Learn from Michelle

A Vision From Spring

The weather can have a HUGE impact on your day in the studio. Last spring/summer, I got a bee ๐Ÿ in my bonnet about trying something new. I share updates with Beyond the Brushes members as I work through the painting process, and now, I'm sharing them with you. ๐Ÿค—

Another ugly baby laid out ๐Ÿ˜‚

I have a vision. Outside my comfort zone. Bigger than I usually work for experiments (30” canvas ๐Ÿ˜ณ).

Go big or go home. ๐Ÿคท‍โ™€๏ธ

Hang on to your hats. This will be really good, or I’ll have to burn it ๐Ÿ˜‚

Williamsburg oil + turps on Belgian linen mounted on Masonite

Day 2:

Now, do y'all see why I say, "don't fear the ugly stage"???  You can't avoid it on canvas ๐Ÿ˜‚

Day 2 - part 2

This is a good example of why walking away from a painting is a good idea.  This is one way that oil actually helps -- you have no choice but to walk away between stages.  This lets your eyes rest, and you can see things that might be done better.  

This is a BIG disadvantage in digital because you can complete a piece in one setting.  Take a lesson from oils here!

I keep these oil pencils around to mark corrections on paintings...

I've been out of the studio for about 4 hours.  I walked back in with fresh eyes and -- BAM!  The camera left upper arm is too straight and the entire arm overall is too short ๐Ÿคฆ‍โ™€๏ธ

Pushing the elbow out should solve both issues as well as define the waistline a bit more. I also took the "corner" off the hand on the camera's right arm...

I also drew in some eyeballs because... ๐Ÿ˜‚  This one is going abstract so they'll be covered, but I did it anyway.  

Even with an abstract, I want the limbs relatively the correct length and in the most visually pleasing positions!

Day 3

Colton is off today, and he popped in unannounced about the time I took a palette knife to this painting.  He said, "Mom, it looks like you're destroying that!" ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Kinda, son.  Kinda.  But, it has to be if I'm gonna get an abstract out of it!

It's day 3 and a few hours after my day 3 update. Guess what I see?  The camera's right arm, which I thought would have foreshortening working in my favor, has turned to more of a side angle because I changed the orientation of the hand.  I like the hand better but now there's a stubby arm.  Back to the studio to scrape off some paint ๐Ÿ˜‚

Paint scraped, and arm slightly repositioned.  Better... ish ๐Ÿคท‍โ™€๏ธ. I also reduced the size of her melon head ๐Ÿ˜‚

Day 4

I couldn't paint yesterday because everything was still too wet.  Thanks, Hurricane Elsa!

Today it was time to get brave and brayer.  Ahhhhh!  ๐Ÿ˜ฑ


I rolled on some stronger blue on the upper right and the lighter blue over the green and the pedestal

The texture ๐Ÿฅฐ

I stood back and looked at it.  The texture around the head was fantastic.  The upper corners were flat and boring.  Soooooo.... 

I took a palette knife and scraped the paint off back to the canvas.  Yikes ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜‚

Time will tell if that was the right choice or not. ๐Ÿคท‍โ™€๏ธ

Day 5

Time to go big or go home ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

I'm telling myself over and over "color theory still works" ๐Ÿ˜ณ 

These are some scary moves right here.  But I have this vision of transparent greens with a bit of this color peeking through.  If I don't go bright enough, it'll just disappear altogether. 

Absolutely terrifying... and something I've never really tried before ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Day 6

Color theory is indeed still alive and well ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ˜‚ 

That "peeking through" in the skirt especially is exactly what I was after ๐Ÿฅฐ 

Next time, I have to work the purple out of the skin. If you're at the end of apprentice, this is a great example of all colors being relative. I did NOTHING to the skin, and it went from peachy-toned in the last version to purple in this one.  ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Day 7

I did some quick glazing last night to get the purple out of the skin, so I guess technically this would be day 6 1/2.  I brought back facial features that I have absolutely no intentions of keeping ๐Ÿ˜‚


I still think it's going to take a couple more paint days to get this to where I want it.  That pesky vision in my head and all ๐Ÿ˜‘

I had wayyyyy too much fun "twirling" my brush with some pink on the lower section of the skirt. Between the bright colors under the paint and the fun brushstrokes on top of the paint, I'm like ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ˜

Day 8

I flipped the canvas upside down and broke all the edges that were screaming at me.  I also did more broken brushwork along the bottom edge of the skirt.  Additionally, I took a sanding block and removed some of the color from the bare canvas in the lower right. (Yes, that's weird, but it totally works!)

Day 9

Other than a signature and varnish, I think she's done ๐Ÿ™Œ

Day 10

So apparently I needed that extra day to think.  I couple of small tweaks and a signature.  #DONE (after drying and varnish of course)

She's officially varnished and hanging :)

My Mama says she's creepy and she needs eyes ๐Ÿคฆ‍โ™€๏ธ She's threatening to go get googley eyes from the craft store and stick them on her. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

I hope you enjoyed seeing this transformation as much as I enjoyed painting it. ๐Ÿงก When you have a vision, it's going to make you work for it. 


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