Getting back to painting & drawing

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lancashire lass
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Getting back to painting & drawing

Post by lancashire lass »

It's been nearly 30 years ago since I last did any serious painting & drawing (and even then just a couple of commissions of family/friend's pets using pencil or charcoal) and before that, art in high school (... 47 years ago) so it's back to the drawing board )run( (doh) and get a bit of practice in.

First, I played around with the pencils, charcoals, paintbrushes (I don't remember having such a wide selection of different paintbrushes (and sizes) when in school so all new to me to find out how they all work) and finally, all the different paint colours (acrylic):

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Then it was time to try my hand at drawing - just a few quick sketches from photos (off a calendar) - a rhino, eye of a leopard and a lion (I'm not too happy with the lion's mouth but overall I think I got the dimensions)

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Then it was time to attempt a painting. I really wanted to paint a tiger from a photo I had uploaded from the web. I would have liked a print to work from but ended up using the camera on my mobile phone to take photos of the image on the laptop screen. Not the easiest thing to work with as the stupid phone kept timing me out, not to mention I had to hold it in one hand all the time while painting with the other. No sooner had I settled down with the easel on my lap when the phone rang (very odd sensation holding the phone and realising it was ringing while still balancing the paint palette and paintbrush in the other hand, not to mention avoid knocking over the jar of water beside me!) I decided to have a quick break thereafter and took a photo of the progress:

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And the "finished" painting:

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First, I do wish I had chosen something easier to paint! The mix of orange-brown, white and black patches proved quite difficult. And did you know that tigers have white whiskers? Painting white on white is not that easy LOL. My first criticism is that after looking at the photo and comparing it to the painting, the eyes are too close together. The other is knowing how far to go ... unlike a pencil drawing (my preferred media) when you can use an eraser, trying my hand at a watercolour was a lot more difficult. As this was after all, a practice painting, I don't think it looks too bad. From start to finish (with a 15 minute break) it took less than a couple of hours.
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Mo
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Re: Getting back to painting & drawing

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A good start.
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Trev62
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Re: Getting back to painting & drawing

Post by Trev62 »

Looking good, keep the updates coming )t'
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lancashire lass
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Re: Getting back to painting & drawing

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You may recognise the lion from the quick sketch I did. This time with a bit more detail (in the photo, the right eye is partially closed but it doesn't look right when drawn):

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The next one is a face mask. I am getting on with some sketches of things I am hoping to put into a painting on canvas so this is just to get some dimensions:

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I am quite happy for some constructive criticism (I am usually good at being critical of my own work but sometimes helps when others see something I may have missed)
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Re: Getting back to painting & drawing

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I understand what you say abut the lion's eye not looking right but when transferring something from a photo to a drawing I would presume (but would not know) that adjustments have to be made due to the change of medium.
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lancashire lass
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Re: Getting back to painting & drawing

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Trev62 wrote: 31 Jan 2024, 22:13 I understand what you say abut the lion's eye not looking right but when transferring something from a photo to a drawing I would presume (but would not know) that adjustments have to be made due to the change of medium.
In the first sketch I had not included the closed eye but made it look similar to the other, so as I'm not happy with the detailed sketch I might do as I did in the original (the photo I was working from was off a calendar so the quality is grainy which makes it difficult to see the subtle shadows when drawing, including the mouth. In the detailed sketch I think I got it more or less the shape I wanted but the photo details are dark and blurry so again, a bit of "artistic discretion" on my part) Currently I am just practicing my drawing (shape and shading) but I hope to move on to painting soon (that is, acrylic on canvas rather than watercolour - one reason for holding off at the moment is the fact that canvas is more expensive than paper)
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Re: Getting back to painting & drawing

Post by Spreckly »

The painting and drawing are really good, LL. I did O Level Art at school, but although I passed, it was nothing like the standard you have achieved. I love the tiger.
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lancashire lass
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Re: Getting back to painting & drawing

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Spreckly wrote: 01 Feb 2024, 21:33 The painting and drawing are really good, LL. I did O Level Art at school, but although I passed, it was nothing like the standard you have achieved. I love the tiger.
aw, thank you Spreckly )t'

I've done a couple more sketches since my last post. I thought a dried rye seed head would be easy but it proved more difficult to draw (counting the seeds to make sure it was correct, then noticing the seeds on either side were not next to each other, lots of dried bits such as the leaves as well as in the seed head itself ... it all started to look a bit scruffy)

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This next drawing is simple as I was just trying to get the dimensions for a planned painting I'm working on. It is supposed to be a mannequin head with a 3 strand pearl necklace with one of the strings broken (there's a story behind it) Well, the face seems oddly oriental (maybe it'll look different when painted) and I wasn't happy with the necklace. Hopefully it'll turn out how I visualise it when upscaled to the A2 size canvas.

