Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mickey bowl with cherries 11x14

It can be fun and instructive to document the development of a painting. I have been asked about my process many times by my high school students. This is by no means the only way to approach a painting. In fact, it's not even the only way I approach painting. It's just one of hundreds of ways of going about getting something done and it has worked pretty well for me.
The first thing I did was mix up some "black". I used ultramarine blue and transparent red oxide. They are both pretty transparent colors and I find they work well for this kind of under painting. I mixed a little bit of Liquin in and went at it. I try to get the initial drawing as accurate as I can because it gets harder to correct that type of thing the farther into the painting one gets.
Speaking of accurate drawing, I noticed that I was a bit off on the angle of the right side of the bowl. At this early stage of the painting it was pretty easy to fix. I just adjusted the angle and wiped the old marks off with a little thinner. At this stage I block in the whole painting with a rough transparent wash. I'm still using mostly ultramarine blue and transparent red oxide. I'm just trying to get the values blocked in as well as adjusting the color temperature. The only other color I have introduced at this point is some alizarin crimson for the cherries.
Once I have everything blocked in I usually let it dry over night or if I want to get right to it I will hit it with a blow dryer for a few minutes. this is where the liquin comes in. It speeds up the drying time and seals my gessoed birch panels very nicely. At this point I could probably start in just about anywhere but I chose the cherries. I added cadmium red deep to my palette and a little bit of titanium white for the highlights. There is also a little bit of cerulean blue in the reflected light in the shadowed side of the fruit.
It made sense to continue working into the bowl so I mixed up a neutral tone using burnt sienna and permanent green. This is just a complimentary pair, green with the burnt sienna standing in as a dirty red. This is a strategy that I use pretty frequently. It allows me to adjust the temperature of my neutral tones pretty easily. I used the same mixture for the background.
At this point it's just a matter of filling in and adjusting the value and the color temperature as I go along. I am also trying to pay attention to the edges. If everything is equally sharp the painting starts to look like a cut out. Adjusting edges takes a lot of experience and I have by no means mastered it but I've been getting happier with my results and will just keep at it. painting is hard. It takes a ton of regular, focused practice to make any headway at all.


Bruce Linden said...

Wow, this is beautiful

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful blog! Love your sharing techniques. The landscapes are very effective. What lucky students you have.