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Old 02-01-2018, 11:17 PM
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hmshood5 hmshood5 is offline
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Wheeling, IL
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All at once, or a little at a time?

Who here paints all at once, like those speed painters or Bob Ross, who can complete a whole painting in one session?

And who paints little bits and pieces at a time, taking days or even weeks to complete a painting/drawing, etc.?

I definitely fall into the second category. Perhaps it's my long experience as a scale modeller, but I always find myself having to stop, step away and "recharge" before I can resume. Yes, I have done "one session" works, but most of my work is spread out over time.
"All of us get lost in the darkness... Dreamers learn to steer by the stars" Neil Peart
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:31 AM
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Journeyman Journeyman is offline
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Pembrokeshire. West Wales UK
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Re: All at once, or a little at a time?

All at once in two senses, firstly I like to roughly get the whole painting down in one go, establishing the light and dark, the composition and what ever it is I want to say about the subject. I need to know those things before I can proceed.
To some extent I have them in mind before I pick up the brush but then I need to see them visually.
None of those first marks portray detail just placement and intention, what is going on internally with the form not the contours.
My best work is always done before I start and if I can get it down in one session some of that intention is carried forward.

“What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!—and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?”
— Allen Ginsberg
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Old 02-02-2018, 09:50 AM
budigart budigart is offline
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Re: All at once, or a little at a time?

It works better for me to do an "all at once" block-in. I try to hit, or come close to some values (highs and lows), and otherwise lay in something of a middle tone that I can begin modifying in later sessions. Once the canvas is covered, I get a better "picture" of what I must do to achieve finish. The block-in usually takes about an hour.
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Old 02-02-2018, 09:52 AM
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Use Her Name Use Her Name is offline
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New Mexico
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Re: All at once, or a little at a time?

I am a "little at a time," in painting as in sculpture. I do a lot of research when I am depicting something I have not totally internalized (I am faster with internalized schemas-- meaning habitats, animals I have done "a million times," because I know them better.) I also feel the need to do a few in depth "studies" which are "pre-flights" to use the language of computer animation. If I am going to devote X hours to a thing, I do not want to make drastic changes. I used to be a pantser*, but many educations ago (BA, MA) learned about planning when it comes to writing, and have used that in my art as well. Measure twice, cut once.

*In writing, the terms would be "Pantsers" as in "by the seat of your pants" and "Planners" (I suppose).
Making art since 1973-ish
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Last edited by Use Her Name : 02-02-2018 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 02-02-2018, 02:46 PM
ianuk ianuk is offline
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South West of England.
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Re: All at once, or a little at a time?

I like to get the canvas almost covered during the first session because it gives me a base to work from. For the next layers, my favourite pastime is correcting things I think we're wrong, so I tend to take more time checking different areas at different times.

I think I paint much better when everything is spontaneous.
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Old 02-02-2018, 04:58 PM
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La_ La_ is offline
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Alberta, where coyotes look both ways before crossing the highway
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Re: All at once, or a little at a time?

but, being an oil painter, sometimes i'm forced to wait and sometimes i choose to wait.

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Old 02-03-2018, 03:33 PM
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robertsloan2 robertsloan2 is offline
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Re: All at once, or a little at a time?

I've done both. I like doing one session paintings. They come naturally and have a certain freshness to them. It takes two to four sessions for a pastel painting though, now, and that's the limitation of my fibromyalgia. I'll get tired and then need to stop before I go back to it, tend to spread it out in stages.

It helps for the bit at a time approach to have distinct stages that are done in a session, like sketching in the subject, underpainting, the blocking in, then later layers, final details. How much I put into each stage and what the stages are vary with style. Sometimes I start off with a block-in on toned paper and just build on that, others I slow down for a four-step colorist process that gives glorious, luminous results.

Other types of painting it's the same thing.

But I preferred doing one-session painting and when my stamina was better would do a pastel start to finish in a much shorter time. Or a slow colored pencil in one or two very long days without stopping to do anything else. It's a matter of focus but also of being able to function well without the chronic fatigue lowering my skill.

Robert A. Sloan, proud member of the Oil Pastel Society
Site owner, artist and writer of http://www.explore-oil-pastels-with-robert-sloan.com
blogs: Rob's Art Lessons and Rob's Daily Painting
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Old 02-03-2018, 08:30 PM
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snoball snoball is offline
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Re: All at once, or a little at a time?

I generally try to cover the canvas in the first session and then build on that as an underpainting, refining with each layer.

You never realize what you have until it is gone. Toilet paper is a good example.
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