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COMPLETED - Cinque Terre



  • Welcome back @PaulB. Yes, the smell of clove oil! Looking forward to watching this incredibly complex painting evolve. 
  • Thanks @Boudicca.  The smell of cloves is back, and so are the streaks of paint up my arm.

    Now that I think the drawing is good enough in places, I'm just going to cherry-pick fun little elements to paint for a while.  This one is more about enjoying detail work than completing a painting quickly.
  • Welcome back @PaulB. You will enjoy competing this beast, and we'll all just sit back and enjoy the show  :)
  • Found this interesting blog and post on Dibond. Perhaps you've already found it!
    Thanks for posting that, I had seen this before, and quite like the humor of that blog, but had lost the link.  Recommended read.
  • Day 9 (41 hours in)

    I've been trying to tighten up the drawing in places.  This crazy geometry is hard to reproduce.  Every house I look at has missing lines, or lines that really should be parallel.  My eraser is also proving ineffective.  There are not many buildings in the drawing that are drawn well enough to paint.  You can see here, that there are many mystery lines I need to resolve.

    But I did find one house that was as simple as possible, and put that in.  This raises a new problem for me.  I'm used to small wood panels that I can hold and rotate in one hand, with brush in the other.  This is not possible for a 120cm x 80cm panel, so I find I'm getting arm fatigue very quickly, and with a lightweight, swiveling easel, I have nothing to lean against.  This is making the fine strokes difficult.

    A Mahl stick might be the answer, except I'm not sure what I can lean that against, that has stability.

    I'm trying very hard to do a more painterly job here, but it's too early to tell if that's working.

    I'm not blending either.  I will try to get away with not blending as much as possible, although that might not work well with the boats and umbrellas, which are synthetic materials and colors, and very smooth textures.  We'll see.  I probably won't get to the boats until 2018, which gives me time to learn how to paint.
  • Oh yes, this is going to be great.

    I think you are going to need a mahl stick for this. Might be time for a sturdier easel.
  • @Boudicca I think you're right, a sturdy easel would help.  Time for some research.  On the other hand, a simpler solution would be to never paint something this large again.
  • This is just so crazy awesome.  I thought I was in deep.  Wow.  And you are doing so well.  Welcome back.
  • I have a half/sheet of 3/4" plywood. Its own weight makes the whole thing stable but you may want to clamp or screw it down. I'll  have to make a new easel but I still  have the plywood.
  • so glad to see you back in your studio @PaulB .  This is going to be awesome.  I agree with @Boudicca about the mahl stick - I have a funky contraption that can be used all kinds of ways and I love it  I can mount it and flip it and even slide the stick out to help with straight lines (sliding my brush handle along the straight edge for ship sails for instance) - I have been painting about 8 hours a day and I tend to get lost in it so I can be quite sore at the end of the day.  I don't take breaks and lose track of time - it is just when my arm is so fatigued or my neck and back hurt at night that I realize I need to be more aware of ergonomics.  With a canvas your size, can you flip it on it's side or upside down to help with your positioning?  Unfortunately for me, I've been working on still life set ups and so turning the subject matter upside down is impossible.  I'm trying to adjust my seat position or stand but that is interfering with my eye line proportion to the subject.  Who knew it could be so tiring??!!  Using a reference photo though should allow you to stand, flip, sit etc...  I used to be a dental hygienist and the most important thing was ergonomics - I saw more hygienists and dentists have to quit because of wrist, back, neck problems.  It is very important that we keep our spine in line and pay attention to posture when painting as well.  Hugs to you and I hope you are well.  
  • @MikeDerby Thank you.  "In deep" is certainly the feeling I have, although not in a daunting of foreboding way.  Yet.  I do plan on taking breaks to do other paintings, to prevent this from being all-consuming.

    @BOB73 I agree, an easel that has some weight is what I need.  For now, all the weight is in the panel, which is bad.  It's going to fall off some day.  I've just realized that the panel is next to an open window, so even the wind could blow it off.

