New Quarantine Hobby: Painting

Seeing many weeks of ‘shelter at home’ coming, I stocked up on entertainment (and food, but I’m not worried about that). Thanks to some inspiration from my housemates and a previous experience at paint lounge, I decided to take up painting.

Seeing many weeks of ‘shelter at home’ coming, I stocked up on entertainment (and food, but I’m not worried about that). Before the libraries closed, I got six of the largest sci-fi books I could find out of the library (three are anthologies of short stories, which I love). And thanks to some inspiration from my housemates, and a previous experience at paint lounge (I painted a happy robot), I decided to take up painting. We bought over $200 worth of acrylic painting supplies at Currys: paint, canvas, practice paper, and brushes.

And now I present to you: COVID-1, my first masterpiece. The way I figure it, I have 17 more practice paintings of COVID before I have to make the final piece in the set :-). I learned a lot on this one, most importantly:

  1. I need to set the paper higher on the easel, bending over for an hour+ makes my back hurt!  Ideally, it’s only a bit short of eye-level, I think. Also, we need proper tarps and I need some paint clothing or coveralls (though I did miraculously not get any on me this time, I doubt my luck can hold).
  2. We need smaller brushes; the smallest brush we have still made lines which are ~4mm wide, so detail is just impossible.  Fortunately, I know that I have a huge collection of brushes in the garage *somewhere* from my former “Machina Lisa” watercolor bot phase (I made the robot paint the Mona Lisa, very badly, over and over again with parameter variations, it was entertaining), and many of them are tiny, so I just need to spend 2+ hours turning the garage upside down… probably a good project for this quarantine time anyway!
  3. It’s important to think very carefully about what’s to be painted first. There were some objects which should be partially behind other objects, and that means you have to paint them first, because you can’t add them later and actually have it look correct, especially not with these battleship brushes which can’t do detail! Also in sequencing, it’s very important in some cases to let the previous layer DRY before starting on the thing above or beside it. Sometimes it’s ok to get some mixing due to things not being dry, but other times it’s super bad!
  4. It’s great to follow a picture of what you want to paint; and I was correct that choosing something high contrast makes for at least a potentially good painting, even if my amateur mistakes clearly left it sad if you look too closely.  Overall I’m super happy with how this second painting turned out.  Great start 🙂

Anyway, my idea basically is to make a new painting every day of this extended lockdown phase, and hopefully, by the end I’ll actually be decent at this. Some ideas for future paintings:

  • more coronavirus’s, obviously.  There are a lot of awesome looking images out there, and many of those images are stunning & high contrast
  • more happy robots!
  • spaceships and planets!  Maybe a Falcon Heavy?!?
  • perhaps a streetscape (from my balcony) or skyline of the city, though I feel like that might require a lot more skill than I have or am likely to develop
  • Absolutely no ‘landscape pastorals’ or self-portraits!  Well, maybe one, just to be ironic about it 🙂
  • Other crazy ideas as suggested by my family and friends