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Portrait of Winter

ALotofHappyAccidents 11 Jul 2021

S24E11 Portrait of Winter attempt.
Second attempt at oil painting and Bob's wet-on-wet technique.
I can see improvement between the disaster that was attempt #1 (Blue Winter, S21E10), but I still have a long way to go before I think my attempts can be considered semi-acceptable.
I greatly reduced the amount of paint I put on the canvas, which seems to have helped a bit. Application of the colors and layers need serious work/practice though, especially with my clouds and highlights.
I'm particularly pleased with my lake and reflections in this one...they turned out looking good to me!
11x14 canvas, W&N paints and cheap brushes used. (I want to get more practice with the non-BR stuff, especially the brush cleaning and care, before I do something that ruins my new BR supplies.)
BTW, pointers on a cleaning system that works for you would be greatly appreciated. I'm thinking about creating a three cleaning bucket system - one for white, one for lights, and one for darks....The blue pigments left in the OMS after my first brush cleaning are getting in my brushes, and no amount of cleaning/wiping/blotting kept blue out of my white...



Blue pigment will work as permanent dye. Don’t worry it will not mess with colors. Main approach in brush cleaning is to ensure it is dry as much as possible before going into new color.
You can beat the brush to remove excess of paint thinner and then old tshirt or paper towel to finalize drying.

Regarding solvent - use one bucket for all. But before going in the solvent wipe excess of paint in that old tshirt or paper towel. Then use thinner and beating rack.

For used solvent prepare plastic bottle after cola or something similar.
After dirty solvent sits for a week paint pigment settles on the bottom and on the top it gives clean solvent. Without any shaking you can decant that solvent for reuse.

Regarding oily rags/paper - make sure it is in plastic bag and closed at the end of painting session. This is flammable waste. So you need to reduce amount if oxygen that goes inside the bag.

I see you applied too much liquid white and that is why you have troubles with clouds.

Recipe for liquid white - linseed oil, titanium white and paint thinner. Amount on canvas just enough to touch and see your finger with nice defined fingerprint.

Anyway- don’t worry you did first step and on the right track. Practice will help a lot with understanding your tools.
Also read Articles here there are a lot of valuable advice about paint, trees, snow breaking, etc.

Yes, applying too much paint makes everything too wet and causes all sorts of problems. I know this technique is called wet-on-wet, but try to think of it as damp-on-damp and that will help you especially where skies and clouds are concerned. Until I got used to how much paint to use I let my sky dry off a bit before adding the clouds and that helped.

Thanks for the advice! I used the BR liquid white, and I did the fingerprint test...maybe I did have too fingerprint was there but not so defined.
I will try your solvent saving tip, SunnyLady. I did start wiping excess paint off the brushes before cleaning, even use the knife to squeeze more out, but I didn't think of doing that until after I did the blue skies and water, and had a very very deeply blue solvent.
TheLandscapePainter, damp on damp? That's a great way to think of it! If I can get everything to cooperate. How did you dry off your skies? Paper towel? Rag? Time?

Time. I painted the sky and mountains then went back and put the clouds in. This can make a difference but its not ideal because you might want a cloud behind your mountain. What you really need to do is cut down on the amount of paint you are putting on in the sky. You don't need to add much blue, and after adding the blue you might need to go over it using horizontal strokes right across the canvas with a clean DRY brush and it will take some of the excess blue/white mixture away. When you add your white clouds cut back on the white as well. In time you will discover how much you need to apply. While applying the white keep wiping your bush off on paper towel and reloading with clean white. Use a gentle touch. This helps to stop picking up the blue. Then blend the bottom of your clouds with a clean dry brush VERY lightly so you can hardly feel the brush touching the canvas, wiping the brush off regularly, and take your time. If you do this, you will get wispy clouds. Don't over do this stage or your cloud will completely disappear into your brush. It takes a while but you will get there, the results are worth the effort.
Regarding brush cleaning follow Sunnylady's advice. Also bear in mind that you don't always need to clean your brush between colours, (except for clouds), often you can go straight into another colour with your dirty brush, you might need to wipe it off first. It saves a lot of unnecessary cleaning. I don't use much paint so now I rarely clean my brushes during the painting session, mostly just once only, at the end.

All above comments and help are spot on. It’s timely that you painted this as your second because we painted this one this weekend too (my 12th, my wife’s second).

Your reflections are beautiful and the evergreens are pretty good too! Distant trees aren’t always easy but yours look spot on and I like your use of color too. You’re off to a roaring start. Go take a look at the paintings in my profile and you’ll see some real trial and error (emphasis on error) in some paintings. You’ll get it…improvement is just around the corner.

Clouds definitely vexed me for a bit (and will likely do so again). Trust me, I know the discouragement. Bob said in one episode to “hit it and then get away from it” (with fan brush or 1” brush clouds). That tip helped me a lot. He looks and sounds like he’s working the canvas quite firmly, but more often than not he’s using a very, very light touch.

Some times are “lots of paint on the brush” times, others not. Some are “firm touch,” others are “three hairs and some air.” You’ll know what to use when very soon.

I use all BR equipment and I bet you’ll notice that everything gets much easier once you decide to upgrade.

My cleaner setup is the BR solvent bucket and screen with turpenoid and the beater rack in a wastepaper basket. My motto is “one brush is no brush” because using just one often means many, many time consuming cleaning breaks and lost color.

Keep on going. This is a more than acceptable painting, especially for a second attempt. And at the end of the day, it’s all about the journey. Every time I paint it feels like I see all my errors with a magnifying glass. But this is how everyone feels. I look forward to seeing your next one, welcome to the Joy of Painting!

One more thing. Once you go to a larger canvas, I bet you’ll find things easier too. I just did my first painting on an 18x24” canvas after beginning with 16x20” canvas and the difference between those two was noticeable. The space helps a lot with using the bigger brushes and means less “perfect touch” is required in the smaller spaces of the painting.

@HLarsin3 - totally agree about the size. I think minimum comfortable size is 16x20 with the size of BR tools.

Thanks for the tips! I started with 11x14 because I got 7 canvases for $10.99. Lol
I also bought 16x20 canvas 5-packs for the same price. But I started with the smaller canvases so my mistakes cost less overall. I don't have a lot of money, and my hobbies all tend to be not very cheap (photography, astrophotography, painting). I skimp where I can, especially when I'm just starting out.
Come to think of it, that's a great point, guys. I'm watching how much paint Bob loads on his brushes and trying to emulate that, but I'm completely disregarding the different canvas sizes being used!
Note to self: Use as little paint as possible... more can be added if needed!

Some people have one canvas just to practice on. Do your practice painting, before it dries wipe it off with an old rag, finally wipe down with a rag with a bit of paint thinner on it, the paint will leave a stain on the canvas but no worries, it can be painted over.

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