    @Julianna Thank you.  That hand rest is interesting.  That's the kind of thing I'll need to attach to a proper easel.  Good suggestion.  You make a good point about being able to adjust the height of the work, to keep it all in the eye-line.  I do now have an adjustable height stool, as well as a full office chair to choose between, in addition to standing.  Having that flexibility is good.  I don't think flipping the panel is workable for me - I rely too much on thinking about placement of shadows rather than simply painting what I see.
  • There are a lot of good easel ideas on youtube. some of them are great but too light weight build one out of two by fours and use real wood screws size 12 - 14 (with countersunk washers) or bolts, don't use drywall or deck screws. I think if I wanted to paint on big supports I'd use four upright 2x4 and three cross pieces plus the base. Something like a double Mark Carder's 2x2 easel. 
  • SummerSummer -
    edited August 2017
    If ever we build another studio, my husband and I, we would design and build a wall easel for sure--for small and large paintings.  I paint standing mostly these days, but have adapted my studio for both standing and sitting.  Just saying.{moz:distributionID}:{moz:locale}:{moz:official}&tbm=isch&gws_rd=ssl   

  • @BOB73 I'm not going to be building an easel - I'm not good at that stuff.  I'll buy, but I don't know what yet.  It seems prudent to wait and see what the new Geneva easel has in terms of features, I'm sure it's well thought out.  I'm okay with it looking like an Alien skeleton, but I just hope it's not seven feet tall, and can grip a thin panel.

    @Summer A wall mounted easel would be nice, but I don't have rooms with free wall space, and I like the idea of retreating to another room when visitors are here.  That said, those are interesting option in that link.  Thanks!
  • This first guy is on the right track but he doesn't know how to use tools.

    This second one is the one I thought of building next but I would make it out of 2x4s and cross-brace the back. I would get bigger pipe and make them about 7' long. For your situation I'd go wider too. Instead of hinges I would use HD corner braces 12"-14"

  • SummerSummer -
    edited September 2017
    @PaulB ; Welcome back.  You mentioned something about a Carder easel.  I can't seem to find anything about it on the website or Internet.  Maybe just by special order now.  Might have to contact by email at the Geneva store.  It is quite tall and I don't know about gripping a thin panel.  A thin board, yes.  Here is an overview of the two Carder easels that may or may not be of help to you.  If you have any questions, please ask. 

    I have been using a Mark Carder easel for several years now and in this pic there is a 3/8ths-inch canvas art board in place for painting.  My husband re-shaped the four pointed metal pieces even further than they were originally to almost needle size now.  You can't see the needle points from this view because they are holding the board in place.  (See the red indicators in the photo.)  The easel holds even thinner boards now, so it can grip a thinner board.  Then we gave the 3/8ths-inch board added support by simply setting a piece of appropriate sized lumber behind the board between the back of the board and the easel.  Works fine!  Because the easel is made of wood, it is easily customized here and there.  The easily removable black lap board is visible and is one of the things we added.  We made several other modifications as well.  The easel is tall and easily adjustable.  We keep it at 7 1/2 feet.  It's adjustable even higher from there.  This easel is naturally heavy.  The DIY easel is lightweight, not easily adjustable, and needs a weight added to the base, like concrete blocks or a weight-lifting iron.  (The one on the left.)  We really like both of them but I'd also like one wall-mounted easel some day.   :)   Summer


  • 3/8X3/8" 8' long channel other sizes and shapes at DIY stores some have pre-drilled holes for mounting.38 in x 38 in x 96 in Metal Mira Lustre U-Channel Moulding
  • @Summer thank you.

    At 7 1/2 feet, I think that easel would be limited by my ceiling height.  In fact, many of the easels I see online stand at least 6 feet tall.
  • You have to be careful, some have a mast that lowers with the painting but some have stationary masts.
  • dencaldencal -
    edited September 2017

    I would have thought your Artristic would handle these issues?
    Have you seen the Artristic mahlstick?


