Close-up of "Berries in Blue Pitcher"
Monday, December 28, 2009
Close-up of "Berries in Blue Pitcher"
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Spent the morning painting in the studio with my artist friend and studio mate, June. We had a very productive morning. Since my last posting I have been correcting values, blending, adding more strokes on top, and painting the flow blue china pitcher. I had to drag out the David Leffel book to see how he paints flow blue. Quite a challenge, but I'm pretty happy with it right now.
It was good to get the detail into the flow blue pitcher as the pattern in the background will be softer-edged, and it would have been tough to tell how soft if I didn't have the focal point detail to judge by.
Left to be painted is the pattern in the background, the large pitcher, berries, and foreground cloth. Can't wait to paint the berries...but painting them will be like dessert!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
"It is actually one light...an incandescent lightbulb (100 watt) in a silver metal cone that is about 10" across. A shop light basically.
I have a 1 x 2 piece of lumber from floor to ceiling that I can attach the lamp to. It's off to the left of the setup.
I do have a wall of black foam core on the left so the shop light peaks over the top and gives the lighting on the background and since it is wide it also peaks around the front edge of the foam core wall (and an extension...whatever was handy) giving the light falling on the front of the objects. This type of side lighting is important for light and shadow (chiaroscuro) painting, it gives you a structure of light and dark, and moves your eye from left to right.
You know, I have never had anyone teach me how to light a setup until I started studying with Deb. I have learned about cool lights, day lights, incandescent lights and what effects the light has on color.
I am using an incandescent light bulb like you would use in a living room lamp which gives off a very warm light. That means my shadow areas will be cooler than my light areas in color temperature. When people talk about painting in north light (which is very cool) their shadows are warm and their lights are cooler in relationship."
Close up of "Berries in Blue Pitcher" (Work in Progress)
"Berries in Blue Pitcher" 16 x 20" Pastel on Wallis (Work in Progress)
Spent some time in the studio today working on the background mostly, and a little work on the pitchers adjusting color, shape and value. Will be working on it in class on Thursday night, and will post my progress.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Starting a new painting today with a concept of "intensity", which means the colors are fairly muted until you get to the focal point (blue pitcher with red berries) where the intensity of color really makes it pop out. I also wanted a background that wasn't overpowering but would add an element of design.
" Berries in Blue Pitcher", 16 x 20" pastel on Wallis (Work In Progress)
Friday, December 4, 2009
1. The left side of the painting with the onion in partial light just wasn't working. It was hard to read the onion skin fragment and it led to the left onion with wonky lighting and you got stuck there. So at my pastel instructor's suggestion I moved the left onion all the way back in the shadow. This, hopefully, brings the viewer's eye into the painting at the partial fragment of onion skin, then to the reflection of it in the brass pitcher and then to the right onion which is my focal point. There was some discussion of leaving it out altogether, but decided it might bring a bit more interest to the left side.
2. While I liked the looseness of the painted brass pitcher in the early stages, the onion, especially the one on the right was painted at a more thorough level and the two (the onion and pitcher) then looked too different. So I brought up the brass pitcher to the level of painting of the onion, especially the handle, and smoothed out some of the strokes in the main body of the pitcher.
I learned a great deal from this study (as well as the others):
1. Everything in the painting must have a reason for being there, including how it is lit and what purpose it serves in leading you to the focal point.
2. To put down my blacks/darks first before adding color, especially red, as putting down the color first and then the blacks/darks makes the red shadows look grainy and muddy.
3. Wallis is a far superior paper for my technique than Colorfix by ArtSpectrum. The latter's tooth is completely different than the former which makes filling the early layers very tedious with more blending than I care to do. The surface on finished pieces of CF look lumpy.
Thanks for following along! Back into the studio on Monday for another study...maybe it will be the brass pitcher again.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
My last study had a silver pitcher and I wanted to try another reflective surface. In our still life storage I found this lovely brass pitcher, to go along with the red onions I had stored in the studio kitchen.
