Wednesday, March 18, 2020


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). 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. 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, mostly 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 makes 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" watercolorbot 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:

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