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Old 09-01-2017, 12:04 AM
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Grotius Grotius is offline
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Oil-from-life challenge, Sept. 2017: any subject, but think about trying a nocturne!

Let's paint from life! Please feel free to post any oil painting of any subject -- landscapes, portraits, figures, still lifes, whatever -- so long as it was painted primarily from life. This month we're especially encouraging landscapes at night ("nocturnes"), but you are not obliged to post nocturnes or other plein air work; any painting from life qualifies for this thread. For the August oil-from-life thread, see http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show....php?t=1431834. 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. (Moscatel regularly submits paintings on Elephant Dung Paper!)

Optional: Tell us the title of your painting! I think it helps us grow as artists to think about what we're trying to say in our work, and titles are a part of that.

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

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. If you'd rather opt out of receiving such a commendation, just let me know. I'm still working on the ceremony for August; I should have it posted within 24 hours.

I hope you'll all consider posting something! Thanks.
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Last edited by Grotius : 09-01-2017 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 09-01-2017, 11:14 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Sept. 2017: any subject, but think about trying a nocturne!

Boy oh boy do the months fly by don't they? Once again I would like to thank you Geoff, for hosting my favorite thread on wetcanvas! I really love seeing everyones paintings in here and it is really nice to be able to discuss things with like minded painters. My tube of maroger just arrived in the mail! Yayy!!! I can't wait to try it out, but I am busy at the moment and have to run a couple errands, but I'm sure I will get a chance to paint this evening. I hope I like it! I will let you know what I think of it
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Old 09-01-2017, 01:28 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Sept. 2017: any subject, but think about trying a nocturne!

Thanks for your kind words, T1, and thanks for being such an enthusiastic participant on the thread. It wouldn't be the same without you! Also, you inspired this month's theme, as I'm sure you noticed.

I'm out and about myself. But I hope to paint today and post the awards tonight.
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Old 09-01-2017, 03:09 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Sept. 2017: any subject, but think about trying a nocturne!

I just want to say that I'm finding this to be an especially valuable thread. What I notice is that the main characters here -
you, Geoff, and t1 and DMA - all seem particularly serious about painting, and striving to improve, and I already find it helpful to be in such company. Thanks Geoff for hosting!

These are comments I had started writing for the August thread, but didn't manage to finish before the new one was posted.

Geoff and DMA, it is so much easier to mix with a brush, but the risk is getting paint into the ferrule, which can end up wrecking the brush. I tend to mix the big piles with a knife, and do the variations from those main colors with my brush, but even then I sometimes goof and get the paint too far up.

DMA, your plein aires are so soft and peaceful. I especially like the last one with the two rocks in the water. The color is perfect and it has such a lovely, dreamy feel to it.

Geoff, DMA, t1, thanks for the nice compliments on my portrait. Yes, the model did see it, and took a photo. Painting quickly and accurately is indeed a challenge - it was quite a milestone for me to get as far as I did with that last portrait.

DMA, I've read that zest-it can leave a slight residue. Have you tried Gamsol? You can also use spike lavender oil as a solvent; it's the only non-toxic solvent I'm aware of. It's quite expensive, but goes a long, long way and smells wonderful, although some don't like the odor. But the drawback is that it's a very strong solvent and slow-drying, so it doesn't seem to work for doing a first washy layer.

The 5-week portraiture class I've been taking just ended. It met once a week and the second portrait was done over the last two sessions, which worked really well for a relative newcomer to portraiture like me. My first two portraits for the class were awful, mostly because I know I'm very slow, and so tensed up due to the pressure of less than 3 hours to complete them. So having two sessions to complete the portrait was ideal for me. The instructor was great and taught a limited palette, systematic approach to alla prima portraiture that she said also works for landscapes and still lifes. I got a lot out of the class and will use the system for future work.

t1 and Geoff, maybe you could convince your group to try a 2-session portrait too. It's twice as good as just one three-hour session! It seems to me the speedy folks could just do a second painting of the same model from a different perspective, so everyone would be happy.

t1, I've never used maroger and instead am planning to try some of Tad Spurgeon's impasto putties, made with water-washed linseed oil. I'll be interested to hear your take on maroger, although I'm sensitive like Geoff and shy away from anything toxic. That is except Gamsol, which I try to limit but find indispensible. Kelli Folsom is a terrific artist and thanks for introducing me to her work. Enjoy the workshop! Congrats on your gallery entry and*best wishes on that solo show, too! When do you hear on it?

Geoff, I like the storefront a lot - it's charming! I had hoped to enter myself, but didn't manage it. Has a winner been announced? But for me, the mall painting is the standout. There's a special kind of light effect when the day is overcast but the sun is starting to burn off the haze, and you nailed it!

t1, I remember seeing that river scene earlier. It's a wonderful painting and I easily can see why it was accepted!

