I felt like picking up the brushes this evening for just a quick round of exercises to get myself ready to start painting again.
When you read artist magazines and surf artist blogs like I do, you pick up various exercises to help in certain areas of your work. Tonight I worked my way through two such exercises that I had been wanting to try. Both were aimed at helping to paint in a looser style.
The first exercise was one I read about in International Art Collector magazine. It is the one on the left side of the photo. The exercise was to paint an apple using no more than twenty strokes with the brush. So, after setting out an apple (fake one) I oiled my canvas and promptly forgot to wipe the excess oil off the canvas, as you can tell from where the paint is running down the right side of the apple.
Then I did a quick sketch with script liner to make sure my shape was correct. I also drew in lines where the shadows would be. After I stepped back and took a deep breath, feeling satisfied with the drawing, I picked up a fairly large brush, mixed up a couple of different colors that I felt would make up the bulk of the apple and started slapping paint on the canvas.
One … two … three … and so on. I knew I only had seventeen strokes available for the apple because I knew the two highlights and the stem would take three by themselves. But, you know what? I’m quite happy with what I was able to accomplish with so few brush strokes. Other than the running paint, I am happy with this effort. I’ll be doing it again tomorrow evening, with a lot less medium on the canvas.
Then the second exercise. This one from Carol Marine and it is called her Ten Minute Challenge. And it is exactly what it says. You have ten minutes to paint the apple. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Ten minutes … GO!!
I don’t know if this was cheating or not, but I set my timer on my phone to eleven minutes and used the first minute to just study the apple and see what I was going to need to do to make this happen. With about five seconds to go before the ten minute mark I picked up my large brush again (large when you consider these canvas panels are only 5×7 inches) and started slapping paint again. The first one, upper left, I think is the best of the two. Maybe it was just the angle of the apple was more pleasing or easier to paint, but I think it came out better than the second attempt. Again, we will try this again tomorrow and see what happens.
If nothing else, it got the paint brushes back in my hands and excited to get back to easel for some one-on-one time with my oil paints.
Give these two exercises a try and see how they work for you.