Journal of My Work-in-Progress: Painting and Photography
Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. It's a journal of sorts. It gives me a place to show my work-in-progress for my painting and photography. Comments are welcome --- add one at the end of an entry or email me at BarbBlumer@gmail.com.
I took a series of photographs of apples as potential still lifes, and chose this stack of three to paint first. I really struggle with painting apples. I am not sure why. But I will keep painting them until I figure them out. In particular, I find painting red apples the hardest.
Here's the charcoal sketch. And the green apple. I am breaking a personal rule -- I never paint "the" subject first. Usually I paint everything together so that the values and colors relate to one another. But, I wanted to see what would happen if I really zoned in on the focal point first, and then worked backwards.
For this painting, I made a detailed drawing in charcoal then fixed it. It is a more complicated subject than fruits so I drew the whole shebang*. It might have been overkill but I knew the basket was going to be challenging to paint so I decided to go ahead and figure it all out. I think it will make painting more relaxing. We'll see. I've never painted a basket before. There are many changes in direction of light which means the values will change frequently. So, I have been thinking about how I am going to approach it.
* This is an American phrase from the 1920's meaning the whole thing, or all of it.
I think I am done with this painting, which I am calling "The Barletts." It is the first painting I have ever done where I used charcoal to draw a sketch first. (I usually draw with paint.) Well, I learned the hard way that you must fix the charcoal and let it dry completely before painting. I didn't and the charcoal mixed in with my paint and the charcoal drawing still shows through in places, if you look closely. Nonetheless, I found it more relaxing and fun to paint this way because I had already done the drawing underneath.
Lesson learned: fix your charcoal drawing and let it dry completely.
Before we had our first frost, I picked anemones from the garden and set up arrangements to photograph for paintings. This is the first one I have started. To my chagrin, I started with a taupe background and then realized that I wasn't going to be able to get a true white. I think I can make it work if I build up successive layers of white paint.
Sketch for Anemones
So, for the the next painting of anemones, I started on a white background and drew a sketch in charcoal then fixed it. I hope to begin work on this painting this week. It's larger. Anemones are actually quite tall.
In Progress --- Still Wet Still Life of Three Fruits
Thought I'd start to post some of the things I have been working on this fall. I am working on still lifes, and I decided to do underpaintings. This means that I do a drawing first to work out the composition and solve some of the drawing problems.
For this painting, I used a bright pink 8x10 panel leftover from The Grid project. I used Van Dyck brown oil paint to make the sketch.
As a reference, I used a black and white photo from a roll of film I took in Beijing back in 2002. I like to use black and white images because I get to make up the colors.
In general, using photos (versus setting up a real still life) can be problematic. And in this case, there were distracting elements in the background and foreground which I had to eliminate.
Testing it in a frame
As a result, the plate isn't as grounded as it should be. It looks like it is levitating. But, instead of trying to fix it, I think I am going to just name it "Flying Saucer" as suggested by my painting buddy, Lin.
Once it dries, I will tweak a few things, including the apple, but I am pretty happy with the progress I am making on it.