Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Petite Ochre Pot", Demo - Completed Painting

Completed Painting: "Petite Ochre Pot", oil on panel, 7x6

And, here is the completed painting. I have just continued to lay on pieces of paint with my larger bristle brush.....more paint, more refining, as I bring the background color in to create the beautiful shadows in the pot's form. In addition, to create space around the pot, I've lightened (made cooler) the surrounding area. You will notice the brushstrokes becoming more impasto in the completed piece, also. I've tried to leave them just as they are. To me, the brushstroke is incredibly beautiful. That's what painting is all about.

To see Steps #1 and #2 of this demonstration, please see below.

"Petite Ochre Pot" - Demo - Step #2

"Petite Ochre Pot", 7x6 inches

Step 2: I've let the underpainting dry overnight....blocking in the first step (see below) takes about 15 minutes but if I can, I like to work on a dry surface for this stage. Still using the largest bristle brush I can handle on such a diminutive panel, I begin to really have fun...applying paint! Again, I try not to concentrate on drawing, just enjoy the process of laying on pieces of paint. And of course, color.....the intial stage has captured the concept I have in mind...where the light hits the objects and where the shadow creates the space my little pot nestles into. I push and pull my values, in the darker areas keeping the paint thinner, while in the area of light and color, I've concentrated on color as well as paint quality. I love to see the brushstrokes and I try very hard to just lay in a piece of paint and not disturb it too much. At this stage it's inevitable because the little pot is being sculpted with paint. With brushstrokes, I bring the paint tube into focus, as well. Not too much going on with the berry branch as this point, but I have made a start on it....

"Petite Ochre Pot" - Demo - Step #1

Step #1 - "Petite Ochre Pot"

For my larger pieces I use oil primed linen but for many of the very small daily paintings, I prepare panels. In this case, I began by first gessoing a panel of hardboard with two coats of acrylic gesso. The gesso was applied with a large flat bristle brush in random strokes - you can see the brushstrokes in evidence. Once this was dry, I toned the panel using a mixture of burnt umber and ultramarine blue with turps to make a greyed tone, rubbing off the excess with paper towelling and then letting it dry overnight. I set up the still-life in my studio under natural north light. Always, a concept forms firmly in my mind and at this time I begin to place the objects into the space using a large bristle filbert brush. I used a mixture of ultramarine and phthalo blues and burnt umber for this and concentrate on massing in the light and shadow, not on drawing.....this step takes just a few minutes to do, especially for such a tiny painting. When I can, I like to let this stage dry before I being to apply color. In this example, I let the paint dry overnight....

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Best Friends", 10x8 - Demonstration

"Best Friends", 8x10 oil on linen
Completed painting

Recently I realized that it would be a lot more efficient to be posting to one blog rather than both the blogs that I presently have in progress.  If you've visited my 'demonstration' blog lately you'll see that it's been very sadly neglected.  I've also decided it would be fun to re-post the demos here before I totally dismantle it, beginning with 'Best Friends'. 

Step 1: I try to approach each painting with a fresh approach in mind and not by formula. So, in this little painting (10x8), I've begun on a white oil primed linen surface, rather than a toned one, which I've stretched myself onto stretcher bars. With a large bristle brush, using my medium of choice, maroger, I block in the lights and darks of my concept not being concerned about drawing at this point, just placing my figures in their space on my canvas. This is done quickly. It's difficult to get coverage on a slippery oil primed surface, but I like this....I keep the darks airy and don't worry about the brushstrokes showing. All of this creates possibilities from which to work with. I let this stage dry overnight and can hardly wait to begin laying in pieces of paint tomorrow!


Step 2: As you can see, I have refined my dark areas. As I mentioned in step 1, it's tough to get coverage on a slippery surface such as oil primed linen, so today I concentrate on creating those dark areas. With a little dry paint now on the canvas, it's easier to work. Also, I begin to lay in color using a larger brush, without worrying about drawing. My aim at this point is to stay with my original concept for this painting. I want to set these little girls into a circle of focus. Everything else in the painting is secondary. This is a lot of stuff in a tiny painting and so my goal is to try to minimize detail in the outer areas of the girls' figures and in so doing, hopefully make this confined space that the girls are in, appear as if it is in a very large space. Does that makes sense? Their faces remain in shadow....this is fun to paint....the mere gesture of these little girls tells the complete story. I am aiming for simplicity and hope to achieve that in the design of light and shadow that I've created. Keeping the distant landscape simple, I use it to add some color and direct the eye to the heads.

                                                                           STEP #3
Step 3: Continuing to lay in pieces of paint, color as well as non-color, created by bringing the background color into the figures, creating their forms. Their faces are simply pieces of paint created with single, unaltered brushstrokes. I try to lay in the lights in an impasto fashion and not disturb the paint quality. I'm constantly pushing and pulling values...either making areas darker (keeping them thin) or areas brighter or lighter (impasto). This is so much fun!

Step 4: And the whole process continues. I endeavor to not lose sight of my original design and concept. Pushing the lights and de-emphasizing the areas that are unimportant, the area surrounding the girls. The landscape in the background is brightened and the paint quality thicker as I use this area to complete my original concept and design.

                                                        STEP #5 - Completed Painting

Completed Painting: "Best Friends", oil on linen, 10x8 A little more refining, brightening whites, more color, adjusting the background and the little painting is done. 


Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Model Break", 10x14, oil on linen

"Model Break", 10x14, oil on linen

Painting from life is especially satisfying, particularly painting the figure . Painting the figure has been my passion since I was a little girl ... I've just never been able to as often as I'd like.

It's been wonderful to have Natasha sit for me the past weeks.   I look forward to Tuesdays, knowing that she will join me in my studio when I get so engrossed in painting that the time just flies by.

Click on the image to enlarge....