This is the second time I’ve painted a portrait of this specific ball pein hammer. This tool has so much character. I found it in my Father’s rusty old shed. I can remember seeing it there for as long as I can remember.
I started the painting like it do all of my work, and that’s with a line drawing. I try to analyze the shapes and forms as accurately as I can. I typically do all of my layout-drawings on a 1:1 scale. This means I’m drawing the hammer to the exact size that it is in real life. Knowing this is the end goal for my drawing and ultimately the finished painting I like to measure the tool first. Next I mark two dots on my paper so I have some boundaries established. Since I hang most tools that are long and slender these bounds usually mark off the top and bottom most parts of the tool.
So it was business as usual… complete an accurate line drawing, then transfer the line drawing to my canvas and then paint! All of this takes many hours by the way. It’s amazing how much pre-work goes into some of my simplest looking paintings. I have writing about this a lot before in my monthly newsletter. After all of these decades painting I have come to realize that the extensive preparation saves me hours in the long run. It’s also comforting to know that I am well acquainted with the subject matter by the time a brush hits the canvas.
A fair amount of my time was spent rendering the chips and missing paint on the hammer. Some spots show bare wood while others have dents in them. Like most artists I aim to get an accurate gist of what occurring. Of course I’m not getting everything exact. This is where it’s super helpful to have a solid understanding of form and value. I can logically make sense of the thousands of unique details and reduce things to simplicity where necessary. This was the most frustrating part about learning to paint and I must say painting gets way more fun when you know what you’re doing!