Evolve, Week 2

Week of June 12, 2023

3 min readJun 19, 2023

For full context, see the description of my Art Home School Curriculum.


I found new motivation this week with traditional oil painting and the Evolve Artist program. I would have done more work, but you have to do a painting in one sitting before it dries so it can be hard to plan out the work time. It’s possible to extend the drying time with clove oil, but I have a cat and clove oil is apparently harmful to cats and birds, so I don’t use it. On top of that, I usually submitted my homework around 6 pm and couldn’t proceed to the next lesson until homework was graded, which usually happened around 10 am the next day. That said, I’m happy to finish one painting a day. They’ve been taking around 5–6 hours each.



Block 1, Part 2

The goal is blend smoothly from one value to another. I did pretty terrible. I didn’t understand how delicate you have to be and how little paint to use.

Block 1, Part 3

I assume we practice this same exercise twice because most people find it difficult. I still couldn’t get the paint to blend smoothly.

Block 1, Part 4

Here I had trouble with paint puddling up on the edges. You need just enough paint to get coverage, but not enough to puddle up.

Block 1, Part 5

I started to get a little better with gradients here, but there are still distinct shifts in value from shadow to light rather than a smooth transition.

Block 1, Part 6

Block 1, Part 7

I was much happier with this gradient. The feedback from the instructors is always the same: “smoother gradients.”

Block 1, Part 8

Here I think the shadow value of the top cube should have been the darker value. We are only allowed to use 4 values: 2 light and 2 shadow. If something is closer to the darkest dark, it’s an extreme shadow, and if something is closer to the lightest light, it’s an extreme light. Values in between have to fall one way or the other. Eventually we’ll use a whole value range, but it’s simplified in the beginning.

I really enjoyed painting this week. Filling in little squares of canvas reminds of of when I was doing Bargue drawings. Back then I felt like I had to tickle the paper with a pencil for hours to get the right value and fill in all the tiny holes. I didn’t really enjoy it. With oil paint the process is similar (tickling the canvas until things are just right), but I actually do enjoy it. I have two more simple paintings to get, and then we add highlights and reflections.