I find that the brass was also easy to paint, and the shadows on the red onions are giving me trouble (again! just like the shadows of the red tomatoes.) In talking over our work for today June pointed out that I'm not getting my darks in solid enough before I start adding color. Then when I try to darken the color it comes out muddy. This is why I love to paint with June, we are able to point out our observations to help each other out.
You will also find in the second photo my initial sketch over the Dynamic Symmetry grid. Note how the major points of the pitcher fall on the grid lines. The right onion is the focal point and it has been placed in the lower right mean area.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Spent the day layering and warming up colors. I worked on the silver pitcher a bit. It is the first time I have painted silver....hence the study. Honestly the shadow areas of the tomatoes have been more trouble than the pitcher.
Tomorrow I will be finishing up, tightening some edges and a few tweaks here and there. It will be available for purchase this weekend at my Littleton Studio Etsy shop.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Another study....this time cherry tomatoes (again, clumpy things) and a little silver pitcher. When I set up the lighting I got this lovely looooong cast shadow from the left tomato. This is 9 x 12" pastel on white sanded paper.
"Cherry Tomatoes & Silver Pitcher Study" 9 x 12" pastel (Work in Progress)
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Yes, it became Artichoke Wednesday as well as Tuesday since I worked on this in the studio this morning. I still have some work to do on the highlights but will work on that tomorrow.
These studies are wonderful learning tools..I highly recommend them. Approach them as you would a finished painting. Pay attention to set up, lighting, composition, color, value, texture just as you would working on a more complex set-up.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
It's hard to do a composition with just AN artichoke, so I tore off a couple of leaves from the backside and used them to set up a simple composition.
This first photo is the color of the 9 x 12" Colorfix paper. It's supposed to be a dark gray, it looks a little blue here. I have drawn my Dynamic Symmetry grid and found the lower right mean (see the tiny little mark?) My focal point (the lit side of the artichoke will be placed along that line. The small leaves are placed on one of the DS construction lines. This is believed to make the angle/the painting more pleasing to the viewer in terms of composition.
Dynamic Symmetry Grid with Right Mean Identified
Using NuPastels I have sketched in the major shapes of the artichoke and it's leaves. Starting to lay in the darks.
Here I have the major shapes in and have been laying in color, constantly tweaking the shapes. You can see that the top right of the artichoke will be mostly in shadow. I got tired and lost focus today before I could get to the artichoke...will have to tackle that tomorrow.
Although I work from life and thus my viewpoint is a bit different than what you see here, it does give you and idea of what the setup looks like.
Photograph of Artichoke for "Artichoke Tuesday - A Study"
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I finished this piece in class on Thursday night by adjusting values and adding a few specific edges, especially in the left shadow area.
"Why would one do a study?", you might ask. My opinion is for the same reason a pianist practices with scales, or a figure skater practices their jumps....until those small components of your art become second nature, or you have solved the small problems. Only then is one able to put the pieces together into a "long" program where ones' emotion and passion creates something complete and whole.
Who knows what's next for a study?? Eggplant, artichoke, plum....guess it will be whatever is in season at the grocery store ;-)
In "Green Grapes" I wanted to practice painting a "clump" of objects where not every component needs to be defined. Which is why I think an artichoke might be a good next subject...it's also "clumpy".
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Here is my Dynamic Symmetry grid drawn right on my paper with a pastel pencil. The focal point of the grapes is placed right on the right mean line (if you look you can see the little green x with a grape drawn on top. I've learned that line is called the Root I line....since the whole Dynamic Symmetry concept is based on root numbers. That's as far as I can explain it ;-)
I've also started to lay in my dark structures.
Here I am starting to lay in the color mostly in the midtones and light areas. The paper didn't take the strokes very well so I ended up using a softer pastel (Rembrandt) to lay some color down, then "smush" with my fingers. Then the strokes would go on top of that.
