Tuesday, January 5, 2010
With glorious light shining down in my studio, I painted. I painted and painted and painted some more! I started a few more children at the beach, continuing my series as posted in Finding clarity. I love starting them. I go crazy dripping color. Its so freeing! (I made sure to use a lot of red...) By afternoon a friend called and wanted to come paint. She had seen a painting online and wanted to try to imitate the style. She needed help getting started.
Fine. Let's do it!
It was totally out of my comfort zone. Not nature, but a still life. And the way the paint had to be laid was about as opposite as it gets. I love working with the transparent properties of the oils. I get so intrigued by the way light passes through them, hits the canvas and bounces back as light.
For this project, we needed to begin with a toned canvas. There would be no light shinning from behind. All the lights would be placed on top of other paint. I chose a small canvas. I didn't expect to be happy with the results, but figured we'd have fun. Nothing wrong with a little fun, is there? So I set up a simple still life, resembling the type she had found.
I did some still life paintings years ago. I loved setting them up in my big window. I'd cluster up all sorts of things of different shapes then chase the light all day, finishing the following day to repeat the same light. It was like a treasure hunt finding the right objects to place together. Tall pieces, short wide pieces, scattered pieces, fruit, vegetables, flowers or plants always made the list. Doilies or draped cloths found their way under a portion of the objects, allowing reflections on the rest. Setting up the arrangement was a work of art in itself.
The set-up was to be very simple. One or two objects at most. A challenge for a good, interesting composition. A challenge to get excited about what I was going to paint! Yikes. What had I gotten myself into?
Still it was painting, so I decided to relax and go with it. We had so much fun. Like teaching, being out of your comfort zone, forces you to focus on the important elements. Form, composition, color... I found playing on the toned canvas to be quite fun. Paint responded differently and that made it exciting. After awhile it felt more like I was drawing than painting. Perhaps we got too picky, but we were pretty green at this method.
I surprised myself. Here it is, Susan Roux's "Purple Teapot". The result wasn't as bad as I had predicted. I know it isn't a masterpiece, but I'm not embarrassed to post it. After all, it comes with my whole story. It was a lot of fun to experiment. I hope you take time for that once in a while. Its a challenge but stimulating. I'll go back to my regular transparent way of painting. Who knows, some little part of this exercise may remain with me and reappear on a later canvas... Don't you love surprises?