On this page you'll find:
Dates for upcoming sessions
Materials list for oil and acrylic
Optional notes and exercises, including for beginners
Images from class and example paintings
Margaret's Contact #: 401-440-0989 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Still life painting in oil acrylics. For beginners and experienced artists who wish to hone their skills: composition, value, paint-handling technique, perspective and color. Subject matter includes a range of objects. In class we use some or all of the following steps: value study, sketch, sketch transfer, color painting and instructor demonstrations. Instruction is geared to each student’s level of experience. You may proceed at the sacle and pace that works for you: whether 1 painting over 3 class periods or 3 paintings in 1 class. We will also work on one master, or personal favorite, painting study. Oil painters please note that we do not use solvents such as mineral spirits, turpentine or liquin, instead we thin our paint with linseed oil, when necessary, and clean our brushes with linseed oil, Murphy’s oil soap or dish soap.
If you cannot attend all dates please don’t be concerned, each student works at her own pace and will learn whether she can make it to 2 classes or 9.
9 weeks I will choose still life items from what is available in the market. Please feel free to suggest items, this worked beautifully in winter and spring.
This semester I will make some set ups that have parts that will last multiple weeks. You can choose whether to paint one or more different paintings each week or work on the same painting for 2-3 weeks.
Here’s a tentative plan for subjects:
September 18: Seasonal fruit or veg. I’ll be looking for something simple that will allow us to warm up slowly: greet each other, set up our materials after the summer, paint for an hour and then still have time to put the paintings on the wall and clean up for lunch. I will bring tiny smooth panels for those that wish to use them.
September 25: Copy class choose a swatch or still life below or bring your own. Choose a painting or crop that moves you.
October 2: Avocado
October 9: Glass of liquid, with something like a cracker and cheese bite or olives
October 16: Carry-over from last week
October 22: Baked item-another go at meringue? Suggestions?
October 30: Flower in a glass
November 6: Fruit or veg or other
November 13: Wrap up day
Make-up date (in case of unexpected cancelation): November 20
If you are looking for more info here are links to my process notes.
My own Palette set up here
Demo for raspberry tart
Below is a materials list suggestion-please feel free to 1. bring what you have 2. are most comfortable with and 3. to learn as you go.
About supports and sizes:
Stretched canvas, canvas board, cradled panels- You may paint on any of these. I suggest canvas boards for value studies or color swatches. I lean toward stretched canvas for paintings in color. When I refer to stretched canvas, this can also be a cradled panel, I mean something a step up from canvas board.
I encourage you to work at the scale (small or large) and the pace that you gravitate toward. That means some student may work on the same painting for three classes while others may make 3 paintings in a class period. Some enjoy 4”x4”, others prefer 11”x14”.
SUPPORTS (Canvases/Panels) Will depend upon you scale and pace preference
4 stretched canvases or cradled panels between 6”x6” and 11”x14”-your choice (fast painters please bring multiples)
Suggested for multiple objects painting: One 11”x14” stretched canvas, 11”x14” canvas board for value study (go with your inclination on size)
disposable paper palette
palette box (I will explain the use of this box in class. Please note that the box is purposefully larger than the 9”x12” palette paper.)
Listed in oil and acrylic separately as the available colors differ slightly
OIL our basic palette:
cad red or windsor red
OIL, in addition:
cerulean blue hue
cad yellow deep (looks like orange)
cad yellow light
OIL, others to add as you go:
LIQUITEX ARTIST GRADE HEAVY BODY -perhaps try some of these, each brand handles differently, light and heavy body handle differently, I would encourage you to experiment.
