Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Look Away," 9x12, oil on gessoed board

SOLD. This was the last thing I did before going to the workshop last weekend. I think I spent a week on it, partly because I was going for a specific effect. I didn't get that effect, but I'm not displeased with it. It still has a kind of glowing effect. Maybe it's the halo around the flower (another concept from Oil Painting Secrets from a Master and David Leffel). 'Nuff said tonight. There's a gourd posing for me that wants attention.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Two Radishes," 6x8, oil on canvas board

All art lies. That's a much too dramatic statement to make when I'm posting radishes, but there's a reason. These are not radishes; this is just a picture of them. Also, the bowl did not have reflections, nor was it darker on the left than the right But without those effects, the bowl just looked flat. So the painting lies.

Looking at this and recent paintings, it seem to me that I've had a theme. In Oil Painting Secrets from a Master, David Leffel is quoted as saying "You must have a concept before you work out a composition for your paintings..." His concepts are things like how light moves across his still life set up (not stuff like the futility of blah blah in modern whatever). I think my recent concept has been "Look at those cool shadows!" Also, "I want to paint complements I've never painted before."

Gosh this is fun.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Two Persimmons," 8x10, oil on ready to hang board

Connie Kleinjans, original oil painting, Two Persimmons, 8x10
I call this a qualified success. Now, I'm actually rather pleased with how it looks. The persimmon on the right changes color smoothly. You can almost feel it. The "qualified" part of the success is that I'd wanted it to be more painterly. I wanted to lay down visible brush strokes that assembled themselves into a 3-D picture (if you see what I mean). I think the issue here is that I was using painting medium. I use water-soluble oils, and I use water to help me paint. Medium seems to make the surface and the paint really slippery. I couldn't get it to behave, and it took a lot of time to finish. So I either need to experiment with media more, or give up altogether. Hmm.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

"Tiny Tomatoes," 6x6, oil on ready-to-hang board

This one might be a keeper. These tomatoes also traveled to my workshop and back (see prior post), and they didn't have much more time left, so here they are. I love the green against the reddish-purple. Now, one of my goals is to be more of a bold painter. What that seems to require is a keen eye for seeing what's there, then the ability to put down the right stroke in the right color and let it be. These tomatoes, with their stripes that look like watermelon, were conducive to fussing. So, while I fussed more than I wanted, they're still wonderful little tomatoes. Can tomatoes be cute?

Friday, October 26, 2007

"White on Blue," 5x5, oil on board

This was another picture from the workshop. After the second day, I felt like painting some more, so the manager loaned me the key and I went back after dinner. I painted all by myself, and this, as they say, almost painted itself. I did it in about 40 minutes or so. It's possible that I was able to paint fast because the bathroom was locked and, ahem, I had to (paint fast). I have not tested this theory since then.

The next day we did an interesting exercise in which Carol challenged us to do a painting with the least number of strokes possible. I decided to consider the blue picture a study, and use the same onion. I did this in something like 196 strokes, and I love the painterliness of it. Below is the only picture I took of my painting table at the workshop. It's the setup for the prior picture.

There seems to be something about onions that suits my painting style.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"Dipping One Toe," 8x10, oil on board

This is my first solo painting after Carol Marine's workshop. The colors are brighter, which is fun. Carol recommends the Munsell color scheme because the complements seem to her to be more true. I'd looked it over, but had never compared the complements to those in the RGB wheel, and I believe she's right. The complements are hotter. I gather that Munsell chose the colors based on research with eyesight afterimage, so maybe that's why.

I chose to do it because one of the workshop paintings was this:

(Same onion, which is funny. It traveled from Silicon Valley to Sacramento and back.) I liked the composition and the shadow. But I do like the newer one better. Granted I worked on it longer, but it's more oniony; you can see the papery outer layer. The composition is better, too. And it's braver. Remember that word from the prior post: Courage!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Fuyu Persimmon," 6x8, oil on canvas board

I'm not sure I can sell this; at least, not yet. This last weekend I took a wonderful workshop from Carol Marine. I loved it. It was my first painting workshop ever, and I reveled. I had stumbled on Carol's work early, and admired her sure hand, but it's one thing to admire someone's work, and another to watch them paint something and see how they manipulate the colors and brush, and how they build the piece. (It was also good to see that even the teacher sometimes struggles. As she Carol, "Every painting is like a chess game. You don't know how it's going to come out.")

So I feel like it tightened up my approach. I've been thrashing recently about what I want to paint, and in what style, and had fallen into the futzing school of paint: If I poke at it long enough, it will come out OK. Carol emphasized looking at your setup carefully, blending the right colors, and putting down sure strokes that move the composition forward. (Well, she covered a few other things, too.)

This piece was the last one I did on the final day of the workshop. Most of the people were packing up to go home, and I worked while clean-up swirled around me. Carol would come over, say something kind, then tell me to darken it. She had to do that about three times. So I finally went boldly dark, and it popped. There's a lesson there. Courage.

I'll be posting more pictures in the next few days.