Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Still Life: Green Apples

Last night's still life was a struggle, but when I was completed, it was worth it. Working on a traditional bowl of fruit (in this case, apples), I started the painting by drawing the general shapes and massing the shadows/highlight areas.

Two of the basic tenets that I remembered from the last time was 1) Stand-up when painting and 2) Define the direction of the light. By standing up while I paint, I'm able to constantly move about 5 feet away from my painting to make sure that my massing of colors/values are correct. When I was sitting down, it was not that easy to do it. After about 3 hours of painting, standing up, my knees hurt, but I think that I could get used to it. The second tenet that I remembered was to define the light source. This allowed me to put the lightest color on the major light source area and the darker color on the areas outside of the light.

One of the things that I needed to work on, though, was to make sure that I linked my shadows across all of the objects. This is still a work in progress. I also had a difficult time getting the shape of the bowl correct. However, by standing several feet away from the painting, it was pretty easy to determine how to fix the painting.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the painting. The bowls and apples definitely have a rounded feel to them. The next area to also improve upon is the mixing of the appropriate colors.

Still Life: Eggplant and Potatoes

During my still life session last night, I decided that Eggplants would be a pretty interesting composition to try. The beauty of working on an eggplant is that it is difficult to get the texture right. The eggplant is a fairly reflective surface that contains color of the objects around it.

Overall, I'm fairly happy about how this turned out. The foreground eggplant worked out beautifully. The background eggplant has the top reflective plane to be too prominent. When working on the eggplants, I realized the absolutely most important part is to get the drawing done correctly. This was the problem that I had with my previous still life: Pears and Apples. Without a solid drawing underneath, it is extremely difficult to get the rounded look.

The potatoes were another interesting component of this painting. In reality, I placed blobs of yellow, white and yellow ochre/burnt umber to simulate the potato. Up close, it looks like a hodgepodge of paint. When you step about 5 feet away, it looks like potatoes. Karen Winslow, my mentor, helped with the initial portion of the potatoes because I forgot the basic rule: Where is the light?

I have to remember that next time. Overall, this turned out to be a good study and a decent painting.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Reworking a painting

Now that I've determined what I want to represent in my paintings, it's really easy to see how to fix older paintings. In this case, the painting was done a year ago, when I was first learning how to paint in oils.

The painting on the left (A) was done with my first Water-Soluble oil painting class. Although a number of people have mentioned that they like this painting, I've never really cared for it. The colors are too bright and the background trees are too flat. Also, the focal point (bright red tree to the right) just doesn't look like a tree. The only portion of this painting that I've liked was the foreground bush/land and the sky.

To make it more like my current style of massing the shapes and introducing various abstract shapes, I reworked the painting (B). There is a lot more of this painting that I'm extremely happy with. I like the darker massed shapes of the background tree/foliage. This provides a nice offset to the bright abstract shapes in the front. I also like the general shape of the bush. Rather than keep with the sky, I decided that it need more of a linear flow to match the rest of the painting.

Now that I have the basic shapes/layout done, the final part of the painting is to paint the bright red tree. In this case, I'll have to search my reference photos for a better tree. Something more interesting than the linear triangular shape of the tree in painting A.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Still Life: Two Pears and an Apple

During last night's oil painting class, I was working on the "dreaded" pears, again. These pears are the bane of my existence, but they are helping me learn about form. Just need to work on it a lot more.

As you can tell, there's still a lot of work to do on it. I mainly worked on the center pear last night, and the next time, I'll extend it to the other pear, and possibly the apple. Although, I will probably work on the center pear again.

The main issue on the center pear is that the surface is too shiny. it looks too plastic. This was due to the overblending of the yellow texture. Although my instructor gave me tips/worked a bit on getting the darker area of the pear just right, I still had some issues. I think that the biggest issue is the drawing/shape of the pear. I think that will definitely have to be reworked.

Lots to do. However, if you don't tackle the problems that you are faced with, you'll never learn.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Still Life: Pears and Vase

Last Thursday, during my still life painting class, I was having a lot of trouble getting the painting working. Overall, it was definitely not one of my better nights.

When working on the painting, the first issue was the general toning of the canvas. Since I had forgotten to bring my liquin, I decided to borrow some linseed oil and mix that with my water-soluble paints. Unfortunately, I used too much linseed oil and the surface was extremely slick.

After toning the board, the next step was to block out the items that I wanted to paint, using Terra Rosa. The drawing, in the beginning was extremely inaccurate. The vase was fine, but the pears were too small and the small yellow apples were too close to the pears.

The next step was to start laying in the base color. In this situation, I did not refer to my still life as much as I should. The most important part, which Karen Winslow, my instructor, mentioned was that I forgot to evaluate where my light was coming from. In this case, it was the left side of the pears. I had the left side way too dark. She took the brush, mixed some more appropriate colors and laid down the basic colors on the left side of the pears. She also pointed out the issues with the leaves and helped me fix them.

Overall, a rough night. However, I learned a lot. Another important thing that I learned was that I need to replace the white board on my paint palette (where my paint sits on) to be a mid-tone grey. This will help me see the relative values of my colors, better.