Friday, February 14, 2014

The Dahlias Are Done!!!

Greetings from the frozen tundra that is New York City!  Yesterday started with a blizzard, then had sleet, rain, thunder and lightening and then more snow.  It has been a crazy week, but despite all that, I managed to finish three paintings.

First up:  the never-ending dahlias.  If you recall, I started this painting back in October.  The flowers went in right away, but the rest of it took some time.  Between the Mexico trip, the holidays and two portraits, they got put on the back burner.  However this week I resolved to tie up all the loose ends that were hanging around my studio.

The original set up

I painted over an old canvas.  I started with an outline of the set up and then began to put the flowers in.  

This is where things stalled.  Luckily the flowers were done, so it was easy to pick up where I left off.

When I got back to the painting, I started out by putting in the background again, just to get things moving on the whole canvas (a great tip I learned from Gregg).  I also decided to add some lemons to the shelf so I put them in and then pumped up the shadows on the vase.  I also put in the highlight on the vase.  I know it sound counterintuitive, but Gregg taught me that you have to put the highlight in first so you know that your other colors are dark enough that you can see it.

Finally I got to the fun part, the blue pattern.  Now I have to admit, this did not go on in one shot.  I re-did the pattern four or five times and when you fix one thing, you end up changing everything around it.  That meant that if I wanted to do the pattern over, I had to do the shadow and the white of the pot as well.  It took some time, but it was worth it to get it right.

This is the finished painting.  The photo is not great as it was already getting dark so I just snapped a quick pic to show you.  I may tweak it a bit over the next week or so, but for now I'm calling it done.

The second painting I worked on was really a spur of the moment decision.  I originally finished this up  over the summer, but I was never quite happy with it.

It's not bad, but not great either.  It really needed something, but I didn't know what.  At the end of the day on Tuesday, I was suddenly struck with inspiration.  The gray background needed to go.  I replaced it with a greenish red background and it looks so much better.  The new color makes the fruit pop and just brightens up the whole painting.

Next I decided that there was not enough going on in the painting.  As you can see, there is a lot happening on the shelf, but with the exception of the vase, nothing is going on in the background.  I added some stems and leaves coming out of the vase and from behind the vase as well.  Now the flow of the painting is really working.  This whole process took me less than thirty minutes and I was so into what I was doing that I completely forgot to take photos! Luckily I do have the finished painting to show you.

I like it so much better with these changes and I'm so happy I was able to save the painting instead of having it be a paint over.

I also finished a portrait this week, but I'll put that in another post as there is one tiny thing in it that is driving me crazy.  I may have to make a change before I post it.

So that is what has been happening around here.  Hope all of you are warm and dry!

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