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Old 06-01-2017, 11:59 AM
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Grotius Grotius is online now
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Oil-from-life challenge, June 2017: plein air (or anything else)!

Let's paint from life! Please feel free to post any oil painting of any subject, so long as it was painted primarily from life. This month we're once again highlighting plein air paintings, so we particularly welcome paintings and studies you do outdoors -- but please feel free to post any oil painting from life of any subject (landscape, portrait, still life, figure). For the May oil-from-life thread, see http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show....php?t=1426823. Four guidelines:

1. Please paint primarily from life -- not from photographs or imagination. I would like to see your direct impressions of your subject, unmediated by cameras. (It's okay to post finished studio works based on studies from life; in that case, please post the original study as well as the finished work.)

2. Please submit something created new, this month, not something you've done in the past. (Optionally, you may post a photo of your work on the easel, with the subject in front of you, but this is not a requirement.)

3. Please paint in oils. That said, please feel free to post studies in any other medium, (e.g., pencil, charcoal, pastel, watercolor, gouache, casein, acrylic) so long as you also post your oil painting(s).

4. Please list the size of your painting and support. E.g., '"8x10", oil on panel.' All sizes and supports welcome. (Last month, Moscatel submitted a painting on Elephant Dung Paper!)

-----------------

Unfinished works, studies, and outright failures are all welcome. There's no requirement that you paint as well as the Old Masters. I certainly don't! Likewise, there's no requirement that you invite comment & critique. If you'd rather post without being critiqued, just say so; that's fine by me!

At the end of the month, I will sum up the proceedings with a written awards ceremony in which every artist will receive at least one written commendation from me, in the form of a post here in this forum. (Yes, this is like every kid on the swimming team receiving a medal, lol.) If you'd rather opt out of receiving such a commendation, just let me know. The May awards ceremony follows in the next post.

I hope you'll all consider posting something! Thanks.
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Old 06-01-2017, 01:10 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, June 2017: plein air (or anything else)!

Cue the music: Itís time for awards from last month's oil-from-life thread. The thread can be found here: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show....php?t=1426823
. Apologies in advance if I missed anyone; everyone is supposed to get an award. If I omitted someone, Iíll blame the accountants who are supposed to bring me the envelopes. Without further ado: the envelopes, please:

Most Unusual Support: Moscatel, for submitting an oil painting done on "Elephant Dung Paper"!

Prettiest Rocks, Loveliest Cherry Tree, and Most Beautiful Church: Moscatel. These paintings were just gorgeous. I hope we see more from Moscatel this month.

Best Paintings of Infrastructure: t1barkode, with paintings of a bridge, a dam, and that most crucial of all infrastructure components, a building dedicated to BEER. My favorite was his bridge painting: he captured the light perfectly.

Best Single Post: Journeyman (Dave), with an absolutely stunning post of plein air landscapes from Wales, including seascapes, cultural sites, a river, a churchyard, and a lovely farm. The post is on page 4 of the May thread.

Best Finished Studio Work based on a Plein Air Study: Kagiva59, one of several people who submitted their first-ever plein air work. Kagivaís plein air study of a river was lovely, and he refined it into something even better.

The California Award: Mike Major, with a marvelous seascape of Carlsbad, California. I hope we see more from Mike this month.

Best Potted Plant, and runner-up for Most Unusual Support: Tereza41. We were glad Tereza overcame technical obstacles to post her first painting on Wet Canvas, a sunny doorway scene. Her choice of support was interesting too: oil on watercolor paper.

Most Convincing Foreground Grass: lep0224, who posted his first-ever plein air painting, done at Valley Forge National Park. (I visited Valley Forge a couple years ago and watched a Revolutionary War re-enactment; very cool place.)

Best Painting of a Plaster Cast: lep0224, with the best (and only) picture of a plaster cast in the thread. If you havenít seen it, check it out; really neat. It's near the end of the May thread.

Best Hills: Upthebloodytree (Ray), with a view of hills from Bryn Morris. I donít know how he did it, but the texture on his hills is really convincing.

Best Portraits From Life: t1barkode, with some great work from his life sessions.

