Missile Mill: Sarah & Gary’s Virtual Painting Class

Missile Mill is now its own blog about painting ‘n stuff!

This is for you, Sarah.

I know, right. I had an idea. I’d like to invite people over for a day of painting. Just spend a day painting, talking, drinking lattes or whatever and snacking on Chevy’s salsa and chips. Listening to music the whole time.

Wouldn’t that be fun?

I read this last night before bed and decided to sleep on it.

I’m not sure what you want to work on but … wait. Should this be an email?  Anyway, I’m not sure what you want to work on in particular but here’s what we can do.

Two websites:

1. Go to http://iStockPhoto.com

Do a search (make sure it’s a photo) for something, maybe, some kind of fruit. Lemon is a good one. Or kiwi. A flower of some kind. Doesn’t matter. Something that appeals to you. Just make sure that it’s a photo (and not an illustration) and that it has a shadow. Let me know which one it is (you can send me a url or I think they have IDs). I’m registered so let me know which one and I’ll get the photo — bigger and higher resolution than the preview — and email it to you.

Then you and I will do a still life painting of that photo.

2. http://kuler.adobe.com

  1. Go there and register.
  2. There’s a “Create” link on the left. Click that.
  3. Choose Create > From Image
  4. Upload the photo (or any photo) just to see how it do
  5. Observe the magic
  6. The palette that Adobe Kuler generates for our still life photo will be our starting point.

You can also pick out certain areas of the image yourself if you want more control over the color palette.

Let me know how it goes. Then let’s get this party started.

We can chat about mixing colors or values or hues or whatever floats our proverbial boat.

How’s that sound?


Add Yours
    • garyarthuryoung

      Wow. That would be a challenge. The different browns between the cinnamon and the twine. The brindling on the cinnamon. The slight blurring at the far end of the sticks.

      For some reason it scares me a little, though.

      But I’ll go with whatever you land on. Feel free to make it something that would look good framed and hung in your home.

    • garyarthuryoung

      I like it. It will be challenging but it has a lot of character.

      But there’s no law saying we can’t do both.

      We could visually split a canvas down the middle. Half canvas for each.

  1. Sarah Benelli

    I’m using oils.

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean when you say “what do you see” but I’m guessing that’s the point so I’ll do my best:

    I see a lumpy orange-red tomato with with lighter yellow/orange, jagged, vertically directed spot-stripes.

    It has firm, shiny skin and it’s covered in beads of clear water.

    The light seems to be coming from the front, upper-left, and it reflects differently off of the tomato flesh than it does off of the water (probably because water is clear).

    It also has a funny little hairdo of grass-green leaves streaked with yellow. The leaves are curly so the shadows they cast are kind of complicated. :-/

    The tomato casts a small shadow.

    • garyarthuryoung

      Yeah oils!

      Excellent answer. All those colors. And here’s what i’m getting at.

      What color is the tomato? Or … what colorS is/are the tomato? Like you said, largely red-orange with the orange mottled stripes.

      What color are the water droplets? We know from experience that they’re clear, but that means (for depicting) that they reflect the colors of the surroundings. They also have their own cast shadows and highlights.

      If the tomato is red-orange, what color are the shadows? We won’t get a realistic shadow by just adding black to red-orange.

      What color are the highlights? Not pure white. Compare the various highlights to the white background. They’re (except for one or two exceptions) definitely not as bright white as the pure white background.

      I’m trying to see the subject as a puzzle of color and light. That’s easy to say. Hard to do when painting. (I found that taking a picture of my painting and the still-life with my iPhone really helps me see it with fresh eyes. And really helps me to get oil paint stains on my iPhone.)

      Almost paint-by-numbers-ish.

      The Kuler palette will help a lot. It’ll help me, anyway.

      I’m trying to get my head around the bulbous sections and how to depict that.

      I see a shadow and backlight that gives the tomato its roundness. And shadows that give its
      bulbousness. There’s a lot of depth there.

      By the way, if at any point you change your mind about the subject, it’s entirely up to you (because there is a lot going on with this one). No pressure.

      I’m just happy to be painting again and to have a painting buddy.

  2. Sarah Benelli

    You won’t believe this.

    I printed the tomato out (here at work, shhhh…) and took it to my paint group last night. I also printed out your comments about the colors, the shadows, etc. I shared with my friend Vanessa about Why We Blog: S&G’s VPC. I told her that we’d be painting the same subject and talking about it so we’d learn not only from our own experience, but from each other’s. I let her read your comments.

    Vanessa started painting the tomato too. No kidding. And 3 other people in the paint group gathered around and read your comments and started painting it too! And so did I.

    My iPhone died before I could get a picture of the beginning stage. But I can describe what I did for you. I was able to break down red surface of the tomato into 3 different colors: a bright orange-red for the more brightly lit convex bulges, while a true red and a deeper cranberry red make up the shades of shadowy areas.

    Not sure if this is best, but I’m leaving the yellow speckles and water droplets, reflections, and leaves for another day. So those things are missing, but right now my tomato looks lumpy and bulbous, with a fair amount of depth to it. I’ll see if I can get someone to take a pic of it for me so I can post it.

    • garyarthuryoung

      That. Is. So. Awesome!

      Very cool. Wish I could have been there for that.

      I want to see it. Wanna see. Wanna see.

      So look what i did:


      I moved over most of the comments except your last one, which I think should be an entry of its own if you care to join me in co-authoring. (And then I can set the author of each entry correctly, methinks.)

      No pressure, of course. But it could be fun.

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