Starting another painting

Well, the first painting of the Carder class is finished now – for better or worse. I think it’s ok… but nothing to write home about.

I have to say I was truly impressed with the drawing method – using the proportional divider made everything so much more accurate! I have been blessed to be able to draw pretty well – but this new tool was amazing! Improved my drawing accuracy by leaps and bounds! So if you want to make one (or buy one) for yourself to draw from life, definitely check out the videos at Really awesome stuff!

final 2So today I did some final touchups on the first painting. It doesn’t look a whole lot different, but I toned down some sections and tried to put more “punch” into it by darkening the darks and highlighting the lightest lights. But I don’t thing the painting will really come to life until it dries completely and I can varnish it so the colors come back to full vibrancy. (Incidentally – that glass cup on the left was my grandpa’s… he used it every day and has been gone since 1965. I love that thing!)

Meanwhile, I started another one today. Not painting, exactly, but the prep work.

Since I canned the last of the fresh tomatoes last night, I went with a set up of a still life with EGGS. It was either that or onions, but I’m itching to do a few eggs right now. I don’t know if I can light them well enough to make them truly interesting, but it will be a new painting exercise. Here’s the setup and the initial drawing…

still life setup 2

drawing 2

This drawing is looking a little low on the board to me but I did it with my proportional divider. That’s not to say I had it set up correctly. But I figure if all else fails, my son Brad, the woodworker, can run it through the saw and shave a couple inches off the top. OR…. I could suck it up and start over.  Hmmmmm……

Stay tuned for more updates. I know this is about as interesting as watching paint dry… because it really is watching paint dry!! But if you like to follow someone’s art progression, here I am!

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.

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