Tag Archives: practice of painting

Assignment 3 – A Self Portrait – Research

For this assignment I chose to paint a self portrait, living alone that seemed to be the best bet. The painting was going to be in acrylics on a canvas panel, I wasn’t going to start using oils this far into the course especially on an assignment piece.

To begin with I began some self portrait studies in the medium I had started to like so much, water soluble oil pastels, these can be used wet or dry so I could do some experimenting with them here.

1 - A Nod to A Scanner Darkly

1 – A Nod to A Scanner Darkly

With the first study I wanted to continue playing around with line like I had in Assignment 2. I began by drawing in the outlines in pencil then drawing over strong outlines with a Pentel brush pen before adding detail and tone in water soluble oil pastels, wet for the face and dry for the clothes. I chose my background wisely with light shining in from a window (at school) and a bright orange picture board. I liked the way the light reflected off my head and used this in the study by leaving that part of my head oil pastel free with the line determining the outline of my head.

Up until now apart from the Conveying Character exercise I hadn’t really included any background in a portrait painting. Would I paint one in the final piece? I’m not sure where this would take me but hopefully the following research would help me to determine that. From here I went on to look at self portraits where the artists used line.

Self Portrait with Line

van Gogh - Self Portrait 1989 - Detail

van Gogh – Self Portrait 1989 – Detail

My search for self-portraits with line took me in a different direction, while I was actually looking for famous self-portraits or portraits that had some kind of outline I came across artists who had created whole paintings using line, such as Vincent van Gogh.

In Self-Portrait 1989 (left) van Gogh uses thick brushstrokes to create a serious weathered look to his face and to depict hair and facial hair. The line he uses for the background is equally important, it turns a plain background into a significant part of this painting.

 

Nikos Gyftakis - Self-portrait 1 - oil pastel on canvas

Nikos Gyftakis – Self-portrait 1 – oil pastel on canvas

Nikos Gyftakis, a 33 year old Greek artist, produces some amazing portrait and self-portrait oil paintings where he uses swirls of line to depict depth and contortions in the faces. A number of his portraits include background which he has also used the thick swirls of paint to distort, leaving the viewer to make their own mind up to what is actually in the background.

Self Portrait 1 (right) includes no background whatsoever and the entire canvas is filled up with the face and hands. I love this piece but I have to question, is this technique feasible with acrylic in the short time I have for this assignment? and would it be easy enough to replicate on a smaller canvas?

 

3 - Peaky Blinder

2 – Peaky Blinder

The next study was a result of this research. Using the same medium I drew myself this time using my hat as a prop using swirls of colour. I kmew I couldn’t replicate the technique perfectly with this medium but I could get some idea as to what the piece would look like in a painting medium such as acrylic or oils.

 

 

 

 

 

More Self-Portrait Studies

2 - Fauvism Inspired

3 – Fauvism Inspired

Moving away from the window I set myself down so that I had the brightly coloured picture board behind me. Inspired by the research into fauvism in the earlier portrait reserach  I used quite a limited palette of fairly bright colours and carrying on with more experimentation into using line in my portrait I used only vertical line to complete the picture apart from the check on the shirt.

I really liked the way this turned out, it reminded me of not just the fauve painters’ portraits but with the texture of the paper it kind of reminded me of the pointillist portraits as well.

 

 

Fauvist Portraits

André Derain - Portrait of Henri Matisse 1905

André Derain – Portrait of Henri Matisse 1905

Researching fauvism I came across the painters I had researched in the earlier research point such as Henri Matisse as well as some new ones. One fauvist portrait I really liked and in a style that would probably suit the study above was a  André Derain’s Portrait of Henri Matisse (1905). I later found out that Derain was the joint founder of Fauvism along side Matisse. His technique in this painting was very crude with what seemed to be a large flat brush and yet parts of the painting could have also been done with a knife. A keyword that I added into my search that took me to an artist that i had never heard of before, palette knife painter Francoise Neilly.

