Daily Painting Challenge, January 2015, Day 7

January 7, 2015

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Orange & Lemon

oil on canvas paper, 8×12″

Project 7: A new light on shadows

This is the seventh in a series of 22 from Arthur Stern. It, along with the following Project 7a, is the only scheduled project to be painted outdoors.

These projects are meant to be studies, exercises or learning tools, not finished paintings. I am beginning to take more care with defining geometric shapes, though there is no time for a tonal drawing beforehand. Stern in fact encourages painting directly, without any under-drawing.

Because of mid-summer weather at the moment, the heat is too oppressive to work indoors (indeed, to work at all!) so I’m getting my daily painting done in the early hours. I’m surprised how long all the trappings associated with the daily painting challenge are taking: preparing props, backgrounds and canvas paper, acrylic underpainting for the following day, photographing, photo-editing, posting to my own weblog and that of the organiser, Leslie Saeta. The actual painting takes only an hour or two but the whole process continues till well into the afternoon. I’m beginning to appreciate how adherents to the Daily Painting Movement operate and how this movement works as an alternative to the traditional at gallery market.

Stern calls for a single statement of just five colour spots, but I’m doing more. This was preceded by no quick-drying acrylic underpainting on this occasion.

I’m “worrying” less. If accidents happen with the application of paint, I’m letting them lie. My focus is on getting the colour mix as accurate as possible. Some of the paintings in Arthur Stern’s have crystal-clear edges, as if they were done digitally, though digital painting wasn’t invented at the time and the texture of the palette knife painting does show through in places. Working quickly in variable light, there is no time for finessing too much. I find the trowel palette knife quite clunky but am getting used to working in a series of straight lines when it comes to contours. The orange at top hints at what happens when clouds pass over: the single shadow shape breaks down into three tones.

The issue of storing so many wet oil paintings on floppy Frederix canvas paper is raising its ugly head. I can see why my colleagues are working on much smaller, sturdier canvas panels, though I’m curious about how quickly they can put them up for sale online while presumably still wet.

6×6″ canvas panels, especially in bulk, aren’t readily available where I am and I’ve begun to consider alternatives: making my own with canvas on board or working on marine plywood. There is a hefty difference between the standard 36 square inches used by Daily Painters and my 80, in a typical (and ubiquitous) 8×10″ canvas panel.

Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days, January 2015, organised by Leslie Saeta (http://lesliesaeta.blogspot.com.au).

Reference: Stern, Arthur. How to see color and paint it: a series of projects designed to open your eyes to colors you never saw before. New York, Watson-Guptill, 1984.

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2 Responses to “Daily Painting Challenge, January 2015, Day 7”


  1. Stunning! Love the shadows.


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