Most Obscure Subject: Moscatel, for her beautiful painting of a fascinating old potato-gathering machine. I like when I learn something from a painting, and I certainly learned something from this one.

The Industrial Waste Award goes to me, for submitting paintings of trash cans, a used car, and a gas station.

And that's all, folks! I look forward to seeing what everyone does this month. Let's get out there and paint from life!
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Old 06-01-2017, 01:26 PM
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t1barkode t1barkode is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, June 2017: plein air (or anything else)!

YEEEAAAAA!!! That award ceremony was fun WOOOHOOOO congrats everyone!!! *hands clapping, cheers and whistles*

Posting this into this thread since I painted it in June. If you can remove it from other thread somehow that would be ok, or leave it, doesn't matter much to me either way.

Also, I would like to thank you Geoff, for running these oil from life monthly thing things. I am really enjoying it

This is an 11x14 oil on canvas panel.
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Last edited by t1barkode : 06-01-2017 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 06-01-2017, 10:09 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, June 2017: plein air (or anything else)!

Glad you liked the awards ceremony, t1barkode! It took me some time to put it all together, so I'm glad someone took the time to read it.

I'm also glad you reposted your one-way painting to this thread. (I'm not going to try to remove it from the May thread.) As I said in the May thread, my favorite bits are the one-way sign and the bridge. You are good at bridges. And now that I look at it again, that's pretty impressive backlighting on the one-way sign. It has a nifty little halo. Good job!

It was a gorgeous day here, and I spent the entire afternoon outside painting. These weren't my finest efforts, but I learned from both of them. The first is a little area of white water, with rocks strewn about. I did this one in a hurry because the mosquitoes were eating me up. This one was small: oil on panel, 6" x 8"; C&C welcome.



The second picture was less successful. It is the same stream but further upstream, in a darker, muddier patch. I was trying to capture the dappled sunlight hitting the brown stream, but I didn't do a very convincing job of it. I confused things by making the stream on the right darker than on the lef (though it did appear that way), and confused things even more by over-emphasizing rocks in the sunlight in the middle of the stream. Still, I like the tree and the far side of the stream, and I did sorta capture the dark, murky feel of the spot. I just need to think more about how to capture sunlight hitting a muddy stream. Oil on panel, 8" x 10".

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Old 06-02-2017, 02:49 AM
Tereza41 Tereza41 is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, June 2017: plein air (or anything else)!

Hi Grotius

Thank you for giving a mention in the line up. Am thrilled that I got something right.

And congratulations to all the other folk who participated.
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Old 06-02-2017, 09:12 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, June 2017: plein air (or anything else)!

Out of those 2, I like the first one Geoff. As I was reading your post, and scrolling down, it entered my peripheral vision, before I took a real look at it, and my brain instantly said, "rocks and water" and I could hear the sound of rapids. I really think that you captured it and this is an awesome reaction to your subject.
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Old 06-02-2017, 12:49 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, June 2017: plein air (or anything else)!

Thanks, t1barkode! I share your assessment of my two paintings. I actually don't think I've ever painted a stream plein air before, so this was all new to me. It was really fun and relaxing. Painting in a shady spot, listening to the water, chatting with passersby -- it doesn't get much better than that!

Tereza, I hope you'll continue to post your work here!

Today I may try a cityscape for a change of pace. We'll see. The passersby can be a major distraction, but I'll try to find an alleyway or somewhere I can hide a bit while I paint. Off I go!
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Old 06-02-2017, 08:53 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, June 2017: plein air (or anything else)!

As I have agoraphobia I do not have an affinity with the outdoors. It's a challenge I have decided to face in 2017 - and TREES are a nightmare! I just can't get the casual, beautiful "few brush stokes and it's a tree" that I see in many plein air paintings. I don't think it's a "seeing" problem, because I can see other subjects and paint them in any style. I haven't had any official training - maybe it's something that is taught? Help, especially with trees please!

This is local Sunshine Coast (Australia). Zoe, my sister, friend and phobic partner, is incredibly patient and encouraging, but I would love to be able to go somewhere by myself and paint. Somewhere less windy would be good!