 

 

Untitled by Francoise Nielly

Untitled by Francoise Nielly

I love French palette knife painter Francoise Neilly’s  amazing use of colour and how she uses it not just to depict light and shade but all the features of the face. While searching for a video of her painting I came across another artist named Voka who paints similar portraits but mostly with brushes. The name he uses for his genre of art is spontaneous realism, I’m not sure whether Francoise Neilly would agree it seems like her paintings well thought out.

I looked on the web for amateur artists and students’ work painted in the style of Francoise Neilly and they hadn’t quite managed to pull it off, this made me want to take up the challenge. With the right pose, the right colours and props this style of painting would create a good atmosphere.

3 - Experimenting with Line and Mixed Techniques

4 – Experimenting with Line and Mixed Techniques

I had an idea for my next study but I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. My idea was to complete a self portrait with the dry medium (water soluble oil pastels) and then to work in verticle strips of the portrait with a watercolour brush to see what kind of an effect the water blended pastels had against the dry. A friend said that it looked like water running down a pain of glass but to me something about this painting reminded me of Gerhard Richter’s portraits with the strips of distortions across the face. Although I liked this effect I wasn’t sure how I was going to recreate it with acrylics and so I carried on with my search for portraits using different colour techniques.

 

 

 

Pointillist Portraits

There’s no doubt about it, pointillism is a very time consuming technique I have done a couple of paintings myself using a very crude technique and they took weeks to complete the simplest of paintings so attempting to use it here would slow me right down.

Georges Lemmen - Self-Portrait 1890

Georges Lemmen – Self-Portrait 1890

However, the oil pastel on the mixed media paper I was using left white spots and did remind me of pointillism and so there was no harm in taking a look at some of the self portraits and portraits by artists using this technique. One of the strongest of these Self Portraits, other than Vincent van Gogh’s 1887 Self-Portrait was this painting by Georges Lemmen where he seems to use layers and layers of dots that are close knit rather than spaced out like the works of Georges Seurat. This seemed to be a quicker, less time consuming method.

 

 

 

Self-Portrait by Chuck Close 2002-2003

Self-Portrait by Chuck Close 2002-2003

Chuck Close

My research into pointillist self portraits took me to a self portrait by an American Artist called Chuck Close, who actyally suffers from face blindness. When I enlarged the image I realised that it wasn’t a pointillist painting at all but what seemed to be a distorted photo-realist painting.

I was lucky to find a photo of Chuck Close at work, In the photo he was working from a photo of himself on a very large canvas and what he seemed to be doing was adding flesh tones into squares that were already painted with an array of colour and swirls to get this distorted effect that looks like he his behind a pane of patterned glass.

Conclusion

From the research above I concluded that I wouldn’t be painting a background in this self-portrait for assignment 3 but I would be relying on a strong technique to give the painting strength.

I really liked the paintings by Francoise Neilly and I wanted to have a go at something similar myself I just wasn’t sure if:

  • Using this technique or at least something similar would demonstrate the skills and knowledge that I have acquired through this part of the course.
  • Using a knife with acrylics would create the same affects as a knife with oil paint. Maybe I could use both a knife and a wide brush.

 

3 - Peaky Blinder

2 – Peaky Blinder

I also loved the technique used by Nikos Gyftakis and the way my self-portrait inspired by his paintings turned out. Out of all the new artists I have found so far he was my favourite. The problem as with Francoise Neilly’s technique how possible would it be to create something similar with acrylics.

What I decided to do was to go into this assignment attempting to create a self portrait inspired by Gyftakis paintings butI would have a back up plan just in case it wasn’t working out. Neilly would be my back up plan.