This is where I am currently...with just a little more work to do on the cloth and then maybe on the shadow area of the bunch of grapes on the left side. But we'll see. I'll take it to class tomorrow night and see what the consensus is.
Our Studio Group's exhibit is opening tomorrow night...if you are in the area stop by and have a glass of punch or wine.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I decided a couple of things:
1. The pears looked really flat, plus there were not enough darks to give them much form.
2. The colors used in the painting were all isolated....no reflected colors bouncing around.
3. Although I did set up the still life, I worked from the photograph rather than real life.
So this week I bought a couple of similar pears, took the painting into the studio and set up the lighting and a piece of fabric of similar color.....and proceeded to work on this some more.
The pears have much more form now and strokes are even more pronounced than they were on the earlier version.
I'll have it critqued on Thursday night in class (so it may not be done), but I think I'm much happier with it.
12 x 18" "Pears on Sateen" Pastel on Wallis
(click on the pic for a larger version_
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
- Barney Alexander
- Karen Carlston
- June Davis
- Julie Fisher
- Pam Poll
- Amber Schneider
- Linda Schneider
- Kang Lee Sheppard
- Rhoda Singer
- Gene Smith
- Valorie Snyder
- Judy Steininger
- Tracy Wilson
- Cindy Haase
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Close up #2
It's getting there, and more importantly I think I'm almost done with the flutes on the pitcher. Now it's a matter of edges, and adjusting...a little specific here, a little blurred there.
Already thinking about my next piece. I will be doing another high key but this time I'm going straight for the color first and not messing around with grays and neutrals.
(These pics are taken with my camera phone so they are a bit blurry.)
We've had an especially good time at the studio this week. Several of us working at one time...several are starting new pieces so lots of kibitzing about set-ups. One is finishing a piece and we're threatening him if he changes a thing...he tends to do that. Lots of talk of framing before our Studio Artists Group show, which opens on Nov 13.
Monday, October 19, 2009
We have a quarterly critique at Lakewood Arts Council's Community Art Center and Gallery, and Saturday was my day to lead the critque. (I'm getting warmed up as I'm also doing an evening critique on Nov 4th for the Mountainside Art Guild.)
I wanted to provide a framework for the critique rather than "I like it" or "I don't like it", so what's better to provide the framework than the 5 elements of design?
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Great day at the studio, alot of opera and Starbucks. I'm exhausted, I'm not used to standing for hours on end. But I'm having a wonderful experience.
You notice how I'm dancing around the flutes on the white pitcher and the saucer ;-) Not only that the sugar bowl has a laurel pattern around the top!
Monday, October 5, 2009
"Cream and Sugar" close up (again with the cell phone camera)
Today was my first day working at the studio space and I had an absolute great time. A little classical music, a Starbucks, a dark studio with a couple of spotlights.....awesome! The time just flies.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I am very excited as I will be working Mondays and Wednesdays in the space where we have class. By paying a few extra dollars a month I will have access to be able to paint whenever I want. I've gone through my calendar and x'd out all the days I plan to work for the next few months.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
First of all, I won a Merit award for "Gourd & Peppers" at the Mountainside Art Guild's "Views of the East & West". It's on display at the Lakewood Arts Council's Community Center and Art Gallery this next month.
"Gourd & Peppers" 3.75" x 4.5" colored pencil on sanded paper
The other good news is I sold this lovely little cobalt blue perfume bottle
Thursday, September 24, 2009
This will still be a light and shadow design, but in high key. The light and shadow paintings I have done up to this point have been the full range of values (1-10). High key will keep the values not quite so dark with a range of value from 1-6 with a few punches of 7.
We have also been studying dynamic symmetry (DS) as a design tool. I have included the sketch of my DS grid on tracing paper. My painting is 12 x 18, so I took a piece of tracing paper the same size and drew my grid. Then I placed my items on the grid, moving the still life items as necessary. The idea that DS will help you have a more pleasing composition (similar to the golden mean).
Sorry about the quality of the photos, I was using my cell phone camera in the dark.