Tag Archives: oils

advice for creative people

geological surveys on Mars show it’s hollow and filled with oil and water / mono print

Are you an artist or writer and you’re stuck with a project or maybe just not in the mood to work on it? Don’t beat yourself up over it. It happens to all of us. The thing about creativity is, I can’t force it. I guess there are writers or visual artists that can push through a block but I’m the type to put the project down until a better time.

Mars gets wifi / mono print

It can help creativity if you simplify your life. It takes a certain mental state like alpha brain waves or something for an artist to be in the groove, in the zone. If you have a job, family to care for, responsibilities etc. that’s enough to block the right brain waves. Time spent alone can help reset your brain to be creative.

dinosaur egg found on Mars / mono print

Your art is for your enjoyment. If you’re not enjoying it you should take a break and do something else. Just because you are creative doesn’t mean you owe the world your creativity. Unless you think the world owes you. In that case maybe you do owe the world. But as for me, I don’t owe the world. I wouldn’t like to feel “driven” like some artists feel. For me that would be an unbalanced mental state. And when I think about the meaning of “driven” I can’t relate metaphorically. I’m in control of my car. I’m the driver. I leave when I’m ready to go.

first murder on Mars

It doesn’t have to be something difficult, if you’re experiencing a creative block. You can goof around and amuse yourself like I do with these mono prints. There are tons of fun projects for writers too. I’ve seen things like black out poetry and some kind of games that writers can do for fun if the novel isn’t happening today. If you’re a writer you probably know more fun writing projects than I do. I know fun paint projects.

This advice is for artists that are not professional. If the art doesn’t pay the bills, who cares if it happens on any given week. If art does pay the bills, you probably know how to push through a block. If you’re an amateur like me then you’re doing art because you love it. That’s the true meaning of amateur. It’s good for me because it’s no stress. If it was a real job it would only be a short time before I want to quit. Give me a week to make someone mad by saying something stupid or someone making me mad and I’m outta there. Taking it easy on yourself leads to longevity in your art.

redbud / oils

The colors don’t show up in the photo exactly as they are but you get the idea.

The flowers are thick paint and I used my modified fan brush again to add texture. You can see the difference between my background glazes which are thin and the flowers which are thick. That’s the traditional way of painting. If you use both thin and thick paint it helps give the illusion of depth and the viewer’s eye has something to compare. The viewer might not realize it but the painting might keep their attention longer with that contrast of paint thickness and texture.

You can see the thick paint of the dead leaves on the ground, the thin paint of my background glazes and the thick paint of the flowers compared to the solid lines of the branches.

redbud painting update

There was a glare on the painting because of my shiny medium so I had to take the photo from the side instead of head on.

I’m not sure if I’ll go over the tree again or not. It might look like a lot of time consuming line work but its not that difficult and every time you go over a line it gets easier. Painting tiny lines always starts out a little awkward but by the time I’m done it goes fast. The secret is to thin the paint until its runny and have a coat of Maroger medium on the dry painting so you’re painting the lines on top of the slick medium. The background was dry and the medium is clear. If you paint a line where you don’t want one or if your line goes crooked you can easily wipe it off without destroying the background because of that layer of medium.

This close up shows the background vegetation, bushes, trees, whatever. I kind of faked that part. And it shows dead leaves on the ground. The ground is colors I mixed up in plein air and blobbed on at home and then scraped through with my palette knife to mess it up and give it a dead leaf texture. I mixed the colors for the background in plein air too and painted two or three gray greens and some sky spots then blended the edges with my modified fan brush. When the first glaze was dry I mixed up the lighter tint of burnt umber and faked in the bushes at home with my fan brush.

So far, the painting is monochromatic with three different textures.

You can see a few peeks of blue sky but the redbud is a short tree so when you see them from the road you don’t see sky through the branches. A redbud will blend in with the underbrush which hasn’t leafed out yet but it’s getting that more pink or red tint that shows up just before the buds become noticeable. I made my tree stand off the background with the contrast of lighter and darker burnt umber lines. I knew I’d need a background that was close to a middle value from light to dark for the more contrasty sticks to show up. This isn’t realism. They blend in with the underbrush in real life.

This is my modified fan brush. I cut the zig zag edge. Now I can paint five or more lines at once. It holds a lot of paint so when it’s loaded with nice thin paint and I’m painting in the couch, ( on top of the medium ) so I can do a background like this relatively fast. People that don’t know about the modified fan brush will think it took forever to paint all those lines and the hairy texture.

I got this far just in time because I think the redbud will be in full bloom this week. I’m excited because it’s almost finished. The purple flowers are next. I’ll need to underpaint the flowers with white first because the violet and amethyst paint is transparent and it won’t show up very bright on top of this background unless it’s on top of a layer of white.

Sandy Path / oils

It doesn’t really look exactly like this. Even though I’m trying to paint nature as closely as I can, this is still my interpretation of the scene. If you got 100 artists who are called realists or naturalists or whatever to paint here, you would get 100 different versions. If I paint the same scene in a few years it won’t look the same.

The colors in this photo aren’t as warm as they are in real life.

If you saw the previous posts, did you notice there were no trunks on the trees across the creek? What if I wanted to simplify? Just make general shapes and not do detail? Those tree trunks wouldn’t be missed but I like them there because they are a design element of short gray vertical lines that remind me of a ladder on its side.

I don’t see nature as simple so I don’t like to leave it at the underpainting stage of general shapes.

The greenish yellow bush on the right is there to break up the line of the edge of the path. As I looked at my painting last night, I decided to kill that sharp edge a little.

This scribble is a stick bush. I did that with my palette knife. It’s another design element to make the viewer’s eye go to the path since the stick bushes follow the edge of the path.

First I used my modified fan brush to go over the whole sedge field again and unify it a little. The dark shadows were too dark. The field is more even than I had originally painted it. Today’s glaze was a correction and now I think its better.

I used the edge of my palette knife to scrape in these stems for the sea oats. The vertical sharp lines here and the softer vertical lines of the tree trunks across the creek are similar design elements, one in the foreground and one in the background. It’s already there. I didn’t have to do any composition, which isn’t my strong suit, all I had to do was copy the beauty.

We have had some great weather for over a week and I hope it lasts. Today I needed suntan lotion. Soon I’ll have to bring the bug spray.