View Full Version : One hour painting

10-15-2014, 10:11 PM
In an effort to loosen up, and trying to learn to stop fiddling and overworking, I've come across the idea of doing a whole painting in just one hour. Anyone willing to try this with me? Not counting gessoing time, use a kitchen timer or similar, and just paint the essential. Then post a picture of what you've come up with.

Who's up for the challenge? :clap:

Not: This is not my original idea, if you google it, others have come up with it before me.

10-16-2014, 12:39 AM
I'm in! :D :thumbsup:

I think people do this who participate in those 30 paintings in 30 days challenges.

10-16-2014, 12:48 AM
Yay Colin :D!
I think 30 paintings is a bit much, but if you want to, go for it :).

10-16-2014, 03:02 AM
Yay Colin :D!
I think 30 paintings is a bit much, but if you want to, go for it :).

No - I will try one quick painting -- but I can't see pushing myself to do 30 in 30 unless I really fell into a daily rhythm that I enjoyed. I think it would feel too much like "work" if I forced myself.

10-16-2014, 05:32 AM
This sounds like fun :clap:. It will probably be a while until I get around to it, though.


10-16-2014, 06:16 AM
I would like to join the challenge, too.
Any suggestions concerning subjects?

chammi kaiser
10-16-2014, 07:02 AM
Funnily enough, I had thought of doing this too. Once I have finished my exhibition painting, I will give it a go.

10-16-2014, 11:55 AM
Why not? I am new to painting so it might be a good way for me to get over the 'every stroke of my brush needs to look perfect' issue.

Would it be okay to just use some watercolor paper that I have laying around here?

10-16-2014, 12:16 PM
Sounds like fun.

10-16-2014, 12:45 PM
Hard to let go like that lol. It takes me an hour just to paint a simple sky. I should try to do this, just I should do thumbnails before starting a painting. The two could go together.

10-16-2014, 03:36 PM
There is no time limit, you can do it this week, next month, whenever you can put an hour aside.
No subject, it's up to you. Only thing I'd recommend is that you choose something simple because one hour is not a lot of time, especially if you paint like me, in layers, and tend to go back and fiddle a lot.
You can use any media but think about something that dries fast :D or be prepared to do a lot of wet on wet.
Above all, have fun and let us know what you've learned from this exercise :).

10-16-2014, 05:44 PM
Phew! 58 minutes, acrylics on paper 11"X14". I should have done it on canvas, it was hard to paint over as it would just take off the previous layer. Sorry about the flash glare, I just don't have a good place to take pics.

Calling this one: One hour mutant

Let me see yours :D!


Charlie's Mum
10-16-2014, 06:04 PM
Ann, it must be acrylics!!! ?.. any form of acrylics, but this medium!

I'd recommend painting from life and very simple set-ups to start with ... plus bigger brushes (stops detail!) and using any support available, paper, card, cereal box!

If you'd like a dedicated thread for images only, we can do that too ..... just say and I'll open one with a link to this thread for chat and support.

10-16-2014, 06:16 PM
Oh ok, acrylics it is then. Makes sense since we're in the acrylic forum *duh on me* :D.
Had a good laugh about the cereal box :))!
I have no idea what the advantage of an image thread is, your choice since you know better how those things work.

10-16-2014, 08:40 PM
I like the idea but first have to decide and focus on what I want to paint. If I do it, I'll post it here.

10-16-2014, 09:10 PM
Sounds good, OritArt :).

10-17-2014, 09:57 AM
Ann, I did one last night. I went 3 min. over the one-hour limit, and stopped.
I was surprised though at how well it turned out for only 1 hour and surprised at what a great learning experience it was. I will scan and post it tonight.

10-17-2014, 03:42 PM
Hi Cathy,
I can't wait to see it! I'm sure it's great :).

10-17-2014, 11:34 PM
Here is my painting. 1 hr. + 3 min.

This is from a figurine of Ganesha, the Hindu god. For any WC members familiar with the attributes of Ganesha, I apologize for the lack of clarity. I was surprised to see how far i could get in a hour, though, and learned a tremendous amount. It forced me to make decisions in tone (something on which I usually go back & forth, back & forth), and to work with a more limited palette - and just keep going, just keep going!

It is a small figurine, 4-1/2" tall, and I held it in my hand while painting it. My image (the painted area) is 9-1/2" tall.

I did choose a subject that I felt was fairly complex, but thought I could handle in an hour.


10-18-2014, 01:05 AM
Wow!!! That is awesome! Well done :clap:

10-18-2014, 02:05 AM
Great little painting Ann. Lots of spontaneity in there.

Cathy what a beautiful painting of Ganesh! Love it.

