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Richard's Blog



  • Glad to see you're working on this one.  Looks lie you've found a good crop in a difficult photograph.  I particularly like all the primary colors and would be tempted to make one of those far fields a corn field to get some yellow in there.
  • Thank you both! I had to reduce down the saturation in the red to stop the blouse being overpowering as well as trying different crops.
  • Happy to see you're going ahead with this one, @Richard_P. Whilst it's a difficult photo in some respects (ie hard to crop) there is also lots to like about it - the primary colours of the clothes for example and the blue-green that gives depth to the background. Also your mom's smile and the way your dad looks at her is very pleasing. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with this. :)
  • This is going to be good. great expressions. You could leave out the shoulder straps to make it more simple if it's not part of the story.
  • The source photo is not just my mum and dad in the countryside, but as part of the rambling group (walking for a long time in the countryside) which is where they met. So the backpacks are part of the equipment they needed and so I wanted to keep that in to keep the rambling and first meeting association :)
  • Wow! I thought this was the source photo!!! Beautiful and perfect !
  • RenoirRenoir -
    edited February 10
    That background on your approach is very insightful. You have both the technique down pat and now your approach, that is, depicting an image as our eyes see it (binocular) rather than as a camera sees it (monocular - single eye). I think we can understand this but actually implementing it successfully is really a challenge. It's very helpful to know how you have conveyed it with a few harder edges in the face, the true focal point and less detail in the periphery items, the blouse pattern, etc. 

    I know I either get completely artsy and the outcome is patches of paint color on a canvas, or I can get bogged down in details and it looks stilted and not lifelike. But these are the steps we need to go through to get to the point you are now at.

    I feel like I'm moving away from trying to copy something as realistically as I can with a lot of steps and precise detail and more towards finding abstraction and the forms and showing flowing brush strokes, the sheer pleasure in painting on the surface which I want to come through in my paintings.

    This is wonderful. It seems you have successfully married technique with art and what a happy outcome!
  • Thanks Renoir, I'm glad that explanation was useful. As for the abstraction I'm just moving towards that, I wouldn't say I'm there yet! :)
  • I have ideas for my next painting, but no time as my daughter has a virus and is very tired and sleepy.

    Hopefully will find more time to start soon!
  • Looking forward to your next, @Richard
  • Thanks Rob. No time at the moment as have family over to see us.. our daughter is getting better but not back to normal yet.
  • Hope you get painting soon, and enter the challenge, best wishes fir a fast recovery with you daughter 
  • edited February 18
    Ah, the joys of parenthood!  Still, winter is nearly over in your hemisphere, @Richard_P, and you have spring to look forward to. :)
  • Enjoy your family.  I am so pleased to hear your daughter is doing better.

  • @Richard_P , I've been using a product for about a month that has made a much noticeable improvement in the way I feel (being susceptible to chronic colds and bronchitis) It's vitamin c but works so much better than any other Vitimin C I've used before. This really works for me and my daughters. I have to warn you though that it tastes like hammered dog crap and used orange juice.
    It's not as expensive here as it seems to be there. Maybe you can find it cheaper. At least it's available there. Good Luck 
  • BOB73 said:
    @Richard_P , I've been using a product for about a month that has made a much noticeable improvement in the way I feel (being susceptible to chronic colds and bronchitis) It's vitamin c but works so much better than any other Vitimin C I've used before. This really works for me and my daughters. I have to warn you though that it tastes like hammered dog crap and used orange juice.
    It's not as expensive here as it seems to be there. Maybe you can find it cheaper. At least it's available there. Good Luck 
    Thanks Bob, but I almost passed out when I saw the price! :o :dizzy:

    She is almost back to normal now. Maybe I'll also actually have time to paint when my mother in law has gone home at the end of next week..  :p 
  • Yeah, I'd have to be near death to spend that much too but I found it cheaper than amazon. If you can find it there at a reasonable price you and your tribe will find you have fewer colds and if you do get sick they will be gentler and not last as long. You might also find an alternate maker with the same ingredients. The delivery mechanism is what makes it work better. I believe this has helped reduce my hayfever and pollen allergy symptoms too. Pine trees here have started dusting already and they usually drive me to fits. Not one sneeze so far. Good Luck.
  • Nothing interesting to add, just prepping some panels for when I have time to paint again.. :p
  • edited February 26
    Some time ago I mentioned a drawing board I was working on. Well I've used it for a few paintings and it works well. It's basically a thick board with a sliding horizontal bar to use as a maul stick. It's a bit roughly made as I cut it with hand tools. I don't have a workshop or any power tools as I can't be trusted to cut off my own fingers.. I'm not very practical and pretty clumsy!

    It is a black expanded PVC foam board (10 mm) with 2 x 'Miniature Bearing Steel Linear Guides' screwed in on the left and right sides of the board.

