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Old 07-01-2018, 01:18 AM
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Use to denote nudity/mature subject matter Oil-from-life challenge, July 2018: optional "figure-in-landscape" theme

Happy July, everyone! Let's paint from life! As always, feel free to post whatever you like -- landscapes, portraits, figures, still lifes, whatever -- so long as your work is painted primarily from life. This month I'm suggesting an optional theme -- landscapes that include one or more figures. As always, the theme is just a suggestion; post whatever you like. Four guidelines:

1. Please paint primarily from life -- not from photographs or imagination. 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 either last month or this month, not something you've done in the more distant past.

3. Please paint in oils. That said, please feel free to post studies in any other medium, 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.'

Optional: Tell us the title of your painting!

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

Unfinished works, studies, and outright failures are all welcome. 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!

You can find older oil-from-life threads in the "hall of fame" subforum of the Oil Painting forum.

I hope you'll all consider posting a painting or two! Thanks.
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Old 07-01-2018, 01:27 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2018: optional "figure-in-landscape" theme

At the very end of the June thread, AnnieA posted a link to Mitch Albala's terrific blog on landscape painting. Because that thread will be archived shortly, I thought I'd re-post the link here: https://blog.mitchalbala.com/blog/

Also, I thought I'd kick off this month's optional theme with a figure-in-landscape painting I did earlier today. It was plein air -- if you can call 95-degree heat and humidity and bugs "air." I spent about 3-4 hours at this spot, and not one person ever sat down on the bench, probably because they were all at the swimming pool. Eventually I sat in it myself and took a selfie, but that proved to be a lousy reference, and I'm afraid the figures are a tad too small. Still and all, it was fun to try. "Brookside Avenue," oil on linen panel, 12" x 16."

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Last edited by Grotius : 07-01-2018 at 01:34 AM.
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Old 07-01-2018, 03:47 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2018: optional "figure-in-landscape" theme

Annie & Grotius, thanks for your comments and thoughts in last month's thread.

Grotius, the mood in your painting "Brookside Avenue" is vibrant and I get a feel of July. Thank you for starting a new thread this month.

I've done a drawing of a figure in landscape and now that we have a challenge that happens to match with my drawing subject I might try to finish it.
I was away this weekend and took plein air stuff with me. Managed to paint this morning a "Medieval Church", 16x22 cm, oil on canvas panel. I only had very short time to paint but got blocked in what I was after.


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Old 07-01-2018, 04:02 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2018: optional "figure-in-landscape" theme

Geoff, "Brookside Avenue" is gorgeous! It has that wonderful hazy/sunny look so often seen at midday in summer. Bravo! I don't think the figures are too small - maybe it's just a big bench. Seriously, they look just fine.

mosc, your "Medieval Church," is off to a terrific start! Looking forward to seeing the finished painting.

I had such enthusiasm for plein air, but after that first day it's been consistently gray and raining here. In my area, summer often doesn't really start until well after the 4th of July, but that's coming up soon, so things are looking up. In the meantime, I've got plenty of other tasks I can attend to now so that I'll be ready for sun.
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Last edited by AnnieA : 07-01-2018 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 07-02-2018, 01:54 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2018: optional "figure-in-landscape" theme

Thanks for the kind words, Moscatel and Annie! Moscatel, that looks like a terrific start, and what a wonderful subject! I hope you'll post more photos as it develops. Could I trade locations with you? We don't have any medieval churches here in the USA.

Annie, I'd gladly trade weather with you. Today it was 97 degrees here, and tomorrow it's supposed to be hotter.

But that didn't stop me from getting out to paint! Actually, I drove out to the country, where it was only 92 or 93 -- downright brisk. I also brought a huge linen canvas -- 18" x 24," absolutely enormous by my standards. I figured what the heck. I worked on this about 4 hours, and I like the progress I made, but I think I need to cool the colors on the furthest barn to make it recede more. (What do you all think?) Also, I ran out of time to add detail, but that may be for the best. "Farm," oil on linen, 18" x 24."

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Old 07-02-2018, 04:32 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2018: optional "figure-in-landscape" theme

Geoff,
Looking very good! I like the perspective. I agree about toning down the barn, the fence too. As you adjust your darks think about adding the compliment to the colors, especially the red.
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Old 07-03-2018, 01:34 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2018: optional "figure-in-landscape" theme

Geoff, it's a nice painting. I agree with Boogiechile - the secret may be to add just a touch of the complement to the red barn. I can't believe you went out in such hot weather. Once it's past 85 or so, I seal myself into my apartment with the AC on.

