Things I Learned as an Oil Painter: Thing #4

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maccski's avatar
Thanks for checking this out. Thing #4 sounds a bit deep:

Painting is more thinking than doing.

I'm essentially an impatient painter (that's why I paint alla prima). I get so eager to see how my painting will turn out that I jump in, brushes a-blazing. Time and experience have taught me that the more time spent carefully planning what to paint and how to paint it, the less time spent at the easel fixing problems. I have a few of my pieces at home that remind me of this. The composition is uncomfortable or there's not enough light, dark, variation of palette, etc., etc., etc.  Now I take time to save time and I get to see how my painting turns out sooner than I would've done.

Planning for me involves manipulating my source photo in Photoshop: cropping, altering hues/values etc.  Sometimes (like with my current painting) I completely replace a piece of the photo with something else (e.g. the background). Master Photoshop skills are not required because all I'm doing is getting a rough 'n' ready representation of what I want. I've even done it old-school with colour photocopies and scissors.  Then I  pick a canvas proportion to match the desired composition and consider the how the size of the canvas will work. Then I have to consider extra steps to take if the subject is particularly complicated. What are those extra steps? Well that would be giving away more "things" this space!

Thing #1:…
Thing #2:…
Thing #3:…

Why am I posting this stuff?…

Take a look at my Facebook page...if you like it, please "Like" it!…

Coming soon to dA journal near you: thing #5....
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glunac's avatar
I too am an impatient painter. Unlike you I rarely correct my mistakes... I seem to be more interested in getting an idea out of my head, more then how it looks so I move on to the next image that my brain is fixated on. LOL
maccski's avatar
I hear you - my problem is the image isn't truly out of my head until I'm happy with it on the canvas!
TomOliverArt's avatar
I spend a lot of my time in the taking photographs for painting subjects stage. I am impatient when waiting to paint, but finding the right thing to paint in the thousands of photos I take is something that takes time.
maccski's avatar
I find that the selection process is almost as much fun as the painting...
21stCenturyDamocles's avatar
i'm down with all that. i use photo shop to create the photo i want to paint rather then settling for not enough of a particular element light shadow saturation that sort of thing. im all with you on the planing i make a list of the problem components as i see them then i decided in advance what techniques are best for handling that particular issue. i don't really plane the pallet out as iv been painting long enough to be able to pick out what base colors i will need. i keep quite an array of tubes of paint on hand i hate to have to stop painting to run to the art store because i don't have enough of something. i tend to adapt photos to my color needs its part of my style im vary traditional when it comes to pigments mostly old master pallet but i have my favorite surprise colors. ok im digressing sorry you are good for doing this thanks
maccski's avatar
Digress away, my friend. It's all interesting stuff.
21stCenturyDamocles's avatar
i wanted to add one thing. to the painters that say they paint off the cuff you will have more success by volume if you plane your works out. i don't think i have had a clunker painting in years and that's because i think about my work for a good while before i start it. i know there is this argument for spontaneity that is thrown around like some credo that's just a 1930's left over from the revolt against academic painting. i'm certainly all for creativity in ones work but that dose not mean you can't plan the best rout to get were you want to go if you really want your work to say something specific then its an imperative. that was more or less a response to one of your other commenters
21stCenturyDamocles's avatar
Careful what you ask for i can really go off on a tangent some times. art and its production is such an expansive subject one thing leads in to another
LauraHolArt's avatar
This is an interesting 'thing.' I would have said painting, for me, is more doing than thinking. I might have a reference object and a feeling but that is it..... out come the paints and here is to luck! It is always exciting to see what comes out..... I am obviously more impatient than you :laughing: :D
maccski's avatar
That's a great way to paint! Unfortunately for me when I try that I invariably go through an "I hate it" stage until I've figured out where I went wrong. You're lucky (and impatient)!
LauraHolArt's avatar
I quite often have an 'I hate it' stage working this way and sometimes it is a bit of a struggle to pull the painting out of the bag. I feel like I learn more this way though and some of the paintings I hated the most at the time are the ones I love now. I know what you mean though, sometimes it would be nice to skip the torturous 'I hate it' stage as it is rather tiring!!
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