Remember last week I said that I wanted to try my hand at painting an actual piece of artwork? Well, yesterday I did it. I painted an actual piece of artwork.
It’s not perfect by any means. And if I decide to take up painting as a hobby, I definitely have a great deal to learn. But we have to start somewhere, and I actually like my little painting. Want to see it? Here it is…
Okay, I added the borders in my photo editing program. But the painting I actually did myself.
If you’ll remember, I shared two different inspiration paintings with you. I decided that I liked this one better, and wanted to base my own painting on it.
I used slightly different colors (more greenish blues) and I put my own touch on mine (more clouds, and a darker sky that looks like a scary storm is rolling in…and a bird).
Now let me warn you. If you’re an actual, real artist, and you haven’t already averted your eyes, you’ll definitely want to right now. What I’m about to show you could send you into a frenzy.
I bought a 16” x 20” canvas for this painting (at Michael’s with a 50% off coupon so it came to around $12.50…yay!), but I certainly didn’t want to spend money on tubes of acrylic paint, paint brushes, etc. So I decided to use what I had.
This is the scary part. Here’s what I had…
Yep. I used sample pots of Martha Stewart and Behr latex paint (with a bit of Rustoleum mixed in there for good measure), some leftover concrete epoxy paint, two Purdy brushes that I use to paint furniture, trim, and do the cutting in on walls, and three very pathetic smaller brushes that I’m sure were intended for five-year-olds using watercolor paints.
What a sight, right? Even worse, several of the sample pots were very old, thick, and had a layer of dried paint over the top that had to be peeled away. This is what they looked like after I cleaned them up a bit.
I know. Pathetic.
So with all of my supplies ready, and a picture of my inspiration artwork printed out and in hand, I got to work. After about 20 minutes of painting, I put my brushes down and thought to myself, “Hmmm…I think it’s finished!” At that point it looked like this…
I did have a question about the horizon, though, so of course I called my mom. (Remember, she’s a very talented artist, and she taught oil-painting classes for many years when I was growing up.) I asked my question, and of course she asked what I was doing. I told her I was painting a picture. There was a slight pause, then, “Yeah, Kristi, I’m definitely going to need to see that before you go hang it on a wall somewhere.”
Classic. I was cracking up. I was okay with her wanting to inspect my work. After all, we couldn’t have a repeat of my “artwork” keeping her awake at night, tossing and turning at the thought of swollen and diseased tree branches, now could we?!
So I took a picture and e-mailed it to her.
She was actually pleasantly surprised. She thought it was a good start, but definitely needed some work.
“Kristi, clouds generally puff UP. Yours seem to be swirling down. And also, the land needs to be reflected in the water.”
lol…Hmmm…for some reason, those basic things that we learn when we’re three seem to slip my mind when I’m creating “art”. I tried again (with my 2.5-inch Purdy paint brush).
There. The land now has reflection in the water. But those clouds! They were better…maybe. At least there seemed to be some upward puffery. But it was still “off”. So she e-mailed me a YouTube video of a guy painting clouds with acrylic paint.
The video was fantastic. I got it. I understood the technique…with acrylics and the correct brush. The problem is that I wasn’t using acrylic paint, and I didn’t have his perfect little paint brushes. Nope. I was using latex paint intended for walls and furniture, and using a 2.5” Purdy paint brush.
So I switched to the art brush intended for five-year-olds and their water color projects.
That definitely worked better. But now there was a harsh line where the dark background sky met the clouds. “You just need to do some more blending,” said my mom. “It needs to be more gradual,” said my mom.
Yeah. Easier said than done. This paint was drying within seconds of hitting the canvas. Adding water didn’t make it “blendable”. It just made it puddle and streak. But, I tried again.
“And another thing, your horizon shouldn’t meet the tip of that land in the background,” she instructed.
Duh. I knew that, too.
Alrighty, the land and horizon looked better. But I had a serious case of cloud fail. Somehow my attempt to blend ended with clouds that were really bright and defined on bottom. And is that rain pouring from the clouds?!
So I tried again.
Better. Definitely better. Perhaps just a bit more blending. Oh, and a bird!
And here’s where I finally said “GOOD ENOUGH!!!” After working on those clouds for well over a hour-and-a-half, with my teacher trying to instruct me over the phone, and then having to paint the bird on with the tip of a sharpened pencil dipped in paint (because I don’t have any detail brushes), I was done. I had had quite enough.
No, it’s not perfect. I definitely have a ton to learn if I plan to do more paintings in the future. (Lesson #1: Purchase appropriate paint and brushes.)
But this was certainly a fun learning experience for me, as is evidenced by the mess I left behind.
The bigger the mess, the more the fun, right? And heck, considering I’m just a beginner (using latex paint and Purdy paint brushes), I think my painting is pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.
I shall call it The Calm Before The Storm. (Because aren’t serious artists supposed to name their pieces?)
So have you tried your hand at painting a piece of artwork? How did it go? Did you create a masterpiece on your first try? Or are you like me…in need of some lessons from a very patient teacher?
Either way, it sure is fun to try!
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