Sunday, March 30, 2014

Keep Out

I'm back after another two weeks absence, this time primarily due to fighting a nasty cold.  The oil experiment also interfered and now I've decided it is over.  I did a total of four small oil paintings and have now returned to the acrylics.  This seems to happen now and then. I just get the idea that I want to try pastels or oils again but I always come back to my beloved acrylics, maybe my brain will get the message this time and I won't repeat this again for a while.  Nothing wrong with oils or pastels, but I just enjoy painting with acrylics more, (usually).

To warm back up to acrylics I decided to do a small painting but I also made it an experiment.  I've read about Richard Schmid's "selective start" method lately and thought I'd give it a try and here's the result;

painting art acrylic mine ore car rust

"Keep Out"

Acrylic, 5x7
Original - SOLD

This painting is based on a photo I took in Eureka, Utah of a mining display, (the door doesn't really lead to a mine shaft.). The "Keep Out" sign wasn't actually there, that's my little embellishment.   
Back to the "selective start" method.   In a nutshell this means there is no preliminary drawing or blocking in.  The artist selects one element in the painting and paints it to completion and then paints another shape next to it and so on until the painting is finished.  The idea is that if the first shape is painted exactly right the next shape can be compared to the first shape to get it correct and so on with each adjoining shape.  I thought this might be a quicker/easier way to paint vehicles so I decided to try it on this ore cart as a test/experiment since it's simple compared to a truck or tractor. 
art paiunting acrylic wash wip artwip tone

I started just by toning the panel with mixtures of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue.

art painting wip artwip acrylic first step paint

I was tempted to use one of the cart wheels as my first shape to paint but remembered that Schmid admonishes artists to start by picking an easy shape and get that right first, so I started with the mining shaft doors since it's all just straight boards.

art wip painting three acrylic mine door

An adjoining shape that was also easy was the side of the mining cart, it's just a rectangle.  However the idea is to paint each shape to completion before moving on to the next shape.  Here is where I maybe didn't quite follow the method exactly.  I first blocked in the whole side of the cart and then broke it down to smaller shapes.  I was trying to keep this painting loose and simple but I just couldn't resist adding those rivets.

art painting wip artwip acrylic ore cart progress

Next  I added the cart door and related details.

art artwip wip ore cart painting mine

Finally I got to the cart wheels!  This also where I realized a mistake made in the first shapes has hurt me.  I really meant for the wheels to be above the bottom edge of the painting a bit but instead they ended up right on it.  If I had made the mining entrance a bit smaller the painting would have worked out better.

art wip painting mine acrylic ore cart door

Next I added the rocks.  Here I deviated somewhat from my reference.  The actual scene was built into a large pile of small rocks.  I used fewer and larger rocks in the foreground and just suggested a rocky background.  This was the last step before the weeds and the sign were added.

I think the "selective start" method has promise, I'll definitely try it again.


  1. Thanks so much for showing a photo of each stage of the process so we could see what you mean. This came out really nice...impressive work on the cart!