Thursday, February 28, 2013

Had a question . . .

I had a question from a reader on Facebook about how I see color. It made me think about my habits. One thing I told her was that I often try to identify color in the landscape when I'm driving. When I'm really into it, I'll try to determine what color mixes might produce that color when painting. It's kind of fun and can make an otherwise boring drive turn into a painting lesson. This works well when you're sitting around also. Just about anytime and anywhere. Very handy.

The little painting that prompted the question.

When I'm painting intentionally - as opposed to mindless therapeutic painting - I often stop to determine and vocalize the color I think I'm seeing. Especially if it's a subject I'm not used to and would have a tendency to jump to color conclusions. For instance if it's an apple, it must be red, right? Not really. It could be lots of colors and I have to thoughtfully observe.

Another aspect of the process is taking into account the surrounding color. If I want a certain spot to pop I may have to subdue some of the surrounding color in the painting. I may have to make it lean more toward the complement of my "pop area", or gray it some so the intensity of the pop comes through.

Using a "color isolator" can be helpful too. I originally heard of this helper when studying Kevin Macpherson's book Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light and Color. There's lots of helpful color info in there. It can be very surprising to hold your little gray card up and look through the holes and find out the color you're looking at is very different from what you were thinking.

Comparing the actual hill color to the paint color.
 So, just a few thoughts on seeing color. I'm sure you have some practices of your own that work well.  I'd be interested in hearing about your color observation practices if you care to share them.

Happy painting!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Oanges X 3, 6x6, oil on panel

Oranges X 3
On to oranges. Not too sure about this one, but it was nice to try something besides peppers. I think I want to do this same set up only use different background and shadow colors. Darker shadows, maybe bluer as well.

There's one more for the week.

Limes and Apple
This is by far my favorite. Might try this background and shadow color with the oranges next week. See, there's always a new idea to try! And, I think I'm learning things that will impact my landscapes when I go back to those.

The whole bunch.
From bottom left to top right (is that backwards from the way we read?), the progression of each day's painting. Left to right, bottom to top. This stretches over a bit more than a week. The first one was done in the previous week. The 2 peppers with red background were done the same day. The rest were done one each day. I see progress!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Yellow Bell #5, 6x6, oil on panel

Yellow Bell #5
Same set up, new day. I like this one better. It's closer to what I was after. This is amazingly fun and no pressure when I only allow myself 1 hour max per day. Now, as Carol said in her article in Professional Artist, I already have ideas of what to try the next time. I've never felt this kind of freedom to experiment and I'm lovin' it!

How about you? Are you in a slump? I hope you aren't but just in case you are, this is really a fun way to snap out of it!  Happy painting!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Yellow Bell #4, 6x6, oil on panel

Today I had to cut my pepper. Tomorrow I think I'll have to eat it.

It's amazing what I can get done when I don't go anywhere. A decent snow has been enough to keep me home.

The set up.
This is the set up I chose. I liked the juxtaposition of the two pieces.

Cropped view through view finder.

It's handy to use a view finder for a close still life as well as a landscape.

Yellow Bell #4
And my painting. I like the green background. Letting the yellow ground show through keeps things vibrant.

I'm so glad to be painting again! How about you?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Yellow Bell #3, 6x6, oil on panel

Yellow Bell #3
Painting different views and angles keeps things challenging and interesting. This was fun!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Yellow Bell #2

 Happy Valentine's Day! I guess I should've been painting a red pepper!

Yellow Bell #2, 6x6, oil on panel
Here's my second "keeper" of the Peppers. It too is the second attempt of the day. My first attempt (I should've taken a pic) had the color I wanted but too many details in the pepper. I took another look at Carol Marine's tutorial to make some comparisons. Right away I saw my "mistakes". I corrected them, which was a great learning tool and then wiped it off. I repainted it as you see it, keeping in mind the things I had done to the previous one to correct it.

The pepper with only light from the window and overhead.

This is my set up. As you can see, I waited a bit long - this pepper is starting to get shriveled! Oops.

The pepper with the direct bright light on it.
The artificial light really changes the color of things, but casts a nice shadow.

The uncropped image.
As you can see, I toned the board with an orange color that's in the pepper. It makes it easier to get that glow.

All in all, I think I learned something with this one. I hope I can apply it on my next pepper. I think it's time to cut this yellow bell open and try an "interior". How do you handle simple still lifes?

Happy painting!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Yellow Bell #1, 6x6, oil on gessoed panel

How interesting life is! I don't know about you, but I'm a person who gets very intent on one idea for a long time and then I wake up one morning with a totally different direction.  I often get myself burned out on the current idea because of my intensity. Perhaps all artists are like this.

I knew when I started one-1-five I would find myself screaming in protest one of these days and salivating to paint again. I'm trying really hard to prevent that and ease back into painting and strike some sort of balance between the two.

Following in the daily painting tradition (I guess it's a tradition, or at least a trend) I'm attempting to paint a small painting almost every day. I'm not going to be rigid about it. It's not a rule. More of a survival mechanism. Just for fun. Just to experiment. Just to play around and just to learn some more about color, design, form, drawing and all the rest. . . Ooops, now I'm starting to sound too intense.

Yellow Bell #1

I'm sure you're all familiar with Carol Marine and her wonderful work. This is my attempt at doing something similar.  There will be more to follow. Different angles, cropping, modelling. And if you're interested in doing the same, she has some tutorials on her blog you might want to check out.

An interesting thing I've noticed about myself and others. There can be a certain awkwardness when one has been used to painting a particular subject and then making a switch to another. I found that to be the case when I painted this pepper. If it was a landscape I would have felt no intimidation. But I was very intimidated by this pepper! This is my second attempt at it. I got the first one done-ish and wiped it off. Started over. Wanted to wipe this one off too, but my buddies encouraged me to keep it for comparison. We'll see . . .

In the meantime I'm headed over to Carol Marine's blog to check out those tutorials. Happy painting!
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