Progress Report

You know what they say about old dogs and new tricks…

I’m guessing there is some truth to it, but only as much as you allow. Still, it can be hard to change your ways!

I did get started on the still life I wanted to paint and the drawing process was awesome. Mark explained how to set up a couple of reference lines and then use the proportional divider to mark the position of the objects. It sure takes the guesswork out of it! And when you get done, everything is in the right place. It did take a while, and you can’t see my drawing on the stained canvas very well, but it looks promising.  Here’s that progression…

Set up the still life inside the shadow box and turn on the light in the light box positioned above. Then add a couple of strings to make both a horizontal and vertical line of reference.

IMG_3802Use the proportional divider (you can buy a cheap plastic one for $15 or so, but my son made me a beautiful one out of mahogany wood – it is a delight to use! Measure your objects with the short side and flip the divider over to transfer the measurements onto the stained canvas with the bigger side. Mark has complete video instructions for this on his website,

913291_2_proportional_divider_www.ward2u.comIMG_3819Then you get to mix paint! Using the color-checker (a device Mark also details on his website) mix all the color groups you need and get them onto your glass palette. They’ll last for a while since all the paints include slow dry medium. This was new to me, but the paint is literally like butter.

IMG_3836   color-checker

Start painting – dark first and gradually adding lighter sections of each object. It is best to complete one object at a time rather than jumping all over the place.

IMG_3837 Step9b

Work and work and work some more. Resist the urge to just paint without using the color checker (I didn’t!)

step 9B paint canvas covered

Get the canvas covered before you start any blending. This is hard to do!!! But if you blend now you will lose your deep shadow colors and it is near impossible to get them back. Naturally I did this, but hey – it’s my first painting with this method. I’ll have to practice more…

final 1I am (somewhat) pleased with the final result. I may go back and do a few things on it, but I sure learned a lot! For one thing… I did NOT spend enough time setting up a satisfactory still life. I thought I did because I changed it numerous times, but overall I didn’t like the dark look of it. So why would I think the painting would look any different? It doesn’t! Lesson learned… Also, the photo isn’t exactly true to the painting. The background looks pretty wishy washy here – moreso than in the actual painting.

So that’s painting number one. I don’t think I can stand to work it on much more, although I am waiting for Mark’s feedback on it. He might have something to say that will make me go back to it. We’ll see.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ellyn
    Aug 26, 2014 @ 07:30:53

    It’s interesting that with this technique, you don’t blend until you get the canvas covered. I’m curious to know how you can’t get the deep shadow colors back. I wouldn’t think it would be so hard.

    When you apply the dark colors first and then the light — is that fat over lean?


  2. thesketchylife
    Aug 26, 2014 @ 09:22:06

    yep, fat over lean. And blending seems to quickly kill the life and spontaneity you start out with. It’s so easy to get carried away with it and I think you can make better decisions about blending once you can see the whole thing. Same with protecting the shadow color. Once you get any other color muddled into it, the freshness of the pure shadow is gone. i know because I wasn’t able to follow the instructions as well as I should and I can tell the difference. I’m ready to give up on this one and start another one.


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