 

 

 

Looking at Faces 1 – Research Point – Artists’ Self Portraits

Rembrandt

The dozens of self-portraits by Rembrandt were an important part of his oeuvre as a painter. Rembrandt created nearly one hundred self-portraits during his lifetime including approximately fifty paintings, thirty-two etchings and seven drawings. – Wikipedia

Rembrandt self-portrait 1629

Rembrandt self-portrait 1629

Rembrandt’s  self portraits create a visual diary of his aging and progress as an artist over a 40 year period. In these self portraits he managed to capture various facial expressions and it is clear that many of his self portrait drawings were studies in capturing facial expressions for his paintings such as the painting seen here which he painted aged 23.

I can only comment on what I see in this photograph of the painting but to me it seems like he has painted this with almost blur detail as to depict not just facial expression but the movement of his head while laughing. The slight halo around his head and shoulders helps to portray this movement. Everything about this painting works, he wants to look jolly and he does

Gustave’ Courbet

Self-Portrait by Gustave Courbet a Desperate Man 1843–45

Self-Portrait by Gustave Courbet a Desperate Man 1843–45

Gustave’ Courbet’s brilliant self portrait ‘a Desperate Man 1843 is painted with almost photo-realism. In this painting he has managed to capture not just worrying facial expressions which is the theme of the painting but an energy. The light and shade in the folds of his shirt gives the painting even more life.

In this painting as with Rembrandt’s self portrait above the artist uses soft skin tones for the face but his emphasis on his red cheeks brings real emotion to the painting.

The title says desperation but with  the facial expressions and the position of his hands that seem to be going through his hair this could be mistaken for fear.

Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh Self-Portrait 1889

Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait 1889

Van Gogh is an artist who is well-known for his self portraits. Although painted in different moods, using different techniques and painted in  several different styles most of these resemble each other giving us a good idea of what the artist looks like or what he saw himself as. There are a few photos on the internet which people claim to be of the artist at different stages of his life although there is doubt about if they are really him is recognizable to us through his self portraits.

These paintings portray the artist in different hats, different clothes, with a pipe in his mouth, bandaged ear and even through some of his personal items without him being in the painting.

Van Gogh seems to paint his self in a fairly aggressive style, with thick paint and lively brush strokes, most of which to me seem like he painted them in an agitated manner, although colours and composition were clearly thought out.

Self-Portrait 1889 above was the one that stood out as I was going through the images of van Gogh self portraits, I try not to glance at SP with Bandaged Ear anymore, it’s like the boring part of a movie that you skip through to get to the good bit.

In the painting above like most of his paintings he portrays himself an artist I don’t kow what kind of an impression he tried to convey but serious, artist in thought is the impression we get or is it just because we know van Gogh?

Gauguin Portrait of van Gogh

Gauguin Portrait of van Gogh

Through this portrait of van Gogh by friend Paul Gauguin we get a chance to look at the artist through someone else’s eyes. In this painting Gauguin depicts him painting one of his famous sunflower paintings wearing a jacket with lined lapel that he can be seen wearing in his self portrait Spring 1887. The painting by Gauguin is painted at an angle that looks to be slightly from above as though Gauguin was standing or on a higher chair than his friend.

The painting does resemble van Gogh because we know it’s him and he’s painting sunflowers, however if the painting was cropped to just his face and I was seeing this image for the first time it would be pretty difficult for me to guess it is the famous Dutch painter.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso Self-Portrait Negro Period 1906

Pablo Picasso Self-Portrait Negro Period 1906

Pablo Picasso like van Gogh and Rembrandt is an artist famous for his numerous self portraits. These self portraits were painted in different styles throughout the different periods of Picasso’s work. When I first saw this painting a while back searching for something completely different I guessed it was a Self Portrait by Pablo Picasso and then checked straight away to see if he was of mixed race typing in the words ‘Pablo Picasso’ and ‘Negro’, the latter being the first word that came to mind when I saw this painting.

I found out that the artist had an African Period which lasted from 1906-1909 and in this self portrait he seemed to be influenced by the masks and sculpture that influenced the rest of his paintings during this period. He was experimenting and I’m sure it’s not just me who sees this when we look at the painting. It’s hard to put a finger on the technique he used here, background first? Drawn last?

Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon Three Studies for a Self-Portrait 1979-80

Francis Bacon Three Studies for a Self-Portrait 1979-80

Francis Bacon painted his pictures ‘as if a human being had passed between them, like a snail leaving its trail of the human presence… as a snail leaves its slime’ – Francis bacon. This can be seen in his self portraits. Unlike van Gogh we know what Francis Bacon looked like as there are many photographs of the artist and so looking at the three studies for a self portrait we can see some resemblance to the artist in all of the three studies such as receding hairline, parts of the nose and jaw and he has managed to keep these resemblances even after mutilating himself in the artist’s familiar painting style.

Lucian Freud Portrait of Francis Bacon 1952

Lucian Freud Portrait of Francis Bacon 1952

In Lucian Freud’s depiction of Francis Bacon painted in Freud’s very familiar style in which he uses a blocking-in technique to give the face great tonal qualities. Although I recognize  the features such as the deep set eyes, prominent eyelids, rings around the eyes and the shape of the face, together the portrait is not 100% recognisable as Bacon. Is that Just me, or do others see it the way I do?

 

 

 

 

Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud Reflection -Self Portrait 1985

Lucian Freud Reflection -Self Portrait 1985

I really love Freud’s style though, his portraits have what i would describe as heavy, rubber-like features. He’s a fairly new artist to me as I only discovered him during my drawing course but I wish I had discovered him sooner. Like most o his paintings his features in his self-portrait are also heavy and rubbery helped along by the heavy brush and impasto technique that he uses in this and most of his other portraits

 

 

 

Three Studies for a Portrait of Lucian Freud

Three Studies for a Portrait of Lucian Freud

 

In the ‘Three Studies for a Portrait of Lucian Freud’ right, Francis Bacon’s portrait of the artist in Bacon’t unmistakable style looks as though he has literally had his face smashed in with a paving maul, in his own words “If they were not my friends, I could not do such violence to them.”

An ear and a nose are the only features here that are recognisable but I think what he was trying to do in his portraits of others is to push the boundaries as far away as possible from the subject to do as much ‘violence’ to their features as possible while still keeping them recognisable to him.

How he got to these disfigured shapes, I can only guess that he daubed large amounts of paint on the canvas in a compact area and then spread it outwards like stretching Plasticine or Dough or that’s how they look.

 

Transparent and Opaque 4 : Monochrome Studies

For this exercise I prepared two sheets of A3 300 gsm canson watercolour paper, one with an opaque mixture of titanium white and Payne’s Gray to create a light grey colour. The other with a dark wash mixture of Ultramarine and Payne’s gray.

Then I downloaded some clip-art of a winter tree that would help me to develop my own drawing in charcoal in my A4 sketchbook.

1 - Charcoal Drawing iin Sketchbook

1 – Charcoal Drawing iin Sketchbook

From there I copied the drawing of the winter tree onto the A3 sheet with the light coloured ground blowing away the access charcoal when I had finished. I then made a fresh mix of the the darker mixture of Ultramarine and Payne’s Gray and painted the branches with a fine hog’s bristle brush.

For the finer branches/twigs and for those appearing in the background I diluted the mixture to give me a half tone this created the illusion of being in the distance.

2 - Dark Branches over ight Grey Ground

2 – Dark Branches over ight Grey Ground

Once I was satisfied with the first painting it was time to start on the second painting, the one I had prepared with the Ultramarine/Payne’s Gray wash.

After I mixed the paint I realised I had forgot to draw in the tree with the charcoal and not having much time before the paint would start to try I decided just to draw in the trunk and the bottom branch and then build the rest up like a jigsaw. I enjoyed doing this in the Negative Space in a plant exercise in the Drawing 1 Course and this time using paint would be a tougher challenge. It didn’t let me down.

3 - Paintng Negative Space on dark wash

3 – Paintng Negative Space on dark wash

It took more than three times longer to paint the second tree as it did the first, I painted in the main negative shapes as I worked up through the tree on the right hand side reverting to the negative space on the left to help me mark where the next level of branches were.

