© 2008 -- 2011 the Grandpa at The Word Mechanic. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Part 3 is postponed

All the things I don't know, I am haunted by. Those who know, understand.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Random Friday

* Look for part 3 of Learning as I Go tomorrow.

* I miss the time when I posted a blog every day.

* One of my biggest pet peeves as a freelanceer who specializes in writing about health is editors who say they need doctors to write their articles. I don't want a writer operating on my wrist to fix my carpel tunnel syndrome. Sure, the writer will understand how I got it. But even if he's written about the operation, he/she still won't know how to do it. Why do editors think doctors know how to write?

* I know there are some doctors who can write well. I've edited their work. But it's because they are also writers, not because they are doctors.

* So those particular writers, if they're good surgeons too, could operate on my wrist.

* The last few weeks, I've been cleaning up some awful prose messes created by docs.

* Check out Bel's (aka Mommy's Nintendo) blog. She's writing about her spiritual journey.

* All my friends in Blogland: I'm coming back. I'm going to be catching up on your posts. They better be good ;0) (I know they will be).

* I'm out of aquamarine blue. I need a trip to the art supply house tomorrow.

Things I'm surprised I didn't say:

* Tomorrow is the Ohio State Michigan game.

* Fantastic basketball game on tonight between Syracuse and North Carolina. Kind of glad Ohio State lost their game against NC last night or they would be playing Syracuse tonight.

* There must be a poem somewhere in all of this.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thought for today

Time is simply a road map of the now. And the arrow that's pointing to tell us "you are here" is what we call the present.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just watch

This is actually a commercial from Thailand. I stole it from Butterfly Dreamer, whose site you should absolutely see. But, here's the rub: Watch it more than once; watch it at least three times. Get beyond the Pantene pitch. (She would have gotten there without beautiful hair.) Then, tell me what it does to you. -- I agree with Butterfly dreamer: It is "one of the most inspirational and beautiful videos I have ever seen."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Learning as I Go: Part 2 -- Getting Started/Painting #2

Step 3 -- Paint the sky

I only have a slight understanding of the concept of underpainting. It's the first layer of color or colors that serve as the basic definition of the painting in progress. It "blocks in" the composition and serves as a blueprint for subsequent layers of color as details are added or refined. This first layer, according to some of the sources I looked at, should lay down the darkest color for the sky, water, and foreground and then the overpainting will add highlights, brightness, and variations in color.

I read about it, but I wasn't really conscious of "underpainting" as I began the canvas. Start with the sky and work forward was the basic principle my father had taught me. So that's what I thought I would do here. But acrylic is different from chalk or pastel or watercolor. So I wasn't going to be able to do what I thought I was going to do. I saw very quickly I was going to have to go back to the sky multiple times.

The horizon was an accident, albeit a happy one. I got too much dark blue on my brush as I was painting the lower portion of the sky. But I saw immediately that it worked for the deeper water of the background. So I actually ended up doing what was in my ead two steps at once. From there it was a simple step to block in the lighter water of the foreground. And since the sky was pretty much dry, I decided to try to lighten it up.

I was satisfied with that day's work, and I felt like I'd learned something.
To be continued...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Learning as I Go: Part 1 -- First steps Painting 2

After I did my first acrylic painting [see it here], I read more about the importance of using natural light in the process of painting. It's essential for being able to see the actual colors I'm putting on canvas. So, since I didn't have room by the window in my office to set up the easel, and since I couldn't really count on having time during the day when the light was best to paint, I bought myself a daylight lamp to clamp onto my easel. It made all the difference.

I put the painting back on the easel, and the green and red paint I'd used to put grasses in the foreground and the blue grey gravel path popped. But the middle ground didn't. The surface of the hill extending down to the ocean was flat. It still is, but I intend to change it. First, though, I need to understand more about painting light--as well as the lack of light. So I've been reading about and studying samples of techniques such as "glazing," which I'll talk about in a future installment of Learning as I Go.

In the meantime I started a second painting. If you're interested, I want to share with you what it's like to be a complete novice teaching myself to paint.

Step 1: Choose the Scene
We went to some fascinating places this past summer in California and in New England, and I took a ton of photos. So I started the second painting by printing out a number of photos and spending a lot of time just going through them. I finally narrowed the choice down to two:

Choice 1 -- Hillside at Timber Cove where we stayed at the ocean in California

Choice 2 -- Lighthouse and Rocks off the coast of Maine at Fort McClary


I liked the first choice because I liked the different textures and I want to learn about painting grasses and foliage. I also want to be able to paint a hillside head on and give the viewer the feel of the ground rising.

I liked the second because there was a lot of motion in the water and because the challenge of painting daylight above the blue of the water was intriguing.

I decided I wasn't ready yet for the challenges in the first picture, and learning how to paint light is probably my first real task. So I chose the second picture.

Step 2 --Draw It
I made several sketches. (If I can't draw it, I can't paint it.) Here is the last one I made.

Doesn't really have the detail or the perspective I think it should have, but I thought it was enough to get me started.

Step 3 -- Paint the sky

[to be continued]