Tonight, I painted and failed oh so miserably on a self portrait. I would show you, just for laughs… but it’s already put away. Trust me – it’s awful. After bombing on it, I decided to try to paint the barn I found on Ravenna Road once more.

I wrote about my first attempt here. While I wasn’t incredibly displeased with it, there were a lot of things I wanted to do differently.

There are a few big things I wanted to achieve here:

First, I wanted to change the perspective and exaggerate the angles on the barn in an attempt to make the shapes more interesting. In order for an exaggerated perspective to make sense, I needed to bring the barn closer, because when objects are farther away the perspective flattens out.

Second, I wanted to focus on shapes, and paint them carefully without relying on white pigment. Knowing that I wouldn’t rely on gouache forced me to paint carefully when I encountered highlights (the roof lines, for example).

Third, I wanted to merge shapes.

Fourth, I wanted to rely on a contrast between bright, highly saturated colors and neutral tones.

Lastly, and most importantly, I wanted to tell a story about a barn. This is an honest barn – it is used as a tool to farm the land. It’s not a decoration, and it’s not neglected. It’s an enormous beautiful tool.

One thing I want to point out is that I noticed my handling of the brush changed a lot when I went to paint the barn. Usually, I paint much more panicked and hasty strokes. I tell myself that it’s because I’m trying to get the gesture down, but honestly, I think it’s because I’m intimidated and unsure. So I paint quickly hoping it’ll just work, out that I’ll get something on the paper, and fix it later. However, recently I have drawn a few pictures with pen, and I could tell that it made my paint more carefully, which I liked. In the past, when I painted carefully, the whole painting got too tight. But this time I found that I was able to paint carefully, and still get the impression on the paper. There’s something more to this, but I can’t really put my finger on it. I hope to flesh it out more… assuming I can get into that groove again sometime soon.

Here are some of those pen doodles I’ve made recently while watching Peter Draws on YouTube. I found that having to take my time with laying down lines did impact my brush strokes somewhat considerably. I also played a bit with a dip pen as well, which also impacted my brush work. I want to practice calligraphy some more… I’ll show that sometime.