Saturday, December 8, 2012

Oil sketch gone horribly wrong!

I just want to record this before I hit the sack...

1st problem - DON'T DRAW IN CONTE CRAYON!! 

I don't know, I guess you're supposed to seal it or fix it somehow when you do, because the chalk just got into all my paint and immediately turned it into a muddy shitty brown mess. In fact after the first few brushstrokes I just used white because the conte instantly turned it brown. I was feeling like a badass though, and decided to ride it out and see if I could find a way to fix it without missing a beat - figured as long as all the chalk iss turned into sticky gum with oil paint them it;ll be stuck down firmly to the canvas. It kinda sorta worked. I just went ahead and scrubbed in the basic forms letting the chalk fuck everything up, but making sure I could still see the shapes.

2nd problem - MIX THE RIGHT VALUES!! 

My light mids are actually mids, and the mids and mid darks are both just darks. I kinda knew it from the very beginning too, but again, I thought it would be cool to see if I could deal with it on the fly. All gansta and shit, like Frazetta jr or something. 

3rd problem - MIX THE RIGHT COLORS!! 

Once in progress, I realized I didn't have any kind of strong primaries or secondaries, just these tertiaries, which look great, but you really do need strong primaries and secondaries too. Oh, before beginning I mixed up some little test batches of greens to see what I could make from my limited paletter - I could actually get some surprisingly good greens using black and naples, and black and ochre (or those earth tones plus french ultra), but they're very desaturated and neutral. So I've now officially added Cad Lemon to the palette. 

4th problem - DO AN UNDERPAINTING!! 

I now understand - there need to be darks under the darks and mids under the mids or you get white crap showing through.


Such a weird experience - the paint was all sticky and mucky the whole time, and it just kept getting worse. I thought I might be able to pull it off for a while, and did some great things (especially the pants I just ad-libbed right over the nude figure), but no. It looked great a couple of times - I worked in some greens and reds and purples, but somehow as I went they mostly got blended down into mud.
Part og the problem was that I was using colors that sat overnight in the fridge - I had cleaned off all the mixes but kept the tube colors on my palette. They were skinned over - had to peel that off (messy!) and they were still sort of partially dried and sticky as hell before I even began. Now I;m thinking when the airtight pill container comes in I need to test it with small dabs of color before committing to it entirely. In the end it might just be best to go ahead and waste a lot of paint in order to make painting better (or even possible). 


Preliminary sketches to work out the design, color comps, drawing it correctly on the canvas (prismacolors I'm thinking, or maybe aquarelles), planning the colors to mix and mixing the right values of them on the palette. And then, if you're lucky, it might just work. 

All this said though, I think it came out pretty cool in a lot of ways, and I love some of the handling - it became very much like a pencil drawing in full color, where I could just kind of make exactly what I wanted happen sometimes without quite knowing how - but I knew it was going to work. I guess that's a good thing.


I was just washing them in turps, and after a couple of days they were all getting messed up - the bristles starting to stick together as if they still have oil paint in them, all stiff as hell and need to be broken in before I can use them (which could easily result in broken bristles). After I washed them in warm water and dish soap they're much much softer and suppler and feel much happiuer. Also dry them as well as you can afterwards on a cloth. 

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