Painting a simpler tree for this exercise would have probably been better, either that or just painting in the main branches using negative space and then the finer branches with the dark colour in half tone.

The main problem I experienced here was that the branches that were too thin due to making the negative space areas too big had to be widened by going over them again with the dark mixture.

Although the second painting looks very rough, it does look very natural, plus with the light grey paint being thicker or lighter in some areas it gives the impression that in those areas there is more light getting through the branches. This is often the case when you look at a tree and the space between the branches, in some places the sky looks darker due to narrower branches in the distance obstructing the light getting through. Part of the prepared paper was lighter than the rest so I intentionally put the light area at the top of the paper so that the top of the tree would have lighter tones, this paid off as it looks as if more light is getting through at the treetop.

The practice I got from both parts of this exercise will come in handy in the future when painting landscapes but I think I would probably use the two techniques together.

The National Gallery – Thawan Duchanee

Either artists have become uninterested in exhibiting their work at the national gallery or I have picked poor times to visit, the last time I visited the gallery, there had been nothing in the temporary exhibitions luckily I used that time for drawing statues. I thought I was destined to spend my student days in the permanent exhibition of royal paintings by unknown artists until I discovered the Queens Gallery which I will talk about in the next gallery visit.

Anyway, a fortnight ago I ventured over to the National Gallery to see if there was anything on that would introduce me to some new Thai or western artists and I noticed that the permanent gallery had expended by one room displaying work my two contemporary artists.

The paintings that really caught my eye work works by an artist named Thawan Duchanee, so I decided do some investigating into why his work had made it to the permanent exhibits with paintings of the royal family as neighbours.

Photo of Thawan Duchanee

Photo of Thawan Duchanee

I discovered that the distinguished national artist Thawan Duchanee recently died on 3rd September this year, 2014 at the age of 74. He was born on 24th September, 1939, in Chiang Rai, Thawan and studied at the Poh Chang Art and Craft College in Bangkok. From there he then studied at the Faculty of Painting, Sculpture and Graphic Art at Silpakorn University, where he was mentored by the late professor Silpa Bhirasri.

Thawan also earned a doctorate degree in metaphysics and aesthetics from the Royal Academy of Visual Arts, Amsterdam, Holland, under scholarship of the ministry of education.

From 1964 to 1974 Thawan had a number of one man shows in France, the Netherlands and the U.S.A including Hawaii and various venues around Thailand, including Chiang Mai university and the British Council in Bangkok.

In 1982 and 1983 he was commissioned to paint murals for the Bank of Thailand and the Shell Company respectively before embarking on a study tour of the Mount Everest region in search of yaks and Buddhist art in several Nepalese villages.

Over the next thirty years he had numerous solo exhibitions around Asia, Europe and the U.S.A. as well as representing Thai Artists at many international events and art fairs including the “Art Beyond Borders” exhibition at the Museum of contemporary Art in Lisbon, Portugal.

In 2001 Duchanee was declared the Thai National Artist and that same year saw the Grand Opening of the artist’s residence and gallery the Black House Museum of Art in Chiang Mai attended by 1,000 artists from 23 countries across the globe.

Various media houses reported that Thawan Duchanee died of hepatitis although his 4 sons failed to reveal the cause of death. Interestingly enough I was reading ‘This is Modern Art’ by Matthew Collins in the book he talked about the myths of modern artists, maybe this is his.

Thawan Duchaneee - Farmer - 1976

Thawan Duchaneee – Farmer – 1976

Thawan Duchanee - Suwanna same - 1976

Thawan Duchanee – Suwanna same – 1976

Thawan Duchanee

Thawan Duchanee

Thawan Duchanee - Two Boats - 1963

Thawan Duchanee – Two Boats – 1963

The four paintings above are in the national gallery next to the older section of paintings of the royal family. The last of the four paintings is the earliest of the lot and since I can’t find a more descriptive biography telling me the reasons for his change of subjects I will draw my own conclusions from the subject in the paintings and the timeline of events on his website (a little gift from John Berger’s Ways of Seeing). The painting of ‘Two Boats’ above is dated 1963 so it was painted during his time at Silpakorn university so it may have even been part of his coursework.  The subject of the ‘Two Boats’ and the first painting ‘Farmer’ are not that far apart though as both depict Thai rural life.

