When I got back from New Mexico I was so inspired by Michael O’Connor and his story of how he became and artist that I had to delve further and see if I wanted to give yet another medium a try. I decided to buy the book he recommended ‘Alla Prima’ by Richard Schmid. It was kinda, no not kinda, it is expensive but I decided to get it anyway. It is an awesome book. The only things hard for me is that he emphasizes painting from real life whether still life, portrait or landscapes. I as yet and don’t know how long it will take am not comfortable at all painting en plein air. That is setting up in public to paint a landscape, cityscape…whatever. I sure hope to someday but for now until I figure it all out it will be still life and from photos.
One of the things Michael emphasized was to do the color charts so…I skipped ahead and read about how to do those and worked on them as I read the book. I did not get the color brands that he recommended as 1. couldn’t afford the and 2. I wasn’t ready to sink that kind of money into paints just yet. I did however get artist grade paints and not waste the money or the time painting with student grade paints. I learned with watercolors that if you are at all serious then get artist grade even if you only get a the primaries and a few others. Black and white in the case of oils. I started working on the color charts pretty much as soon as I got my book which was around May 20th. I ended up using Fredrix canvas pad paper as was recommended on another YouTube video I watched and because they were big enough to be able to do all the paint colors I had. I managed to get a great deal using coupons at Michael’s and bought mostly Winsor and Newton artist oils and a few Grumbacher pre-tested artist oils.
I have to say I really enjoyed the process. I will admit at times it got kind of tedious but I tried really hard to approach it as an important step in understanding the medium. At the same time I was making these I was helping a friend get started in watercolors and doing these really helped me to get across to her the importance of understand how your medium works before you can even begin to paint pictures that you will really love. That of course is just my humble opinion.
I didn’t finish the last one until June 26th. It took over 5 weeks to complete them all. It was a very enlightening experience!