Lots of critic please! (sorry for the blurry photo)

Oil on board, about 30cm by 40cm
(ps the mountains in the background aren't really there, but I felt it needed something)

Last edited by ElizaLeahy : 06-02-2017 at 08:55 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 06-03-2017, 12:48 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, June 2017: plein air (or anything else)!

Hi Eliza,

Thank you for posting your lovely painting! I have lots of enthusiastic things to say about that (see below), but first I want to say I'm glad you were able to overcome hurdles to getting outside. A lot of people suffer from agoraphobia; you are certainly not alone.

I myself occasionally worry about my surroundings when I'm painting alone plein air. Today I had dozens of wonderful visitors as I painted alone on a street corner, but at one point I did wonder: what if someone creepy stops here? Fortunately, no one like that did. In fact, my visitors were almost unanimously supportive. Even if the painting isn't going well, most people find something nice to say. Yesterday I was painting alone in the woods, and I had fleeting worries about safety, though again nothing at all worrisome happened. On top of all that, there's the anxiety of painting in front of others. Painting is not supposed to be a performance art! I try to set up in such a way that I feel safe, and if possible, so that it will not be easy for people to stand behind me and spectate.

I think you're especially lucky to have a painting buddy. I may have finally found one for myself, and I can't wait to go on our first joint excursion. There are certain joys to painting alone, though. I can talk to myself. I can come and go as I please. If I want a snack, I can go get a snack. I can pick up and move on a whim. Or I can stay for six hours, as I did today.

Anyway, on to your painting. I really like it! You did a great job of cooling your colors as things move into the distance, and warming them up closer to us. The value gradient in the sky is very effective. The edges are gorgeously soft, though some of that may be the photo, which you said is fuzzy. I like the composition, including your decision to add mountains.

And I think the trees are quite beautiful. They have a windswept, sparse look, which seems appropriate for the seaside setting. Were they any fuller than that in person? I do sometimes tend to "prune" my trees too much -- I obsess too much about branches and not enough about foliage coverage. Certainly you got the colors and values right. I find foreground trees like this the hardest of all, because you have to create the impression of leaves, when you can't possibly paint every individual leaf. I guess the trick is to do what you've done, which is to sprinkle value changes everywhere, and to suggest the shape of individual leaves on the extremities here and there. But I'm no expert. Dan's "spotlight" thread (mentioned in your other thread on trees) has lots more wisdom on the subject than I can impart.

It's funny you mention trees, because that was a major challenge for me in the painting I'm about to post. I did a cityscape today precisely because I wanted to get away from green and trees, but those pesky trees are everywhere! As you'll see, I get mixed results for me trees. I certainly don't throw on a few "casual" brushstrokes and create perfect plein air trees.

Once again, thanks for joining the party! I hope you paint outdoors and post your results again. Also, any work from "life" is welcome in this thread, not just plein air stuff. If you do a still life or portrait from life, I hope you'll consider posting a photo here.
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Last edited by Grotius : 06-03-2017 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 06-03-2017, 01:05 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, June 2017: plein air (or anything else)!

As I mentioned above, I spent six hours (2 pm to 8 pm) painting a cityscape, and the results were encouraging, though full of imperfections. The idea was to get urban and gritty, but then I found this street corner with a lovely tree in front of me, and I just had to paint it. Actually, what drew me to the scene was the curving bend of shops and restaurants in the distance. (I think I got them to recede nicely, though I may have lightened the dark values in their windows too much.) I ended up lavishing attention on the foreground tree on the left because, well, it's in the foreground. It turned out okay, but as usual I wish my foliage looked more leafy and less... spiky? I spent less time on the other trees in the picture, but they look okay.

Some self-criticisms -- stuff to fix when I'm more rested: I added figures hastily when it was almost dark, and I got the perspective wrong on some. In the same end-of-session haste, I messed up the pavement under the crosswalk at the last minute, and it was too dark out to fix! I wish I'd used a more saturated yellow for the crosswalk light. I also chickened out about adding the stoplights in the street. And I chased the changing afternoon light too much: the shadow pattern is confused. Likewise, I warmed up the street pavement too much; it needs to be grayer and cooler. The tall building on the right is boring and slightly out of perspective. Other than that, the picture is perfect!

