3781: Lion for Bowling For Rhinos

I’m painting this bowling pin for an event called Bowling for Rhinos. It’s an event that happens every year near many zoo’s. Lots of people get together and go bowling, have fun, bid on auctions and all the proceeds for the event goes to rhino conservation. My painting of this bowling pin will be auctioned off as well.

I plan on doing another painting on the other side of the bowling pin as well. Maybe of an elephant.

What did I learn?

Drawing: Painting on a round surface is really interesting especially when you’re trying to achieve good drawing. I felt like I just needed to ignore the curvature of the bowling pin and just paint the lion as it would be if projected upon the pin.

Perspective: Just the head of the lion looking straight on. Not much perspective.

Value > Color: Value is king. I could have chosen any colors as long as the value was correct.

Form: There are a lot of subtle values in the light areas of the lion that were very hard to judge. Especially with a curved form because the glare from the oil painting was worse that a flat surface.

Shape Design: The shadows shapes for this painting were very apparent and easy to put down. The shapes within the light area were harder to make dynamic.

Composition: Front view, central position, not much too the composition.

Brushwork: The curvature of the pin allowed me to draw out the fade at the end of each brush stroke easily because it would automatically be pulled away from the surface. I’m becoming very aware of what brush stroke look pleasing and the ones that do not.

Accumulated Learning

Drawing: Take the time that it needs. Focus on each brush stroke to improve control, drawing, shape design and speed. Speed is all about efficiency not how fast I move. Figures are the best for challenging my drawing skills. Simple shapes are enough to describe most objects. Challenge myself by doing the initial drawing with a brush. Don’t worry about perfect accuracy, message is paramount.

Perspective: Keep practicing linear and atmospheric perspective. Vanishing points for objects and interior space. How multiple objects in a landscape recede. How object further away get lighter and more blue, except for white. Push the atmospheric perspective.

Value > Color: Identify the major value and color separations at the beginning of the painting. In most cases the painting can be broken down into just a few major values and colors. Value first, hue and saturation second. High contrast and high saturation near focal point. Test all the major color mixtures and when you’re unsure. Try to make the sky glow.

Form: Continue to think of each object as existing in space and takes up space. Back lighting and front lighting will flatten forms. Overcast lighting will need value harmonies to create form. Oblique lighting shows form best with light and shadow. Turn the form with value shapes not just blending all the time.

Shape Design: Practice and begin to understand what shapes are pleasing and why. Simplify complex shapes always. Squint all the time. Increase the angles of the shapes for a more dynamic look. Study Ai and other artists for shape design.

Composition: Simple subjects for now. Rule of thirds. Edges. Value. Color. All emphasizing the focal point. Use the direction of the brush strokes to emphasize the focal point as well. Learn from other masters of composition. Andrew Wyeth in particular.

Brushwork: Practice describing as much as possible with only one stroke. Improve my ability to soften an edge with a brush. Try to be more expressive with a brushwork. Look at Quang Ho. Expressive brushwork is often executed carefully, not fast. Instead of getting smaller brushes for smaller shapes use surrounding shapes to cut into others. After getting really good at control then I can be expressive.

Narrative: How well do the technical aspects above help me communicate emotion, narrative. What does it make me feel, why does it make me feel? “Be your own favorite artist”.

Other: Stand up at least every 30 minutes.

Keep doing

  • Small paintings for fast iteration of what I want to learn.
  • Working to find my true voice.
  • Simplifying shapes.
  • Getting the value right first and checking when I’m unsure.
  • Finishing a painting daily and reviewing.
  • Squinting.
  • Continue to limit my options when painting. Materials, subject matter,
  • When I’m not painting surround myself with information about painting.

Stop doing

  • Using my smallest brushes.
  • Details everywhere.
  • Listening to podcasts while painting. Music only.
  • Caring what others think about my paintings.

What does “Done” look like?

  1. Gain a deep understanding of my voice. “Know Thyself.”
  2. Find a subject I can do deep on for decades.

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