DAY 1 - LA - SF

Driving for long stretches of time is routine to me at this point. Once I drove from Alabama to Los Angeles–only stopping to sleep. I'm pretty sure part of me died on that trip-but another part was also born, the part that loves long road trips.  

Driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco is only six hours. It's not as if driving goes by faster for me after doing the extreme 3 day drive, but I've become more accepting of "this is what I am doing for the next 6 hours" Although good music, funny podcasts and sad audiobooks make for pretty good time passers. Chocolate and coconut covered almonds are pretty helpful too.  

I arrived in San Francisco around 3pm, just enough time to do two small paintings before meeting with my friend at 6pm. 

I wanted the two paintings to be a kind of warm up, they are definitely not my best paintings and they were done very quickly, but they were warm ups for the days of serious painting to come ahead. 

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Its day two now, and I am sitting on my friends couch cuddling with his doggy at 8am as I type this on my phone. Next stop is Eureka City.   

Love,

Nick

Digital Painting Process

I am leaving for my plein air road trip tomorrow, for now just finished a digital painting study and I want to share some of my thought process with you.

Here is the final image, I spent about 2-3 hours painting this.

This is the reference I used for my painting, The composition lighting and many other elements have been changed, but you can see where I drew my inspiration. 

It's important for me to not copy the reference exactly, I like to spend some time studying my reference while I am sketching but once I get into the painting process I want to put the reference away so I am free to make my own decisions.

I made two color comps which are not exactly what the final painting looks like. I always feel more comfortable when I plan through an image before actually starting the final painting. Even if it's just a mental plan, that helps me make more confident decisions and I can still improvise at any time.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about the values in this painting. From the beginning of the process I am thinking about what kind of value structure I want in my image: what direction is my light coming from? How strong is the lighting? Is it an overcast or sunny day? etc...

Basically I ask myself a lot of questions, partly because it helps me feel more familiar with the scene and partly because it opens up my curiosity and allows me to have more fun while I paint! 

If I was not having fun while painting this, there is no way I would have continued, this is my personal work and the goal is to have fun and relax.

ANYWAYS, I'm going to a live podcast taping of TAZ, this evening and I hit the road tomorrow late morning so I will talk to you then!

Love,

Nick

 

 

My Oil Painting Materials

The most Frequently asked questions I receive is about my materials, “what brush is that” “what paint is that” “what are you painting on”. 

I do not want to scold those people for asking those questions, when I was a younger student I often asked the same questions, but as you gain more experience you learn that the materials dont matter as much. As long as you purchase quality materials, it mostly comes down to personal preference that has been gained through experience.

I always enjoyed the thought that if you gave Michelangelo and bucket of mud and a broom he would still be able to paint masterpieces. Great skill does not happen in the materials, it happens in the artist.

Trust me I understand, the pros make it looks so effortless, when they use a pen it looks NOTHING like when you use that exact same pen, and that is usually because they have been drawing and practicing their stroke for longer than you and they can achieve a similar effect with almost any instrument.


THAT BEING SAID, I want to share some of my materials for oil painting, these are by no means the correct materials. and they certainly will not be the same materials I use for the rest of my life, but I am still learning the medium so these work perfectly for me.

 My Colors are arranged the same way I like to arrange them on my palette, basically is consist of a warm/cool version of each primary color with a few outliers that I could mix with my primaries, but since I use them so frequently it is time saving to just get them out of the tubes.  Titanium White ( The best white) Lemon Yellow ( A more subtle and warm yellow) Cadmium yellow Light ( The only yellow I really need) Yellow Ochre ( This one is often left off my palette) Cadmium Orange ( A shortcut color, I can mix this easily but I use it so often) Cadmium Red Medium ( The warmer of the cad reds) Cadmium Red Dark ( The cooler of the cad reds) Alizarin Crimson ( A must have on any palette) Cerulean Blue ( The warmest Blue) Cobalt Blue (A cooler Blue) Ultramarine Blue ( A standard for painting) Burnt Umber ( A great shortcut color, but i dont use it often) Dioxazine Purple ( a great purple for mixing into shadows) Permanent Rose ( I dont use this color much) Viridian ( Great for mixing greens)  It is also worth noting that I use Windsor and Newton Artisan water soluble oils, I do not plan on using these paints forever but for now they are affordable and I have no problems with the quality.

My Colors are arranged the same way I like to arrange them on my palette, basically is consist of a warm/cool version of each primary color with a few outliers that I could mix with my primaries, but since I use them so frequently it is time saving to just get them out of the tubes.

Titanium White ( The best white)
Lemon Yellow ( A more subtle and warm yellow)
Cadmium yellow Light ( The only yellow I really need)
Yellow Ochre ( This one is often left off my palette)
Cadmium Orange ( A shortcut color, I can mix this easily but I use it so often)
Cadmium Red Medium ( The warmer of the cad reds)
Cadmium Red Dark ( The cooler of the cad reds)
Alizarin Crimson ( A must have on any palette)
Cerulean Blue ( The warmest Blue)
Cobalt Blue (A cooler Blue)
Ultramarine Blue ( A standard for painting)
Burnt Umber ( A great shortcut color, but i dont use it often)
Dioxazine Purple ( a great purple for mixing into shadows)
Permanent Rose ( I dont use this color much)
Viridian ( Great for mixing greens)

It is also worth noting that I use Windsor and Newton Artisan water soluble oils, I do not plan on using these paints forever but for now they are affordable and I have no problems with the quality.

