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My first oil painting

I've just finished my first oil painting. I worked on one in Austin while taking lessons with Mark, but I didn't get it finished. After I returned home, I got my studio set up and finally got to do my first one. It was a real learning experience. I've made loads of errors that I was conscious of right after I made them, and I know that I've learned a lot from my errors with this first attempt. I'm going to begin a new one right away and hope to make fewer errors and learn a lot more.

The painting, "Clay, Metal, Paper," is 14" x 18" on stretched, tinted, canvas.

I welcome all criticism, comments, and suggestions.


FlattysometassieguyRichard_PEstherHrodgerferris[Deleted User]KaustavL.DuranMauriceJuliannaSummerTerancebixbyWillis[Deleted User]BobHFiluren

Comments

  • ArtistMartin1

    Great first painting. Well done that man!

    May I suggest:

    The sea of green background is just too dominant - spatially and in chroma.
    The books are terrific, just needs the covers to verandah the pages a bit more.
    The coffee pot appears to be off vertical and skewed to the right.

    i expect you know this already, but it is a difficult set of objects painted with skill.

    Denis

  • edited January 2017
    Well done @ArtistMartin1 ! This is quite a complex arrangement of objects for a first painting and you've managed it well.  I think the fabric colour works OK and you've done a good job with the books.
    The only real problem is with the coffee pot. As Denis said, it's not quite vertical. But these problems will improve with practice. Yours is better than my first painting was. Keep painting.
  • dencal said:
    ArtistMartin1

    Great first painting. Well done that man!

    May I suggest:

    The sea of green background is just too dominant - spatially and in chroma.
    The books are terrific, just needs the covers to verandah the pages a bit more.
    The coffee pot appears to be off vertical and skewed to the right.

    i expect you know this already, but it is a difficult set of objects painted with skill.

    Denis

    Thanks so much for the kind comments, dencal.

    I agree completely about the green background. It didn't seem nearly that overwhelming in the shadow box, but certainly was in the painting.

    I has a really difficult time with the tea pot. Actually the drawing looks really good, I thought. But when I painted it I felt it needed some bumping and I really messed it up.

    I appreciate the critique. Objective feedback is so hard to come by. Thanks again.
  • tassieguy said:
    Well done @ArtistMartin1 ! This is quite a complex arrangement of objects for a first painting and you've managed it well.  I think the fabric colour works OK and you've done a good job with the books.
    The only real problem is with the coffee pot. As Denis said, it's not quite vertical. But these problems will improve with practice. Yours is better than my first painting was. Keep painting.
    Thanks for the feedback, tassieguy, I appreciate it. There's no doubt but that I'll keep painting. Today I'm going to set up a new still life and get started again right away. I'm going to do some more pots: silver, pewter, and ceramic. I think it will be a great excercise for color matching, texture, and drawing (in which I'm very weak).

    Thanks again for the encouragement.
  • Great first painting!  I wish my first one looked that good.  If I wasn't so embarrassed, I'd post a photo of one so you would be all puffed up and pleased with yourself.
    NanaBean
  • Great first painting!  I wish my first one looked that good.  If I wasn't so embarrassed, I'd post a photo of one so you would be all puffed up and pleased with yourself.
    The thing about posting is that you can really get some great feedback that helps you learn. I think everyone in the forum just wants to help one another. Why don't you give it a try and see?
  • Good job so far! I like your work attitude: immediately think about the next painting and planning to make less mistakes... if you realize that you make mistakes, why don't you correct them right away?
  • EstherH said:
    Good job so far! I like your work attitude: immediately think about the next painting and planning to make less mistakes... if you realize that you make mistakes, why don't you correct them right away?
    Thanks for the kind words. Actually, I did try to correct mistakes I saw while I was painting -- unfortunately I only made them worse  :'(:#
    EstherH
  • Congratulations on your first painting.  I like the books!  There may have been more value changes that should have been put in on them.  That's so important.  When we're first learning we don't always look close enough for them.  I would also work on softening some lines and only sharpen the lines that you really want to put emphasis on.  I look forward to seeing your next one.
    ArtistMartin1
  • Thank you very much for the suggestions, Ronna. I'll certainly keep them in mind when I start my next painting tomorrow.
  • Impressive first oil painting!
  • edited January 2017
    Good first attempt in oil painting! It seems tough in the beginning but it is more forgiving than watercolor!

