Bob Ross Light at The Summit

Painting along with Bob Ross again I did this:

When you see the progress shots you’ll notice I added that one tree right over the top of the best part. I knew I should have stopped but like Bob I love doing the trees. I started off with a silhouette of sky and mountains.

This time I used water soluble oil paints. These work mostly like oil paint but you clean up using water instead of solvents. The reason I used them is I wanted to speed up my painting the way he does with big buckets to clean the brush and then banging it on another bucket to dry it. If you watch Bob’s painting, he does this many times, laughing about coating the studio with paint thinner and wiping it on his pants.

During his life he probably washed brushes like this hundreds of thousands of times. No gloves, solvent everywhere, soaking his skin, clothes, and studio with dangerous chemicals. People scoff at this, but he was using massive amounts of solvent and spraying it everywhere. This is different from a painter with a tiny jar and drying a small brush with a paper towel.

I believe Bob Ross died of lymphoma at 52 because of repeated and prolonged exposure to large amounts of solvents. Others will point at painters who don’t get cancer and say it’s not possible, but again Bob was exposed to crazy amounts of it, and early solvents that were not very refined.

When I try his methods even with just water it’s a mess. I’m trying to be careful too so I don’t have to clean paint off my floor. I have two buckets with water and another plastic can for banging. The water still gets on my gloves, floor, and legs in small quantities.  Just based on my experience painting like him with water and being careful I can see he was soaked in it.

It’s too bad that painters are told these solvents are as harmless as water. They are definitely not, and there’s nothing macho or painterly about soaking your skin with toxic chemicals. Numerous painters eventually have to stop because constant exposure gives them rashes, allergic reactions, and breathing problems. The few who say they’re fine after 30 years are just falling for survivor bias.

I try to always wear gloves. It makes cleanup easier and protects my skin. Other painters make fun of me, but then I just grab my paper towels, invert my gloves over the garbage like bags, and walk away all cleaned up while they’re washing their hands and dealing with irritated skin or worse. It’s even more important with pastels as the binder and pigments are an irritant too.

Sometimes painters will claim gloves ruin their sensitivity but I just point out how doctors all wear gloves and operate on delicate organs. I’m pretty sure if a doctor can operate on an eye or a heart while wearing gloves you can fling your shoulder around a shitty oil landscape.

Bob Ross’s Misty Foothills

I did another Bob Ross last night, mistly using the knife but not entirely:

I love using the palette knife to paint like this but I don’t get much opportunity to use it with the classical realism I do. I think my next Ross will be all knife.

Here’s the progression:

Mastercopy of Bob Ross’s “Camper’s Haven”

I love following along with Bob Ross so tonight I spent a few hours doing Camper’s Haven and here’s the results. Keep in mind I’m in the heat of battle and just used my phone real quick for all but the final shot. That shot uses my nice camera so looks correct. Here it is:

Now the progression:

Had to do those damn trees twice. Just couldn’t get them dark enough.

And then finally:

I’ll let it dry and the do something about those violently green bushes and water in the bottom right. Fucking Pthalo green.

Lady Agnew Day 2

Starting with my wash from yesterday:

I went in and tried to get basic big flat shapes in the background:

Then the chair and the cloth on her legs:

And using the same colors to do the blouse and then basic shapes for the sash and skin:

The final color for the skin is just a simple “dead color” that makes her look like a zombie. 

I now let this dry and I’ll do another layer adding what details I can and spend most of the time on the face.

While doing this I finally noticed that one eyebrow was raised.

Taking My Saint Anger Cast Drawing Home

I finally finished my Saint Anger cast drawing and will be taking it home today. Here’s the final drawing with the cast just before I go home:

And here’s the cast on its own:

I used claybord on it which I’m liking as a pencil drawing surface. This project took me 6 months to complete, working on it about 8 hours a week. It’s done in very controlled pencil rendering.

