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Old 07-01-2017, 11:00 PM
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Grotius Grotius is offline
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Oil-from-life challenge, July 2017: any subject, but esp. plein air with figure(s)!

Let's paint from life! Please feel free to post any oil painting of any subject -- landscapes, portraits, still lifes, whatever -- 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. Also, as an added twist, we're encouraging (but not requiring) people to add at least one figure to their plein air paintings! Again, however, you are not obliged to post plein air work (or figures in the landscape); any painting from life qualifies for this thread. For the June oil-from-life thread, see http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show....php?t=1428494. 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 June awards ceremony follows in the next post.

I hope you'll all consider posting something! Thanks.
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Old 07-01-2017, 11:03 PM
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Grotius Grotius is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2017: any subject, but esp. plein air with figure(s)!

Drum roll! It's time for the second monthly "Oil From Life" awards (the "Oilies", almost as famous as the Oscars). The June OFL thread can be found here: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show....php?t=1428494. Without further, ado: The envelopes please!

For our first set of awards, I have to point out that we had an array of rather interesting objects this month. So first, some Awards For Rather Interesting Objects:

Best bird: DMArtist, who painted the only bird, as far as I can tell. But what a great bird!
Best cat: Moscatel! Okay, she didn't paint the cat (maybe she should!), but the cat accompanies her on her plein air trips. That must be really nice.
Best dog thing: me. I painted a picture of a fire hydrant. (snicker)
Best cactus: ntl
Best rose: Moscatel
Best fake rose: t1barkode. (That second still life of his, in particular, is a work of art!)
Best Shoe Hanging From a Wire: t1barkode. (I love that picture too!)

And now on to our more general awards:

The Courage Award: ElizaLeahy.
Best trees: ElizaLeahy, who claim she has no affinity for trees, and then paints lovely trees!
The "Wisely Stays Inside When it's 110 degrees" Award: ntl.
Best skyscape: ntl.
Best use of a limited palette: Tereza, who chose three colors at random and went for it. Nice painting, Tereza! Let's see more!
Best Painting of Military History: lep0224, who painted a scene from Valley Forge. (I wonder if he'll do this again in winter!).
Lep also wins the "Best Achievement with Eroded Brushes" award.
Simon & Garfunkel Award: DaveCrow, for his lovely picture of a bridge over untroubled water.
The Minerva McGonnical Magical Transfiguration Award: DMArtist, who turned a pile of dusty bowls into a work of art.
Most Like Van Gogh Award: T1barkode's lovely pictures of his new "spot."
Plein air location the Awards Committee would most like to visit: Moscatel's water-side rocks. She spent a whole day there, paintbrush in hand. Lucky!
hat again in the winter!)
Prettiest Field: Moscatel's vista -- the very first painting she posted this month.
Special Award for Achievements in Portraiture: t1barkode & ElizaLeahy, both of whom posted eye-catching portraits from life.

Thanks to everyone for participating! (Cue the music and closing credits.) And thanks again to the various birds, cats, dogs, cacti, roses, bowls, trees, rocks, hydrants, and hanging shoes who appeared in this month's paintings.
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My website and blog: https://www.geoffwatsonart.com/

Last edited by Grotius : 07-01-2017 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 07-01-2017, 11:31 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2017: any subject, but esp. plein air with figure(s)!

And I'll kick the July thread off with a plein air painting I started today, in 92 degree heat and high humidity, during my landscape class. After an hour of painting we were absolutely DRENCHED by a thunderstorm. That effectively ended class, but I stuck around and painted for another hour once the rain had passed. I learned that oil paintings really don't smear even in heavy rain.

The photo below isn't the best: it's tinted a little pink for some reason, so the sky looks odd. In reality I painted it the gray of the mounting thunderclouds. But after the storm passed, the sun came out, so the rest of the picture shows sunshine. I guess I'll return to the sky in due course. I've still got work to do on the drawing of the house. Also, the two diagonal lines to the right of the house are a mistake -- I need to wipe those out. And clarify what trees are in front of what, and make the trees look more 3D. Lots to do still!

