Canvas or Hardboard Panels, and Size?

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Day two of painting faces. I think I may start a series of fun female portraits like the ones on this page and I just hope I can stick with it and keep the series going. I painted these two today and they were so much fun. I tend to jump around a lot with my painting and I’m hoping to change that with my fun portraits. I want to be known for a style/subject matter. I know that is not a priority for everyone, but for me it is.

Right now I’m trying to decide if I want to keep the facial features somewhat consistent or vary them. I’m leaning towards varying the shapes of the eyes, nose, and mouth because I’m afraid all of my paintings will look a little too similar if I keep things consistent. Even today, though I have a different eye color, eyebrows, etc., they look a lot alike because I used same eye and mouth shape.

But the biggest dilemma right now is trying to decide what substrate to use for these paintings. I like both canvas and hardboard panels, although between the two I like the hardboard panels a bit better. The advantage of using canvas is that you don’t have to frame the finished piece. You can just add a wire to the back and hang as is. But I don’t want to leave the sides unpainted, and for some reason when I paint with oil, I hate painting the edges. The hardboard panels must be either framed when completed, or sit on a tabletop easel. However, since 9x13s are a standard frame size, they can be easily popped into a standard frame with the glass removed.

I’m also trying to decide what size to paint. I’ve been painting on 9×13 panels and that seems to be a good size. Not too small, but not so large that the price is high. At this size, they are affordable for a wide audience.

I am still deciding, but at this point I am leaning towards the hardboard panels. I like the fact that they are sturdy and easy to store. I also like the way the oil paint glides on the panels. Canvas can get holes poked through it so easily, and dented too. Sometimes I also don’t like being able to see the tooth of the canvas. I probably need to buy a bunch of panels from Blick Art again.

I used to paint just on canvas. Little did I know that branching out to other substrates would be such a dilemma. So many choices!

My question to my readers is what size painting do you typically buy? Also, do you have difficult choices to make in your chosen career?

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“The Imaginaries” – daily small charcoal portraits

I am a visual artist living in Southwestern Indiana who publishes art related blog posts regularly. Sign up to receive updates from my blog at the bottom of this page. 😊

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It’s a new year, and as usual I am trying new things with my art and having a blast. This week I signed up for figure drawing/painting classes at Gamut Gallery as I have no formal training in that area and would like to learn as much as I can. Just in the first class I learned so much. The three portraits above are ones that I have completed since class on Monday and the one below is from class, where we drew from a live model.

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Laura, Charcoal, 2019, created in figure drawing class

I’m finding charcoal drawing to be so much fun because it’s so dynamic. The charcoal nearly lifts off the paper so you can change, add, and subtract easily.  Another reason I am quickly starting to love charcoal is that it is extremely portable and great for on-location projects. This morning I went to Starbucks to draw, which is where Chandler was born (the portrait at the top right).

My supplies are minimal and consist of just vine charcoal sticks, a few charcoal pencils for fine details, an eraser, and a sharpener. I mostly just use the charcoal sticks so far though because the thickness of the sticks helps me create looser drawings. I keep all of these supplies in a very small pencil case that is easy to carry around, as shown below.

I never thought I would enjoy drawing so much and this is the first time I’ve ever used charcoal. I will always paint, but I plan to incorporate charcoal drawing into my life via daily (I hope) quick, small drawings. These small 5x7s I can complete in a short enough time that I should be able to finish one each day…or at least on most days, and still have time to paint as well.

I am using reference photos for these drawings but I am calling them “The Imaginaries” because they don’t really exist, not in my world anyway. They aren’t people I know. I’m having fun giving all of them names, too. It feels as if I am giving birth each day to a new character. 🙂

If you are looking for a dynamic and portable drawing medium, try charcoal!

Cheers!
Lori

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