Instead of taking a photograph, I painted these blossoms in first - and quickly. They opened fast! Once I got those down, I had plenty of time to work on the rest of the painting. The white blocks weren't going anywhere. Though the sphere did manage to roll off the table overnight....I blame a mischievous kitty.
More red Camellias! I have a larger painting in the works with this setup, but in that one the blossoms are still mostly closed. I thought they looked lovely the next morning as they opened, so I started a second painting.
Eight years ago, on February 21st, 2008, I wrote my first blog post - and it wasn't much! Looking back at my work over the years is fun, and I see some subjects I'd like to revisit...
I will not rub it in that it's the second week of February, and I picked these outside, growing in a very springlike manner. It never ceases to amaze me, though - even nine years after leaving the Midwest - how early things bloom here in Oregon!
Here's a time-lapse video of this piece. I wasn't painting quite THAT fast, but I did have to hustle on this one. The flowers were opening and dropping off faster than I could paint
them - literally! I'm glad I had a grisaille sketch to work from - it
helped a lot.
One of my favorite workshop exercises is painting an all-white still life using NO white paint. Instead, we mix a chromatic scale from yellow to purple and paint with that. It works! And it's amazing how much you can do, in a painting, with how little white paint.
I use these white geometric objects in some of my workshop exercises, and lately they've infiltrated my home studio as well. Though I'm usually painting them in black and white while teaching, I also love exploring the spectrum of grays that occur when white objects are surrounded by colorful light.
When approaching a gray - or the modeling of an object whose local color is white - I ask myself a series of questions. What's the value of the gray? What's its temperature? What colors in the environment are influencing its color? Often, to arrive at the gray I need, I'll start with one of these surrounding colors (like the purple in this painting), and neutralize it until it works on the white object.
Another way to "see" color in ambiguous areas, like grays, is to use a color isolator. Sometimes I'll just squint through a half-closed fist.
And here is the preparatory sketch for this painting, on canvas instead of the oil paper this time:
Suddenly, it's been two years since my last large self-portrait.
Although I'd really like to avoid as many cliches as possible here, I'll allow myself one: it feels like only yesterday....
In looking at these side-by-side, I notice a strangely similar thing happening around the neckline of both shirts. They aren't the same shirt (though I do still wear the sweater from the first portrait), but my undershirt is peeking out in both.
After wondering about it for a while, I noticed this print on my wall....which I've been looking at, on one wall and another, since about the age of twelve.
Thank you, Modigliani, for invading my subconscious.
And here are my works-in-progress. First the head gets bigger, then the body grows to match it!