  • @BOB73 You are right, and I can't just buy an easel online without having seen it operate and measured it.  For example, does it fit in a room with 7 foot ceilings and operate in either a standing or sitting height, with room for a 1m panel?  It's impossible to tell from the specs.

    @dencal the Artristic has limitations.  A 120cm x 80cm Dibond panel is a little too heavy for it, it won't go completely vertical (close but not quite), and once a painting is locked into the artristic, you can't raise or lower the height without a friend to help.

    The hardware itself for the Artristic, while nicely made, is essentially made of telescopic tripod legs, and these all wobble.  Further, the "paws" that grip the painting do not properly align, and cannot tightly grip anything.

    I have seen the Artristic mahl stick, but I don't believe I can lean anything on it because of stability with large panel sizes.
  • PaulB

    Dibond at 120x80cm is 4.5 kilograms, a dawdle for the Artristic. I have used heavier MDF panels.
    The centre support has a lever lock to allow raising and lowering a mounted panel easily by one person.
    My tripod legs don' t wobble, but I have an older design model.
    The eight pin locks on the inside of a canvas stretcher are the most secure grips I have seen on an easel.
    I assume your problem is with Dibond and the pin locks. What about hot glueing some short stretcher strips on the back of the panel to secure to the pin Locks?


  • Artists are supposed to be clever and be able to make anything work. That's what the manufacturers of these devices must think. Why make it easy ha ha. One thing good is many manufacturers of easels have good online support and can probably answer your questions. Jerry's Artarama has a lot of videos on the various models. they're short but give a little more insight. Jerry's carries most of the brands and amazon, dickblick do as well. You should be able to get the manufacturers website from them or google if all you have is the name. 
  • The first is an offset mirror clip $.52/pr; the second is a felt lined 3/8 mirror clip $.72 ea. both Home Depot. I think a few of these on a 3/4 slab of plywood will make that dibond behave. You can even drop it on its corner with confidence. the ply wood might dent but the dibond or mdf panel won't.
  • dencal said:

    Dibond at 120x80cm is 4.5 kilograms, a dawdle for the Artristic. I have used heavier MDF panels.
    The centre support has a lever lock to allow raising and lowering a mounted panel easily by one person.
    My tripod legs don' t wobble, but I have an older design model.
    The eight pin locks on the inside of a canvas stretcher are the most secure grips I have seen on an easel.
    I assume your problem is with Dibond and the pin locks. What about hot glueing some short stretcher strips on the back of the panel to secure to the pin Locks?
    Agreed, 4.5 kilograms is no problem, it's that the whole thing wobbles and comes close to tilting when I rotate the Dibond around the vertical axis.  The center support does indeed raise, but it's not easy.

    Securing canvas works well, I tried it.  Dibond not so well.  I have done what you suggest, which is to build adapter rails.  It grips those well, but it's still all out of alignment, and I'm afraid to bend it back.

  • I love it.  So very cool.
  • Ohh, that's looking good now!
  • Oh, Wow! This is looking good. Your drawing is amazing. With all the colour in it will be a feast for the eye.
  • Great idea, I'm thinking that this really helps you to orientate yourself
  • Hey Paul what are your plans for those 17 panels? What kind of pics did you take recently?
    Yeah, you guessed it, I have a lot of source material for those panels, and more.

    I recently took a long last trip to my childhood home, places I used to play as a kid, visit with my father, old family homes, and so on.  All the places I remember.  I plan on trying to pull out nice little compositions from those, and painting a set of smallish panels.

    It's mainly for practice, but I imagine one or two might be worth keeping  I have one in progress now, which is a simple landscape on a dark day.  I'll post it when I'm done ruining it.
  • This looks hard. God speed in your journey and please post a lot of progress photos.
  • Mio said:
    This looks hard. God speed in your journey and please post a lot of progress photos.
    I wouldn't say hard, perhaps complex, or fussy.  Nothing I've done so far has been difficult, except finding and buying Dibond.