ACRYLIC our basic palette:
yellow oxide (the actual pigment is yellow ocher)
ACRYLIC, in addition:
phthalo blue (this is a “warm” blue)
cad yellow deep (looks like orange)
ACRYLIC, others to add as you go:
bright aqua green
palette knife (I use Blick brand, style #5)
paper towels and rags
a bit of fine sand-paper to smooth the gessoed canvas or panels
voluminous, long sleeved shirt / apron to cover your clothing
optional Acrylic paint #5 grey, important for beginners in oil and acrylic use this to prepare your canvas panels for value studies (one for each class if you choose to do them)
optional Acrylic paint for groud color for oil or acrylic painters
Handy to have a pencil
I’ll have a box of vine charcoal and a roll or tracing paper for class use.
Additional for OIL PAINTERS
Small glass jar with tight fitting lid for linseed oil
Murphy’s oil soap and bar soap for washing the brushes
Hand lotion for before and after to help clean hand
I am trained in oil and far less familiar with acrylic, please bear with me.
Less expensive acrylics are more translucent-students have universally reported this to be a source of frustration. Paint marked “student grade” is more transparent in any medium. Reliable brands have been Golden and Liquitex.
Also to consider is light vs heavy body. Worth experimenting with “heavy body” paints especially if you are drawn to thicker, impasto style painting. And certain, light, colors such as pale yellow may work better as “heavy body”. In general I have noticed that the lighter colors are lighter because they have white mixed in already.
With oil paint I use a variety of brands, for the most part artist grade but sometimes student grade. The less expensive and student grades of paint have more medium or binder than the costlier artists grade, sometimes this is quite helpful. The most expensive paints (Schmenke and Holbine, for example, have the highest density of pigment, but I find them to stiff to work with and so they are not on my palette. Experimentation is helpful with brands and grades of paint.
Start with 4 if you wish, 2 of each size works well, add as you go.
I prefer the (short square) brights, synthetic, 1.5”, 1” wide, .5” wide and .25 wide. Size numbers vary from brand to brand. I use synthetics because they are soft (better on panels) and bristles because they are stiffer (better on canvas). Filberts blend. Brights leave distinct, square marks.
It is common practice for an artist to further their understanding of technique by making a painting “after” another painting or making a “copy”. The “Copies” we make in these classes are for the purpose of examining composition, value, color and brushwork rather than on mimicking materials and techniques. I find it a wonderful way to enjoy a painting. Every time I make a copy I am thrilled with what I learn.
Fall semester you have the option of taking a different approach to our copy class: focusing on a close up crop of a painting. In our class we have found that Julian Merrow-Smith’s work strikes a nice balance-not so chromatically dull as the old masters (ex: Chardin) but still expressing a classical sense of depth and form.
In the gallery below I will load a few examples of Potential paintings to study by painting using them as your inspiration. For the moment I’ve focused on crops, close ups to study color and brush handling.
The artist’s name appears in the lower left corner when you hover over an image.
Things to aim for:
One brush in your hand at a time
A paper towel in your non-dominant hand
When the paper towel gets dirty, throw it out. This is crucial for oil painters, not nearly so much for acrylic painters.
Do you need to put more paint on your palette?
Notice how, after loading your brush and laying down a stroke, each successive stroke looks different, as the paint thins out
One stroke at a time when wet into wet
Notice how the color changes in the second and third strokes, when working wet into wet.
This isn't a bad thing, but be aware of how the color as it appears on your palette changes when applied and when mixed with wet paint on the canvas.
MEDIUM and WATER: oil painters keep medium to a minimum, acrylic painters be aware of how much water is in your brush
notice how it thins the paint, and the ways is changes the color
For oil painting medium will all but prevent the adhesion of subsequent layers (diffucilt enough as it is).
Medium can be a huge impediment for beginning oil painters, making subsequent layers extremely difficlut. I use it to prime my brushes and then wipe them out thoroughly. I use medium sparing if the paint is too thick to manage.
For acrylic painters I imagine handling the water is a matter of experience like making a pie crust.
Look for the simple shapes
Be mindful of being afraid of the paint touching other colors, try not to leave a halo between objects or between objects and background or tabletop. Let it touch, let it get messy.
An attitude of curiosity is one of my favorite tools.