How the Sausage is Made, Part II

Now, with the image sketched, I can decide on colors. I tend to use brighter, sometimes bold, colors. My preference is to use the colors right out of the tube. Mixing colors can be tricky for me. I don't like to waste paint (oils are expensive) by mixing too much. But then, if I don't mix enough, I might not get the same shade. I like to keep my colors modern and bright. I'm not afraid of gray, but I don't use many earth tones.

From there, it's just painting. Level and weight of brush strokes depends on my mood. Sometimes I show lots of brush strokes. It's a good tool for indicating wind. Sometimes, I pull the brush straight across the canvas to imply flatness and stillness.

You should pick brushes according to your style and preference. I like short-handled brushes with very straight and angled tips. Again, it's part of my obsession with trying to achieve straight lines.

As the photo indicates, I'm a very messy painter. And, I don't bother with a painter's palette. I use paper plates. (I know, I know. It's wasteful. I try to offset my waste by not buying Starbuck's coffee.)

I used to be very cautious about the colors I choose to use. Just a general fear of using the wrong color and ruining the entire painting. But I have since grown more comfortable with painting, making mistakes and then just painting over my mistakes.

When I feel like I've finished a painting, I let it sit for a couple of days. Part of this is drying time, but I also like to look at my work in different lighting and at different distances. My favorite way to see my paintings is to walk by them. I know if I can't look away, I've hit on something. Also, I might see something that needs touching up or painting over.

After that, it's a matter of waiting for the oils to dry. This can take weeks, so be careful moving around that 'finished' painting.

One of the last things I do is sign the painting. I could devote an entire post to the signature. I've screwed up my signature so many times, I've started simply using a Sharpie marker to sign my name. I just use my first name because I don't want the signature to take away from the painting.

I'll add the title of the painting and the year I completed it on the back. Sometimes I'll go ahead and wire it for hanging.

I hope this insight into my painting method inspires you to try painting. Just find a method that you're comfortable with and give it a shot.

Thanks for reading and I'm sorry about the length.


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