The connection between ‘Farmer’ and ‘Suwanna Some’ is also present, both are figurative paintings and both depict the human form as muscular male figures. The first painting however seems to be a study for a mural of sorts as it reminds me of a stained glass window, the thin strips of grey that depict movement and rigid shapes in the painting look like the lead strips in a church window.

The paintings below were images i found from different sites on the internet mainly from his own site which seems to display work from his gallery and residence, the Black House Art Museum, Chiang Mai.

He developed his works in to a simple but unique style of painting that is strictly Asian but seems to take elements from art of different  parts of Asia most notably Chinese and Thai but there seems to be other Asian influences in there which is probably the result of study trip around the Mount Everest region of the Himalayas.

What I like about these more simpler works is that he manages to depict the beast’s anatomy and muscles with a few simple brush strokes and in some places even long continuous brush strokes that often resemble clouds adding to the mythical feel of the paintings.

Thawan Duchanee - Buffalo

Thawan Duchanee – Buffalo

Thawan Duchanee - Elephant

Thawan Duchanee – Elephant

Thawan Duchanee - Horse Real Name Unknown

Thawan Duchanee – Horse Real Name Unknown

Thawan Duchanee - Name Unknown

Thawan Duchanee – Name Unknown

It is difficult to tell which painting tools he uses as he seems to change throughout his career some of the later pieces look as though parts of them could have been painted with an airbrush.

Thawan Duchanee -Power of Land Series

Thawan Duchanee -Power of Land Series

Thawan Duchanee - Power of Land Series

Thawan Duchanee – Power of Land Series

Thawan Duchanee - Unknown

Thawan Duchanee – Unknown

Now and again I do find Thai artists that I get inspired by and Thawan Duchanee is one of them. I asked a few Thais what they new about him and what most of them seemed to say is that ‘He liked Black’, perhaps it will be a study visit to the Black House for me this winter.

Thawan Duchanee Tiger and Monkey

Thawan Duchanee Tiger and Monkey

http://www.thawan-duchanee.com/

http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/

www.cakechooser.com

Transparent and Opaque 2 – Overlaying Washes

Once my papers from the last exercise, Tonally Graded Washes, had dried I made up the same colour mixes again but this time painting the second colour over the dried wash I had set aside. There were noticeable differences in the way the paint and colour behaved.

The colours did not merge in the same way, in the first exercise the colours made new colours and spontaneous patterns as they merged in the middle but in this exercise the wet layer faded into the dried layer. Merging in this way gives you more control as  the result is more predictable.

 

1 - Wet Blue Ultramarine over a  dry violet wash

1 – Wet Blue Ultramarine over a dry violet wash

2 - Wet Blue Ultramarine over a  dry violet wash

2 – Wet Blue Ultramarine over a dry violet wash

3 - Wet Violet over dry Ultramarine

3 – Wet Violet over dry Ultramarine

4 - Wet Violet over dry Ultramarine

4 – Wet Violet over dry Ultramarine

From there I went on to look at other pigments all acrylic and I found out that some pigments were thicker than others. Below is a wet and wet overlaying wash of sand over raw umber, with the same amount of water I found that the sand was more opaque than the raw umber so rather than run into the more transparent colour it had to be worked in. However, a wet and wet wash of raw umber over sand had the opposite result with the raw umber running into the sand.

5 - Sand over Raw Umber

5 – Sand over Raw Umber

6 - Raw Umber over Sand

6 – Raw Umber over Sand

From there I wanted to experiment with two contrasting colours and so chose a yellow wash over fluorescent pink, again wet and wet, what I found was that the colours blended well together forming layers of orange as the layers of wet paint mixed into each other.

