Teapot Painting Exercise – Block 4 #1

I recently finished the first exercise from Evolve Artist Block 4. This teapot was painted from a photo, like all of the exercises in this block.

Teapot - oil painting exercise on canvas. Evolve Artist Block 4 #1

Evolve Artist Block 4, #1 – Teapot. Oil on canvas.

It’s a few weeks since I started Block 4, and this painting ended up taking longer than expected. There were about two hours of video instruction for this first exercise, and I watched them all twice (over several days), as I didn’t feel like I’d fully grasped it the first time around. After that, I did the drawing and painted in the background, which was the easy part. Then it was time to start the pot itself, and I started procrastinating 😀 I was surprised when that happened, as I was really enthusiastic about starting Block 4 after taking so long to get through Block 3.

Block 4 teaches direct painting, which is a different method to the first three blocks in the course. Whereas the earlier blocks teach a simplified method which breaks down the lights and shadows into a limited number of values and only two edge types (sharp and gradient), in Block 4 we are trying to reproduce the photograph exactly. The first painting is in greyscale, just to ease into the new method without dealing with too many moving parts at once, but there’s still a lot more to think about. I was dragging my feet a bit because it’s a new ‘thing’, more difficult than before, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do a good job. Plus I got a new laptop during this time, after my old one stopped working unexpectedly, so I spent quite a bit of time getting that set up and playing around with it, and catching up with other work. But in the end I knew I was putting off the teapot, so I forced myself to just get on with it and paint a small area, and it was fine!

This is how it looked after three sessions (one for the drawing, one for the background, and one for the parts of the pot that are filled in):

Teapot - work in progress. Evolve Artist Block 4 #1

I found the fabric more challenging than the pot, and there were a few times where I lost track of which value I was supposed to be using. Hopefully that’ll be less of an issue with the colour paintings. I painted all the fabric in one sitting (about three hours, with breaks), but I think it would have been better to do it over a couple of days. I would’ve liked to refine it further and add in more details, but I ended up running out of time and feeling tired and losing focus towards the end, so I had to stop at ‘good enough’.

The instructors warn that Block 4 paintings take a lot longer than the earlier ones. As I’ve mentioned before, I paint slower than a lot of the other students, and my Blocks 1 – 3 paintings were mostly in the 8-12+ hour range, so I was wondering if my Block 4s might take some crazy amount of time. As it happened, this one was within my normal range, but it’s a relatively simple subject and I expect the harder colour paintings will take much longer. I’m still trying not to get so hung up on feeling like I’m too slow!

Overall I’m quite pleased with this painting, and feel like I learned a lot already. It got good feedback too. I definitely find it more satisfying to be able to paint what I’m seeing, rather than simplifying like before. It feels like the training wheels are off now, and even though I’m wobbling all over the place, it’s fun 😀

See all my Evolve artist paintings.

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