Claybord is great for pencil work. You can erase it indefinitely using various scratch board tools or normal erasers. Probably the only annoying thing is you can go dark way to easily so rendering the lighter subtle value shifts requires erasing out the first rendering to pull it back to the light values. Other than that it’s like paper, and being mounted on a cradled board makes it very durable.

I posted the progression of the drawing over the months so you can see it as I worked on it, and here’s a cheesy video of it:

Kind of anti-climactic to see 6 months of work compressed down to a few seconds of video.

My next project at school will be cast painting, but mu drawing skills need work, especially with faces. I’m going to switxh back to Bargue plate copies, but after I block in with pencil I’ll render with paint. Pencil rendering is tedious and annoying without much learning value. I’m much more interested in learning to control values with paint so cast painting is my next step.

I may also do some of them in pastel since that’s very fast for monochrome studies like this.

Lady Agnew Mastercopy Day 1

I’m doing a master copy of John Singer Sargent’s Lady Agnew painting
in class and have the first drawing and thin grissaille done:
I left a few spots open for now since I wanted just enough to see the drawing. The next layer will be full color but very simple rather than a monochrome underpainting. 

I wanted to do this in pastel but after studying it I thought it would be too difficult. The original painting is huge so when shrunk to 11×14 it becomes mostly photographic. Replicating that in pastel will be difficuly in three weeks.

Jar of Mangoes Day 1

I’m using a claybord on this painting since I have become very familiar with drawing on one after my Saint Anger cast drawing. I’ve wanted to try doing an initial drawing in pencil on claybord, then do multiple layers on it to build a painting.  First the quick drawing just to get basic shapes:

One thing about pencil is as the paint dries it become more transparent so you can have some pencil show through later. I’m curious if that applies to claybord which is so absorbant. After that I did a quick open grissaille:

I’m pretty sure the background is going to be too dark but I’m going with it for now. The paint dries almost immediately so I then went to the first layer of color, starting with the lightest light shapes:

Normally you start with the darkest parts, but I wanted to get the value range mostly figured out minus the highlights from reflections in the plastic. Once I had that I went dark to light:

Then made the background more solid:

Yep, that’s going to be really dark. Oh well, I either alter it or put something up there to fake a reflection. After that just a matter of finishing the dark shapes:

I’ll let this dry today so that this first layer seals the clayboard and then I’ll refine it tomorrow.

My Next Subject is a Jar of Mangoes

I got a close focus adapter for my camera and played with photographing this jar of pickled mangoes:

My lens can go down to 1.4f and so I can make the front of the jar more focused than the back. I had to put it on about 2f because the close focus adapter seems to further narrow the depth of field. I’ll have to research that.

I’m posting a photo of the subject before I attempt the painting so that all the “helpers” who think they can critique my paintings without seeing the actual subject or any of my other paintings can at least be more accurate in their completely unrequested comments on the accuracy of my impressionistic expressive paintings where I don’t give a fuck about accuracy.

A Sketch of A Pack of Shrimp

I’ve been into painting seafood so when I decided to have shrimp tonight I cranked out a 25 minute sketch in oil of them:

I took a photo of them so I may do some more work tonight.

I’ve also done these paintings of fish recently that I love, which has inspired me to get into seafood and food paintings in general.

One word of caution: Pastels and fish do not go togethe well. That dust gets sucked right onto the fish skin and you’re not going to eat it.

Finished My Saint Anger Cast Drawing!

I finally finished my cast drawing of Saint Anger:

This took me months and months to finish. All meticulously rendered by hand in pencil on claybord. Here’s the comparison with the actual cast:

The perspective between the two isn’t exactly the same but you can see what I was trying to achieve. Finally, the last photo of it before going home:

I name my cast drawings after metal albums because without metal I would go insane doing this meticulous rendering.

My next step is to do copies of plates from Charles Bargue’s book, cast paintings, and master copies.

But fuck this pencil shit. Life’s too short.