    After you finish till a point you can check the following against your source:
    1. Value everywhere
    2. Shape of objects
    3. Abstraction (Randomness)
    4. Over-blending or overworked areas (hampers randomness and crispness)
    5. Exaggeration in areas (related to values to some degree)
    6. Lastly color accuracy (things above are most important than this one)
    Pick an object and check against the source if all these elements are there You can make a lot of corrections in oil painting before or after drying. This is sort of a 'check it yourself' method for accuracy.
  • Great 1st painting.  I'm also learning every day and get great feedback from the forum.  I also suggest you look at values next time. The colours are probably in the right place but it is like the contrast is way to high...I have the same problem with values and need to remember to tone them down or darken them a little and get the values closer together.  things might be a little crooked, but never mind for now. Perspective and value...the rest will follow
    Kaustav
  • @ArtistMartin1
    This is just so good for a first oil painting. You got so much right.  
    I hesitated  to say that it looks good for a first painting because it seems like a backhanded compliment. Sort of like telling someone they look good ' for their age '.   :) 
    It's a bit disheartening.
    What I mean to say is that your painting is really good and very pleasing to the eye.
    I love the colours you have chosen.
    I know what you mean about drawing. I have exactly the same problem.  The more I try to straighten an object , the more damage I do. Then I get to the point of no return with it.
    Perhaps someone could advise as to how to straighten that coffee pot which is so well painted and just slightly crooked.
    I feel if that were resolved , the whole painting would really work.  

  • Impressive first oil painting!
    Thank you very much.
  • Kaustav said:
    Good first attempt in oil painting! It seems tough in the beginning but it is more forgiving than watercolor!

    After you finish till a point you can check the following against your source:
    1. Value everywhere
    2. Shape of objects
    3. Abstraction (Randomness)
    4. Over-blending or overworked areas (hampers randomness and crispness)
    5. Exaggeration in areas (related to values to some degree)
    6. Lastly color accuracy (above are most important this one)
    Pick an object and check against the source if all these elements are there You can make a lot of corrections in oil painting before or after drying. This is of a 'check it yourself' method for accuracy.
    Kaustav, I appreciate your pointing out all of these items. It's really interesting -- I'm certainly aware of all these things given that I've watched Mark's How to Paint in Oil entirely four times and that I spent eight days with him in Austin. And yet, when I actually sat down in my studio to do this, even though I had all these points in mind -- for example, I color checked like mad -- I still found myself not doing them consistently, and that lack of consistency is, I think, what led to so many of the problems that appeared in the end result.

    I think I do have a good understanding of the method, but that's clearly not enough. It seems to come down to applying the method with great consistency throughout the painting sessions and not allowing yourself to deviate at this early point.

    As I begin my second painting, I will be strongly focused on these things.

    Thanks for taking the time to point all of this out to me.
    Kaustav
  • Hank said:
    Great 1st painting.  I'm also learning every day and get great feedback from the forum.  I also suggest you look at values next time. The colours are probably in the right place but it is like the contrast is way to high...I have the same problem with values and need to remember to tone them down or darken them a little and get the values closer together.  things might be a little crooked, but never mind for now. Perspective and value...the rest will follow
    Hank, I think you're absolutely right. I know that Mark talks in several places about the high contrast -- he says that that is one of the errors he sees most often in beginners. I know that I erred several times that way in this painting.

    I think one of the many things I did wrong was while focusing on color matching, not focusing enough on value matching. I'm going to try hard not to do that again in my next painting.

