So this week, I was excited to work on my still life. The under painting wouldn’t dry quickly though. So I decided to make another version, slightly bigger, on canvas this time. This way I could include more detail and I’d have two of them so I could feel even more free to take artistic risks.
I was pleasantly surprised at how easily I chugged through the second under painting. Here they are, side by side.
I didn’t get a chance to start the color until tonight. But I made a small sketch to try the colors out first.
I decided it was ok, but that I needed to push the cool colors more and be braver with the color in general.
I started with a garish application of cool blues wherever I could see them. Im trying to take some chances and not be so precious about it, so that freed me up a bit and I knew the color in the sketch was all over too warm, so having some cool blues to work into seemed appropriate.
I’m undecided about the light fabric in the top of the still life. It may have to go. I included it to help me practice lost and found edges around the birdhouse, but it seems distracting. Although the composition could be boring without it.
Before cleaning up for the night, I wiped the questionable fabric out a bit to free me up to make a decision about it tomorrow. I also scraped down bumpy brushstrokes so I’m not hemmed in too early.
Anyway, I’m proud of the chances I took at this stage with the color. I’m excited to have experimented with the color sketch first and to have done the second under painting and made a bolder decision about the size. I’ve also decided that I’m going to push myself to do 5 layers. I know it seems arbitrary, but I think I usually stop one layer short of truly being done. So I thought I’d try it.
Anyway, all of these things contribute to me being just a little more free with the process and that’s where I have to go. I’ll always be able to dial it back, because that’s pretty natural for me. But I’m really curious as to where this will wind up if I continue to let it sing.
This the beginning of a small still life. I can’t wait to see where it takes me.
At this phase, I just have an under painting in burnt sienna. I used a shallow cradled 12×12 board that I gessoed last year with a gypsum type gesso. I’d have to look, but I think I may have built the cradle for the board at some point too.
Sometimes when I don’t have much in the way of ideas, but I have a little time and energy, I focus on preparing surfaces. That way, there is a bunch of them around so I’m ready when the moment strikes. It removes an impediment which is important for busy people.
I’m doing a still life now because you can learn so much from them. As a painter, I struggle with application of paint, edge treatment, and color issues. For the most part, I am able to draw well enough for my purposes (though drawing is a life long pursuit!) but I need to address the other issues so that I can move forward with the work I want to do.
This may wind up a mess, but I’ll try to post updates of this as it goes. I love it when others do that. It’s really interesting and informative to see people’s process.
Here’s a rough photo of the set up. It’s not the best, I’m aware. I created this arrangement to help me play with color, tone/value, and lost and found edges. Bless my husband’s heart for allowing this mess in the living room for what I hope is just about a week.
Even if this winds up terribly, I’m sure I will learn from it and that’s the point, right? Let’s see how it goes!
Based on the little oil sketch I did, I thought this composition was worth spending more time on.
I decided to do it as a 14×11 pastel for several reasons. First, pastel forces me to take chances with color. And second, I wanted to practice going back and forth between media so I can get more comfortable working from my sketches. I need to do that in order to carry some of my ideas forward, so it’s worth practicing. Third, I had gotten new pastel paper that I was interested in trying.
The good news was I LOVED the paper. This is the one for me! The color intensity on the Colourfix was just too much for me and I didn’t think the tooth was all that great.
This one wasn’t too expensive and can be water colored on before you use it which could be helpful. So I think I found a paper that works for me. I can even start to imagine making bigger pieces on it which is nice because sometimes I find size limits constricting.
Anyway, like I said, it isn’t finished. I can see things to fix. But I’m happy about the paper. Yay!!
Today, I only had an hour. It was a miracle I even had that. I needed to look at something, break it down, and reconstruct it to help me process this crazy day.
I’m so glad to have this work to throw myself into, even if only for an hour. I needed to do this. And I think I saw some things differently when I was working on this.
I’m always very interested in tone/value, but I think I experienced it with more subtlety than I usually do. Ultimately, I want to do more with color in my work, but I wouldn’t sacrifice value to get there. I think if I get the value right, just a little color will really pop. I’m trying to push myself in that direction.
These little paintings are powerful learning tools. Maybe this is a sketch for me to revisit at another time.
This is a 7×5 that I made from my pochade box in my living room.
Being without power in the art studio is providing some opportunities as well as challenges. I don’t usually paint in the living room. But the little paint kit is meant for traveling. Why not travel downstairs? 😂
I’ve temporarily moved the art studio downstairs to the dining room thanks to my (blessedly) accommodating husband. And I was able to mostly finish the pastel I started earlier today. Yay!
I may have overworked it a bit as I pushed the paper to see what it could do but all and all, I like it.
And I do I like the paper. I was mostly able to cover up the uncomfortably orange color of the paper. It definitely took more pastel and had a smoother texture than Mi Teintes, which I have mostly been using. It did eat my pastels more than I like. And I need to gain a bit more control but I was able to push the dark colors further on this paper which is a positive thing too.
I’ll let it sit a few days to see if it’s really finished before trying to untape it from the board.
A quick little pastel drawing of a creek nearby. It’s from one of my husband’s photos. I was trying out my composition and color palette before attempting to work on the nice paper I have purchased but am afraid to waste.
On Sunday, I plugged the vacuum into the outlet in the art studio and we lost power to half of the upstairs. It’s been a disappointment to not have electric in the art room during a break. I had planned to spend a lot of time in there and now I’m limited to bright daytime hours without an additional heater.
I know that these are small problems in the scheme of things. Things are fine, really. We have a lot to be thankful for. This is just a potentially expensive inconvenience.
I started a larger drawing of this piece on nice paper, but the electrician arrived when I had just about finished the under painting. We thought he’d just need to get to the circuit panel in the basement, but he had to go upstairs too. I won’t feel comfortable in my art studio until tomorrow. So it will have to wait. And power was not restored to the upstairs, so there’s still that.
I did try the colourfix smooth paper a little bit before he arrived though. Wow! you can erase all the way back really easily, but the pastels stay where you put them. How does that work? Magic?
Also, I usually tape the paper to a board when I’m working. How do you untape the colourfix paper without tearing it? I can tell already that I will need to be REALLY careful. Yikes.
I’m glad I got the smooth colourfix. It was bumpy enough for me. If I get more, it will be the grey and/or the aubergine. I tried the burnt sienna and found the intense chroma unpleasant. I guess I’m just really used to grey.