    I used a grid to make the drawing, and not a proportional divider.  I figured using a divider would just mean thousands of measurements, and I don't like the idea of that.  I'm happy using a grid, and tolerating a few misplacements, because I don't think it ruins the overall effect.  I've already had to invent things to fill a few small gaps in the drawing.

    I do expect a lot of it to be fussy, and that's partly why I am doing this.  Apart from it being a fabulous photo (thanks again @WIKEN), it has a lot of challenges which I want to take on: ocean texture, perspective madness, lots of little abstract figures, brickwork, rock, greenery, and that unstructured mess of a hillside on the left.

    I think if there is a hard part, it will be something mundane, like trying to make the ocean surface look right, or those grass/weeds in the foreground.

    There will be lots of pictures.
  • It sounds like you have a good plan for working this piece. I can see how putting all the windows in gives a better sense of progress and direction. Keep up the good work.
  • Wonderful progress!!!!!!!!!!!!   Thank you for sharing with us.
  • @PaulB, not bad for a Pom  :p

    Really though, just amazing. 
    Why is it that after you post a photo, then you see the errors, happens to me often.
  • Nice progress, quite an undertaking. Like undertaking the ship in the harbor. ouch.
  • Boudicca said:
    @PaulB, not bad for a Pom  :p

    Really though, just amazing. 
    Why is it that after you post a photo, then you see the errors, happens to me often.
    Love it.  A pom who has relatives who live just east of Perth, I might add.

    No kidding, I put away the brush, cover the palette, sit back, and all the problems leap out at me.  Every day this happens.  Perhaps I should drink more.
  • BOB73 said:
    Nice progress, quite an undertaking. Like undertaking the ship in the harbor. ouch.
    Glacially slow progress, you mean.  It's a good thing I take a break from painting to do other paintings - I'd go nuts otherwise.

    There are 70 boats, so I thought I should make a start on those.  Nope.
  • You'll be an expert at painting boats by the time you get to the 70th
  • Don't blow your brains out if after it is done you have six fewer houses and eight more windows than your original count. 
  • You will have set a DMP record on all fronts, having painted everything there is to paint architecturally the most number of times--haha.
  • Day 15 (64 hours in)

    I would like some feedback on the ocean surface texture.  I added just a little of it right in that little inlet, and want to know if it's working, or whether I'm overdoing the detail on the surface.  I have a feeling I could/should get away with less.

    I'm starting to notice that the color of one house is reflecting off the next one, but only when zoomed way in.  I'm adding a little of that, for depth.

    Found four windows I forgot to paint.

    I also salvaged the boat, but I'm still not happy with it, and may sink it again.

  • I think the bit of sea you've done works well, @PaulB. Just do it bit by bit with correct values until you get the canvas covered and then you'll be better able to see whether you need more detail in parts of the sea. My inclination would be to treat it fairly broadly until then.
  • I'm glad you found some more windows to paint, you clearly need a few more.

    I don't mind the pattern you have put in the sea, but the contrast between the lightest and darkest ripples could be a bit too high. You could try stabbing a dry brush over it, to fuzz it up a bit and to reduce the contrast. Or given it is in the distance, and the water area is so big, you could just leave it smooth and indistinct (which would also help with atmospheric perspective), but add some broad scale variability in value and colour (like in the photo) to break the area up. Might just be a case of experimenting.

    Don't sink you boat just yet. I think what is putting they eye off is the dark band on the inside of the boat closest to the viewer - its kind of ambiguous what it actually is.

    The buildings you have painted so far are terrific. 
  • The sea looks ok to me @PaulB, I think I would agree with Rob on the way to approach this.
    The lonely blue boat is fine, just needs some context and some mates.
    This is coming along really well, and I'm enjoying your updates
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