Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Love Affair Continued

Day 2- With great anticipation day two began.  One of the bad habits I engage in and need is not cleaning my palette.  I do clean my brushes the same day but the big glass palette is usually left without cleaning the days previous mixed colors.  My first 15 minutes or more, first thing, is scraping the glass and getting it pristine clean.  It's sort of a meditation for me and gets my thinking transitioned into what I will be doing.  While I'm scraping I think of my next steps.  It works and I can't do without it.  I guess you could call it a form of foreplay.

The dark background is still wet so the vase needs to be blocked in and the edges worked into the background.  The blue is a low chroma blue almost gray so out comes the grays-Portland and Torret Grays from Gamblin (not an ad but they are wonderful).  Cobalt blue is added into the grays.  Two values are mixed for light shape, shadow shape.  The mantra plays in my head as I look at the form-light shape, shadow shape.  Say that three times fast.

I also thinly block in a dark blue/umber value for the rug.  Having a dark surface to paint the pattern of the rug on is a must.  The dark gives the light threads a three dimensional look which adds to the texture feel.

This is the progress after about four hours at the easel.  I have blocked in the light and shadow shapes of the white cloth leaving the lace area untouched.  Painting the open lace work needs a different process.  When blocking in the light and shadow, my light value (about a 2/3) is the middle value for the light.  That way I can go lighter and a little darker to build the form.  Same in the shadow area.  The shadow value is about a 7.  Translucent light areas are ignored at this point and I have to simplify, simplify, simplify.

This will need to dry so tomorrow will probably be the rug area.  Stay tuned.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Love Affair

Now you were probably thinking you would be reading about some kind of sorted affair and were looking forward to the juicy details.  Sorry but it is about love.  These last few months have been a search for self and what really inspires me to paint. Plein air painting is not one of my favorite endeavors, but I decided if I try it---I might like it.  I now have all the right equipment, have been out in the field, and have actually completed several small pieces that aren't too shabby but not ready for prime time.

Above is "The Cottage." The cottage was built back in the early 1900's and located at Cracker Creek here in Port Orange. The early morning light on the front porch glowed along with the metal roof.  My Maine experience didn't produce anything great, but with practice I may be able to relax and truly enjoy painting in the great outdoors.

So back to this love thing.  While in Maine, we stopped in Kennebunkport and visited North Light Gallery and True North Light Gallery.  It was great to see Jill and Harry.  As I walked from one gallery to the next, I saw a small little store front with Asian imports.  The owner had been an diplomat and now had friends that sent him items to sell like small chests, garments, and vases.  I found two treasures; one was a jacket made of silk and a vase from Korea.

The grayish blue with the crane design had me at first sight and of course I brought it home.  It is unusual in that it is three sided and not spherical.

Here's the love part.  I put it with my lace fabric and created a new setup to paint.  The drama of the light across the vase and the glowing translucent light that passes through the fabric makes my toes curl.  Is that love?  You bet!  I juxtaposed the textures of the smooth ceramic glazed sides with the delicate lace and folds on top of the rough threads of the rug.  My intention is to capture the light across all these diverse textures.

Yesterday after setting it up, I loosely sketched in the folds and placement of the vase.  Under the white fabric is one of my favorite blue rugs.  Here is today's progress.

                                                              Actual still life

                                                     Ultramarine blue and burnt umber sketch

The dark background is a "black mixture" made with all transparent colors with a leaning toward reddish orange.  This mixture is made of sap green, ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, a little ivory black, and trans. red oxide.

Here the background is blocked in on this 30"x40" linen canvas.  The reddish glow at the top gives what Adrian Gottlieb calls optical red; an illusion of light in a dark shadowed area. He referred to paintings by Rembrandt and how this red glow gives a feeling of space even in the darkness.  I have used it many times with great success.  Thanks Adrian.

I will post my progress this week.  My work today felt like a love affair.  I got up this morning with excited anticipation and throughout the day was almost giddy.  Yep, this is where my passion lies. Did I say that I just love painting fabrics?

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