Friday, December 4, 2009

Brass Pitcher and Onions Study - Finished

"Brass Pitcher and Onions Study", 10 x 12", Pastel on Wallis White Sanded Paper

I finished this in class last night. I was struggling with a couple of problems:

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.


Nancy Medina said...

Masterful work Cindy! it was interesting to read all your thoughts about how you constructed it, I am always curious about the nuts and bolts! happy holidays....

Carolina said...

Hi Cindy!
You did a wonderful job with this painting. I love it!
And you surely are very generous for sharing all your new bits of knowledge with us, thanks so much for that!
(I've been quite busy lately... and still not done...!)
Best regards,

Deborah Younglao, Silk Painter said...

Even though you struggled a bit at first, this ended up being a great composition! My eye goes just what you want it to go - skin, to reflection to large onion. Lovely palette too!