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lancashire lass
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Re: Getting back to painting & drawing

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On Friday I purchased some more acrylic paint (2 sets of metallic (gold and bronze shades) in 5ml pots, 4 different "pearl" colour shades in 60ml pots and a set of 5 fineliner pens of different sizes, plus a much needed board to mount sheet paper for painting and drawing. They all arrived late on Monday evening so yesterday I was keen to get on with some painting. First, I tried out the different paints and pens in my practice sketch book. Looking at the pearl shades, they are very similar to the metallic shades so I've concluded it's only the colour (pink, purple compared to gold, copper etc) that is different as they all have that same sheen (to be fair, the metallic shades were a different brand to the pearl shades) The pens are what I expected and am very pleased with them:

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Then it was time to try out the new wooden board (A3 size) and moving up to the A3 size paper (ideal for final art work unlike the cheaper sketch book I've been using up until now) In school I remember mounting the paper onto a board by lightly dampening and carefully stretching it (a bit like hanging wallpaper to a wall but using water not paste) and then sticking the edge down with brown paper tape (aka parcel tape that you wetted) so that the paper didn't ripple up when using water based paint. Well, I didn't have paper tape and the closest I had was some dwindling masking tape. I hadn't intended on doing a full blown painting so decided to omit the "stretching" the paper bit which I regretted soon after I started ...

I was keen to try out my new metallic paints and had decided to paint from a photo I found on the web of a sculpture that is sited in my local park (I often walked my dog in the wall gardens where it is located. I vaguely remember it being a dark copper / bronze look about it but the photo in the link looks more like stone - it has been many years since I last went to the park so my memory may have been flawed) After doing a light outline of the sculpture in pencil, I was aiming for a light green background but it soon became a bigger task than anticipated as the foliage needed to be put in, not to mention the brick paving that the statue was sited on and the gravel paths behind and in front of the sculpture which look more like water in the painting. I tried using one of the fineliner pens in the hope of improving it but I'm still not happy with it. The photo of the painting actually looks slightly better than the painting itself - it really did not turn out how I visualised it (it looks very amateurish) but thought I'd post it here anyway to remind me that I still have a lot of practicing to do.

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A close up of the sculpture looks slightly better and captures the metallic look and the original background I was after, but unfortunately also the "gravel" and brickwork. I think I should stick to drawing and painting animals ...

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lancashire lass
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Re: Getting back to painting & drawing

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One of the ideas I have for a painting is to have a bit of a cracked glazed ceramic appearance and I had been googling for images to work on. During the search I came across products that actually have the same effect called crackle media (in the 1990s there was a craze for creating "distressed" furniture painting which looked like aged paint that had cracked, and this was very similar)

This video explains the process (beware that it does go on a bit but I think it is one of the better videos):

phpBB [video]


I bought a small bottle which arrived last week and I was keen to try it out.

First, either I need new reading glasses or the small print on the side of the bottle really was meant to be viewed using a magnifying glass. After trying to read the instructions, I concluded that it didn't have any so I decided to use the method as described in the YouTube video above.

So I did a series of different colours of acrylic paint (2 sets of blue, yellow, green, red and then one set had black and the other set had white (yes, white acrylic paint on white paper) and left them for the paint to dry to dry out. Then I coated both sets with the crackle media and left overnight. The next day, I used black acrylic paint over the set of colours with one block containing the white, and white acrylic paint over the other set of colours including the block containing black paint. I was careful not to overwork the top coat as advised in the video and ... nothing. Not even one tiny crack {cry} Luckily this was just a test in my sketch book rather than the final painting but very disappointing all the same (not much point taking a photo as all you'll see is a set of black and a set of white blocks)

I went back to where I had purchased the crackling media and now wished I had read the reviews more closely (now that's a lesson to learn before purchasing ... luckily the small pot was very inexpensive so I'm not upset about the cost but it's the fact that many people had the same problem)

Here's the item description:
quick-drying professional art, craft and hobby artists medium, Speciality medium ensures your make stands out from the crowd, cover all surfaces with ease, ideal for travel artists
Wouldn't you be impressed if you saw this!

And these are just some of the reviews:

1. A 5 star review:
This works well if applied between two layers of paint. Good even crackle effect exposes base coat. Was dubious about buying this after reading reviews but it does work well
Well, that's what I did but got nothing there, so that review was very unhelpful.

2. A 1 star review which I can relate to by buying a cheap option for a small amount in a project:
Absolutely rubbish buyer beware. Read the reviews very carefully as most refer to a normal paint colour and not this crackle glaze which is very misleading. I have tried with 2 surfaces and 3 paint colours to make this crackle. I’ve tried using heat and not using heat and none of the variations have worked at all, not one crack!! I’d give this zero stars but there’s no option. It should not be for sale. Definitely buy another brand. I bought this as a cheap option as I only needed a small amount for a project but it was a waste of money and time, don’t waste yours.
3. A 2 star review:
No instructions. However found company email, and they replied promptly. Product not great, managed a little of crackle on maybe a fifth of my project.
There were over 144 reviews but you can see the range of responses.

So I guess it is back to the original plan of painting the cracks by hand ...

Meanwhile I decided to post photos of some of the drawings & paintings on my Facebook page (limited to my friends rather than global) and was very pleased with most of the responses. My old high school friends who were in the same art class as me were very complimentary ("you haven't lost your touch") and some of my science friend/colleagues didn't know I had another side to me ("Wow, I hadn’t realised that you had an artistic eye as well") Even the sculpture painting seemed to get a lot more thumbs up than expected and I started to look at it differently. I still think it looks amateurish and needs more work. Most thumbs up were for the tiger painting. Have to confess overall I found all the comments uplifting.

My next drawing will be to use the Fineliner pens. Back in school we used to use dip pen and ink and how many times did I have to "hide" a blob and make it look like shading! So I'm keen to try out the new pens. The downside is that it can be a lot more time consuming than using pencil or charcoal (if you make an error there, it's easy enough to erase but with pen, it is a permanent error hence more caution than free hand)
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