Here is mine. From my own photo taken toward the beginning of August as the grass got all dried out. I see my horizon line is wonky. :eek:

6" x 8" on stretched canvas. 55 minutes.


10-18-2014, 05:56 AM
Ohhh, everyone's been so busy :eek:

I ll try do paint this week end between trying to get rid of my cough and therefore lying on my sofa :D

Charlie's Mum
10-18-2014, 09:36 AM
I do like all the paintings done so far - it's a great exercise for concentrating on the essentials!
I think this approach tends to give the works a freshness more studied works lack ....... well done Peeps!

10-18-2014, 10:31 AM
I love the idea of having an extra thread for the pictures. It's great to see how different people handle this and what the results are.

Anne, your painting looks so much fun!

Brusher, the reflections turned out well.

Colin, wonderful colors and sense of movement.

Wow, seeing what you all did, I should really try this soon.


10-18-2014, 03:39 PM
I love your painting! Well done!

Funny, about the horizon line, I have so much trouble with that. It should be simple, right? But mine are never straight.

Ferlian, Friesin, and everyone else, it's not too late to join in :D.

10-18-2014, 06:59 PM
Check out 60 Minutes to Better Painting by Craig Nelson. Fantastic book that goes into this exact idea. He covers 20 min, 30 min, 60 min and 120 min studies in oil and acrylic. And ways to take these small works as references for larger studio pieces.


10-18-2014, 07:25 PM
Check out 60 Minutes to Better Painting by Craig Nelson. Fantastic book that goes into this exact idea. He covers 20 min, 30 min, 60 min and 120 min studies in oil and acrylic. And ways to take these small works as references for larger studio pieces.


It's amazing what Craig can do is so little time!

10-19-2014, 06:42 AM
I finished mine last night.
Quite surely not perfect, but okay for me.
21 minutes + drying time

40 x 50 cm on masonite board


chammi kaiser
10-19-2014, 07:03 AM
Super work everyone. I really like the spontaneous feel to them. Nice and lively.

10-19-2014, 06:09 PM
My objective is to get at least a sketch down in an hour
Here are 2
The portrait was done in about 40 min - 12 x 16 on canvas panel
It was the second of the nite - a 2 h sitting for the model
The landscape was done in about 45 min - 11 x 14 on canvas panel
Acrylics dry like crazy when humidity is very now

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Oct-2014/214919-top_hat-TNSG-17_oct_2014.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/19-Oct-2014/214919-PA_crystal_beach-16_oct_2014.jpg

10-19-2014, 08:47 PM
I finished mine last night.
Quite surely not perfect, but okay for me.
21 minutes + drying time

40 x 50 cm on masonite board

Only 21 minutes??? It's beautiful! I'm impressed!

10-19-2014, 08:50 PM
My objective is to get at least a sketch down in an hour
Here are 2
The portrait was done in about 40 min - 12 x 16 on canvas panel
It was the second of the nite - a 2 h sitting for the model
The landscape was done in about 45 min - 11 x 14 on canvas panel
Acrylics dry like crazy when humidity is very now

Both are excellent! Well done!
Yes, and it dries even faster on paper, compared to canvas.

chammi kaiser
10-20-2014, 05:51 AM
Wow, the portrait and the landscape are fantastic.

10-21-2014, 01:32 PM
I'm amazed at what some people can do in an hour, or less.

10-22-2014, 10:09 AM
The last one was so much fun that I decided to do another one. As ref I took the cover photo of an advertising magazine for tourism :D

The man's neck turned out to be too dark last night, so I corrected it with my fingers this morning, just to find out that there is a brownish line left on his skin :lol:
24 x 32 cm on cardboard
46 minutes + a few minutes for preliminary sketching + drying time


10-22-2014, 10:56 AM
This is really good! LOL about the man's neck...
The woman is especially well done! I like the sky and the water also. :thumbsup:

I wonder where they are vacationing?

10-22-2014, 12:52 PM
This is really good! LOL about the man's neck...
The woman is especially well done! I like the sky and the water also. :thumbsup:

I wonder where they are vacationing?

Somewhere in the Caribean Sea :heart:

10-22-2014, 06:25 PM

10-26-2014, 11:43 AM
Ann...wonderful idea! Just what I needed to break thru' my lull! :)

Love your seascape!


Colin...such wonderful colors!

Friesin...nicely done on the first and second! Like the lady's pose. :)

Jim...both of yours are great!

