The Paul Foxton rose still life oil painting is not finished but a long way along. This was the final session in the workshop and it’s been the best one so far. The painting is almost at the end point. I can probably finish the painting after another session. Phew!
We’ve been on this workshop for 8 weeks and we’ve done various aspects of the full painting before spending the last 2 sessions on the final thing. We’ve done a value study, a color study, a close-up of the roses, and a session on painting cloth which I didn’t post about for some reason. The first session didn’t involve painting but Paul took us through how he sets up and lights a still life. My interest in this a year ago would have been pretty small. However, the setup is an extremely important part of the painting. If your setup doesn’t work well the painting never will.
I try and keep a tidy painting station as far as possible. I’m used to painting with watercolor and it’s easier to keep the paint under control (on the palette if not the paper). The paint does wash off (mostly) but with oils it can get everywhere if you’re not careful. A near mid-value gray on my glass palette makes it easier to judge the values of mixes. Probably due to my watercolor background I try to use only a few brushes which does mean I have to clean them as I go. The upside is cleanup at the end of a session is pretty quick.
This rose still life oil painting has been my most ambitious oil painting to date. Paul has done a lot of the heavy lifting of course. His setup was fabulous and he took us through all of the mixing and the brushwork as we went along. I highly recommend him as a teacher. His knowledge of color and mixing is worth it alone.
Still working with Paul Foxton’s latest still life workshop. This week was the rose still life color study. It’s not the whole composition but contains the main elements. I went a bit beyond where I intended today as this was just meant to be a color block in. It was a pretty intense session nonetheless. We accurately mixed all the main colors and some were pretty tricky.
Rose Still-Life Color Study – Munsell to the Rescue
I have the big Munsell color book. This contains about 1600 different paint chips covering most of the colors possible in paint. It’s been invaluable in making me more aware of color. Especially how to mix it both for oil painting and watercolor. I hadn’t realized how bad my color perception and mixing skills were before I started using it. If you want to know more about Munsell see this post. It also includes information on the online ChromaMagic tool which helps you see color more accurately.
After mixing everything for the rose still life color study putting the paint on the canvas went pretty quickly. We weren’t meant to put in petals – bad Michele! However, I wanted to see how it would look and how hard it was going to be to get the pink rose to read well. I had to do a lot of single touch strokes with no blending. This was to get the color changes between the edges of the petals and the higher chroma inner parts. I’m very glad I did this – the full thing doesn’t seem so daunting any more.
Sometimes Cheap Surfaces Aren’t the Best Option
The surface was just a cheapo cardboard canvas panel. These are surprisingly good to work on and only cost around $1 a time. As it came out so well I almost wish I’d done it on something more substantial.
The whole session was a long one – around three hours I think. It’s a long time as you’re focusing intently for the full extent . At the end I was glad to put the brushes down at the end. Paul did give us a couple of tea breaks though 🙂
Keep those darks in reserve until the lights are in
Today was the Beginning Watercolor Session of sunflowers. Here are few progression shots of today’s class painting. As you can see things always look flat and almost cartoonish until quite a way through the painting. Then the darks go in and everything comes together. It’s one of the most difficult things to do in watercolor – holding back with the detail and getting the basic shapes and values right. It takes faith and a bit of experience but always reaps rewards.
New Direction for Watercolor Classes
Today was the last zoom class in my Beginning Watercolor Workshop for the Newton NewArts center. It’s been a fun 6 weeks and I always enjoy these classes. It’s good to get back to basics and go slowly through mixing colors, values, washes. However, I’ve decided to rethink this set of lessons. There’s a lot to get through in 6 weeks. I’m going to break it down into shorter 1 or two hour sessions based around techniques. These are going to be available in the next few weeks via YouTube and facebook livestreams. People will be able to buy them one by one depending on what they’re interested in.
I still love doing the whole painting demos and I will be offering these in parallel. This way you can take a technique class or two followed by a painting class or vice versa. I’m hoping this will work well and we had a great discussion in class today. We talked about what works when you’re starting out with watercolor that reflects these decisions.
As this was a private group class I don’t have video of this painting. If you’re thinking of taking classes (or just want to see how I go about things) please have a look at my youtube channel. Alternatively you can have a look at my video page on this site. I don’t have any sunflower painting currently. Howeve, there are a couple of other flower videos that may be of interest.
Original Sunflower Painting for Sale
A final note. After having this up in the studio for a while I decided I iiked a previous version of this enough to put it up for sale.