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Old 12-01-2017, 11:15 PM
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Grotius Grotius is offline
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Oil-from-life challenge, Dec. 2017: artist's choice!

Happy December, everyone! Let's paint from life! This month, I'm following Annie's suggestion that I give you a holiday gift -- a gift of an artist's choice of subject. So paint whatever you like -- landscapes, portraits, figures, still lifes, whatever -- so long as your work is painted primarily from life. 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.

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!

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. (Incidentally, you can find older oil-from-life threads in the "hall of fame" subforum of the Oil Painting forum.) I'm still working on the November awards; I'll probably post them tomorrow.

I hope you'll all consider posting something! Thanks.
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Last edited by Grotius : 12-01-2017 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 12-02-2017, 02:38 AM
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Grotius Grotius is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Dec. 2017: artist's choice!

I'll kick off December with a painting I did in today's relatively balmy 55-degree December weather. It's a local restaurant, a French bistro; it gets very busy at holiday time, with its festive lights and cheery interior. As I was painting, one of the waiters reported for work. I painted him into the scene, trying to indicate his traditional black-and-white bistro-waiting attire. It was great fun to work on this picture. "Mon Ami Gabi," oil on panel, 9" x 12."

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Old 12-03-2017, 02:11 AM
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Grotius Grotius is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Dec. 2017: artist's choice!

November's theme was still lifes, and the community responded: more than a third of the 30 submissions were still lifes. Good work, everyone!

The envelopes, please! The Oily awards for November go to...

Still lifes

Special achievement in Still Life: Carolkay, whose two paintings were absolutely outstanding. "Almost Cocktail Time" features objects so shiny and believable that you want to reach out and touch them. And her 12" x 24" of purple things (pitchers, cups, grapes, etc) inspired me not only with its expert modeling but also its daring composition, on a 12x24 canvas. As it happens, I have a 12" x 24" canvas sitting around, and I've been wondering whether it could be used for a still life. Carolkay answered that question yes! Carolkay, congratulations on two of my favorite paintings of the month. I hope you continue to post your work here; I learn from every piece you post.

Softest roses: SoftRoses, with a lovely picture of some very soft roses! Or were they carnations? Great flowers, in any case. I know flowers are hard to come by in December, but SoftRoses has a way of finding great ones to paint.

Best paintbrushes: Go figure -- paintbrushes were almost as popular as pumpkins this month. We have two awards here.

First, AllisonR's paintbrush -- the first painting posted last month -- is a delightful portrayal of a subject beloved by all of us here!

Second, Mauricio Calderon's first submission was a neat collection of painting objects, including a brush, palette knife, and tube of paint. Congratulations, Mauricio!

Best pumpkins and squash: These rotund vegetables were even more popular than paintbrushes. Several awards:

Best turban squashes: Amazingly, we had two turban squahes this month.

Best use of a turban squash with flowers: Phyllis Rennie, "Arrangement with a blue ribbon." (This was also the best ribbon of the month!) Lovely composition and colors. As with all the vegetable pictures this month, I learned something from this painting and the ensuing discussion -- I'd never heard of a turban squash. More importantly, it's a pretty painting! Phyllis, I'm so glad you've returned to WC.

Best portrait of a turban squash: NancyS's detailed study of a single turban squash. I love the colors and careful modeling here. Interestingly, the cool colors are what I remember most from this picture; they stand out so well from the predominant warm.

Best pumpkins: DMArtist, with "Colorful Pumpkins" and "White Pumpkin." I really like the warm glow in "Colorful Pumpkins," and wow, "White Pumpkin" is just neat. "White Pumpkin" introduced me to an entirely new species of vegetable. DMA has been treating us to fantastic pumpkin pictures since October. Will we see more in December? How late do pumpkins grow in Holland? We'll find out.

Whew! I hope I didn't miss any other pumpkins, squash, gourds, or similar round fall vegetables! Moving on:

Best deodorant: Me, with two rough sketches of deodorant sticks. Alas, I never finished either, which sorta stinks (ha!). Maybe I will this month.

Best silver pitcher - T1Barkode, "A Gathering on the Pochade". As always, T1 makes great use of light and shadow. I hope we'll see more from him this month!

Coolest signature - Mauricio Calderon's initials on a palette knife depicted in his painting!