    Thanks for the comments.
  • You will start to see positive results from your third painting. That's what happened to me as well.

    Another thing that I want to mention is that you take brakes after spending an hour - set an hourly alarm or something. Otherwise you will be focusing more on the painting rather than the source. You will never know when you started to ruin the painting.
    MoeyMichele
  • Hilary said:
    @ArtistMartin1
    This is just so good for a first oil painting. You got so much right.  
    I hesitated  to say that it looks good for a first painting because it seems like a backhanded compliment. Sort of like telling someone they look good ' for their age '.   :) 
    It's a bit disheartening.
    What I mean to say is that your painting is really good and very pleasing to the eye.
    I love the colours you have chosen.
    I know what you mean about drawing. I have exactly the same problem.  The more I try to straighten an object , the more damage I do. Then I get to the point of no return with it.
    Perhaps someone could advise as to how to straighten that coffee pot which is so well painted and just slightly crooked.
    I feel if that were resolved , the whole painting would really work.  

    @Hilary, thanks so much for the comment. I got a kick out of your mentioning looking good for one's age. I just turned 79 and, thank goodness, am still tall and straight and walk with a firm gait. I often hear that I look good for my age and have to smile. It does seem backhanded, but I know that people don't really mean it in a backhanded way.

    When it comes to "good for a first painting," I also know that people mean that in a positive way. On the one hand, they're being honest by not just saying it's a good painting -- getting honest feedback is so difficult -- I know that from the many years I painted in watercolors. On the other hand they want to be encouraging, which I find very helpful.

    The drawing thing is the most difficult I think. Originally the pot was actually drawn better than it ended up being precisely because of what you said: the more I tried to improve it, the more damage I did.

    Again, thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. They're appreciated.


  • @Kaustav
    Thanks for the advice. Yes, I agree that taking breaks is really important. I'll make sure that I keep that in mind. Maintaining focus on the source seems to be really excellent advice. I don't think I did that enough in the first painting.
  • @ArtistMartin1 one thing I forgot to mention. is to check your whites...I know that if your whites don't balance to begin with your colours will be either too bright or too dark.  Just a thought..
    Enjoy..
    ArtistMartin1
  • @Hank -- I'm not sure what "if your whites don't balance" means. Could you explain that, please? Thanks.
  • @ArtistMartin1 Dan (Flatty) is right.  Here is a link that I found very helpful on this topic.  But keep in mind that Mark's new, smaller color checker works a whole lot better.


    ArtistMartin1Flatty
  • @Flatty and @Summer -- thanks so much. I understand this now and it makes a lot of sense to me. The timing was just right, too. I just finished the drawing for my second painting and will begin to paint tomorrow. I really appreciate the help.
  • @Summer -- I meant to mention that I have the smaller one.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited January 2017
    @Summer -- I meant to mention that I have the smaller one.
    Lucky you!  :)  My husband and I made several of the first design.  One I even customized with a lanyard (thanks to Denis's idea).  Then I bought the smaller one.  I use them both depending upon my mood for the days they are in use.  Here is the one with the lanyard.