7 - Yellow over Flourescent Pink

7 – Yellow over Flourescent Pink

From there I chose to do some glazes with several colours over two different coloured backgrounds, one a bright yellow the other, raw umber. I found that bright pigments remained strong over the bright yellow while they toned down over the mellower raw umber.

8 - Glazes ovrer Yelllow

8 – Glazes ovrer Yelllow

9 - Glazes over raw umber

9 – Glazes over raw umber

Basic Paint Application 3 – Painting with Pastels

If you’ve got some pastels amongst your art materials, try this exercise.

Luckily for me I have just studied the OCA Drawing 1 Courseand so I have plenty of pastels, in fact I have so many because I have to keep buying boxes just for the white pastel.

Pastels are both a drawing and painting medium, and nowadays are used more in the latter category. The application of oil pastel and soft pastel is very different, particularly in relation to painting:

  • Oil pastel is usually used with turps and can be used to layer and blend.
  • Soft pastel picks up the tooth of the support and can be blended with paint using a damp cloth or brush and water scumbling techniques.

You can cover large areas with the side of a stick, lay one colour over another, and blend colours and tones. Use the points of the sticks for linear details. Practise making marks and blending with pastels; if you have time, use the techniques you’ve discovered to make a simple picture.

I was actually planning to just use oil pastels for this exercise as i the box of soft pastels that i have is a portrait box and yhere isn’t a great deal of contrasting colours in there. However, I decided to give this exercise a go with soft padtels first and the results were satisfying.

With the soft pastels I used a number of techniques, squiggles, hatching zig-zag, smudging, blending with a hard cotton bud ( I lost my tortillon in the move) and a new technique that I wish I had a name for and that was to blend a dark with a deep pink using a wet cloth and then to add lighter colours to the blend. The lighter colours sat on the top of the damp blend and could lightly be rubbed in with a finger or cotton bud. If I put pressure on while rubbing they would disappear into the darker blend below. The results can be seen in bottom right of the image below.

1 - Experimenting with Soft Pastels

1 – Experimenting with Soft Pastels

From there I wanted to use my new found technique which I still don’t have a name for in a simple picture, I was watching Peaky Blinders which gave me an idea, which I realised in the drawing below.

2 - A Simple Drawing with Soft Pastels

2 – A Simple Drawing with Soft Pastels

From there I went onto using oil pastels. I used mostly hatching techniques which was nothing new but what was new was how I blended in the hatching (with my finger). I found that by moving my finger across the hatched lines I could manipulate the oil pastel or drag it horizontally across the hatching. Other techniques I used were using the side of the sticks to cover bigger areas and then ‘dragging’ that into another colour as well as squirkling and blending with the cotton bud.

3 - Experimenting with Oil Pastels

3 – Experimenting with Oil Pastels

It was now time to create a simple picture with the oil pastels and I had something in mind but first it was time to christen my sketchbook. I chose a pose from the last part of the Drawing 1 Course which was actually quite a dramatic pose but I had only used squirkling with oil pastel and this was an opportunity to do more with it, luckily I held on to some photos that I took from that exercise Using Colour.

4 - Painting with Oil Pastels - Getting Familiar with the pose

4 – Painting with Oil Pastels – Getting Familiar with the pose

I picked out the simple details from the pose as I wasn’t working on massive sheets of paper so I needed to know I could recreate in oil pastels.

This time I used a 50/50 white spirit/linseed oil solvent with cotton balls and cotton buds to blend, something I had never done before and it was quite messy. Using this technique I found it quite difficult to get te colours right as lighter colours sat on top of the solvent and would not blend in, it is also taking a very long time to dry. I feel that it would have been better on a larger sheet of paper using my finger/cotton bud/tortillon to blend the colours like in the experimental stage above.