Figurative

Best figure paintings of a nude man: AnnieA, with two superlative figures done from life: "Classroom Study #4, Temperature" (young man reclining), and her older, bearded man leaning on a table. I spent a lot of time looking at these two pictures, as they embody techniques that I'm still trying to learn. Annie is making giant strides in her figure painting. Again, I hope we see more from her this month.

Best figure painting of a clothed man: me, with "Wayne" and "Hauling". I was quite proud of both of these images of a man held by ropes. "Hauling" was just a 10-minute gesture sketch; "Wayne" a more finished 90-minute painting.

Best figure painting of a woman: Docpro, with "Wispy Lady", a title that is very apt. I liked the wispy rays shining down from the top left, and I especially liked Philip's treatment of the woman's figure.

Portrait:

If I'm not mistaken, I'm the only one who submitted portraits this month, so forgive me for giving awards only to myself in this category! (If I missed someone, please let me know so I can correct things!)

Best portrait : me - "Emily". I never finished this study, but the first 2-hour painting was a good start.

Best self-portrait - Me, with my self-portrait. I'm really proud of this piece. It's an excellent likeness (unfortunately!), and I took care with my brushstrokes and composition. I still need to refine the glasses and shirt.

Plein air:

Best winter landscape - Phyllis Rennie, "Frozen Wetland En Plein Air." I'm not surprised this won the second place prize at a group exhibit! It really succeeds in conveying a wintery mood. I'm delighted that Phyllis has joined the thread, and I hope we see more from her this month.

Best winter seascape - Moscatel, with "Cold Sea Swimming Hut". I don't know how Moscatel manages to find all these wonderful seaside plein air spots, especially in November! I imagine it's pretty cold where she is now, but I'm hoping we'll see something from her (perhaps still lifes?) in December.

Most prolific: Me, with two plein airs, plus two studio pieces based on plein air studies: "Thanksgiving at the farm" and "House on Macarthur Boulevard" were the plein airs; "Green Light" and "Herring Point" were the studio pieces. Of these, I may be happiest with the plein airs, each of which was done very quickly (90 minutes and 45 minutes respectively). Emile Gruppe wrote that there's more life in plein air pieces than blown-up versions of them in the studio, and I wonder if he's right.

Best flora and fauna: Zooreka, "Defiance" and "Kingfisher". I'm not sure if these impressive paintings were from life, but Zooreka is a new member, so I wanted to honor him anyway. Welcome!

Best Teaching Aids:

Best illustrated guide: DMA's fantastic illustrated guides to making values simple. I've returned to that illustration several times this month. Thank you, DMA, for putting so much time into it!

Best palette picture: DMA posted the only palette this month. I'd like to see more of these! Maybe next month I'll make it a theme -- "post your palette with your picture!"

Best reading recommendations: AnnieA, who has led me to several fantastic books, including Mitch Albala's latest book, and Emile Gruppe's three famous books on oil painting. Annie also has been very nice about answering my endless questions about figure-painting technique and related subjects. Thank you!

And thanks to all of you for participating! Let's set up our still lifes, or our outdoor easels, and paint from life this December!
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Last edited by Grotius : 12-03-2017 at 02:23 AM.
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Old 12-03-2017, 11:25 AM
Mauricio Calderon Mauricio Calderon is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Dec. 2017: artist's choice!

Heres mine, 12x8 in oil on canvas, Im triying to paint frecuently, And I noticided that the only way to do it (for me, because Im working on the day) is on small format and alla prima...very nice this kind of forums! Its a motivaton and inspiration all your posts with those beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing.


Last edited by Mauricio Calderon : 12-03-2017 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 12-03-2017, 08:56 PM
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Grotius Grotius is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Dec. 2017: artist's choice!

Looks good, Mauricio! I see you have another clever place for your signature. ;-) Well done. Also, thanks for showing us your setup.

Again it was warm enough to paint outside, so I grabbed my big wide 12x24 linen canvas and drove around looking for a spot to paint. I stumbled on these woods, off Bradley Boulevard, near Potomac, Maryland. I loved the warm afternoon light flooding the scene, so I set up and went to work.

This is only the second time Iíve painted with a large-ish canvas outdoors, and I think it suits me well. The large support forces me to use large brushes ó size 10 and 12 flats and filberts. And I made myself use them for just about the entire 2-1/2 hour session. The result is a less literal, more painterly first draft. Iím pleased with it.

