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This is taking me ages to do and I'm not sure if it's complicated or if I'm just enjoying stroking the bottoms with my paint brush.  Anyway I'm persevering.  Sorry about the leg on the one that is furthest right as we are looking at it, I know I have the muscle all wrong but I cant put it right until it is a bit dryer.  Still only using the 2 colours of raw umber and titanium white and I was going to leave the surroundings all white but now I'm thinking that the bottom half will be dark with the top left white.

 
 
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This is day 2 of this new painting and it's quite slow going for me.  All I am doing is blocking in the figures and, I think, I have only done the two middle ones and half of the third one so still a long way to go yet.  My husband actually likes this one too.  I am still only using the two colours that I usually use and they are raw umber and titanium white.  Also this is not on canvas but on board which gives a lovely flat surface to work on.  All you have to do with board is to make sure that you prepare the board really well.  I have painted 3 layers of oil painting primer on to this and then sanded it down a bit just to flatten it off a bit and to remove any little lumps that you get sometimes.  I really like the oil primer too, it seems to suit the oil paint much better than gesso or acrylic paint.  The only other thing that I do notice with using the boards is that the board seems to suck all of the oil out of the paint thus making it dry really quickly, which is useful really.  The only possible down side to that is that it has a very flat finish so, if you want it to be shiny might be best to use a different surface.  I quite like the very flat matt finish.

 
 
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I have put on the very start of the next painting that I am doing.  This is the basic sketch with a small amount of blocking in already done.  I dont do pencil drawings I use very thin raw umber and a paint brush to do the sketch.  I have just put in the general positions of the main bottoms that show and will then add other arms and legs around them later in the painting.  The main ones will give me the perspective.  It's a Rugby scrum in case you are wondering.

 
 
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I have started yet another painting and still have 2 others on the go.  The balloons is still having layers added and "Keith" is having his sides painting, so to speak.  I have been in a bit of a tizz wondering which ones to send where.  I had applied to Rugby for 2 of them and then decided to change one of the paintings, fortunately Rugby Art Gallery were very accommodating with that and have altered it.  That left 2 to go to Kenilworth and then I had to find one for Coventry.  I dont like putting paintings in exhibitions that have already been exhibited somewhere else so sometimes it can be a bit of a juggling act sorting them out.  There is another 2 that have to go somewhere but I have lost track of that one, no doubt I will remember soon enough.

Anyway to this painting that I started yesterday, it's a pile of old books and those legs in the background belong to another painting called Em.  As usual I have started with just raw umber and titanium white to build up the depth then I will start to add colour.  I am thinking of putting something on top of the books but, at the moment, I dont know what.  It's just a little bit boring being just of books I think that it needs a bit of a twist.  I might have to spill something on them so that it is all running down the sides.

 
 
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I have been working on this one today and still haven't done anymore to the balloons.  Hope I dont forget to carry on with it.  Still only 2 colours being used for this one (raw umber and titanium white) and I think that is how this will stay, I quite like the mood of the painting in these colours.  I have started to add hair to the side of the face and to the eyebrows and will do more to that later.  I still have to add more highlights to the nose  too.

 
 
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I've started this new portrait while I wait for the others to dry off.  It is raw umber and titanium white oil on canvas and I've gone back to the larger canvas than of late.  Still got a long way to go with it before I can say that it's finished so I will be going between all the paintings for this week.  While I was doing this I thought it could almost be The Joker out of Batman, has that kind of look to it, hope the subject doesn't mind that.

 
 
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It's really difficult to take a decent photo of this painting, might be because of the heavy contrasts I dont know.  So sorry about the noise on the pic.  Three of the balloons have had 2 layers of paint and the fourth one is only on it's first.  I also had a bit of a problem with the fourth one, I thought it was all dry but one little bit in the middle wasn't quite, so when I went over it with the red I wiped off the underpaint.  This left me with a black streak right down the middle of it.  To put it right I had to add some white to it because the white paint is more opaque than the red and that was the only way I could get rid of the black streak.  I haven't touched the cords yet nor the background.

 
 
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I said yesterday that I needed to do more of the monotone layers to create more depth but after looking at it for a while I decided that it didn't need anymore and so I have started to add the colour.  This is just the first layer of red that has been added to three of the balloons.  I have had to leave the fourth one as it is still a little wet in the middle, if I tried to add colour to that it would go a little bit bobbly and they need to stay completely smooth.  I have used permanent alzarin crimson, as it is a transulent colour,  and mixed it with light drying stand oil.  The photo does not show that the balloons are quite glossy.  I will add more colour to it tomorrow when, hopefully, this layer will be dry.

 
 
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Here's the newest one that I have just started and, I think, it's going to take a very long time to do.  My intention is to build up the colours in this layer upon layer.  I will mix the colours with stand oil so that I get a shiny finish.  In the end it should be a really colourful painting with lots of light so, fingers crossed, it turns out that way.  Oh, by the way, I am only using the two colours of titanium white and raw umber again and will continue to use these until I have the correct amount of depth before adding the layers of colour.

 
 
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"Em" is oil on mdf and is 36"x24".