5 - Painting with Oil Pastels and Solvent Mixture

5 – Painting with Oil Pastels and Solvent Mixture

Basic Paint Application 2: Applying Paint without Brushes

Painting knives have been used for many centuries, usually in conjunction with brushes, but you can also complete whole paintings with just knives, which are sold in many sizes and shapes.if you don’t have one, use an ordinary palette well loaded with paint for your initial experiments.

I went out and purchased a painting knife for this exercise and I initially used acrylic paint with a medium gloss gel to thicken the paint.

Also try applying paint using old plastic credit cards, set squares and protractors, pieces of cardboard windscreen scrapers and plastic plastering tools. You can apply paint quite thinly with these and lay one colour over another so that the first layer remains visible. Don’t worry about creating a painting- just enjoy experimenting.

Unfortunately I am limited to what I can find here in Bangkok but I do have an old student union card as well as protractors and set squares.

Now try applying paint with sponges, rags, toothbrushes and your fingers. Sponges and toothbrushes are good for texture effects, and can be built up in layers or laid over flat colour. Rags and fingers are useful for blending one colour into another or wiping across the surface. This exercise is best done with oils as they dry slowly, giving you plenty of time to manipulate the paint.

I went out and bought a small pack of oil paints to use for my first bit of experimentation. I had some board that I have been using for backing board for my first assessment (drawing 1) so I decided to use the oils on that. I had learnt how to clear my mind and doodle in Drawing 1 so I decided to continue here.

Painting Knife

I started with black and white paint with a painting knife which I didn’t think was as controllable as I thought. I thought I would have more fun with this. I used the knife on the bottom and forgot to prep the support which seemed to absorb the paint so I covered the rest in Gesso.

Credit Card

Next I used my old student union card which I found was more controllable than the painting knife and that I could get better angles (flatter to the board) with it.

Bubble Wrap

This was the first time I used bubble wrap which I wrapped round a Vicks’ Jar to give me almost circular groups of prints with it. Later  would use a soap box which gave me a large square of prints that was better for covering bigger areas.

Sponge

I have yet to find a natural sponge. I did used a synthetic sponge on it which gave me the same texture as a cloth.

Protractor

I loved using the protractor but I found I had to either put loads of paint on it or move the protractor in a wave like motion on the surface so that the whole edge would touch the surface. By then dragging this down I could make a fan like pattern.

 

1 - Doodling in Oil Paint without Brush

1 – Doodling in Oil Paint without Brush

More Experimentation

For me that was my first bit of oil painting done and what I learnt from it was that I had to learn how to mix better so. So from there instead of wasting more oil paint I decided to continue with the acrylics and medium gloss gel instead.

I had seen how these looked together separately on the same support now it was time to see how they could interact with each other and so the next ‘doodle’ was a result of finger painting over painting knife and then bubble wrap and protractor over the top. This tyime I made circles with the protractor.

2 - Experimenting with Fingers Student card and Protractor

2 – Experimenting with Painting Knife and Protractor

 

3 - Experimenting with Student card and Protractor

3 – Experimenting with Student card and Protractor

Toothbrush

Reading the brief again I realized I had overlooked the toothbrush, so with a flat toothbrush I set out to recreate the same landscape I attempted in the last exercise, Getting to Know your Brushes, personally I prefer the toothbrush landscape below

4 - Painting with a Toothrush

4 – Painting with a Toothrush

Bubble Wrap over a Square Object

As I said above I wrapped the bubble wrap around a soap box for more experimenting, the result of which can be seen below which I tonally graded by letting the paint fade into the middle and then used a close paint colour at the other end of the paper.

5 - Applying Paint with Bubble Wrap

5 – Applying Paint with Bubble Wraparound a soap box

6 - Applying Paint with Painting Knife

6 – Applying Paint with Painting Knife

7 - Applying Paint ewith Fingers

7 – Applying Paint ewith Fingers

8 - Applying Paint with Student Card

8 – Applying Paint with Student Card

My preferred painting tools from this exercise are definitely the credit card as to the paintng knife as well as fingers and bubble wrap.