I didnít really finish. Iíd hoped to detail some of the underbrush and dead branches scattered about, and perhaps some dead leaves on the ground. I suppose I could just sign it and declare it done, but Iím inclined to give it another go tomorrow. What do you all think? ďCabin John Woods,Ē oil on linen, 12Ē x 24.Ē



Hereís a look at the painting, in progress, on the easel.

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Old 12-03-2017, 10:14 PM
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Zooreka Zooreka is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Dec. 2017: artist's choice!



I need to alter one or two things... Want to bring the horizon down a bit.... Widen the flask a bit and make the knife blade a bit longer.... but for a first read I'm happy enough with it,,,
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:22 AM
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Grotius Grotius is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Dec. 2017: artist's choice!

Really cool, Zooreka! I love the mood of this piece. Do you intend to keep it as a grayscale painting, or are you planning to paint new layers with color?
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Old 12-04-2017, 01:04 AM
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Zooreka Zooreka is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Dec. 2017: artist's choice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grotius
Really cool, Zooreka! I love the mood of this piece. Do you intend to keep it as a grayscale painting, or are you planning to paint new layers with color?

no... It's a verdaccio (although it doesn't really come across in this photo... Still refining it and I intend to bring up the lights.... but I guess this image is around 50/50 so I intend to glaze those bits that require a lick of color,,, Just want to be happy with the balance first....

May need to glue it down though... darn canvas is buckling even though I have it taped...

oh - it's 10" x 8" roll canvas taped to a canvas board,,,,

Last edited by Zooreka : 12-04-2017 at 01:18 AM.
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:30 PM
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Zooreka Zooreka is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Dec. 2017: artist's choice!

This is more or less what I am aiming for,,, (I did the colouring here with Corel Painter... still waiting for the Underpainting to dry)

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Old 12-04-2017, 11:33 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Dec. 2017: artist's choice!

Looks like a good plan! Iím looking forward to seeing the final product. ;-)
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Old 12-06-2017, 02:57 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Dec. 2017: artist's choice!

heres what Iím working on presently. I found the pitcher In a antique shop and wanted to place it in a painting. I loved itís shape. I also was hoping to make it work for a beautiful. Masterworks frame I have. Weíll see. Itís 14x18. Oil on linen panel.




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Old 12-06-2017, 04:16 PM
Mauricio Calderon Mauricio Calderon is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Dec. 2017: artist's choice!

Carol . That looks amazing!! congrats! the frame is so beautiful and the grapes too. Good job

Last edited by Mauricio Calderon : 12-06-2017 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 12-06-2017, 06:22 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Dec. 2017: artist's choice!

Mauricio, nice job on the accordian (or is it a related instrument?). Good for you if you can manage daily paintings!

Geoff, the woods painting is terrific. It looks to me that it could use just a little more detail/contrast, either in the fore- or mid-ground. Comparing the painting to the photo, I'd say you've done a great job enhancing reality.

zooreka, it's fascinating to hear about your process. It looks like the glass jar and paint tubes painting is going to be very nice and I'll look forward to the finale.

carol: I love your still life with the turquoise vase! I can see why you bought the vase, as it's a great subject for a painting. And the frame looks like it was meant for the painting all along. Congrats on a very successful work.

My ambitious plans for painting over the Winter break have been foiled by a failed root canal, and now a bad cold on top of it. Why is it always something???
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Last edited by AnnieA : 12-06-2017 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 12-06-2017, 08:01 PM
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Dec. 2017: artist's choice!

Geoff... I admire yr energy for going outside - especially in the cold to paint.
I just canít do it.. the bi,strop is lovely ó and adding the figure was genius! And I like yr tree painting very much!

Mauricio... w
Yes.. when working i the day.. youíve chosen a great process to paint I think.... alla prima and small... will give you some results soon,, so you can grow and learn from what yr doing. I like how the painttubes Leda the eye into the painting. And good job on the bottle. Keep going.

Thank you Annie,, and Iím so sorry for yr cold... it seems this is the time of year for catching stuff... especially when you have children that brings it home...
Hope you can get to painting soon.
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Old 12-06-2017, 09:43 PM
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Phyllis Rennie Phyllis Rennie is offline
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Re: Oil-from-life challenge, Dec. 2017: artist's choice!

Carol, beautiful painting and the frame fits perfectly.

Geoff, The atmosphere of the woods is lovely. I do think the largest tree on the left side could use a little more finishing but not sure that brush, leaves, etc. are needed.
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