Monday, November 30, 2009

Brass Pitcher and Onions

Another wonderful day in the studio painting with my friend and fellow artist, June. Great music today, a little Loreena McKennitt and Eva Cassidy. (My first time to hear Eva...such a wonderful singer who passed away much too young.)

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.
More work tomorrow on the left onions and trying to add more depth to my darks on the onions.
"Brass Pitcher and Onions" (Work in Progress), 10 x 12" pastel study on Wallis

Initial Sketch on Wallis over Dynamic Symmetry Grid

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cherry Tomatoes & Silver Pitcher - Study - Just about Finished

Today was a great day at the studio, just Bob Dylan (No Direction Home), me and my pastels.

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.

Cherry Tomatoes and Silver Pitcher Study (Still a Work in Progress)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cherry Tomatoes & Silver Pitcher - Study - WIP

Sketched in and a layer or two of pastel

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.

I started the study last Thursday night in class...and was able to get at least a layer or two on the paper before the end of class. I wasn't able to get back to the studio until today and expected shriveled up little tomatoes. Not so...they were just as lovely as they were last Thursday.
At this point I am just layering color and adjusting shapes and values. The silver pitcher will mostly be revealed by it's reflections.

"Cherry Tomatoes & Silver Pitcher Study" 9 x 12" pastel (Work in Progress)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Artichoke Tuesday is Finished

"Artichoke Tuesday" 9 x 12" Pastel on sanded paper

Available for purchase at Littleton Studio

"Close up of "Artichoke Tuesday"

Close up of "Artichoke Tuesday"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just About Finished with Artichoke Study

"Artichoke Tuesday - A Study" 9 x 12" pastel on Colorfix Sanded Paper

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

Artichoke Tuesday....Another "Clump" Study...WIP

After learning so much from the "Green Grape Study", I decided this would be "Artichoke Tuesday - The Study".

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.

Major Shapes Sketched and Darks Being Added

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.

"Artichoke Tuesday" 9 x 12" pastel on ArtSpectrum Colorfix sanded paper (Work in Progress)

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

Green Grapes Study - Finished

Green Grape Study 9 x 12" pastel on ArtSpectrum sanded paper
Available for Purchase at Littleton Studio

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's also "clumpy".

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Green Grapes Study...Work in Progress

This is a study I started working's 9 x 12" pastel on ArtSpectrum sanded pastel paper. I didn't like the paper for my stroke-y application as much as I like Wallis, but I did eventually figure out how to get it to work.

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

Pears on Sateen...more work

The April Version of "Pears on Sateen" came out of the closet this week for another look.

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 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_