Monday, February 29, 2016

A New Still Life - Black Vase With Lemons

As I mentioned yesterday, before the marathon painting session I completed a few still life paintings. This set up was simple, but very different from what I normally paint.

This black vase is huge, but very easy to paint as it is just the one color with some highlights.

This was my first day block in.  It looks a little strange as I was painting over an old canvas, but with a few coats of paint the old painting was eradicated forever :)

This was the third session.  The lights and darks are now more prominent and it is beginning to look like an actual painting.

I was very happy to get to this stage after a few sessions as I was worried that this painting was not going to make it.  That happens sometimes and there is no choice but to abandon it and move on, but luckily that was not the case here.

Here is the finished painting.  I let the painting sit for a few weeks, then decided it needed some light added to the area around the top of the vase as well as the front plane of the red cloth.  Soon I will be able to varnish and photograph it.

As I said, this was a simple set up, but sometimes it is fun to paint something quick and easy.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Travels And Destinations

I'm back with part two of my crazy painting spree.  As I said in my last post, I wanted to enter two shows that had specific themes.  This show was titled "Travels And Destinations".  I have plenty of small studies done on location, but I have never been successful at turning those into large studio paintings.  So, for this show, I decided to do something that I never do:  use photographs.  I normally would never paint from photos, but it was the only way to get these paintings done.  I did have some help from my field studies, so I was still able to capture the mood that I was after.

The first painting was of Monet's pond in Giverny.  Years ago I was lucky enough to spend some time in Giverny when artists were still allowed to paint in his gardens.  I have several posts coming up dedicated to my time there, but for this post, I'll just concentrate on the painting for the travel show.

One day last fall I was feeling particularly fed up with the orchids I was working on and I just needed to paint something that was not going to strain my brain and that would be some fun.  I had a canvas that had less than stellar paintings on both sides, so on a whim I pulled it out and began throwing paint on it for a landscape.  I had some of my Giverny photos in the studio, so I pulled one out and got to work.  I blocked in the canvas and did some work on the sky and the famous giant willows that surround the pond.  After a day of this I got back to work on the orchids and basically forgot about the landscape until the call for this show came up.

I'm sorry to say that I was in such a frenzy painting that I did not document my steps along the way, but here is the finished painting.

Monet's Pond At Dusk, 16x20, oil

My next painting was from the botanical gardens in San Miguel de Allende.  My field studies are too awful to show here, but they did capture the colors and the heat of the place.  Between them and some photos I was able to get what I was after.  I actually did this painting in two days.

I put in the sky and the great cloud shape.  Then I blocked in the greenery and the dirt. Even though El Charco del Ingenio is called the botanical gardens in San Miguel, it is really the desert so I tried hard to get the dry, earthy, hot feeling of the landscape there.

El Charco del Ingenio, 12x16, oil

This is the finished painting.  I am not a landscape painter by any means, but these were fun to paint and I'm happy to report that the painting of Monet's Pond was accepted into the show!

Now that all this crazy is over, I'm back to painting my still life and florals.  I have a few new paintings to show you and my studio is just about finished so I'll have that coming up as well.  

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Every Rose Has It's Thorn

Hello everyone.  I'm happy to be back to blogging after a crazy four weeks in which I painted five paintings!  As everyone knows, I am a pretty slow painter, so this was quite a feat.

The reason behind this craziness is that I got two artist calls for shows that I wanted to enter.  Usually, shows are pretty generic.  It will be a landscape show or a still life show and I always have something to enter.  This time the calls were for a travel and destinations show and a roses show.  They both came at the same time so I had no choice but to lock myself in the studio for a month and get to work.

Today I will show you the roses.  I always like to enter at least two paintings into a show as I feel there is just too much pressure with a single entry.  If the juror does not like it, you are out.  With two there is a better chance.  At least that is what I tell myself :)

I knew I would be under a time crunch with the roses, so before I even went to the flower shop, I got out two canvases and prepped them the best that I could.  I put in the background, the still life shelf and the vases for both paintings.  Of course, this is not the proper way to do a painting.  You should be working on the entire painting at once, but in this circumstance, I felt this would be the most efficient way to do things.

The first painting was a bouquet of orange and yellow roses in a glass vase.  The canvas is small, 9x12, so this was an easy painting to complete.  The painting just flowed off of my brush and I was done in two days.

The still life set up

  At the end of day one.  When the first day goes well, things usually go well for the rest of the painting.

Orange And Yellow Roses In A Glass Vase, 9x12, oil

This is the finished painting at the end of the second painting day.  I was so relieved that this one went well.  I usually take a day in between paintings just to have a fresh start, but I turned right around and began painting number two the next day.

Luckily, it was the Friday before Valentine's Day and a box of two dozen pink roses showed up at my house (a gift from my husband).  I immediately took those over to my studio and got to work.  Unfortunately, this painting did not go quite as smoothly.

I had the shape of my vase and the background already done, so it should have been a straightforward process to paint in the flowers, but it was tough from the beginning.

I think I ran into problems because this was really crunch time.  I'm better off when I can spend some time thinking about what I'm painting and work things out as I need to.  There was no time for that with this painting so I just had to keep moving.  The second problem is that roses are very hard to paint.  Flowers are my favorite thing to paint, but roses are so difficult for me that I rarely do them.

This was the first day.  Not horrible, but looking back I can see where my problem started.  I did not paint the shadows in a uniform fashion.  That is something that is second nature to me at this point, but with roses it can be very hard to see and I went down the rabbit hole for a time.

This is a photo of day three.  Sorry it is so dark.  I was painting during that crazy snow storm we had on Monday and it was very dark in the studio.  As you can see, the shadows are done correctly here so that made dealing with the flowers easier, but then I decided that there were problems with the vase!

If you look at Chinese blue and white porcelain, the colors are not as dark and thick as I have them here.  It should be much more subtle.  So what did I do at the end of day four?  Painted it out, of course!  Everyone in my studio thought I was nuts, but I just could not leave it knowing it was not right.

Here is the vase with the original pattern wiped out.  Also, as you can see in the photo above, I decided to add some more roses to the rest of the painting.  My original vision for this painting was an "explosion" of roses.  This isn't quite that, but the new additions really turned the painting around.  At this point all that was left to do was put in the pattern again and add some pink into the still life shelf.

Valentine's Day Roses, 16x20, oil

This is the finished painting.  I finished up the pattern Wednesday evening, then photographed it Thursday, and submitted both paintings on Friday.  I was so happy to be done!  Whether I get into the show or not, I'm very happy with how both of these paintings turned out.  In my next post I'll show you the travel paintings.  Happy Sunday, everybody!