Saturday, September 13, 2014

Painting Faster Will Be Fun?

I tried a Bob Ross painting yesterday after a horrible Friday afternoon class.  I thought getting something done would be soothing.  The finished painting did not make me happy, for lots of reasons. The problem is, I'm not truly sure where I made the important mistakes, because I was not given enough information on the video.  I'm going to have to ask my painting teacher about thus.  

I am glad I used the paints that came with the set, and not my class oil paints.  For some reason, those plastic tubes just didn't seem professional or serious to me.

I've been saying that I wanted to learn to paint faster.  And I did, though it took me three hours, to Bob's one.  I finished it, and I'm still so highly aggravated that I don't want to even look at that painting for a while.  

My problems started with technique, tools, and supplies.  
1)  At home I have a horrible, cheap table easel that wouldn't hold the canvas securely.  It's not big enough, or sturdy enough, and has a lip blocking the lower part of the canvas.  It's destined to be for small displays only.  If I don't use it to start a bonfire, that is.

2) I had no clue how much liquid base coat to use. It sounded like it would be a lot, from all descriptions, and it turned out that I used way too much, which led me to use too much paint all over, and I had adhesion problems.

3) The sky went too far, and the kit did not provide both colors of blue he specified for it. He painted with Prussian Blue and Pthalo Blue, and by the way, Pthalo Blue  is VERY overpowering.  I couldn't make a deep enough sky without the Prussian so my sky was too flat to make me happy.  It never faded like if was supposed to, due to the overpowering Pthalo.

4) The sky was far too wet, so when I tried to lightly blend my white clouds after painting them in twice, they disappeared.  What you can see is just blue clouds. They're not happy little clouds.  They're blue.  

5). I used the amount of paint specified when painting with the knife, and it wouldn't stick to the canvas.  I just couldn't figure out how to get the paint roll off my knife and onto the canvas.

6) I had one set of brushes.  When I needed to change colors, the cleaner soaked so far into the bristles I couldn't get it all out. It's not good to paint with a brush full of turps.  Bob Ross always had clean brushes waiting under his easel. I believe someone swapped clean brushes for dirty out of view of the camera.  

7) I used about a roll of paper towels trying to clean brushes as I went. I normally use 5 or 6 pieces in class. With all of the Gamsol soaked into my brushes, it took forever to get the paint out.

8) Trying to keep the canvas stable was impossible, and I wound up covered in thick paint up to my elbows.  It got everywhere.

9) I was also soaked in Gamsol, everywhere, and I believe that stuff is carcinogenic.

10). I decided to try a disposable oil palette. It wasn't big enough, and it was too flimsy.  Paint got all over my table and I couldn't get it off, not even when I poured straight rubbing alcohol on it.

11)  The kit I bought "contains everything needed to paint this picture exactly" but good old Bob was using additional colors that weren't in the kit.  Another yellow, another blue, another brown. And it mattered, because I couldn't get the color variations he did, making my picture look flat and dead to me.

12) The paint didn't come off the brushes onto the canvas as it was supposed to, so, thinking I needed more paint on my brush, loaded more, and then, not only would it not stick to the canvas, the blue from the sky mopped up onto the brush .  I couldn't yellow highlight the tree branches with blue.  More cleaning.  More paint wasted. More Gamsol sprayed over me.

13) I used half a tube of green, yellow, and white on this painting.  That paint us so thick in places it may not dry before I'm dead. Somehow, I didn't see good old Bob needing quite as much paint as I did.

14) Bob Ross's voice stops being soothing and turns mocking when things don't work according to his directions.  

15)  This method causes paint to splatter all over.  On me, on my laptop, on my carpet, the table, my phone.  My studio is in a spare bedroom, because I'm a poor teacher and that's all I can afford.

16)  The cleaning jar I usually use for classes is not up to the task of cleaning these brushes adequately.  You really do need a special cleaning bucket, a garbage can, and a mill full of fabric to clean after this fiasco.

I'll probably try painting wet-on-wet again, but I'll stick with You Tube videos.  At least the people making those are still around so you can ask questions of them. :). I really just want to learn more techniques to create my own paintings, and not a copy of someone else's work.  But... Sometimes you have to be willing to throw your first efforts in the trash.  And I did hit the Jo-Ann's Grand Opening for half-priced canvases (with coupons).

Of course, most of my problems here were due to mechanics and misunderstandings, but that didn't help when I was frustrated to the point of screaming.  I beat the 1 inch brush.  Into the table.  I pretty much ruined it. Many lost bristles, the remaining ones splayed horribly.... which made creating leaves a bit easier, after all. 

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