Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Almost Breakfast (blue)", 6x8, oil on canvas board

Connie KleinjansThis is my next bowl painting. My attempt on this one was to have a warm white on a cool background.

I'm remembering how hard it is to paint white pottery (and if you've tried this, you know). The issue is how bright the white is. Now, the brightest white in a painting such as this is not the crockery, but the reflections. However, white paint does not get as bright as a reflected light. This means that you need to darken the rest of the whites so you can get a reasonable difference between the bowl and the reflection. The bowl ends up being kind of dark, as it is here. And yet I want it to look like a white bowl. It's the same as if you paint a portrait; the brightest white will be reflections in the eyes, and the artist might need to make the whites of the eyes bluish to allow for the difference.

I think the fun part of doing this bowl series (and maybe I'll continue it one or two more) is going to be when I use up all the standard combinations. I'll have to figure out something different to do.

I'm also reminded of this interesting bit from Conversations in Paint, by Charles Dunn:
The Campbell's soup can is a recurring visual theme throughout these pages. A while back, I decided to work on my drawing. The combination of curves and straight lines in the soup can appealed to me as a good starting place.

As it turned out, the familiar red-and-white can proved to be a remarkable object with which to study the underlying ideas in painting. For instance, it has darks and lights as well as darks within the light area and lights contained in the dark area. Because the Campbell's can is familiar to the point of being mundane, it presents the fundamental artistic challenge of trying to make the ordinary extraordinary, and permitted me to experiment and to explore the larger issues of painting.
It's not a new thing to take one object and do it over and over again. Think of Kevin MacPherson and his lake series. In February my friend Silvina Day did a series on a street person she met; her write-up is wonderfully emotional and charged.

We'll see what I learn from this. Could be dreck. Could be good. Probably won't last a year; it's not a pond or a human. It's a simple bowl and spoon.


  1. Hey Con, thanks for the mention.

    I'm seeing a change in your style and technique. It's really interesting to watch an artist's progression as they commit themselves to explore and experiment.

    I like the variation of brush strokes throughout the whole painting (something I need to work on).

  2. Nice one, Connie. I love the rich blues--makes me think of some blue and turquoise pottery I saw in Turkey recently.

    Interesting how the dish on the red background looks more "white" than the one on the blue background.

  3. Silvina. Thanks. I'm so used to using my brain to solve things that it's sometimes hard to listen to myself to know what attracts me. I have to go by how it feels: right or icky. :)

  4. Sara. I looked at your Turkey blog, and it's amazing! I want to spend some more time there, but what an experience.

    And, yes, I did the bowl darker on the blue background so I could get the highlights. On the red one I experimented with some yellowing highlights. Not sure it worked.

    Thanks for dropping by.