This painting is being sold for $250 and 25% will be be used ship medical supplies to Ukraine.
Will Kemp offers an Advanced Still Life Class as part of the Will Kemp Art School. Since that is the style of art I really love, I decided to give his class a try.
I live in a retirement community. I used to paint still life in oil paints, but that was nearly 15 years ago. There is a large Art Room for our use, but they’d prefer that we work without solvents. That limits media to acrylics and water colors, neither of which I like working with.
A friend recommended I try water mixable oil paints. I exclaimed, ‘Who knew!?!?’ I found a beginner set of Winsor Newton Artisans. I posted some samples of the early pieces I did using those paints.
I supplemented that set with the few additional colors recommended for this class. I re-learned a great deal by taking Will’s class. Here’s the painting I completed there.
Why copying from the masters I love is my best strategy
Now I’ve decided to jump right into the pool. Here’s why: pretty much every painting technique I need to learn has been done before. And often these are to be found in my favorite paintings, those of David A. Leffel.
To make a painting work, you need to learn from the best. So pick a painting, and try to copy it.
I painted a copies of two of Leffel’s paintings which are offered by the Freeman’s Art Gallery for several thousand dollars each.
My copies would definitely not be mistaken for his, but I was surprised that they were any good at all. And I really like learning the impact of table top versus shelf top setups.
Was it perfect? No
Did I improve my painting? Definitely.
To use setups well, I began to understand how perspectives and depth perceptions are altered by various paint applications.
And that’s hard since I am very much a beginner and I just don’t have the skills I need. So off looking for courses.
Why copying from the masters is your best strategy
In my opinion, it’s far, far easier to understand how great paintings work, and then use those painting principles to create your own pieces.
One painting a week, even one painting a month you would soon have a collection.
I’ve been spending a lot of time learning with this year and both Will Kemp and Daniel Edmondson highly recommend that we do this
Here’s why: pretty much every painting technique you need to learn has been done before. And often these are your favorite paintings.
To make a painting work, you need to learn from the best. So pick a painting, and pick a section from it. You don’t have to paint the whole picture. Just a small section to start with. And try to copy it.
I painted a detail of a Cezanne painting. It was published in the coffee table book I bought at the bookstore of the Philadelphia Museum of Art during one of the large Cezanne retrospective shows.
It not brilliant, but I was surprised. And I really like the blue swan!
Was it perfect? No
Did I improve my painting? Definitely.
To use color well, I began to understand how muted some colors actually are, even if at first glance they seem bright
And that’s hard since I am a beginner and I just don’t have the skills I need.
My Setups and Color Studies
Painting with WSO
I went on to Will Kemp’s Beginners Still LIfe videos with the WSO sample colors. I wanted to see if I could work with them. The Slver Goblet showed good reflections and the Grapes and Green Tomato looked good too, even though the chiaroscuro got away from me.
Will Kemp also offers an Advanced Still Life course. I bought it and did this lovely setup. The oranges reflect beautifully in the mahogany table.
There are several other course available on his site. I found him to be a wonderful teacher. You may too. Will Kemp’s Courses.
I painted with the Royal Talens Cobra set of Water Mixable Oils. I got the 10 color set from Dick Blick. You can get the set by clicking the photo.
In love with WSO
I use to work with regular oil paints. Because of the solvents, the smell, and the mess, and health risks I stopped. It’s been a dozen years since I have painted.
One of my good friends suggested that I try water mixable oils instead. My reaction was the normal, ‘But oil and water don’t mix!’ She gave me some of hers so I gave them a try.
I used some canvas paper. They worked just like regular oils but no solvents, no smell and they wash up with soap and water. Even if I get a bit on my clothes, I just use a bit of stain remover and pop them in the washer. Presto the clothes are clean.
I’m in love with them. And I’m back to painting, lots of painting.
Take a look in the post of my artbykarlene.org/trial-paintings/
I started paintings with the small Royal Talens Cobra set from Dick Blick. ou can get yours by clicking on the photo.
I started revisiting learning to see. When I drew the spaces, the blossoms just sort of emerged. This exercise was good for me
After quite a bit of practice I was able to get a pretty good handle on putting a 3-imensional object onto a 2-dimensional drawing paper. It surprised me that they actually are fairly convincing.
Looking at the posts so far it seems that they are starting once the work has progressed quite a bit. It’s always good to start at the start! What about learning to draw before we worry about copyrights. In the next series of posts I will share some of my journey. The internet is amazingly filled with fabulous artists willing to share their extraordinary knowledge with willing students. Last summer I went looking around for skilled teachers I could learn from at a reasonable cost. (read FREE) One of those is England’s Will Kemp. He has a good background at the British Museum and the Tate. He uses simple step-by-step lessons based on Classical painting fundamentals, perfect for the absolute beginner. He offers wonderful instruction for those looking to begin in drawing, acrylic or oils. It’s a good place to learn some classical techniques. And so I did. You can find many free courses on his blog willkempartschool.com.