Learned a couple things...:lol: the one being that trying to do an 18x24 canvas in one hour is hard, and painting with brushes from a knife painting tutorial is conflicting! :angel:

But I figured anything that moved me back to painting was a good thing...so here's where it is at the end of an hour. I won't lie...will probably work on it more...just to see if I can get it where I want it. :)


10-26-2014, 11:51 AM
Wow Susan! It's beautiful! Wish I could do something like that in such a short time.
Yes,18X24 is rather large... unless you use big brushes ;).

10-26-2014, 01:40 PM
I'm a bit late to the party (and you all look like it's been a blast!) - um.......I want to try this. I am a fiddler. And a nit-picker. *sheepish grin* I'd like to be looser in my paintings and this might give me a push in the right direction. I've done a few of those wine and canvas things and have been happy with my "rushed" results so this couldn't be any more traumatic. ;)

10-26-2014, 02:43 PM
It's not too late, anyone can join in any time :).

What's a "wine and canvas thing"?

10-26-2014, 04:51 PM
Thanks, Ann! As usual, I just keep going and messing things up...:lol: Oh well.

10-26-2014, 05:02 PM
I've seen your work... I'm sure you're doing great :).

10-26-2014, 08:41 PM
Here's something I developed some time back for a group interested in speeding up their painting efforts...
Warning - it's long!

Painting in an hour or less
First, let’s be realistic about this challenge
You are in trouble if you…
 Can’t find time in the day (or night) for at least one hour of quiet
 are a dauber or find it difficult to make a decision
 need to spend inordinate amounts of time deciding what to paint
 cannot decide what part of that will be the focus of your painting
 need to sketch out, in great detail, what you are going to obliterate with paint
 can’t quickly (key word) decide on your palette colors
 decide you need at least a dozen or more colors on your palette
 have problems deciding what kinds and types of brushes to use
 are hungry, thirsty, too tired
 can’t work around bio breaks
 feel uncomfortable after a couple of minutes standing, sitting, too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry
 are frequently distracted by relatives, neighbors, kids, phone calls, text msgs, TV, radio, buzzing things (insects, motors, whatever)

Now, how to prepare for painting in one hour or less?
 Decide on a scene in a minute or two
 Decide on the most important focal point of that scene
 Consider how the viewer’s eye will move into and around the scene
 Decide on canvas size
 Use a prepared canvas, meaning one that is not white
 Select two or three brush sizes – no more
o I use a big flat, a smallish flat, and either a liner or a small round
 Big canvases = big brushes
 Restrict your palette colors – severely

A good start is three primary warms (red, yellow, blue), three primary cools, white
No green – ever

Here’s my plein air palette
 Cad yellow lite
 Naples yellow
 Cad red lite
 Aliz red
 Burnt sienna
 Burnt umber
 Ultra blue
 Cerulean blue
 White
Here’s my portrait palette
 Cad red med
 Burnt sienna
 Burnt umber
 Ultra blue
 White
Whatever paint color combination you choose, stick with it for several ptgs
 Using your big brush, begin with the notan
 Be aggressive
 Lay the darks in boldly
 Lay the brights in boldly
 Don’t worry about making certain you get lites and darks done perfectly
 Remember- acrylics dry like crazy
 In 5 minutes you can paint over
Now lay in your middle tones, again using your big brush
 Work the entire canvas this way
 This should have taken you no more than 5 minutes at most

Next, block in (boldly) colors where needed, still using the big brush
Remember, flat brushes have five elements – two flats, one edge, and two corners
Your objective is to cool down shadows and warm up highlites
Blocking in should take you 10-15 minutes

It is now time to seriously concentrate on convincing the viewer that you are an artist
o Van Gogh supposedly said “exaggerate the essential. Leave the obvious vague.”
o If you follow this, you should once again return to your focus
o That is the essential and that will be where you will focus your detailing
o Detailing everything else will obviate the focus
o In short, simplify, simplify, simplify everything that is not essential

Now, with a few minutes left in the hour, it is time to reassess your effort
Here’s some things to think about…
 Look at your effort through a red sheet of plastic
 Do you still see most or all of the notan you started with?
 Can you get “into” the painting?
 Can you stay in there?
 Are your darks and lits in balance?
 Do you have strong complementaries?
 Are your greens garish or subdued?
 Have you eliminated or suitably minimized every secondary distraction?

If you can answer yes to these, you are on your way to a sixty-minute success
Sign it and start another

10-28-2014, 03:50 PM
Excellent post! Lots to absorb here, need to read it again and again.

One question: why no green, ever?

Bob Rooney
10-28-2014, 10:16 PM
What is a notan?

10-28-2014, 10:20 PM
Nōtan (濃淡?) is a Japanese design concept involving the play and placement of light and dark as they are placed next to the other in art and imagery.
From Wikipedia.

