At the end of march I returned full-time to working at Planet due to all of the uncertainty caused by the COVID19 pandemic. Overnight I went from using video chat once every 2-3 months to multiple times a day.

I hadn’t done much painting in the last few months, and I wanted something simple to put up on my wall behind me, as my zoom video conference background. I had a few 6×6″ thick canvases that were stashed away waiting to be painted.

In my office I have a dual workspace. One desk for working+gaming, and another desk for art (where I can splatter paint and get messy). My webcam for video conferences faces my messy desk (which isn’t actually that messy… just artsy!). So I had the thought that it might be cool to fill my background with vibrant colorful art, which would serve the dual purpose of having a cool background for video calls, and some bright inspiration to have in my workspace. I spend like 8-12hr/day in that room, so might as well make it artsy/nice.

To get my art wall started, I decided to paint a paint 4 6×6″ canvases with simple color schemes that make me happy.

I remembered Gal Shir’s old medium post about the creation of ColorHunt, and how he spec’d out what the sizes/percentages were for color bars on ColorHunt, and I decided to give that a shot. Here’s a photo that he shared in his medium post that inspired my idea.

stolen from Gal Shir @ https://medium.com/@galshir/color-hunt-behind-the-scenes-3e32573f7752

I browsed through colorhunt to find a few color palettes that made me happy, and came up with a quick mockup like this:

Then I started painting! Below are the photos that I took along the way. I still haven’t taken the time to hang them on the wall, but I’m super happy with how they turned out.

In my last post, I shared my first painting, which I finished back in November. Since then I’ve been struggling to find time for painting, but I’ve been chipping away at a similar piece that I think is a lot better. This past Saturday I allocated the entire day to painting, and made a bunch of progress.

I forgot to take photos in the very early stages of this painting, but I have a handful of WIP shots from Saturday. The painting is made with golden fluid acrylic paint on an 11×14″ wood panel that I gessoed and prepared myself.

I feel like it’s better than my first painting. Better in terms of composition, color strategy, cleanliness, and just overall technique.

This new piece isn’t quite finished, but I figure it’s done enough to post about. Next, I’m planning to work on improving the shadow effect to give the pattern some depth.

A few months I signed up for @tenhundred’s course on learnmonthly.com. In the 1-month course, he walks you through his approach to making art.

I had just started getting into painting, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to learn how to think about things, and dive in deeper. I also love the idea of Monthly, because their strategy for creating courses is to find influential/great YouTubers and give them a platform to teach their craft. They also structure everything to occur over the course of a month — which gives you a structured environment to participate in the course with your coursemates and learn together as a community.

Learning new skills from passionate people with practical experience has always been a great experience for me whether it’s in-person or online in a recorded video. It’s how I started programming — I learned the basics from Jesse, and then I spent like 10x my time with him watching RailsCasts and PeepCode videos in an attempt to internalize the knowledge. Learning from people with real experience (vs. reference material/documentation) puts me into a different sort of “beginners mind” mode — where I’m more comfortable diving in and making mistakes. This helps me learn deeper and faster via experimenting instead of trying to memorize rules or concepts and apply them sometime later.

I was super excited to sign up! The idea of learning how to paint from scratch from my favorite artist was too much to pass up. Unfortunately, right as the course got released I got tied up with a super busy work schedule which sapped all of my free/learning time during the month of the course.

I ended up getting super busy during the actual month the course was running, so I didn’t get an opportunity to participate much with my Monthly cohort group at all, but I watched all of the course content and got sucked in during the end of November during the Thanksgiving long weekend. It was great! It really taught me how to think about approaching the creation of a painting. It can be pretty daunting without someone showing you the ropes. I learned everything from brainstorming a concept, prepping a wood panel, transferring sketches to the panel, spatial characteristics of a canvas (back to front is way easier), mixing colors, making use of a mixing medium, and all of the final details that go into prepping a final product that looks professional.

I didn’t really follow the course’s focus on character/story-driven art, but instead, I applied the tenhun process to a simple doodle/color texture/pattern study. It turned out kind of weird, but I’m pretty proud of finishing my first acrylic painting on an 11×14″ wood panel (that I gesso’d and sanded myself)! Below are some of the photos I took from start to finish.