Here's today's progress in my figure painting class, week 2. I wish I had taken a picture of the oil sketch, because I started losing some of it as I painted. It's an incredibly difficult post to capture: she's looking back over her shoulder in my direction, but her hips are twisted to face the other direction. The approach is to find areas of color that will later be modified and refined with more subtle differences. The color isn't quite there yet in several areas and the color in the photo is off still further, especially the dark area at the lower part of her near thigh, which really isn't black at all, but I think you can get a general impression. And there's something wrong with her arm, or perhaps it's her torso. Still, I'm feeling OK because I'm not as far behind as I often am - there's three weeks to go in the class. Feedback appreciated!

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Last edited by AnnieA : 07-03-2018 at 01:42 AM.
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Old 07-03-2018, 03:26 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2018: optional "figure-in-landscape" theme

Annie, the figure is going so nicely. Thank you for posting. I like the straight lines a lot and colors too. Interesting pose. I think if the body parts need to turn you can add darker areas and turn them gradually. Are you mixing strings of colors or using some other approach? Nice that you have 3 more weeks with this pose. It helps a lot, you can study well the pose and find new things every time. Thanks for commenting mine. I decided to finish the church very bold leaving much of the detail out and keep it to the big general shapes only. Later I can do more or make a bigger version of it but till then I have other projects.

Grotius, you are brave to paint in that heat. A while back we had that and I had to stop going out to paint. This year I don't manage heat at all. I think "Farm" is going well. If you add something like darks or other reds over the red color be careful not to loose the beautiful light & red in the painting. Interesting angle in your composition and nicely handled distance. Canvas sizes like 18x24" seem at first big but once you paint outside a few of them they actually work out quite well. I've been lately painting to that size outside as well and paintings take little bit longer but they look actually better. Sizes bigger than that are challenge! I've tried those too. Thanks for commenting on mine and will pm you the (geo)location of the church.

I was finishing the church yesterday but the photo of it didn't work out well until this morn. so I post it now. In the photo (my earlier post) the cupola has an uneven balance and it is not that the photo has twisted the view but the cupola really was uneven as you can see in the photo. I didn't paint it that way because I noticed it late, I had already drawn it with brush and painted some of it too. Later at home I didn't want to correct it because there really is no need since the idea of this practice was values and color and light. For same reasons I leave the window as it is, too short and tiny. Will try to find more of this kind of structures nearby and go paint them. Today it's rainy but there will be a couple of sunny days this week too.


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Old 07-03-2018, 01:31 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2018: optional "figure-in-landscape" theme

Annie, I think you have done a really good job of conveying the gesture of the model. I certainly feel that her hips are twisted away from us while her torso is in a more neutral posture, and her head is pointing toward us. A challenging pose but you've handled it well.

I'm curious about the dark outlines around much of the figure. My guess is this is a deliberate stylistic choice? My instructor always harangues us to melt the hair into the background with soft edges, to make it look softer, but I rather like your approach. The outlines around the right leg work for me because they show shading -- the edges of the form are further from us, and not getting the light as directly (if at all). Also, nice job of placement of the facial features: I have no idea what the model looks like in real life, but yours look anatomically plausible (whereas sometimes I have to fight the tendency to put the eyes too high and make the nose too long).

Moscatel, it's looking good! I'd never have noticed any issue with the architectural details you mentioned. The viewer is rarely that familiar with the subject, so the artist can get away with a fair bit of variation! I like the drawing as it is.

You're right, I was really surprised how pleasant it was to paint on an 18" x 24" canvas. There's less emphasis on fine-motor control -- that is, on painting with small brushes and the small muscles of the fingers and hand. Instead, the big surface lets me paint more from the shoulder, in a more relaxed way. The only downsides are (1) cost of the canvas (and extra paint/medium needed to cover it), and (2) storage, lol.

Boogiechile and all, you guys are right, I need to tone down the far barn. I'll take a stab at it soon, maybe today, in the studio. Today is "only" 93 degrees, but it's more humid, and I hate the humidity more than the heat. So I'll be indoors today.
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Old 07-03-2018, 06:22 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2018: optional "figure-in-landscape" theme

Mosc, the church cupola looks just fine. I like the less detailed approach. Nice shadows and composition. I really like the trees - they all have distinct and charming personalities.


