Here’s an animated GIF of a winter speed painting I did a while ago, and several different variations of the same image. I digitally painted this as a color study for a miniature oil painting. When I get a chance to scan the oil painting, I’ll post it online. If you don’t see this image changing, give it a moment, your internet may be slow (or something went terribly wrong on my end).
Here’s an oil painting of my assassin dad (note to FBI, he’s not actually an assassin). This painting took much longer than it should have. I finished it earlier this year (it was an assignment from one of my first oil painting classes a year or so ago). I basically used this painting over the course of a year or so to teach myself how to paint. By the time I was almost done with this painting I was taking an alla prima painting class and it was extremely hard to continue painting in this hyper-polished painting style (this was the kind of painting style I had to resist to complete this painting). A little bit of the alla prima painterly brushstrokes are visible in his facial hair. This painting went through a lot of major transformations during its creation. I don’t think I took many photos of this painting in progress but I’ll see what I can dig up. It was really hard to get my father to make a serious face for the reference photos. The painting looks a lot better in person because it doesn’t have those annoying glares that the scanner picks up.
On a related note this is one of the first paintings I did on my own hand primed surface. I used hardboard (it’s not called Masonite you buffoons!) that I purchased from Lowe’s. I believe it’s 3/16″ hardboard. My father and I cut the hardboard on his table saw. I sanded and gessoed (not using traditional gesso, but rather an acrylic emulsion) the hardboard myself. I applied the “gesso” with a foam brush. That was a terrible mistake (or maybe the gesso I was using was bad). Somehow little bits of hard gesso would catch on the foam brush and drag into the gesso application, leaving random vertical and horizontal indents. If I redid this painting I’d make sure to get an even surface on the board before painting (and I’d re-cut the board using a band saw).
Because I need strong wood glue to keep a painting attached to the wood braces.
Lately I have been doing a lot of prep work for future paintings. I also am looking into wood bracing (often referred to as cradling) for two finished paintings (which, now that I think about it, aren’t even on my website yet). After searching through dozens of threads on WetCanvas and AMIEN, I still wasn’t exactly sure what type of glue to use to attach the bracing to the back of the paintings but I knew that I wanted the bracing to be strong. After reading about some strength tests with several types of glues, I made a not-so-quick trip to Lowe’s and I purchased Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Glue Max (they also offer a non “max” wood glue). For the test I used 3/16″ hardboard (often mistakenly referred to as Masonite) and 1″ x 2″ select pine wood for the bracing. I used the Wood Glue Max to glue the select pine to the hardboard. The glue was allowed to dry for 24 hours (although this test was actually done several days after gluing).
Here’s a video of my testing the strength of the glue:
As you can see, the glue held a strong bond and the wood broke instead of the glue. I will definitely be using this wood glue in the future, and no, I’m not being paid by Elmer’s to praise their product.
Here is a speed painting I completed several weeks ago. It is a red landscape (from my imagination!) digitally painted using Adobe Photoshop CS5. There’s not much else to say about it. Now that I think about it, this image may be more orange than red. Let’s just say it’s a Cadmium Red Light landscape.
Casein Painting: Methods and Demonstrations Review
What is casein paint? According to Wikipedia (teachers just love it when you cite Wikipedia), casein paint is a fast-drying and water-soluble paint made from milk casein (casein is a type of protein [eating casein paint will not make you stronger]). Casein paint has been used for a long time. When casein paint thoroughly dries it becomes water resistant (like acrylic paint). Casein paint is a fairly versatile medium. It can be used like watercolor or gouache, and dries to a nice velvet-like matte finish. When dry (and isolated using a varnish), casein paint can be used as an underpainting for oils. According to Casein Painting: Methods and Demonstrations, casein paint “provides an excellent stepping stone for the watercolorist who wants to do oil painting, and for the oil painter who may have hesitated in the past to attempt watercolor.” I was first introduced to casein paint in a Stephen Quiller book (maybe I’ll review it some day). If that’s not enough of an introduction to casein paint for you, feel free to check out this thread on the WetCanvas forum.
Now that we all know what casein paint is, we can move along to the review. The book is Casein Painting: Methods and Demonstrations by Henry Gasser. This book had its first print in 1950 (before computers, cars, fire, and language [basically the ice age]). You can buy it on Amazon.
Henry Gasser covers the materials used when painting with casein paint (brushes, palettes, surfaces), casein paint as watercolor, using casein paint opaquely like gouache, painting with casein paint on gesso panels, making an underpainting with casein, mounting paper, etc. If you want to know more about those things you should read the book.
