being scratched up. The collection includes Manet, Chihuly, John Stuart Curry and Robert Henri. Pretty impressive for our little corner of Kansas!

IMAG0102Example of a blurry cell phone pic of Manet.
Yes, THAT Manet.

Next week I will have the fourth installment of the “Painting in Oil Series” :0)

We all know what the traditional artist palette looks like: Large kidney shape with a hole for your thumb. But as an oil painter, what are your other options?

Michiels Guillame

Michiels Guillame

Types:

Wooden – The most traditional.  Manufactured wooden palettes are sealed with varnish or lacquer, but I prefer to season them also.  If you make your own you will need to “season” it. To do so you rub linseed oil into the wood with a rag and allow it to dry.  I do this a few times before I use it and then at the end of my painting session 2-3 more times, minimum.

Seasoning Palette

Small palette made from one side of a wooden cigar box. The right hand side was seasoned with linseed oil.

Plastic – Durable and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are usually made of a white plastic that will not stain.

plastic

Inexpensive plastic palette

Disposable – Convenient for plein-air painting, and are easy to clean up, made from layers of a wax paper.   The top layer is pulled away and thrown out after use.

disposable

Disposable palette with used layer torn away.

Re-purpose fast food containers – With the one shown below I use the lid as the palette and the bottom to seal it. I then place it in the freezer to help the paint stay fresh.

mcd

McDonald’s salad container as a palette

Glass – Can be placed on a work surface and any color of paper can be placed beneath to aid in mixing colors correctly. The surface can be scraped clean at the end of the session. Edges of the glass can be heavily taped to prevent sharp edges or a glass cutter can grind them down smooth. A glass thicker than 1/4″ works best.

glass

Reference photos can also be placed under the glass, so that you can mix paints on top and match realistic colors.

Other Variables:

Color & Tone – If you mix your paint on a dark brown, then go to place the same paint onto a white canvas it will not appear the same.  It helps to have a palette close to the color and tone of your working surface. Of course one option is to paint your canvas a closer value to the color of your palette. But this is not always an option.

Shape & Size – Rectangle or kidney shape are the most common.  A rectangle fits well in a paint box, while a kidney shape can fit more comfortable on the hand. Either way, in the end it is a personal preference.

Organizing Your Palette – How you place your paints on your palette is up to you. Some prefer light to dark, while others favor cool to warm.  Or even a random fashion, it is your call. It is only important that it makes sense to YOU.

Tips:

  • Place your colors along the outer edge so you have an open area in the center for mixing.
  • Start with fewer colors and add as you go, particularly if you are a beginner, so as to not waste paint.
  • Consider placing the colors the same location each time to build a reliable routine.

Note:  There is a new vertical palette on the market that intrigues me.  I haven’t tried it yet, but would like to soon. It is a vertical glass surface placed next to the painting, side-by-side.

These are designed by artist David Kassan and I believe they are available only online. If anyone has tried this I would love to hear your thoughts!

Painting In Oil – Part Two – Mediums

This week’s studio update is a bit different. I took a couple of days off to help move our oldest daughter and her family to Wichita. On the drive back I meandered and found a few interesting sites :0)

It does a spirit good to get out and explore a bit from time to time!

Yes Toto, we ARE in Kansas!

"Needle in a Haystack" Note there is actual rope (thread) hanging from the needle. :)

“Needle in a Haystack” Note there is actual rope (thread) hanging from the needle.

Taken at "Jurassic Art" in Rose Hill, KS

Taken at “Jurassic Art” in Rose Hill, KS

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Taken at “Jurassic Art” in Rose Hill, KS

Jurassic Park

Taken at “Jurassic Art” in Rose Hill, KS

I also ventured past “Sculpture Hill” which features the art of Frank Jenson. Sadly, I did not get any pics due to my own poor planning and my selfish desire to not get ran over by a roaring semi. But you can see his work at the Sculpture Hill website. And of course you can see a couple of his sculptures in front of one my favorite places, the Chanute Depot. The depot houses both the Safari Museum and the Chanute Public Library.

Frank Jensen Sculpture in Chanute, Kansas

Frank Jensen Sculpture in Chanute, Kansas

Meanwhile, inside the studio there is a new item on the easel I will share next week.

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