DMA, I hope the rain went away so you could continue painting!

Geoff, if you're near a Hobby Lobby, you can also find 12x24s there, which are very reasonably priced (it's probably wise to apply an extra coat of gesso on them). Blick also carries them, along with 18x36 and 24x48 and similarly-proportioned canvasses. I imagine the other major art supply stores carry them too.

I'm not certain I'm ready to try to pull off a nocturne, since I feel I'm still learning to keep all the painting elements I'm juggling up in the air at the same time! One more (darkness) may be more than I can handle at the moment, but who knows, maybe I'll be reckless and give it a try.
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Last edited by AnnieA : 09-01-2017 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 09-01-2017, 07:34 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Sept. 2017: any subject, but think about trying a nocturne!

Annie, i really enjoyed reading your post. I hold it in high regard that you and Geoff seem to appreciate what i contribute to this thread. I am quite an introverted person, and dont have a huge amount of friends, and Im not super close with any of the artists i paint with in my groups. I have really taken a liking to you guys. When I first started posting in Wetcanvas, I wasnt quite sure where i fit in. There are so many wonderful forums here, but it is nice to find one that is in alignment with the exact artistic statements you are striving to make. I really feel at home in this thread, as painting from life in oils is my true love. Everyone here has been so kind and helpful. I dont feel like there is too much "fluffery" either, which i feel is counter productive. If there is something im doing wrong that im not noticing then i want to know about it, and as you all know, only a set of fresh eyes can see an artist's errors at times. Sometimes I feel like I might come off as sounding harsh when i comment on someones painting, but its only because i truly care and want to help. I try to be polite. I would want the same in return. So if I have ever offended any of u with one of my comments, i apologize, but i do it with only the best intentions. You guys are a huge asset in my oil painting journey, as im a relatively new painter (only been doing it for a little over a year). I have had a lot of issues in my life, and when i stumbled upon oil painting, i instantly knew that its what i was supposed to be doing all along. I have always been an artistic minded type, music was my thing for the longest time, but its very clear that painting suits me much better. I only wish i would have started doing it earlier in life, but i am 33 and i feel like if i work as hard as i can as much as possible, that i may have a chance at making an impact. I have nothing but love for you guys and im honored to be sharing our journeys in this thread. You guys are the best!

Ok enough of the sappy rubbish, im headed to my studio to paint!
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Old 09-01-2017, 11:09 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Sept. 2017: any subject, but think about trying a nocturne!

P.S. - Annie: thus far my maroger has a very very mild scent that i find quite pleasant. It is much less smelly than say Liquin for instance. I cant use normal turpentine in the studio, not cause i dislike the smell, because i love how it smells, but it really just makes me feel ill when i use it in my studio, even with my windows open and a fan blowing out one of them. The maroger on the other hand is having no ill effects on me whatsoever. I use normal turpentine when i paint plein air, i do prefer its extremely quick evaporation rate. When i need a straight solvent in the studio i just use oms, usually either mona lisa or turpenoid, those dont bother me. But even hardware store oms is heavy on the nose indoors. I always start out my paintings sketching in the composition using pure solvent and paint. Then after i get it sketched in i switch to whichever medium i happen to be using. I like to experiment with all sorts. So far my favorite is Sennelier Flow N Dry, but maroger may become my #1, we'll c, i havent much experience with it yet and its also painfully expensive, so i dont foresee it becoming my main medium, if only because of its price
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Old 09-02-2017, 12:44 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Sept. 2017: any subject, but think about trying a nocturne!

"Amy Hates Me" - 11x14" oil on panel

I was very close to scraping this one off the panel, mainly because the drawing is so horrendous. But it does have a certain light effect I'm liking, especially when viewed from a distance. Currently having some female problems, and was not in the mood to paint, but I forced myself to, painting haphazardly and taking my aggression out on the paint, hence the reason the drawing is so horrid. Might have a concept here though I can put to use later, so I kept it.
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:09 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Sept. 2017: any subject, but think about trying a nocturne!

I'm glad you didn't wipe it off, T1. It's already quite beautiful, and the drawing is easily fixable. The only real issue I see is the symmetry on the vase, and you can fix that in 5 minutes. The lighting is great. Sorry to hear about your personal woes.

Annie and T1, thanks for both of those thoughtful posts. I'm glad you're both enjoying the threads! I've learned a ton from the posts here. Best of all, these threads really motivate me to get up and paint. "I wanna post something in The Thread today, I gotta get outside!"

I may post a more in-depth reply later, but for now I'm eager to post the awards for August, coming up in my next post...
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:11 AM
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Thumbs up Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Sept. 2017: any subject, but think about trying a nocturne!