But I think I did achieve the basic "feel" I was pursuing -- a stately house shrouded in quiet trees. I guess I'll continue it in class next week, unless my instructor suggests I move on to a new subject (which he might). Sorry, no figures in it yet, and the mood of this painting doesn't really call for a figure. I'll try to work some people into my next one.

Oil on panel, 8" x 10".

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Last edited by Grotius : 07-01-2017 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 07-03-2017, 05:34 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2017: any subject, but esp. plein air with figure(s)!

Geoff, thaks for starting the thread & posting first painting. Excellent work done with it! I like how the house is reflecting the sky color!! Did you have an umbrella when the storm hit? Who is your teacher in the plein air class?

Also .. moscatel thanks for the wonderful rewards and cat is very pleased for her reward.

I have about a week for my plein air trip and today it's cloudy and rainy so not sure if I'll be doing much plein air before the travel but during the travel yes .. a lot. Must now go to cut canvas from a new Belgian linen roll to have canvases ready for the trip. Will pack boards too and some elephant paper.
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Old 07-03-2017, 09:09 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2017: any subject, but esp. plein air with figure(s)!

Thanks for another month of Oil From Life fun Geoff! I really do appreciate you keeping this thread going. I love it! I always look forward to the awards ceremony!

As for putting a figure in a plein air painting, I think I have an idea. These are a couple plein air paintings I painted yesterday, first one was in the morning, second one was in the late afternoon. They are both 8x11 oil on panel. I think, in the second one, I would like to put a figure in there, sitting on the bench most likely (which boy oh boy, my drawing was horrendous on this bench in this one, granted I was not worried about the drawing of it, just wanted to capture the feel of the dappled light in the park). It would be great if I could get a friend to sit there for me for a couple hours so I can paint it on the spot. Most likely I may have to snap a picture of someone sitting there, and then do a painting in the studio, using plein air work as reference for most of it, then the photo as reference for the figure. Not sure yet, will see what happens!
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Old 07-03-2017, 09:39 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2017: any subject, but esp. plein air with figure(s)!

Moscatel: Glad you enjoyed the awards! Good luck on your big plein air trip. I hope you can bring an iPhone or something to photograph your progress! I did have an umbrella -- one of those things that shades you while you paint -- but it was worse than useless against the 50-knot winds that overwhelmed us. My instructor is Gavin Glakas. He's an awesome artist, represented in some of the finest galleries in my area. Website: gavinglakas.com.

t1barkode: I swear you're getting better at this plein air thing with every picture you post. The greens in the first painting are just gorgeous, and all the right temperature, cool in the back, warm in the front. I struggle so with the "green problem." And the dappled light is convincing on the second one. As you say, the bench may be a little short, maybe?

Yes, adding a figure is a challenge. We can bend the "oil from life" rules here to accommodate memory, imagination, or photo references of a model sitting on the bench. No need to make a friend sit there for two hours! I've been lucky to have subjects sit or stand in front of me for long period of time. My snow-cone guy was there all afternoon. Teenage girls waded in a creek in front of me for an hour, often standing still.
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Last edited by Grotius : 07-03-2017 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 07-03-2017, 12:05 PM
ntl ntl is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2017: any subject, but esp. plein air with figure(s)!

yea ME! best cactus!
yea ME! best skyscape!

Nice forest Geoff. I think "shrouded" is a very descriptive word here.
t1, they're both sunny, but since my temp, at 9 AM Monday, is 93' I'd rather be in the shade with a good book!
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Old 07-03-2017, 01:30 PM
Karendart84 Karendart84 is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2017: any subject, but esp. plein air with figure(s)!


9x12 canvas panel. I usually paint from photos. I'm trying to do more from life.
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Old 07-03-2017, 04:56 PM
ntl ntl is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2017: any subject, but esp. plein air with figure(s)!

Preliminary work/studies: 2 graphite thumbnails and a 4x6" graphite sketch with watercolor added, all plein air.