  • ArtistMartin1 - thanks for sharing your painting with us all - you're definitely on the right track. I remember bursting into tears halfway through some of my initial paintings because I was so frustrated with them (I'm sure no-one else gets that up tight!) but as Mark says ...keep colour checking all the time and eventually everything comes together. Look forward to seeing your next painting :)
  • @Jacqui -- thanks for the encouragement!
  • @Summer -- that lanyard was really a clever idea.
  • I love it that you tackled clay, metal and paper - and I think this is a lovely first painting and quite a lot to take on - I have been over-complicating some of my current paintings so am trying to go to basics, like, just a lemon or just an egg.  I need to get my confidence up so I am no one to judge someone else's work.  Your books are fantastic and that clay pot feels like clay - I find pitchers, vases, bottles difficult to paint - I can draw it well but once the paint goes on and edges adjust - the whole thing can get wonky fast.  For me, an easy fix is to turn the canvas upside down - you'll see immediately what is off.  I also often look at work in a mirror - immediately it tells you what needs to be adjusted.  Too bad with a still life you can't flip it upside down - I take reference photos of the still life for expressly the purpose of flipping it upside down when I am struggling. 
    ArtistMartin1
  • @Julianna -- thanks so much for your kind comments. Interesting what you said about going to basics again. I just set up and drew my second painting -- a porcelain cup and saucer, a large, multicolored pottery vase, and a silver teapot. And then I thought, I'm just a beginner, why didn't I just set up one piece. Well, I'll start painting this since I already have it drawn (I'm very weak at drawing and it took a long time), but I'm already thinking that for my piece after this, I'm just going to do one interesting object.

    I read a discussion here on the forum about looking at a work in a mirror and upside down. It sounds as thought it's something I could definitely profit from. I'll give a try and attempt to get the knack of it.

    Again, thanks for leaving your comments, I enjoyed reading them.
  • @Hank, @Flatty, @Summer -- thought you might get a kick out of this after you all explained to me about balancing whites and how to do it.

    Yesterday, Sunday, quite late in the afternoon I finally finished the sketching for my next painting. I wasn't going to begin mixing my steps until today, but I thought that I'd balance my whites with my new understanding. So I went looking for a piece of wood to cut on the 45 degree angle.

    I couldn't find anything and late Sunday afternoon there was no hardware store to go to. I was complaining to my wife about this and she said, "You know, we have that very stale baguette in the kitchen I meant to throw away. It's hard as wood. Why don't you use that?"

    So I cut off a piece the right height, cut the 45 degree angle, put a piece of masking tape on it, then the white paint, and then balanced. Worked like a charm.

    Talk about necessity being the mother of invention  =)
    FlattytassieguySummer
  • Martin, this is really very good especially for your first painting.  I hope my first one will turn out half as good as this.  By the way, I'm still anxious to see how your bridal bouquet painting turns out.
  • Martin, this is really very good especially for your first painting.  I hope my first one will turn out half as good as this.  By the way, I'm still anxious to see how your bridal bouquet painting turns out.
    @Uncle_Steve, thanks for the kind words about my first painting. I think, however, regarding the bridal bouquet, you have me mixed up with someone else. I'm not planning to do a bouquet. Thanks again.
  • Hey Martin,  I still congratulate you on a fine painting but you are right, I did get you confused with another member.  It was ddelashaw that was doing the bridal bouquet.  Sorry, us old guys start looking the same after awhile.  Ha!!!
    ArtistMartin1
  • I just found this post, I know it is older but still very nice. A brave subject matter and as mentioned before I was struck by the books, very well done. Look forward to seeing your next.
  • Great first painting! Keep up the good work. Since a few were discussing their color checkers I thought I would share the one I made. I took a ping pong paddle and drilled a hole thru it. Then I took a curtain rod hanger and polished a smooth surface onto the end, bent it to the correct angle then screwed it onto the other side of the paddle. The paddle blocks out the view and focuses the eye onto just the area you are color checking. Crude but effective. ))


    dencalArtistMartin1FilurenFlatty
  • I like those books. Very effective effect somehow. I don't mind seeing them again in you next paintings. Good work for 1st attempt.

    ArtistMartin1
  • @Kingston, since I posted this, almost a year ago, now, I have indeed slowed down greatly. Good advice!
  • @Jack2015, thank you for the kind comment.
  • @tgarney -- really clever idea. Thanks for posting it.
  • @Kschaben -- thanks for your kind comment. Since that painting was posted almost a year ago, I've finished a few more. I do think (and hope :):) ) that they're getting better.
  • @tgarney did you switch to dishTV? that's a pretty good idea and it won't tip over when you set it down either!
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