Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Year and Resolutions

We all make them whether we want to admit it or not.  We take inventory of 2009 and look to 2010 with fresh eyes and plans to make those changes in our habits that we deem necessary.  Yes I made a few New Year's Resolutions, but at my age, I am more pragmatic and realistic.  This past year brought some health problems that forced me to retire from a long time teaching career.  Painting became my day in and day out occupation.  No excuses now for not getting into the studio every day.  But what has become evident to me, if not my husband, I work better under tight time pressures.  Thirty-five years of schedules and deadlines are difficult to shake off and take my time to think and reflect on what I want to paint.   So after all the family has gone back home and the holidays are over,and a bad cold/flu had subsided, I sit and look at the blank canvas wondering which direction to go in.  For me, the best remedy for this dry spell is to paint small and quickly.  Here are a few "quickies" that I did hoping that something more challenging will come along.

The yellow creamer with grapes was a 8" X 10" that took a little longer than a day but proved to be a challenge because of the bisque surface with no reflective properties.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Finished Work

It's been some time since my last post.  As you can see I made quite a few alterations in the composition itself.  My original had the still life sitting on a wooden box.  It just didn't work compositionally so I turned it into a stone shelf.  I love the chiaroscuro style and hope I didn't go overboard with the strong light and dark.  I am always remembering the rules about basic value patterns and that is--there should be three values, dark, middle and light.  By varying the proportional amount of area occupied by each value, it makes for a much more interesting composition.  In each case, the smallest area naturally becomes the center of interest (the garlic and onions).  The largest value area becomes the dominant value group (bottles, dark cloth, background, and under the shelf).  Middle value is the front face of the shelf, cloth in front, and parts of the balsamic bottle.  My challenge was the cloth.  Veermer is one of my favorite painters and his rugs are masterfully painted.  I was trying for the same results with the scarf drape.  My final step that I try to do with all my paintings is to put it away for two or more weeks without looking at it--then bring it out and have a "cold" look so I can see if there are any glaring mistakes that can be fixed.  I learned this from writers.  By putting the piece away and then reading it cold after a few weeks, this practice will reveal elements of strengths and weaknesses that weren't visible earlier.  If you don't have that much time, have someone else that you trust look at it.
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