100 Starts – numbers 51-60

Continuing my 100 Starts, based on Kevin Macpherson’s prompt…

Numbers 51-60 of my 100 Starts project

Numbers 1-10
Numbers 11-20
Numbers 21-30
Numbers 31-40
Numbers 41-50

Number 51 notes

It’s been awhile since I painted one of the dogs’ toys so for Number 51 I chose their blue monkey (I sketched his brother Brown Monkey nearly a year ago during my sketching focused practice). I was feeling the urge to do something not symmetrical and elliptical, and it’s in the realm of a figure study. It was fun to do the form shadows on the toy.

One thing I changed up with this one was to use more linseed oil to loosen up the paint. I had been trying to follow Kevin’s advice to really lay the paint on thickly, but I found that it came up and blended so easily with the colors I laid next to each other and caused a mess of my shapes. Maybe this is why they say to paint the shadows thinly, because they go down first and it helps prevent goobering things up? I also didn’t worry about painting the lightest light in the beginning because that was also giving me troubles before.

Number 52 notes

Another dog toy! Actually, it’s just a little plush toy that my Chi mix, Pipsqueak, snatched off the floor a few years back. She was never one for toys before that, so when she took off with it randomly we were totally charmed and it was then hers forever. It’s a javelina from when we lived in Arizona and I think she likes it because she’s part terrier and terriers like to hunt little vermin, which this toy looks like. I also sketched it back in January during my focused practice.

I liked the idea of doing a study in temperature. The warm brown ground and cool grey toy are not that different in value, so it becomes about the subtle play between them. My big win for this one was being able to draw out the subject quickly by switching up my approach a tiny bit: instead of drawing linearly with a synthetic brush, I chose a small flat hog hair bristle brush that helped me have a looser, more sketchy drawing.

Number 53 notes

I wanted to do another study in warm and cool, and play with the composition a little. The cool, light grey background next to the bright yellow ground is interesting, and the subtle difference between the soft warm interior of the bowl next to that cool grey background almost makes a lost edge. My cast shadow grew too large, which is something I have to continuously keep an eye on.

Number 54 notes

After pulling an apple and a few grape tomatoes out of the fridge as my subjects, I chose a green paper to put under them for a study in complementary colors. I love the cast shadows in this one! For my drawing, I used a small filbert Grand Prix and kept it loose and sketchy. This approach has been working well for me and I think tomorrow I’ll pull out my tube of transparent oxide yellow instead of mixing an earthy orange, just for comparison.

Number 55 notes

The shadow across the multi-colored coaster in this study fascinates me. Ever since I discovered the way this particular object challenges my brain and eyes, I just love painting it. And this little yellow dish is one of my favorite still life objects to paint. It actually has this scalloped texture on the lower part — maybe tomorrow I’ll do a close-up on it and explore that shadow pattern.

Number 56 notes

Hmmmm I’m not loving the light/shadow pattern that describes the scalloped finish on the little yellow bowl. I think it either needs to be continued around the perimeter, or left off entirely. But, it’s just a start, I guess. I like how the shadow side looks more than the in-light side, where the high points in shallow shadow are just slightly different from the deep shadow. And I raised my still life surface up higher, which gives me a different perspective to work with.

Number 57 notes

I’m exploring the house, looking for some new items for my starts. I selected one of my shoes, which I had sketched back in January during my focused practice on sketching. I spent much more time drawing it then than I did today, which was intentional. But today’s drawing wasn’t all that accurate, so I suffered the consequences of rushing the drawing when I started painting in the color shapes. It would have helped a ton if I had drawn the line between the table and the wall right away — by the time I added it, my drawing had gone astray which the horizontal line revealed. It would have provided some easy waypoints for checking my angles and proportions.

Number 58 notes

For today’s subject I pulled the waxed canvas shave kit I made a couple of years ago for a sewing class lesson off the shelf. I thought it would be interesting to paint the folds and curves of the fabric, with those shadow shapes that are unique to fabric objects. It was hard to fight through the ugly stage — after I painted the shadow shapes I wasn’t sure it was actually going to look like anything! So it felt good to finish and be happy with the completed start.

Number 59 notes

I sketched this cute denim bucket hat back in January during the focused practice session on sketching. I pulled it back out for today’s Start and it was fun to do it in color this time. I think I did a good job of simplifying the shapes and eliminating detail. It helped that I set a mental goal to go quickly and not worry about every little fold and shadow. I’m getting more and more convinced about these simple, flat starts! Especially because I’m one to get caught up in details and then realize an hour into a project that the foundation wasn’t set well in the beginning. This project has been excellent practice for getting comfortable drawing faster, selecting color faster, and putting color on the panel faster.

And this orange paper is one of my favorite surfaces to put under the still life objects! The colors of the shadows cast onto it are so beautiful and rich.

Number 60 notes

A favorite of dogs and their humans alike: the hedgehog squeaker toy! I can’t get enough of these, they’re so cute. I really like the way this start turned out and I’m learning more and more how much I enjoy painting organic shapes. Especially when there’s volume to depict, like with this chubby hedgie.

As a grouping of ten Starts, this set is my favorite so far. I think there’s a good amount of exploration subject-wise, and I felt like things started to click from a process standpoint. Drawing and color mixing are going quicker, and there’s a good separation of light and shadow families. I’d like to do some more fruits and vegetables — we’ll see where the final 40 go!

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