Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Still-Life # 4

I think I might name it "random arrangement" or make a series entitled that, as right now the set ups I'm creating have no narrative and are just exercises in color combinations and lighting. This is the painting from the last post that couldn't scan well. Enjoy!

Still-life painting continues

While I can't say right now that the images I'm about to post are all too exiting compositionally or content-wise, I'm really happy with how they turned out from a technical standpoint. Especially the lone skull. There is a third painting that I absolutely adore in every way, compositionally, paint handling, colors, and technique that unfortunately isn't scanning well. I'll have to photograph it instead. These three were done last week. The still-life with the earthen jug was started initially around the same week that I did the one-evening studies from the previous post and then I spent the better part of the following week painting it. Turned out nice, but I'm not crazy about it. To celebrate finally finishing it I painted the skull. That bad boy turned out better than I expected in just under two hours. Something about it resonated with me, in particular with the smooth rendering and thicker, impasto strokes playing nicely off each other. The third painting presented me with an A-HA moment once it was completed and I can't wait to share it on the web. With all of these I am continuing to pre-mix my palette using only the colors I see and deem necessary. Once Everything is nicely blocked-in, however, I have begun dabbling with adding a bit of an accent color that isn't as chromatic as it actually exists. That is more evident in the skull and the unscanned painting. Enjoy, and feel free to leave any feedback.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Still-life month

So I have decided to take a break from attempting big figurative paintings and getting frustrated. I know I can do them but the battle to correct my stupid mistakes is really silly. So for this month I am only going to work on small still-life paintings from life. The idea is that a) I never worked from life enough for it to really influence my knowledge of light, color nuances, form, etc b) I have a few bad habits that I need to break out of NOW if I want to be serious about making art a career, and c) discipline. I'm reading James Gurney's Color and Light book and using it as a guide on this journey (ha). The three individual objects are done alla prima in one evening and before I get to work I sit in front of the object and pre-mix four strings of colors with my handy palette knife. Lots of artists do this and it helps simplify the madness that is color, but it also helps maintain a sense of freshness without mixing color piles of useless paint. Pre-mixing is not my preferred method as I really enjoy the happy accidents of mixing with a brush, but this always leads to me mixing bad colors since I don't quite get it just yet. I've noticed that my color tends to look dull and life-less because I struggle mixing the right value and temperature of a certain hue. I will produce at least three smallish paintings a week and one mid-size one. For these four paintings I set up the light coming from the left either from above at an angle or lower down so that it looks like it's hitting it straight on. I was looking for interesting ways to play with the shadow. The light in these works is a yellowish "natural light" bulb or something like that so the lit area is usually really warm. This week I want to switch the bulb with a florescent one to cast a pale bluish light on some of the same objects, and will probably be working like this for all the paintings I do.
This was the first one I did last tuesday evening. It was drawn from life beforehand as a drawing demo for a private student, then photocopied and mounted onto the masonite panel as a demo of the Donato mounting for my oil painting students. I've had this t-rex skull for 3 1/2 years and it has never been used for anything but a handy decorative dust gatherer in my studio.
This is a plastic prop squash we have at the museum that I borrowed on Thursday evening to paint. I've always loved the color and so voila! I painted it.
Here we have a horseshoe crab shell I found at the beach over the summer with a group of friends. This one was particularly tough considering how low key and muted the colors were. It was tricky making the light side seem illuminated but I finally got it after knocking back the chroma of the surrounding area with some neutrals.
Last night I arranged these objects, all museum borrowed, and there are some dried up flower thingies in the front that aren't painted in yet. I drew it last night and did a wash of values before I went to bed and this morning I did a first pass color block-in. Tonight or tomorrow I'll finish it off. I welcome all critiques and helpful tips on anything you see or notice. Thank you all!