And this artist explain it more: http://www.mitchalbala.com/notan/

10-28-2014, 11:14 PM
No green – ever
I said this in my epistle above.
One question: why no green, ever?
IMHO, two reasons.
First, most tube greens are too aggressive or garish.
Then, you can create marvelous greens from other colors.
Someone a long time ago posted this...
Phthalo blue + cad yellow lite = brilliant green
Ultra blue + cad yellow lite = subdued green
Ultra blue + yellow ochre = muted green
Phthalo blue + yellow ochre = subdued green
Carbon black + cad yellow lite = rich green
Carbon black + yellow ochre = brownish green
Burnt umber + cad yellow lite = brownish green
Try combinations of Naples yellow or Indian yellow or raw sienna together with cerulean blue or Prussian blue or diox violet
And besides, most shrubbery doesn't have much green anyway

Ann - thanx for that website ref. Very clear explanation of NOTAN

10-28-2014, 11:29 PM
And while I'm on the subject of greens...
Ever notice in a foto that spots on shiny leaves appear to be quite white?
So, should those spots be painted white?
Nope. Assume that the spot is reflecting sky. Sky colors can range from grey to milky to subtle bluish to bright blue and everything in between. If the leaf was metallic, the spot would mimic the sky color. But the leaf isn't metallic - it has a base color that may range from lite yellow to deep greenish-brown. The color of the spot must include the leaf base color as well as that of the sky.
In short, the color of the spot is decidedly not white.

10-29-2014, 12:55 PM
Well, I'm lazy, I use Hooker's green, but rarely by itself.

10-29-2014, 01:31 PM
Thank you, Old Hobbyist, I will try some of those combinations. I don't have all the colors you mention, but some I can do and make mud ;). It is amazing how much one learns every day, and still there's always much more to go!

10-29-2014, 02:31 PM
sorry, hobbyist, but I m afraid I must disagree.
I do have phthalo green (the only one in a tube I own, and I own it in watercolour as well as in acrylics as well as in oils:D), but I will definitely not toss ist away.
I love it.
It is a wonderful basis for mixing greens.
Mixed with any yellow, with any brown, with any colour (blöues, reds,...) it will show most various greens.
And ... yes, I daresay so :D-- sometimes you might even use it just rigth away from the tube. It always depends on your artistic intentions.

However, for realistic landscapes phthalo green is too artificial indeed ;)

10-29-2014, 03:12 PM
Oh good, a discussion with different opinions! I like those!
I wonder if we could make it a separate thread, focusing on the issue of green?

10-29-2014, 03:29 PM
Jim...great advice! Have saved it!

I use my phthalo green to mix my dark bg...as it and phthalo blue together are so strong and I find I use a bit less paint...plus they are not the most expensive of the paints. :) I don't do as many landscapes...never seem to be satisfied with them. :lol:

10-29-2014, 09:16 PM
A while back a local fine arts center had a speaker whose topic was "blue and yellow do not make green." [Example - green from black and cad yellow lite]
Altho the recipes I gave for greens did not come from his speech, his thesis was that most tube greens [hookers, yellow green, sap, and especially phthalo] yield artificiality to ptgs.
BTW, yellow green is one of Yarnell's favorites.
And I must admit that I have found Quin Nickel Azo Gold does produce a most unusual copper-colored green straight from the tube.
Oh and I do own a tube of Oxide of Chromium green that appears to be very close to the recipes for subdued greens I gave earlier. (Confession on that - haven't used it yet.)

10-30-2014, 10:37 AM
This is all interesting.

Dawn Melka
10-30-2014, 01:07 PM
I have been away from this site for a long time, come back and this is the thread I see, wow fantastic. I used to do one hour paintings all the time, I work from photos so the one hour paintings were always from life. Helped me to get lose and see forms as they really are. I have been telling myself to get back in the habit, well now I will. Thanks all cant wait to see more and to share

10-30-2014, 01:17 PM
Hello Dawn,

Welcome back to WC! I also was gone for a while, a long while, and came back here as soon as I got back into painting.
Feel free to join in and show us your one-hour canvases!

10-30-2014, 08:56 PM
I'm a slow painter, will have to give a try to see how it comes out!

10-31-2014, 10:42 AM

That's the whole idea. I am very slow, I'll agonize over minute (and probably unimportant) details. I forget to step back and look at the whole picture. I'll be doing some more of those, different themes and such.

11-11-2014, 09:47 PM
Didn't quite make it under an hour, but close. My family and I decided that the poor raccoon was confiding his sorrows to the warbler who is listening intently LOL!
Sorry about the glare from the flash.
Acrylics, 7" x 10" more or less. C&C welcome.