With the start of a new oil painting, there is a need to take many factors into consideration. What do I want to paint, what kind of research will I do, do I have the supplies that I need, and when am I going to get started.
I've had a nautical theme on the mind for a little while. A few months back a friend requested a lighthouse, and at paint-night more recently, the topic of painting ships came up. I don't have a lot if experience painting ships or the sea and have to admit to being a little intimidated, and this is where the next topic begins.
Before beginning this painting, there is a need to do a little research. I'm not sure how my own technical abilities will pan out, but I plan to reach high. I spent time browsing examples on the Internet to see what styles and qualities of Sea paintings are out there, and there are numerous gorgeous works in oil. I like to zoom in to study the paint strokes. It's amazing how simple and imperfect strokes can be when scrutinizing them under magnification. Here comes my confidence. I can make a simple stroke like that. Quality has a lot to do with art basics; perspective, tints and shades, color palette, and overall composition to name a few.
I examined different lighthouse styles, types of ships, styles of painting ocean waves, and different lighting possibilities depending on the placement of the sun. I already have the necessary supplies:
Glass jars to keep them in
Clothes that I don't mind tossing
Soap that will cut through oil paint, my favorites are dawn dish soap and dove bar soap-good stuff.
A place with ventilation
A place to store my drying painting
Time and motivation, I would like to become a professional painter
When it was time to get started, I began with a sketch on paper to help me decide the best location for the elements that I would like to include, and then I transferred that sketch onto the canvas with a little more detail. Once this was complete, it was time to set up my art space. I have supplies within reach and mix my color choices on the palette. I remember some of the pointers that really stuck out in art school:
Don't leave the brushes in the oil or turpentine . Be careful not to crush the tip.
Start with a little turpentine and oil in the first layers, build up linseed oil in a higher oil to turpentine ratio in additional layers.
Plan to spend several sessions on the painting, oils need to build up .
Don't paint at night in poor lighting. The colors will be wrong.
Never add black. Instead make shadows with a complementary color.
It's easier to start light and go dark than the other way around.
If major mistakes can't be wiped off, wait for the canvas to dry and paint over it.
Don't mix acrylic paint with oil. Oil can be painted over acrylic once dry but not the other way around.
It takes several days for the oil to dry and it must be dry before doing the next layer
Rags are flammable. Be aware of proper oil painting safety.
The paint is toxic. Keep it off your skin and clothing and away from kids.
Don't wash or dry clothing or rags with turpentine or oil on them. They are flammable.
Just about any mistake on the canvas can be fixed. Don't be afraid to add color, even contrasting colors to add depth in the first layer.
Color the entire canvas in new paint each session that you have.
Start with a good composition.
Step back and at times step away and look at the painting with fresh eyes to help identify areas that aren't quite right.
Don't forget perspective and value.
I used larger brushes for larger areas and small, high-quality brushes for details. The second image above shows the stage the painting is at now. It has just received its first layer of paint. I will have at least two additional sessions and each will require drying time. The painting will become more interesting and complex with each new layer. I will post the update when it is available.