Ladies and gentleman, it's time for the monthly Oil from Life (OFL) Awards! (Incidentally, we need a snazzy name like the 'Oscars." Maybe the Lifies? The Livelies? The Oily Life Awards? I lean toward "The Oily Life Awards," but I'm open to suggestions. Think about it!)

By my count, we had about 30 plein air paintings, 5 portraits, and 8 still lifes. So plein air was the most popular category, but there were some truly memorable still lifes and portraits. If you think about it, that number is pretty cool: collectively we created 43 new works of art last month. That’s pretty neat! Anyway, on to the…

Still life awards:

Most convincing flower: AnnieA, with a stunning artichoke flower – a memorable (and, for me, educational) painting.
Most convincing fruit: DMArtist, whose fabulous grapefruit made me hungry! Great edge-work, too.
Best bouquet: KarenDArt, with her lovely arrangement of hydrangea and potentilla.
Career best still life: T1barkode, “Peace.” If T1 has ever done a better still life than this, I’d love to see it, because this one is truly a work of art. Go look at it if you haven't seen it.
Special Achievement in Still Life: T1barkode, with an outstanding series of still lifes that were my favorite paintings of the month: not just “Peace,” but also the stunning “Sunflowers and Eucalyptus,” “Uncorked,” as well as “Small bucket,” and a cold cup of “Coffee.”

Portrait awards:

Best portrait of a woman: AnnieA, for her lively and colorful painting of a lovely subject. I especially admired her use of warms and cools around the face and neck.
Best portrait of a man: T1, with his lovely portrait of a distinguished man with a goatee.
Best double portrait - Schwarz78. Welcome to the thread, Schwarz! Glad to have you here. You mentioned that you might start work on a still life; I hope you do!
Best self-portrait: T1barkode. An engaging and spirited self-portrait. I may remember incorrectly, but this may be the only self-portrait anyone has ever posted in the “oil from life” threads.

Plein air awards:

Special Achievement for Excellence in Maine Landscapes: DaveCrow, with a memorable series of landscapes from the coast of Maine. My favorite was the view of the bridge to Deer Island.
Monet Award: DMArtist, whose “Bridge of France” and “Two Rocks Peeking” both bring to mind the great French impressionist. Bravo!
Best sunrise: KarenDArt, with a great view of the sun greeting the ocean.
Best cactus: ntl, with a fascinating series on his cactus, culminating in a flower that opened for only a few minutes – and he got up at 5 a.m. to catch it.
Best sky: NomadZ for “Beecraigs Loch,” with a vivid-blue, beautifully-gradated sky that makes me want to know how he mixed his color! Interestingly, he said he invented the sky because it was a cloudy day. Welcome to the Oil-from-Life thread, Nomad!
Best shadows: DMArtist, for her marvelous “Endless Bricks.” I just love her use of light and shadow in this one.
Best dappled light: T1 for “Appalachian light," his painting of a trailer – done the same day he did a painting of a mansion.
Best beer: DMArtist. Just as her still life of a grapefruit made me hungry, her plein air of a beer made me thirsty!
Early bird award: KarenD and ntl for getting up at the crack of dawn to plein air. Probably others, too!
Best canals – me! I painted not one but two different canals, one in Delaware, one in Maryland. – “Boat on the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal” and “Waiting for the Mules,” a picture of a boat waiting for mules to tow it along the C&O canal.
Best nocturne - T1barkode, "Lunar". I end with this memorable painting because it has inspired this month's theme of nocturnes.

Thanks to all for participating! If I left anyone out, please PM me and I'll add an award for you -- every artist gets at least one. I really do want to make sure I honor everyone who posts a painting from life.

Let’s make some more art this month!
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Last edited by Grotius : 09-02-2017 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:33 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Sept. 2017: any subject, but think about trying a nocturne!

T1, I exactly know what you mean. I joined wetcanvas not a too long time ago, unsure of what to expect, but this thread is quickly becoming my favorite. It's inspiring to see everyone trying their hardest to improve and not only that, support each other. It's inspiring! Your latest painting is actually great. I am glad you didn't scrap it. I love the aggressive brushwork. Did you use this new medium on it? I'm curious what you think of it so far. Love the colors and how you used some soft glow there and there.