 Most of my brushes come from [rosemaryandco.com], a fantastic supplier of affordable and quality brushes. I prefer to use an assortment of Brights (square) and Filberts (round) as well as some old hog hair brushes for texture.  I carry them in a bamboo brush sleeve, simple and easy, It's important to note that I clean my brushes after each use or before each use. A dirty oil brush is essentially useless.

Most of my brushes come from [rosemaryandco.com], a fantastic supplier of affordable and quality brushes. I prefer to use an assortment of Brights (square) and Filberts (round) as well as some old hog hair brushes for texture.

I carry them in a bamboo brush sleeve, simple and easy, It's important to note that I clean my brushes after each use or before each use. A dirty oil brush is essentially useless.

 For my general Painting materials I have an assortment of tools that Ill talk about briefly here.   Plastic Razor Blade - Great for scraping off my palette and keeping it clean. Small Metal Lid - For putting my painting medium in Small leak proof bottle - For holding my painting medium on the go Palette Knife - Great for mixing paint and for painting, a perfect tool. Painting Medium - This medium is proprietary to the type of paints I use Masters Brush Soap - Clean you brushes every time you use them Cup for water - That about sums it up, it’s a cup for water Not pictured : Paper towels - Lots of paper towels (preferable VIVA)

For my general Painting materials I have an assortment of tools that Ill talk about briefly here.


Plastic Razor Blade - Great for scraping off my palette and keeping it clean.
Small Metal Lid - For putting my painting medium in
Small leak proof bottle - For holding my painting medium on the go
Palette Knife - Great for mixing paint and for painting, a perfect tool.
Painting Medium - This medium is proprietary to the type of paints I use
Masters Brush Soap - Clean you brushes every time you use them
Cup for water - That about sums it up, it’s a cup for water
Not pictured : Paper towels - Lots of paper towels (preferable VIVA)

 When I first started oil painting I mostly used cheap canvas boards that are not archival and were not very smooth. These boards were just fine for learning, but I wouldn’t want to sell my work on those boards because they will warp and degrade over time. As of now I exclusively use RAYMAR panels, both Canvas and Linen of various sizes.

When I first started oil painting I mostly used cheap canvas boards that are not archival and were not very smooth. These boards were just fine for learning, but I wouldn’t want to sell my work on those boards because they will warp and degrade over time. As of now I exclusively use RAYMAR panels, both Canvas and Linen of various sizes.

 This paint box folds up nicely and fits in my backpack and has plenty of table space for all my junk that we listed above. For a long time I was using a homemade wooden paint box similar to the STRADA. But I saved up some money and purchased this as a gift to myself last christmas, It was a great investment!

This paint box folds up nicely and fits in my backpack and has plenty of table space for all my junk that we listed above. For a long time I was using a homemade wooden paint box similar to the STRADA. But I saved up some money and purchased this as a gift to myself last christmas, It was a great investment!

One of the complaints I hear about oil paint is that it takes forever to set up and get going. This can absolutely be true, but I take pride in my setup and it generally takes me about two minutes to unload everything from my backpack and get painting.
It’s also worth noting that all of this stuff fits nicely in my back pack, since I am primarily a plain air painter I needed to make sure I can be on the go quickly. Of course I did not choose all of these materials by myself, many of them were recommendations from fellow painters like Dennis Perrin, Richard Schmid, Daniel Keys and many more!
My tools and set up will continue to evolve with me as I grow as a painter and I look forward to that! 

Thanks for reading!


Best,

Nick

Welcome to the Chaotic Art Blog!

I have wanted to create a blog for a long time now, but lots of things have been stopping me. Mostly my own fears about not having anything helpful or meaningful to say to a reader.
Over the last few months I have been jotting down ideas that would be great blog posts and I am ready to start delivering these to you on a weekly basis, even if nobody reads this it will be helpful for me to put my thoughts into writing.
I am not a professional writer, so please bear with me if I include some run-on sentences or a typo. That is partially why I named this a chaotic art blog, I only really care about the information that I can give you.


CURRENT EVENTS
Currently It is 7:00am on a Tuesday, I am prepping to pack my bags and drive away on Saturday morning. I was gifted with a week off work and I will be using that week to road trip up and down California, visiting friends and painting all along the way. My goal is to write a blog post about my experience with the road trip and with painting every single day. I probably wont talk about any REAL current events, you can go to an actual blog for that shit. I’m here to talk about art, and painting! (and sometimes myself)

 

Anyway! Thanks for hanging out!
Heres a thing that I painted a while ago, for your entertainment.

OH I FORGOT TO MENTION - YOU CAN LEAVE COMMENTS! SO LEVE ME A COMMENT IF THERE IS ANYTHING SPECIFIC YOU WANT TO ASK ME ABOUT! 

Best,

Nick