I’ve done #MaySketchaDay a few times now and I’ve always managed to generate a lot of ideas for potential paintings to finish. I also like to set special challenges for how I’m going to do the sketches. Last year I did imaginative figures, to push my figure painting skills. Another year I did them all based on Blender renders.
This year I’m using Midjourney to generate images and then painting over them to make the sketches. It’s a controversial approach but I think it’s good to learn how to use these tools. We’ll see what the future holds for all of us. I’m still hopeful.
I’ve been working in oils a lot lately and have been very lax about actually scanning them. So here we go!
I’m really enjoying working traditionally again. There’s something so uniquely real about this work. It’s both incredibly unforgiving (in that you can’t easily make big changes, move things, etc.), yet also oddly easy (brushwork automatically looks better).
I used a couple different surfaces for that. Most are done on oil paper and a few are done on gessobord. I’m meaning to get back to doing some work on linen, so I think that’ll happen this coming week. I’m a sucker for working on unstretched linen, ever since I watched a demo by Greg Manchess back in the day.
I’m trying a new thing here. I like a good mailing list and sometimes I worry that my mailing list has… not been that exciting. I want more great artist mailing lists and I thought I’d try to make the sort of mailing list that I would love to find.
I often try a lot of things and fail at them. I give up on stuff, I procrastinate, I get demotivated because they flop. There’s a lot of reasons and excuses, but the point is: it happens. I obviously don’t want that to happen with this, but it might. So I’m not going to promise that you’ll get one of these every week from now on, but there’s always a chance that you will. I guess we’ll see.
So here’s a quote I like, an image I find inspiring, a book or article I’m reading, a thought I’m having, a product/tool that I’m using, and a brief overview of what I’m doing/making/releasing.
“The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere.” – Gift From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
We spend about 99.99999% of our time pursuing various goals (financial, career, relationship, physical, etc.) and a vanishing few moments attaining those goals. That moment where you finish your book and send it to the printer. That second where a painting goes from in-progress to “finished.” That moment you realize you’ve hit your target weight, your target lift, your target time.
And usually it’s a bit underwhelming.
Sure, celebrate it. Make a thing of it. Kick back and have a drink. Tell your friends.
But so much of the joy is in the pursuit. The countless hours pursuing a goal are, in fact, where the real joy is.
It’s cliche to say that “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” We all cringe when we read that, because we’ve seen it so many times (probably even printed onto pillows a few times). Those doesn’t mean there isn’t a truth in there, though. We might know it intellectually, and we almost certainly do. But we carry on feeling otherwise, and thus don’t benefit from the truth.
I know, strong start for this section. But they stole both of my nail clippers at airport security in Egypt (the clippers I’ve been flying with for about the last 8 years or so) and I needed some new ones. They were just regular nail clippers so I took this opportunity to explore the internet’s weird world of Best Nail Clippers (in the list of Things You Never Thought You’d Google).
They’re a cool design and they seem to work great, if you want some probably-over-engineered nail clippers.
Oil painting! I’ve done a fair few figure paintings in oils now, so I wanted to get back into landscapes. I just uploaded a new process video of my latest one.
I found out that my first book, Paint Figures Better, is finally on a boat and headed my way. I’m ridiculously excited and intimidated. It’s supposed to be about 1400kg and 4 cubic meters worth of books, which is probably around the same size and weight as my car.
Since the day after my Kickstarter campaign ended, people have been asking when they can buy my book. And now, at (very) long last, you can! The ebooks are available on all the normal platforms (including straight from me) and the hardcovers are available for pre-order. They’re on a boat from China right now and I’m hoping to ship them out to everyone soon.
Sometimes I think my art journey is one of painting in oils, loving it, slowly straying away from it into digital work, and then rediscovering oils and how much I love them. I’m in the rediscovery phase, once again, and loving the hell out of oils.
I made a new Memento Mori mug because I’m a sucker for stoicism and coffee. I needed a new mug anyway and this has been a great companion over the last few weeks. I’m not really intending to sell a lot of these, but if you want one, you can buy a mug on my store here.