Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Still Life: Pumpkins

Now that it's turning to the fall season around Vermont and the weather is turning cooler, my instructor has decided that it's time to go back to painting pumpkins, again.

So, last night's class was a study in pumpkins. My first attempt at this set of pumpkins was immediately erased. The colors were wrong, the values were misplaced. It was not pretty at all.

So, after wiping off the paint, I was left with the basic mid-value shapes for the composition. Karen came over and gave me a hand. She mentioned to pay attention to the big areas that were dark and light. In this case, we had an alternate scene. The table to the left of the pumpkin was dark, then it went to light on the top of the pumpkin, then dark on the back of the pumpkin and then to light on the right edge of the back pumpkin. After that, she suggested that I lighten up my dark area (I used a burnt umber mix that was too dark) and lighten up the highlight of my pumpkin (I had too much terra rosa) using Cadmium Orange in my mixture.

Once I changed out the colors of the pumpkins and got the relative value of the areas correct, thing started to fall into place. After a lot of reworking, I started getting a better feel for modelling the roundness of the pumpkin (added some greys to the edges to roll them back).

At the final stages, I had gotten down some decent looking pumpkins and nice looking grapes. Had some trouble with the apple. My first attempt was too elongated and the values were not correct. This was strictly a lazy point on my end: I didn't feel like going into my kit to find my Alizarin Crimson. So, tried to mix a darker red with terra rosa and it wasn't working well. Karen helped straighten out the apple and get the planes right.

As a final note, she suggest adding some of the red from the apple into the grapes and adding more grapes to the top of the pile. This helped alleviate an issue where the silhouette of the grapes would create a visual linear line.

So, learned a lot last night. Good to get out of the comfort zone of the landscape and into the non-comfort zone of still lifes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

After the rain

Now that I'm back into the mood of painting, started working on painting larger originals of my plein-air landscapes.

The newest painting, After the rain, is a 16 x 22 oil painting and is based on a plein air attempt that I did during a Spring workshop that I attended (studying with Karen Winslow of Winslow Art Studio). As usual in Vermont, it was a cloudy rainy morning and, at this time, the rain had stopped. It was just misty and cold.

In this case, rather than adjust the painting for a lighter mood, I went the opposite way. I made it a bit darker and gloomier than the conditions that morning. It just seem to fit better.

This painting turned out well.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New trade show booth

Now that I have some more paintings done, time to start working on my trade show booth. Here it is... so far.

In the past, I was all over the place. I sold pen and ink drawings, watercolor paintings, oil paintings, oil pastel drawings, etc. I sold 11 x 14 matted prints, 16 x 20 original matted watercolor paintings, 8 x 10 matted prints, and 4 x 6 greeting cards. In addition, the wall displayed prints and originals.

This year, I'm going with consistency. As you can see in the display, I have original oil paintings on canvas (with the sides of the canvas painted). In the flip bins, I have 11 x 14 and 8 x 10 matted prints. That's it. The goal is to go for a recognizable single look that will attract people to keep coming back to my booth to collect my works.

The final part of the booth that I need to figure out is what type of lighting to use.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Along the River

My latest painting is based on another plein air landscape piece near Cambridge, Vermont. In this painting, I decided to diverge a bit from the actual plein air piece by changing the colors of the land and sky to be a bit brighter/richer.

Not much to say about this painting. It's an interesting experiment, but not one of my favorite ones.