The oil is ~8x10" (~20x25cm) on gessoed cardboard. About 1 1/2 hrs.
C&C appreciated.




the oil,


I see I cut a bit --about an inch--of the V right side off.
I'm beginning to think that plein air is not it for me. I've enjoyed it up to now, and even though I believe that anything worth doing is worth doing badly, there does need to be improvement. Measurements are off, colors getting somewhat better, shapes improving somewhat. Missed the mark as far as depth is concerned. Using the idea of using the biggest brushes possible, so had NO smaller brushes with me. I will fix THAT.
Comparing the two, the wc is better re size and distance, I also had much smaller brushes.
I'm not sure I'm learning anything except that plein air is not my cuppa tea...

Last edited by ntl : 07-03-2017 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 07-03-2017, 05:10 PM
ntl ntl is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2017: any subject, but esp. plein air with figure(s)!

Karen, pleasing painting!
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Old 07-03-2017, 06:59 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2017: any subject, but esp. plein air with figure(s)!

ntl: I hope you will strive to keep painting plein air! Or at least from life in the studio. I know that from the first time I tried plein air painting, I fell in love with it, so maybe it isn't your cup of tea if you are not enjoying it. I just love having a reason to be outdoors, and the feeling of being out there with a purpose.

I went out to an old swimming hole I used to swim here with some of my friends many years ago. I had a great time, it was kind of nostalgic to come back here. I met three different groups of people. The first and the last were very friendly, the one in the middle, they were kind of annoying but they kept to themselves so it was fine. It is a spot that kids like to go to to swim and party so I wasn't surprised there were people out here in the summer time.

As far as the painting goes, I am pretty happy with it. I painted it very confidently and didn't mess with a stroke much after laying it down. I really want to paint like this all the time, but its strange how I only do it on certain paintings. Its like I can't control it if I paint like that, it either happens or it doesn't.

10x10 oil on panel
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:00 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2017: any subject, but esp. plein air with figure(s)!

Karen, welcome to the party! I'm glad you're here. I really enjoyed your painting, not to mention the photo of your setup. You did a really nice job with the shadows in the fern (?) and especially the cool shadows cast by the main white flowered plant. I really hope you keep posting here!

Ntl, hang on there! You've got an unusually tough plein air challenge weather-wise. It's a lot more fun (and easier) when it's not so hot. Also indoor painting from life qualifies for this thread (still life, figure, portrait, interiors, etc. ) My first experiences with plein air were mixed. I recall painting a lousy picture of a pumpkin sitting on a trash can. I survived the experience and now love the plein air thing. Although I admit I wasn't happy dashing to my car in the pouring rain the other day. :-) But I just love being outside when painting. My studio seems so boring by comparison!

T1, I'm a broken record, but that's your best yet. Period. The reflections are great. The composition speaks to me. It's great that it's a place you know well. That probably helped you paint it. And yeah, sometimes the brush just flows. Sometimes not. You've got a good flow going!
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Last edited by Grotius : 07-03-2017 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 07-04-2017, 09:16 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2017: any subject, but esp. plein air with figure(s)!

I managed to wake up early and get some plein air done this morning. I started out painting how I have been aiming to, a stroke layed, a stroke stayed. Then I got to working on the road, and overworked it heavily. I also made the values of some of the tree clusters way too light when I modeled them. Oh well, I like the concept, and may go back here. I love how the light was hitting the road and the trees.

11x11 oil on panel

Happy 4th of July my friends!!! Be safe
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Old 07-04-2017, 12:44 PM
ntl ntl is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2017: any subject, but esp. plein air with figure(s)!

Thank you for your support. It's just I've been doing this for while because I do enjoy it. I'd really like to see some progress...

t1, your pond and roadside are just so well done. You are certainly capturing the light in both.
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Old 07-04-2017, 12:54 PM
ntl ntl is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2017: any subject, but esp. plein air with figure(s)!

Back at it. Plein air 6x8" (15x17.7 cm) Oil on canvaspaper. Temp, high 80's.
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It's Tuesday, July 4 Let's go change the world!

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