Sunday, December 23, 2007

"Fork and Shadow," 5x7, oil on gesso board

Connie Kleinjans fine artSold.

I'm kind of pleased with this one. I love how the Munsell complementary colors really pop, and square plates are way fun to paint, and the shadow of the fork was a bit of a challenge, but it even looks like stainless.

I've been looking at the work of Caroline Jasper. She starts with a really hot red ground, and keeps it visible in her final work (although she'll attenuate it in the background for landscapes). It gives her paintings an intensity I like. So I started with a red ground for this one. I actually found that some of my paints were too transparent, and I had to add some white to get them to cover the red enough. But I like the overall effect. No many neutrals here! That might be too hot if this was a 30"x36", but at 5x7 it works.

Here's a Caroline Jasper demo.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

"Kapiolani Beach 1," 8x10, oil on canvas board


I'm still thinking about this one. It doesn't speak to me, but my husband thinks I underrate myself.

I noticed something that would be a good exercise if taken further. I was looking through some painting books that I've grazed and added sticky tags to in the past. The exercise is to notice what kind of art attracts you. Mostly, for me, I find it's the bold, bright art. I guess I really like the impressionists and colorists.

But... Then I turn and do something like my fig painting from a couple of months ago. Very dark. Very sedate. But it has those greens and purples coexisting against a really rich background. Or the Study in White Fuzz I did awhile ago. But I like it for the dandelion head and the rough edges.

I guess you can like lots of stuff. But the point is to figure it out so that when you paint, you're in synch with yourself. That's when painting feels best.

Friday, December 21, 2007

"Three Stones," 6x8", oil on hangable art board

Ah, time flies like an arrow (fruit flies like a banana!). Since the last entry, my husband and I visited Honolulu (where I grew up) and he finished the Honolulu Marathon. I am in awe. We saw old friends and visited old haunts. It Was Good.

Back to painting. I started this before I the trip and finished afterwards. It was initially meant to be a lovely realistic composition in tones of grey, both warm and cool. But, somehow, I didn't feel like doing that. I felt like building color. Thank you, Hawaii, and also, thank you Caroline Jasper. She often paints on a background that's toned hot red (behold a demonstration). I like the effect and applied it here, since this was too monochromatic. After slashing the red into the background, I went over it in shades of white. I think this is much more lively. It's kind of calm yet energetic. Sort of hot zen? Hey, maybe that would be a better title.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

"Yellow Pitcher," 6x8, oil on hangable art board

Connie Kleinjans, original oil painting, Yellow Pitcher, 6x8This one was a challenge. It's a pitcher I got at an antique store; probably goes back to the 50s or 60s or so, and it's quite charming. I set it up in high contrast to emphasize its lines and shadow. Then I had a deuce of a time getting the ellipse of the top anywhere near right. Eventually, just for grins, I decided to turn it into a two-value painting, but get as much color into those values as I could. Not a bad exercise.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

"Three Heirs," 8x8, oil on gallery-wrapped canvas

This was fun. It felt like some of the skills I've been working on finally applied themselves. Specifically, I've been trying to paint with more mixing the color on the canvas and less blending; to get that dark belt you see on spheres like tomatoes; to get reflections that looked organic; to go darker; and not to futz as much. All of these came out better than in the past. In places, it painted itself. I liked Tom Brown's comment about that: Sometimes you're just holding onto the paintbrush and it's going by itself.

I painted this from a photo I took at my father-in-law's house. These three gorgeous tomatoes were going to be part of dinner, and they contrasted beautifully with each other and with the square plate. I set them up in the afternoon sunlight, with the shadow from the curtain across the right side of the plate.

One thing new that I tried was to do the highlights in two steps. So today's lesson is this: When doing highlights, try first putting down a shape of white mixed with the surface color. Then place your purer white on top of that. It seems to make it sit on the surface better. Some people suggest that you lean the white toward the opposite temperature of the surface, but just a bit. I'd like to hear opinions on that.