    I first tried attaching the bar to the sliders on the rails with superglue but after a while the shearing motion of one side moving up slightly more than the other caused the glue to fail. I tried with magnets which can turn but it still happened. In the end I stuck on a raised edge around each slider area so the bar stays in place. Ok, here is what I mean.. here is the drawing board with the bar at the bottom:

    Now if I use both hands to raise up the bar it will stay where it is (it takes some force to push down):

    And here is how it attaches:

    I tend to like experimenting and coming up with ideas, but I lack the manual skills to implement most of them. But this one works well! :)

    I thought it might be useful to others here..
  • That's very interesting.  Can you take an oblique angle shot, so we get a sense of the depth of it?  Maybe just that last photo taken from an angle that isn't directly overhead.
  • edited February 27
    Great idea, @Richard_P!  And no doubt more stable than a mahl stick. :)
  • Now I get it.  Thank you for posting that.  
  • edited February 27
    Terrific @Richard_P, your design here has inspired me toward similar more developed version for painting the smaller canvases, but yet unresolved in my mind at this time. A board designed similar to what you find in the cover pochade box (easel part of box), but large enough and adjustable to accommodate to hold 3 to 4 different small size canvases as needed. I am inspired enough to create the drawing plans. Nice work and good craftsmanship for this effort! If anyone were inclined it is possible to manufacture these for sale on the market, I'm sure for quite a reasonable price. Perhaps feelers would have to be put out there to determine the need for such a product before proceeding in that direction, but looks good from here as a possibility.
  • Thanks all.  :) I'm not interested in trying to sell anything like this. But it's easy to make for anyone here to try. 
  • You be smaht.      :)

  • Oh my goodness gracious - that made me seriously belly laugh!!!!!!  you be funny too!!!
  • I've done a lot of work on my 'experimental' painting these last few days. I'm really out of my comfort zone and channelling my inner van gogh for this one! :open_mouth:
  • I love all of your work @Richard_P - I still can't get over that scene you did for your caretaker - holy cow.  And your portraits!  You are very talented and incredibly generous with your time and input.
  • Thank you. I hope you still feel that way when you see my next painting! :D
  • Well, she seemed to like i! :p

    Next.. I'd like to do something for the sargent still life challenge :)
  • I LOOOOVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE    IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I am so pleased - truly.  I really wish you would do a self-portrait in the mirror in that beautiful, colorful, flowing, alive style - it is like Van Gogh!!!  Wear a hat or scarf like Van Gogh would.  Your bold brushstrokes are so brave and alive - and then, you can switch so beautifully to your fine, detailed beautiful Bouguereau .   Gosh, isn't painting fun!
  • edited March 2
    Thank you Julianna :)

    So I've been looking for a while for a still life photo that grabs me for the Challenge. I don't have the setup / lighting to take a good photo of anything here at the moment. Anyway, I've found a photo I really like. It's not a post 1925 object as such, but I want to try more to paint in Sargent's style for this one.

    I'm mulling over in my head how he would have painted the shapes and how to reduce down the complexity in his style. A lot to think about!!
  • Just taking Julianna's painting off the drawing board to dry. Starting planning the Challenge painting now.

  • I know you don't like sharing your WIPs but I would love to see your process for the challenge.  I'm very much looking forward to it!  I'm on my 3rd "challenge" painting - I say " " because I would have never painted what I have had it not been inspired by the challenge.  
  • edited March 4
    I've been doing some reading about sargent's methods, and studying his paintings. For the backgrounds they often seem loosely scrubbed in. I found a good explanation regarding one of his paintings:

    "The painting is executed on fine linen canvas, which has remained unlined. There is a thinly applied pale grey oil ground, evenly distributed across the whole surface. It appears to be a commercial priming and is similar to that on the other paintings in the series. EDX has suggested that this ground is composed of lead white, chinaclay extender and bone black. Over the ground Sargent has applied a warm brown, thin, transparent priming which is most clearly visible at the lower right corner. This is a medium rich combination of lead white, iron oxide, chalk and chinaclay extender (see technical report, Joyce Townsend July 1998). Above this layer is an extremely loosely brushed, thin but opaque dark paint, applied in broad strokes, often circular or sweeping. The brushstrokes remain visible in the unfinished lower left corner. The warm brown priming remains visible beneath thin, opaque darker brown strokes in the lower right hand corner. "

    To try to capture some of the style of Sargent I'd like to try this for the background. The problem I have is that I don't use solvents (I don't have adequate ventilation, I have a 3 year old daughter and it's currently been around -1c outside). So I've been experimenting a little. I've applied a matte acrylic grey background, over which I've tried different brown pigments in acrylic ranges and water miscable oils.

    The problem I've found with the water miscable oils I have is that to get a thin consistency you have to add a lot of water which gives the resulting brush strokes more of a watercolour wash like effect. Nice, but not quite right for this. Trying to scumble in pure oil paint didn't work either, being too thick and opaque. I haven't tried adding both oils and water with the Water Miscable Oils yet.

    In the acrylics I found that again adding too much water caused more of a watercolour like effect. As acrylics don't have much body compared to oil paint I could take a student quality paint and paint it in directly with vigorous brush strokes. That worked, but the best result so far is when using a fluid acrylic range (such as Golden's Fluid line) either straight from the bottle, or with a few drops of water. 

    So at the moment I've leaning towards painting in the background and other loose areas with acrylics and then with normal Oil paints over the top.
  • Have you tried a little oil with wmo. Many who have posted here say they only use water for clean-up, not thinning.
  • I am going to try that tomorrow :-)
  • I tried a few things yesterday and although it's not quite right it seems a fluid acrylic paint with a firmer brush and more vigorous brushing motions works better than watered down acrylics, WMO's or oils painting into a couch.
  • So today I made a proper start on my Sargent challenge entry. I painted the background area in a light grey with acrylics, then I brushed over some burnt umber in various areas, and then a slightly watered down carbon black to get the kind of underpainting look you can see in some of his paintings.

    I then layered more acrylic on there, and will probably finish with oils when I have the rough background in place. So far, so good.. :)
  • I can't wait to see!!!
  • Still a lot to do yet. Are you entering something? :)
  • Oh! I see you have.. let me take a proper look!
  • Are you putting acrylic over oils?
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