Annie, thank you for your kind words. I always liked my art to be dreamy and there you said it. Yay! I'm happy! About being in one's company, I too enjoy yours and everyone's else too! And the paint getting into the ferrule, yeah, that's why I got long flat, it's nearly impossible that way, unless I'm really careless or using huge amount of paint (that's where knife comes handy anyways). Ah zest-it does that? I didn't know or notice that. I know it dries to matte finish, but I think that's normal for all solvents when thinned with it. It's not really a big deal because I only use pure solvent for underpainting, then usually just walnut oil for later on if I need it to be more smooth. When I sign it, I find it easier to control if I mix 1:1 part walnut oil and zest-it as a thinner. Then it won't finish off with a so-matte-finish nor will it bead up (if you use too much walnut oil, you get that effect). Not that it really matters because at that point I'll just use a retouch varnish to unify it for a gloss finish. I haven't tried Gamsol, just got zest-it because it's supposed to be "better alternative" of all solvents. I could be wrong ofc. I like it and it's powerful in cleaning my brush so I'm happy. I've heard of lavender oil spike, but from what I have read, some people could not handle the smell and it stays in the painting for a long time due to longer evaporation point which I don't want. Zest-it is a bit slower than turpentine, but it still does the job and evaporate fast enough. However, if I ever have an opportunity to try it out or so, I definitely will. It's just that like you said, it's rather expensive. And finally about your portrait class, I hope you've learned few things from it. Of course you'll start out badly, don't we all? But hey at least you did see some progress right? I'm curious about the limited palette your instructor showed if you don't mind sharing that?

Whew, what a long post. And again Geoff, like I said in my last post in last thread, thank you for this thread. I love it!

And yeah, I'm now at home. The weather was going to be raining for 3 days straight, nonstop and our vacation was coming to its end anyways so we packed early. It's good to be at my pc with my lovely keyboard again. I also looked up on when moon's full here and it's on Sept 6. I'm going to see if I *CAN* pull it off... I'm making it my "one time challenge." Let's hope I'll do it. Haha! Bye for now.
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Old 09-02-2017, 08:51 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Sept. 2017: any subject, but think about trying a nocturne!

Hello everyone! Mind if I join? I will give myself an award, the only post on page one of the main Oil Painting page that has zero comments. Kinda' funny.

I have enjoyed this thread very much, it is nice to see participation, the WC site used to be so busy (years back) and seems to have dropped off so much.

Nocturnes hey? Whew, not sure I can pull that one off as I am just struggling so with even putting in dark backgrounds in my still life, which is what I paint.

Have really liked the paintings in this thread, just a wonderful mix of styles and subjects!

So to jump in I spent part of yesterday tweaking a still life of....could you guess...roses! Got some very good advice on the Still Life and Florals and Botanicals threads, so I tried them. Will get a picture later if it's not cloudy.

So I have done 4 paintings recently, three of which are posted in F&B's, and Still Life, and cross posted one of them in Oil Painting *the one that has no comments*. That is to say, I have been trying to paint, or do paint-related activities every day.

If ya'll will have me, I'm in!
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Old 09-02-2017, 09:08 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Sept. 2017: any subject, but think about trying a nocturne!

......by the way, I only mentioned receiving no comments on that painting to point out the participation is low sometimes on WC, not that I need anyone to comment! It didn't come out the way I intended......
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Old 09-02-2017, 09:42 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Sept. 2017: any subject, but think about trying a nocturne!

Welcome SoftRoses! Of course you're always welcome to join us! I mean, if they accepted somebody crazy like me, I'm sure they'll do same for you!

Yeah I was a lurker at WC many years ago and remember it was super active. I have no clue what happened, but hey at least there are some activities with great threads now. I'm so looking forward to your pieces you're going to share!

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Old 09-02-2017, 10:31 AM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Sept. 2017: any subject, but think about trying a nocturne!

DMArtist7, thanks! I think maybe Facebook took many away? My thing now is, I don't know how to find "artists" on the social media sites. I often think well I'd like to go "hang out" around a bunch, but don't know where they are. Used to be here........

I'm glad for any thread that gets activity here! Having leftover homemade pizza for breakfast, and contemplating what to paint next.

Cloth is my latest hill to climb. I want to try a solid color cloth now. Did white, now color, then I'll move on to pattern. What are you up to next?
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Old 09-02-2017, 02:54 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Sept. 2017: any subject, but think about trying a nocturne!

SoftRoses, welcome to the party! I promise you, if you post a painting from life here, one or more of us will comment. I check this thread several times a day, but I don't always look at the rest of WC.

After I read your post I visited your thread and commented on your still life. Very nice! I think you nailed the cloth there. Loved the highlights too. I spotted maybe one minor drawing issue, but I loved it overall.

And yes, why not try a nocturne? I've never done it in my life. Not too late to start.

It's funny, I've been coming to WC for years and I hadn't noticed a drop-off in participation. Maybe I'm clueless, but it's always seemed hit-or-miss to me. Some of my posts attract 100 views and 0 comments' others generate 4 pages of comments.
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