SIX DAYS OF ABSTRACT PAINTING: 30 IN 30 PAINTING CHALLENGE, DAYS 1 TO 6

Since February the 1st 2018, I’ve been playing along with Leslie Saeta’s 30 in 30 painting challenge. As someone who doesn’t usually paint, this past six days have been the messiest of my life … but I loved it :)

Last week, I spoke about my plans for the challenge and the tools I’d be using; the goal isn’t to produce works of art, I just want to force myself to try something new, and see if I enjoy the process of working with Traditional Paints. I’ve learnt quite a few things already, but let’s start by looking at the six Abstract Oil Paintings I produced :)

DAYS 1 TO 6

ABSTRACT PAINTINGS

DAY 1 • MERGING [Size: 50x40cm]
This one popped into my head during a meditation, just before I started painting. I wanted it to be like blue male and pink female merging into one. Really, I wanted the centre to be a rich purple, but I made the mistake of starting on the outside, instead of in the centre. I later found out, with paintings, you always start with the background and work forward.

DAY 2 • CONVERGING [Size: 20x20cm]
This one was the toughest one, I couldn’t get the small canvas to sit nicely on the easel :( It was supposed to be like blades of green grass in a forest, but I soon realised I had placed way too much paint on the canvas to pull that off, so instead dropped in some brown and tried to make it look like the two colours of nature converging.

DAY 3 • EMERGING [Size: 40x30cm]
This was another nice size to work with, and is actually my favourite painting from the first six days. I scraped the paint two times, as I wasn’t happy with the direction it was going in, but the ‘mistake of adding orange’ lead to a nice green colour showing through in the final painting, that I kind of like :)

DAY 4 • DIVERGING [Size: 30x23cm]
This was a really nice size to work with, I had the most fun with this one, especially because I love the colour blue. First day I used a brush too, combining both palette knife and brush for different texture effects. I was trying to create the effect of something merging out of an ocean, this was fun; I even have it hung on my wall now, not for long though lol

DAY 5 • PURGING [Size: 30x23cm]
This yellowy brown one doesn’t exist anymore, as I played around with it after and messed it up, so I’ll paint over it with something else later :) I like the effect of this one though, I was experimenting with placing paint down with the palette knife, and blurring it with the brush. It’s kind of funny that I called this one Purging though, seeing as I purged it later lol

DAY 6 • SUBMERGING [Size: 20x20cm]
I have a soft spot for this one lol I like the pink colours :) Again, I was experimenting with mixing the use of palette knife and brush, to try and create a blurry background, with an in-focus foreground.

WHAT I’VE LEARNT

I’ve really enjoyed this Abstract painting, I’ve never done anything like it before, but I’ve found it to be very Freeing and Liberating to just throw paint on the canvas and see what happens. I’ve also learnt and realised a few things already too, such as –

  • Painting is Messy – I always knew it would be, but it’s even more messier than I expected :)
  • The painting seems to guide you, as if the painting is almost painting itself
  • The base colour is powerful
  • I really understand what Bob Ross meant, when he said about Happy Little Accidents now
  • CurtisWard sell the best cost effective oil paints
  • Painting is Liberating
  • Standing Easels are hard to position
  • Don’t make Assumptions when Painting
  • I waste a lot of Paint
  • Don’t tip your palette when you have Linseed oil on it, as it will run off the palette lol
  • Aprons are the Best

FIVE EXPERIENCES I HAD

1. HAPPY LITTLE ACCIDENTS

On day four I had the idea of making an orange fireball dropping into an ocean … that was my plan, but it looked terrible, so I scraped off all the paint, and it left behind a green tint. This green colour, which was totally random, ended up showing through in the final painting, and I think it made it look really nice.

This was when I realised the importance of the base colour, it shows through in the final painting even if ever so slightly, and also, I instantly thought of Bob Ross and his Happy Little Accidents :)

Happened again on day five, when I didn’t like the direction the painting was going in, so scrapped it and what was left behind looked really good lol

2. LIBERATING

I’m finding this whole thing to be super liberating, not just the act of painting, but the whole process. Day One summed this up perfectly; I was painting away, when I dropped my palette knife on the floor, it was loaded with blue paint.

It landed on my sock, so my pink sock was covered in blue paint, and I just smiled. I’m normally so tidy, always trying to keep things in pristine condition, but I realised right from the start, you can’t do that with painting.

Painting is so messy, I have paint: on my clothes, on the furniture, on my bed sheets … in places I haven’t even been to, so no idea how the paint got there lol but I don’t care. I like seeing blobs of paint everywhere. My Apron is already muticoloured, looks so pretty :) Painting is so liberating.

3. EASELS AND SMALL CANVASES

On day two I decided to use a really small canvas – 20cm by 20cm. I find this a nice size to look at, but I spent more time trying to get it to sit on the easel, than I did painting.

I botched it in place, but by the end I was holding the canvas with one hand, and painting with the other lol I’m pretty sure that isn’t how the professionals do it, but it worked, so I guess it’ll do for now :)

4. DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS

On the morning on Day 3, I watched a YouTube video of an Artist painting an abstract oil painting. While he was painting away, he suddenly put his fingers into the painting, to create some soft edges on some paint he had just applied.

I thought, wow, you can actually do that? I had the assumption that if you’re painting, you must use a brush, or a palette knife, but nothing else. This artist was using his fingers and paper towels … I realised in that moment, don’t make assumptions when painting.

 

Royal Talens Van Gogh Oil Paint from CurtisWard.com, Abstract Painting with Artist Sophie Lawson

5. CURTISWARD.COM ARE AMAZING

This weeks blog post is sponsored by CurtisWard lol No it’s not, but I will be using these guys for all my paints, canvases and art supplies from now on.

I purchased 8 really big 200ml tubes of Royal Talens Van Gogh Oil Paint for £7.65 each … in my local art shops, 200ml costs like £15. Curtisward even sell big 500ml tins for £15.99absolute bargain!

My order was placed on Friday evening, and delivered the next working on Monday morning; very quick. They use DPD for delivery, which is the same company ASOS use where I buy all my clothes from :) heehee, I love DPD because they text you an hour time slot in advance, and offer click and collect too, so you’ll never miss a delivery.

NEXT SIX DAYS

So far I’ve purposely limited the amount of variables at play, by using only: one brush, one palette knife and only one or two colours. This has helped me focus on getting a feel for brush on canvas, palette knife on canvas and how the paint behaves with and without linseed oil … but moving forward, I feel things are going to start getting a bit more complex.

The next six paintings will be Still Life Oil Paintings, setup using some of my high heels and dresses. I’m looking forward to that bit, but the actually painting I’m slightly scared of; I sense things are going to get a bit trickier, but I’ll do my best and remember to just have fun :)

You can play along with this challenge by visiting Leslie Saeta’s 30 in 30 Painting Challenge and signing up :)

EVERYDAY’S A GOOD DAY WHEN YOU PAINT

Bob Ross