Henry uses the following palette:
Cadmium Yellow Light
Cadmium Red Light
French Ultramarine Blue
Chromium Oxide Green
The paper in Casein Painting: Methods and Demonstrations has a nice gloss but tears easily when turning from page to page (the book is old so perhaps in its prime the pages didn’t tear so easily). There are a total of 7 color reproductions in this book. I wish all of the images were printed in color but I understand that the publisher saved money by printing it mostly in black and white. Casein Painting is a fairly short book, being only 67 pages long (or short), but had the author decided to bulk up the book by including frivolous information, then the book would be too long. The 67 page length seems just about right for Casein Painting.
I think that this book is a good introduction to casein paint and provides practical examples of how to use casein paint. If you collect art instruction books, this may be a nice addition to your collection (just remember to be careful when turning the pages). As of this review, Casein Painting can be purchased on Amazon for $15.20.
Here’s another speed painting I did a couple of weeks ago. As you can see, it is a mountain range and a body of water of some sort. That’s why I’m referring to it as Mountains and Lake. This is actually the third digital speed painting I did. The first two are not to be seen by human eyes. This was digitally painted in Adobe Photoshop CS5 using my Monoprice drawing tablet (the unboxing of that drawing tablet can be seen here).
In other news, it’s currently snowing in Michigan…in April. You never quite know what to expect from the weather here.
Here is another speed painting of mine (an antarctic speed painting!). This was “painted” a couple of weeks ago (sorry it took so long to put it on here). It may have nothing to do with the arctic at all. Some nice chunks of ice and water are present in the image. I’m still learning and I’d be lying if I said that digital painting wasn’t frustrating. It is frustrating, but pushing forward even though something is frustrating is how you get better.
This digital painting was painted in Adobe Photoshop CS5.
My Colored Pencil Painting Bible review.
The book that I’m reviewing today is Colored Pencil Painting Bible: Techniques for Achieving Luminous Color and Ultra-realistic Effects by Alyona Nickelsen. The first thing that I noticed about the book was the cover (duh). That’s a pretty great colored pencil drawing (or painting as the author calls them). The basic technique used throughout the book is essentially layering color with wax based colored pencils (Prismacolor pencils), using solvent (such as Gamblin’s OMS Gamsol) to remove visible pencil strokes and blend the colors together, and finally layering more colored pencil (burnishing where needed) to complete the “painting”.
In the Colored Pencil Painting Bible, Alyona talks about different types of paper, pencils, solvents, and other things such as erasing tools. She tells the reader about color charts and how the reader can create them. This book briefly covers art fundamentals such as composition, color, value, light, and shadows. The author also talks about different pencil strokes, blending, layering colors, burnishing, and image transferring.
At the end of the Colored Pencil Painting Bible the author includes charts that list the lightfastness (how permanent or unaffected by light the color is) of colored pencils. The information can be useful to artists who use colored pencils such as Caran d’Ache Luminance, or Faber-Castell Polychromos. The majority of artists that I know (including myself) who use colored pencils prefer Prismacolor Premier pencils. The charts have no lightfastness ratings for those pencils, which was a huge letdown for me. Thankfully for you, I took the initiative to find the lightfast ratings for the Prismacolor Premier colored pencils. You can see that chart here.
One nice tip I took away from this book is how to obtain a rich black color. Alyona applies black colored pencil to the paper (she prefers Stonehenge), and melts the wax with an OMS wash. Next, she layers indigo blue, dark green, and tuscan red. She then adds another layer of black and blends the mix with a colorless blender.
While I think that Alyona’s technique is nice, I think that the book could be shorter and have a smaller price tag (although as I write this review the book is only $17.15 on Amazon). I think that it has too many exercises in it that just bulk it up. This book provides a good foundation for anyone interested in furthering their knowledge of colored pencils, or anyone who is interested in taking colored pencil art seriously. I recommend at least checking it out from the library if you are serious about colored pencil art.
There you have it! That’s my Colored Pencil Painting Bible review.
Here’s a look at the portrait painting process for my painting of Peter (my brother). This is painted in oils and it was my first assignment for my Alla Prima class last semester. Sorry for the less-than-stellar photos (a couple of them were taken with a cell phone).
This was a very new technique to me at the time and I was very reluctant to make heavy painterly marks. I began the painting by laying down thinned down washes of color. The shadows in the painting were left fairly thin and the highlights are the thickest opaque spots of paint. I believe that John Singer Sargent painted the same way. This was also my first time painting on canvas board.
I’m still very new at digitally painting, and using a drawing tablet still feels foreign to me. However, I have been practicing. Here’s a recent speed painting of a waterfall. I don’t remember how long it took as I have no sense of time when doing anything art related (besides deadlines). I’m guessing that it was about 10 minutes? I’m looking forward to the great deal of progress ahead of me in the digital realm.