Geoff, I'll look forward to seeing what you do with the barn painting. That's a time of day - with the sun fairly high in the sky - when getting light/cilors right is tricky.

Geoff and mosc, Thanks to both of you for your encouragement and feedback on my painting. I'm only about 3 hours in, given lecture time and model breaks. I need to start getting there earlier to set up and mix paint. The black lines are parts of the initial drawing that haven't been covered up yet but will be. The instructor is very good and is teaching a system where you start with the general (larger color/value areas) and then later move to the more specific (gradations between and within the areas first established). At least that's how I understand it at this point.. I may also have paintedbthe darks a bit too dark and lights too light for this stage, but part of what you're seeing is a too contrasty photo. Anyway, that's why there are't good transitions between dark and light areas yet. The instructor calls this the painting's "adolescence." I've always called it the "ugly duckling" stage, where you start questioning whether you really can paint.

BTW, Geoff. I'm working in my phone's tiny screen, and there's something about your painting that' seems especially appealing at a very small scale. I'm not certain what that's about, but thought I'd pass on the observation in case you wanted to check it out.
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Last edited by AnnieA : 07-03-2018 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 07-04-2018, 02:30 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2018: optional "figure-in-landscape" theme

Annie, I enjoy hearing about your instructor's approach. It sounds similar to what my teacher says: lines for an initial drawing, mass in big areas of value/color first, save details for later. One litmus test for him: if you're putting in nostrils or a belly button early on, you're doing it wrong.

Also, I'm glad to hear my painting looks better on a small screen. I've already made some adjustments to the barn and distant woods. I'll post those tomorrow, perhaps. For now, I thought I'd ask for your guys' input on a couple of other things I'm working on.

The first is a studio version of a plein air painting I did (and posted here) a year ago. I've taken big liberties with the studio version, but then, I'm pretty new to the process of converting a plein air study into a (slightly larger) studio painting. Among other things, I tried emuating David Dunlop, whose YouTube videos emphasize massing in big shapes of light and shadow in an abstract way, and using unconventional tools like squeegees, house-painting brushes. So this thing is a bit of a mess. I tried adding a figure to give it scale and meaning, but I didn't like my first effort. Does it look like anything, lol? "Little Falls Creek," oil on panel, 11" x 14" (based on a 8" x 10" study that I'll post tomorrow).



Also, it was too hot to paint today, so I did this little still life for fun. "Battery," oil on canvas, 5" x 7."

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Old 07-04-2018, 02:40 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2018: optional "figure-in-landscape" theme

Geoff, I'd think about it a long time before I'd change anything in your "Little Falls Creek," painting. I like it as is and I'm especially taken by the contrast of the deep, but colorful, shade around the tree with the glowing light beyond. And I love the beautiful dappled light on the stream and touches of color in the foreground. Really lovely work!
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Old 07-04-2018, 05:51 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2018: optional "figure-in-landscape" theme

Hi all!

Long time no see! It has been crazy over here... Long story but I'm currently on a vacation in Belgium and will be in France too.... Perfect timing for this topic! Yes, I took my oil painting stuff with me! Plein air from last year was fun and memorable so I want to continue this tradition.

I'm not sure if I can post often because of mobile limited data plan we are on and my husband needs it for his work but if I can find free wifi... Like right now I'll drop by and check. Also hopefully have something to show and share.

Great works everyone!

Missed you all too!

Dm7
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Old 07-04-2018, 01:21 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2018: optional "figure-in-landscape" theme

Annie, thanks for your thoughts! I’m glad you like the rocks painting. Yep, the light is my favorite aspect of it. I will take your advice and think on it.

DMA, so good to hear from you! I do hope you find a way to post some paintings from your trip! And yes, we have missed you a lot. Glad you stopped by. ;-)
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:53 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, July 2018: optional "figure-in-landscape" theme

I painted this plein air study of the Washington National Cathedral in a couple of hours yesterday afternoon, in oils, using a limited palette of Pyrrole Red, Cadmium Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Umber, and Titanium White. "Study of the National Cathedral," oil on panel, 11" x 14."

While I was painting, a car drove up and a newlywed couple popped out. They'd just been married in the Cathedral, where I myself was married many moons ago! We chatted and took photos. It was kind of funny -- bridge and groom in tux and wedding gown, talking to a paint-splattered dude in shorts and Washington Capitals cap.

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