Friday, September 11, 2009

Still Life Study: Vase and Eggs

As I’m currently working on a painting that involves painting a more realistic bonsai tree, I decided that I need to do some more work on rounded objects. So, for last night’s painting session, I set up a still life that contained only rounded objects: a vase, two eggs, a lime, and a bottle. Overall, I’m fairly pleased on how the painting worked out. Unfortunately, I ran out of time so I was not able to finish up the bottle, besides laying out the basic color and general shape.

For this painting, I decided to work on sanded gesso-board, rather than a canvas pad. The gesso-board was a lot smoother and, frankly, I’ve never worked on it and wanted to see how it behaved with water-soluble oils. The first step was to tone the entire board by laying down the base color of the wall behind the still life. In the past, I would never use any mediums at this stage, but have realized that the paint would be applied too thickly. Therefore, mixing liquin with the oil paint created a thin enough layer to cover the panel and still be able to lay more color on top.

Once the panel had been toned, the next step is to use Terra Rosa and a round brush to draw out the general outline of the shapes. The nice part about this is that you just need the general position for the composition. When painting, you can actually increase the accuracy of the shape by pushing/pulling the paint around. At this point, you are just working with the composition.

Now, it’s time to lay down the colors. As before, I laid down the mid-tone colors and used various levels of grey and surrounding colors to get the correct look. This is where the work really begins. Color matching is not my strong point. So, as I’m mixing the color, I hold up my palette knife up to the object to see how close I am. I then use the grey levels to modulate the color.

Now that the basic colors are down, the fun part begins: Shaping the structure. Using information I learned from Jack Winslow, I defined the upward and downward facing planes of each object. At this point, since my light is above my still life, the upward-facing features will be lighter than the side and downward-facing features. So, the entire painting was working with this principle.

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