Monday, September 30, 2013

Still Life - Blue Poppies with Yellow Ribbon

This was started several weeks ago, and just recently finished. I was looking for something simple to paint on a 5 x 7 canvas panel that I had for awhile and thought it should get used. I've got so much 'stuff' in my studio that it's a wonder I can find anything... but that's a discussion for another day.

Blue Poppies with Yellow Ribbon
5 x 7 Oil on Canvas Panel
© 2013
So this is ready to be posted on the last day of the 30 day challenge... I didn't make it everyday this time again, but it did get me painting at least some, and for that I'm grateful.

Along that line of thinking (painting daily), I read a book title 'The ONE Thing' authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. It's about achieving extraordinary results (also part of the title). If you are looking for a truthful straightforward read on doing your best at what you love, then I recommend reading this book.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Portrait Study w/ the Zorn Palette

Haven't done a portrait for a long time even though it is one of my favorite subjects. I like painting from life, but usually difficult to find time and resources for this.

Since I've been exploring the Zorn Palette via the Online Watts Atelier, it seems that a good photo reference might be enough to get in some portrait practice. So I used one of their photos (part of an online lesson).

This lesson is done with an umber under painting and then painted in color with 'yup, you guessed it' the Zorn Palette.

Burnt Umber Portrait Underpainting
Burnt umber is, IMHO, a harsh color, and not a favorite of mine. I could have done more to refine this under painting, but I sometimes get impatient and move ahead if I anticipate learning something new. The resulting color study (painted over the under painting) was quite pleasant to do.

Portrait using the Zorn Palette
9x12 Oil on Canvas Sheet
Now the interesting thing is when I use to work at painting a portrait, I had all kinds of colors on my palette, and honestly confused myself on a regular basis. The Zorn Palette is still new for me, so I'm not 100% on point with its color values yet, and shadows are always difficult from a photo. However, I think this palette does a nice job of giving good flesh tones for a portrait painting.

Yes, I believe I'm going to try another soon... ;o)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Beginning a new Still Life


I love to relax and read so I thought I'd do a little painting about this.

I typically start my paintings direct from the set up I arrange by using paint and brush to draw onto the canvas. It has served me well, and I am able to make adjustments as needed at this stage because the oils are somewhat forgiving that way. But there is a downside to this as you will read below.

I wanted to practice my drawing because it is not only good for my skills in general, but drawing is also relaxing and fun for me, and it assists in working out some of the inevitable problems of an arrangement that usually show up while working on the painting when it is more difficult to make changes. Instead of investing a couple of hours on the painting figuring out my lay in, doing a charcoal or pencil study can be more efficient and not feel so 'expensive' when I am not satisfied with the result.

So this little charcoal drawing is just that - a prelim-study (more than a thumbnail sketch). After all, the masters did it that way, so who am I to argue. Just think of the patience and effort they put into their masterpieces! 

Still Life Study
10 x 10 Charcoal on Newsprint
© 2013
As I look at the study, I think it needs some breathing room rather than clustering all the objects so closely together. I can do this by adjusting the set up now before beginning the actual painting. I also think I'll use different candles - maybe one used candle would be better, and a wine glass to bring another human element to the set up.

You can see my marks for the 'notional space' of the objects and a border area beyond it. I like to do this to see what my canvas size will be, and if I need to make adjustments. The changes I'm anticipating will also likely change the format from squarish to a more horizontal rectangle. I will plan to post an intermediate stage for the painting after the changes.

BTW, as a side note, I started reading The Practice and Science of Drawing by Harold Speed. There are technical aspects and examples in this read, but there are also some unexpected concepts as well, and I recommend it. A quote from the book's content...

'Art is the expression of the invisible by means of the visible.' Eugene Fromentin

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mums with Large Vase and Ginger Jar

Did I say I joined the 30 day challenge?

Yes I did, and I finally have 'a' painting that I can actually claim to have painted this month!

I worked on this about three days and I am going to make it count even though I finished on day 12... Geezzzzz
 To continue...
I worked on this with a very limited palette. I was intended to try the 'Zorn Palette', but found it less appealing the more I worked with it. Soooooo... instead of using ivory black, I mixed my black with transparent red oxide and ultramarine blue. I tuned my yellow ochre with some cadmium yellow light, and used only a small bit of vermillion which I did not change, and actually only used a smidge of it since the TRO was more useful on this arrangement. Last, but not least, included in the 'Zorn Palette' is white.

My point in this explanation is that a limited palette can be a blessing when it comes to creating harmony, but also a darn curse if you crave more color as I did in this painting.

(The blue areas would have been black and shades of gray if I didn't make the changes explained earlier.)

Mums in Large Vase w/Small Ginger Jar - SOLD
11 x 14 Oil on Canvas Panel
@ 2013