My very favorite online painting instructor, The Art Sherpa, came up with a fabulous idea to complete an acrylic painting every day for a month like the illustrators have with Inktober. Last year, I attempted Artober, in which I failed at painting something every day, but I’m hoping that since so many other people are doing this with me, I might make it.
So. Today is the 9th. Here are my paintings so far, which vary significantly in quality and difficulty.
My favorite so far is the lemons. I’ve just started doing some still lives, and I’m really liking them.
Wish me luck for getting through the rest of the month! Painting every day with a full-time job is super hard.
I’m pretty sure I was more productive this weekend artwise than I ever have been. First, here’s the painting I finished:
I’m super proud of this one. It’s based on a photo on Pexels, which, like Unsplash, is a copyright-free photo site. It’s my first still life ever, and I’m pretty sure I’m still under ten oil paintings total. Here’s my entirely inferior acrylic underpainting:
Oils make a world of difference. I also worked on another painting this weekend. The clouds are new:
This one is pretty good, too, though I need to figure out what to do with the land. It’s based off of an Unsplash photo of tree silhouettes at sunset, but I might just add low hills. Here’s the acrylic version of the sky:
Theyre behind the crappy panels I’d been buying from Michael’s. I wanted better quality, so Palmer and I went in halves on a table saw. I learned to use it and cur my first set of panels yesterday.
After I cut them, I gessoed both sides and sanded the side I plan to paint A good time was had by all.
In other news, there was a massive gas leak across the street from my house on Friday. Palmer and I had to evacuate with the dogs, and we had to spend the evening with Palmer’s parents. The doggos were so good, but we were all grateful to be home after all that drama.
Palmer got a video of the leak and noise:
And I took pictures of the dogs. First at the church a few blocks away:
And then at Palmer’s parents’ house:
We we’re all exhausted the next morning. We rested for a lot of the day and then headed out to our EXCELLENT seventh anniversary dinner.
Yes, this counts. Sharpie markers on plastic cut to kite dimensions. One of my favorite things about my job is that I get to go to programs like this. This one was at Broadmoor, a branch I rarely visit. There’s a kite enthusiast conference of sorts in town this weekend, and really nice man from Pennsylvania volunteered to lead this program at the library. Other volunteers led programs at other branches.
Everyone I talked to had an awesome time. People of all ages made kites to fly. Here are some photos I took while I was there:
I’m so glad this organization presented these programs. I hope they spark the imaginations of patrons of all ages across the parish. I certainly had a good experience.
One of my favorite parts of my job is that I get to paint on the clock. Today, I went on a little voyage to do it, to a town called Mooringsport in the northwest tip of Caddo Parish, about 30 miles from Shreveport. I’d seen the exterior of this library, but I’d never been in. It looks and smells like an old schoolhouse.
I went up there because a local artist, Eric Francis, is doing a series of painting programs for the library based on Jesmyn Ward’s novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing, this year’s One Book One Parish selection. Today, we painted the crow on the front cover. Unlike my painting programs, Eric starts with a very helpful pencil sketch, which is way less intimidating for first-time painters than an entirely blank canvas is.
The turnout was amazing and far more than I was expecting. Everyone was enthusiastic and proud of their work. Some people made amaaaaaazing paintings.
I was super impressed by the whole program. Since the turnout was so high, I’m planning on bringing my art and tech programs for kids and teens. Too bad the branch is closed on Saturdays, or I’d schedule a Paint Studio program there.
I have an impending out-of-any-sort-of-studio Arting to do on the 29th, so I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how to do it. It’s a library outreach program, so it would be ideal to showcase one of my monthly painting classes, but acrylics dry too fast for plein air. Watercolor our gouache would be fine, but they require a flat surface, which doesn’t show off what I’m doing well, so oil seems the best medium to use in this case.
Enter this semi-homemade pochade box. I got an art storage box at Michaels for $30 with a coupon, and Palmer added a wooden board with a tripod screw hole and little hardware bits (plus some foam) to hold the panel or canvas in.
It had two levels of divided areas, so I removed the dividers from the top portion and masking taped in an 8×10 palette (aka the glass from an 8×10 picture frame).
This work should result in a pretty ideal setup for up to 8×10 plein air oil paintings, and I definitely prefer this smaller format.
I should also note that I had to get a new fancy tripod for this setup. I ordered this Manfrotto Compact Advanced tripod, which should arrive at my house on Tuesday. It’ll be nice to have a good quality tripod for this and for photos, as my old cheap one is busted.
Here’s another work project (so many excuses to paint!): my own version of Van Gogh’s Starry Night for a series of children’s programs I’ll be doing in February! The idea came from a lesson plan by Misty Poe. The sky is painted with acrylics. The mountains, town, and willow tree are all construction paper painted with nupastels. I used spray sealant on the construction paper, then modpodged the whole shebang together.
It turned out super cute! Of course I couldn’t help myself and made mine more complicated than Poe’s example. I might end up making a much simpler one before the actual program.
It sucks that due to the cheap construction paper I used, this one probably won’t last very long, though until then I think I’ll frame it and hang it in my office.
I really like this one! It’s definitely my favorite Artober painting so far. It’s 5×7 gouache on watercolor paper, based on this photo from Unsplash, my favorite source of free-to-use images.
I painted this one at work, and I’ll probably hang it there. It’s an example of what I want to do with my painting classes – what I hope I’ll get to do next year. Acrylics are most approachable, but I find more watery mediums easier to work with, and gouache (especially the acrylic variety) is far less intimidating than watercolor.
In other interesting news, I got this book today. I preordered it from Our Amazonian Overlords around March when it was announced but forgot about it until I got a shipment notification the other day. I’m super excited. It weighs in at a whopping 700 pages, so it’ll take a while to read. I hope it’s better than his last novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, which I didn’t especially like.
Now, to descend into the world of kittehs and wells.
A few oils later, and it’s still my favorite. And those were student paints! I’ve already upgraded to Gamblin.
ANYWAY, back to today’s watercolor. I got home tired after the library’s annual Staff Development Day (which was somehow fantastic! The best yet!) and wasn’t in the mood to art. I had no idea what I was going to do, and her photos popped into my mind, so I looked through them until I found something inspiring.
I know this one isn’t my best. The sky is too dark and the perspective is a little off, but I’m okay with it because I powered through. By this time last year, I’d given up on finishing a painting a day (the main difference is that I’d only started painting a month before and everything was still new and difficult), so I’m already ahead. I really like the idea of doing some sort of art every day, though after this month it might be more like working on a painting rather than finishing it. I’m currently midway through a close-up poppy oil painting that I’d like to finish, but I’m putting it off until after Artober.
Today’s painting is based on a photo I wish I had taken of California deserty terrain. The vegetation there fascinated me because it’s entirely different from anything else I’ve experienced.
I’m not going to post the photo because I found it on Instagram. It was taken by my new favorite contemporary artist, Colie Ryan, a landscape oil painter from Fort Worth. She had some amaaaaazing palette knife landscapes at the Revel. I wish I could afford one, but her originals are way out of my price range.
I’m okay with this one. Palmer says he doesn’t see a reference for size, but I was super limited on time and just stuck some very faint electrical poles in the distance. At some point, I’d like to come back to this one and add more details.