Bowler Hat in Oils

18 May

You may remember an acrylic painting I did early this year of my book character Russ, who is wearing a bowler hat in his portrait.  This character has become near and dear to my heart as I’ve written his story, and while browsing at a large antique gallery shortly after finishing Russ’ portrait, I found an antique bowler hat that looks so much like his hat that I could not leave it in the store.  So I ended up buying it.  It’s a beautiful old beater of a hat and has a lot of character.

Isn’t it charming?

For the classes I’ve been taking in oil painting, the next step was to set up our own still life with any items we wanted.  As you can see by the dates of the previous class assignments, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to paint.  Feeling somewhat out of my comfort zone, I went with a single item for the still life, and what better than my character-inspired bowler hat?  After toying with different angles and backdrops and lighting, this is what I settled on.

And finally, here is the painting I did.  It was difficult and I am not thrilled with it.  The hat brim gave me a lot of trouble and is still not right.  Oh well, that’s why it’s a practice piece.  The colors were also a tricky thing, but all in all, it isn’t too far off of what this composition looked like in real life.  This took about four hours.

Bowler Hat

-8×10 inches on stretched canvas

-Painted in Oils using only the following colors, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Indian Yellow and White.  My teacher encourages us to stick with these colors to get a feel for how helpful some knowledge on color mixing can be.  For this assignment, he did say we could add another color if we wanted to, though I didn’t feel ready for that.  Yeah, I’m still a chicken when it comes to painting. 🙂

Thank you for looking.


Posted by on May 18, 2012 in All Artwork, Paintings


6 responses to “Bowler Hat in Oils

  1. janukke

    May 19, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    Hi Jen,

    it´s amazing what three colours can do! It´s a wonderful painting, I love all of it. Your composition is awesome and your talent just blows my mind. 🙂

    x Jana

    • Jenna

      May 19, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      Hi Jana. Isn’t it amazing what those three colors plus white can produce? The array of colors drawn from them is pretty exciting and I am feeling more confident in color mixing than I ever used to. Jim is an excellent teacher! I got some nice feedback from him on this painting, so that’s always a nice bonus. Thank you for the very kind comments! I appreciate it so much. 🙂

  2. zorgor

    May 20, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Great work! Really! This is impressive! I am amazed that you did that with just those colors! How did you get the black? Is it ultramarine and alizarin crimson? The photo is a few degrees to the right of the angle you painted it from right?

    • Jenna

      May 20, 2012 at 8:36 PM

      Thanks so much, Zorgor! I’m so glad you like this. 🙂 To get the black, it’s a mix of all three of the colors used, Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson and Indian Yellow. They are in the basic family of primary colors – red, blue and yellow, and therefore can produce a nice rich black when all mixed together. Without the Indian Yellow, the other two colors create a deep, deep purple. The three colors create a nice balance and make for a rich, velvety black.

      Ha, you would think that the angle I saw this composition from was different than the photo, considering the angle and shape of the hat in the painting. However, I tried to take the photo as close to the real angle I was working from as possible. I really struggled with the hat brim. How I wish I could use the excuse of saying the angle is different in the photo, but it isn’t different by much. Just a goofy mistake on my part. 🙂

      Thanks so much for the kind comments!

  3. Inspired and pretty

    May 25, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    You did great Jenna, I love the painting ! For a practice piece, I think it’s really good.

    • Jenna

      May 27, 2012 at 8:19 PM

      Thank you so much, Jocelyne. I’m glad you like the painting of the hat. 🙂


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