Still and all, I'm pleased with it. My passersby loved it! I must be doing something right. Oil on panel, 9" x 12". C&C welcome, as always.

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Old 06-03-2017, 03:29 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, June 2017: plein air (or anything else)!

I hope you keep painting with us Eliza! And Geoff, I think this may be my favorite of your's thus far. I love it! I really think you did an awesome job on the trees. As a matter of fact, this painting makes me want to emulate the way you painted your trees in my own paintings! I really like how you handled the out of focus trees. Brilliant. Here is an 11x14 oil on panel I did this morning. Took me about 2 hours, but I was also rushed, because I was painting with my plein air group, and I had to finish by 11:30 for the group critique. I actually kind of want to paint a studio painting from this one, but I wish I would have snapped a picture of the scene. I forgot to. Looks like I have quite a few wonky drawing errors. Nothing I'm too worried about though, because I am just chalking those up to being in a rush. I do need to work on better drawing accuracy more quickly though.
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Old 06-03-2017, 04:51 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, June 2017: plein air (or anything else)!

Hey t1barkode, and thanks for the kind comments on my latest painting. I agree, it's one of my better ones. I'm trying to be a bit more ambitious. And yes, I put a lot of work into those trees, so I'm glad it paid off!

As for your latest, that drawing looks pretty good to me! I don't see any perspective errors in the building. The diagonals on the right side of the roof might be a tad curved rather than straight, but old houses don't necessarily have dead-straight lines, so maybe that's okay as is. But my favorite bit is the saturated green and yellow on the sunny parts of the house. When contrasted against the cooler, darker shadows, this really gives a great effect of sunshine. It reminds me of the lighting effect on the first bridge painting you posted last month. Really well done. And in two hours, no less! I look forward to seeing what you do next.
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Old 06-04-2017, 07:21 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, June 2017: plein air (or anything else)!

Here are my paintings of the day. The first one was done in the morning. As I started sketching, I realized I had bit off a bit more than I could chew, so I decided to just let it rip and to paint with a sort of "reckless abandon". I like the texture I achieved. The second one was in the late afternoon/early evening, and I was back in my "try hard mode", and it is what it is Good eye mites!

First one is 8x10 oil on panel. Second one is 12x12 oil on stretched canvas.
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Old 06-05-2017, 12:45 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, June 2017: plein air (or anything else)!

Good stuff, t1barkode! I like the vibrant sky in the first picture. (My skies often look sort of drab.) The rich texture you mentioned helps with that. (My life-class instructor is always telling us not to paint drab colors but also to paint thin, at least at first. But thick paint helps combat drabness, so I find his advice a bit contradictory.) The church is great. Actually, it reminds me of one of Moscatel's churches from last month. Is the horizontal line crossing the picture a utility wire? All in all, that's pretty darned good for "reckless abandon."

Lovely job with the second picture. The warm foreground green grass is sumptuous, and you did a great job modeling the tree. Plus you used less value contrast in the more distant trees, so you succeeded in making them recede.

Also, I'm curious why you use panel for one painting and stretched canvas for the other. Do you prefer one or the other? I used to use canvas, but these days I use panels almost exclusively, if only because it's easier to store the darn things.
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Old 06-05-2017, 01:01 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, June 2017: plein air (or anything else)!

And here's my latest. I didn't have to hike too far to get to this spot, but it was a challenge all the same, as I have too much stuff. Plus, when I arrived, I dropped everything (including two drinks) into what might have been poison ivy. I tossed the drinks, put on gloves, and went to work.

I worked back to front. I certainly didn't skimp on the cool colors in the distance; maybe I overdid it, but I like the effect. For once I resisted the temptation to chase the afternoon light, mostly. I still need lots of practice making dappled light, but this was a helpful session. I had intended to make the foreground log the focus, but by the time I got to it, I was getting tired, so I didn't model it as closely as I'd planned. Still, I'm pretty happy with the picture as a whole. It took about three and a half hours. Oil on panel, 6" x 8".

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