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

Friday, January 8, 2010

Still Learning as I Go

My second painting is done, framed, and shipped to my sister-in-law for a Christmas gift. (In my family, we draw names and give a gift that we have to make to the family member whose name we get. My sister-in-law likes lighthouses, so the picture seemed appropriate.) I really meant to continue the Learning as I Go series of posts while I painted it. But given how little time I've spent on the blog over the last month or so, that proved hard to do.

That doesn't mean I didn't continue to learn. For one thing I learned how hard it is to paint daylight. The sky went through multiple paintings and over paintings.

I knew this first one wasn't right, but wasn't sure why. So I tried again.

I liked the water here, but the sky was just getting darker. After a couple of more attempts, I came up with this.

At first I was impressed with the clouds. But after a couple of days looking at it from my desk, they struck me as being unnaturally white, and the sky still wasn't any lighter. So I went back to the book I'd been reading and read again about glazing and also about working orange and yellow into the clouds to give the impression of daylight. So I painted this.

At this point, I was glad I had a career working with words and so decided not to quit my day job. But I took one more stab at it.

I really messed up the water, but, hey, the sky had light. I don't think the author of Genesis had any idea just how hard it is to let there be light. I know I didn't do it in a day.

Next, after working for several days to restore the water, came the rocks and then the light house.

The signature.

And finally the frame.

So what have I learned? I learned I really like doing this. And I think I learned something about painting daylight, which is what I had set out to do when I chose the lighthouse as my subject.
I've started a third picture. Now I'm learning how to paint foliage and grasses. If you don't mind I'll share some of that that experience with you too.
Happy New Year, everyone.


  1. I love it. I hope your sister-in-law does too. Lucky lady for sure.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  2. I laughed at the caption of you being glad you had a day job writing :))) Well done Grandpa...well done....

  3. Well done. Practice leads to expertise - what works and what doesn't. Most people give up without ever learning.

  4. I love your persistence. And the progression is really amazing. Very cool to see. And a beautiful final product!

    I have a painting of a small boat tied up at the shore of a lake that a friend painted for me nearly 30 years ago when she was attending the Alabama School of Fine Arts (rather than a "traditional" high school). It's not professional quality, but it is actually quite good - the water and sky look real. I know it took her many weeks to accomplish, and it is beautiful. I am sure your sister-in-law will treasure her painting, too. :)

  5. As always, you show us the importance of good editing, Grandpa.

    I can't wait to see your next effort. Happy 2010!

  6. Very nice! My mom used to paint. I need to get her interested in that again. Thanks for the comment on my blog. You had disappeared off my Bloglines. I've added you again and I'll start catching up.

  7. Beautiful! Please share more and more and more. Will we get to see it in person when we're there?

  8. You actually did an amazingly good job of this. I'm impressed. I think your sister-in-law will love it.