Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A Muse your muse - Step by step Oil on Canvas 8in x 10in

Sometimes, it's good to take a challenge. It helps enormously who gives you the challenge too. It helps to have a Muse. This can be anyone whose opinion matters to you. Know your muse. Make sure your Muse knows you too (you don't just want someone who agrees with you all the time). Then use your muse. A musingly. 

My Muse asked me to take my favourite broken decoration from the Christmas Tree and paint it with the largest brush I could bear. Ooh, challenge indeed! After pondering the broken fairies and chipped sparkly angels, I chose the Santa who's reindeer had lost its front legs but was valiantly carry Santa nonetheless. I was over ambitious and decided I'd do TWO paintings, but ended up completing just one. The first image shows the one which I abandoned  - this was drawn straight onto oil board, which is smooth, and I laid down a diluted wash of burnt sienna to get the tones down. It looks a bit like a water colour at this stage. Adding tones really helps with balance. 

While that was drying I started drawing another one onto canvas. I knew this would be quicker to paint, but cotton canvas is very rough, so the end result would be chunky not fluid. But for the big-brush-challenge, chunky was fine. I drew it directly onto canvas using a colour pencil, quite freely, as I prefer painting over this than painting over charoal. it's a horrible surface to draw on, so rough that it almost sharpens the pencil as you go along! Detail is not possible. I then bypassed the tonal stage and went straight to colour.

Painting with a big brush had major limitations - I did my best to use the tip of the brush or the side only, or to only pick up paint on one small section of it. But finesse was impossible, and tonal balance and shapes became more important than fine detail. 

The end result is farily rough. But it did the job for me - I needed a kick start to focus myself, and being given a Musey challenge did the job. 

I abandoned the first one, on smooth board, precicely because I didn't NEED the challenge of it any more and have begun some tree paintings instead. 

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