Sunday, February 5, 2017

New Still Life: Ginger Jar With Nectarines And Grapes

Hello to all my readers.  I did not mean to take a blog break, but things have been a little crazy here.  For the past few weeks I have been working on four (!) paintings.  I did not plan it and it is ridiculous to be working on four different canvases at once, but that is what happened.

So what was the outcome?  I finished one this past Wednesday, one on Thursday, one canvas was abandoned and one more is in progress.  The abandoned painting is not a big deal.  I got the idea in my head to work on an old painting.  It started out pretty well, but then went downhill, so I decided to  discontinue working on it and just move ahead with the new paintings.

Here is a recap of the first painting to be completed.



This painting started out as a demo that I gave for my still life class at The Art Guild.  I just did a basic block in for them, but I liked the start so I decided to continue with it.



When I began working on the rest of the painting, I decided to switch things up a bit and use my wooden shelf as the base instead of the fabric.


This was the second day working on the canvas.  As you can see, I was still working on the background color and the shadows.



I believe this was day three.  It was finally beginning to look like a painting.  That is always a fun time, but it is also the time when any mistakes become evident.  I don't worry about getting everything perfect when I first begin a painting because I don't want to get bogged down at the beginning.  If you do, it can zap the energy of the painting.  But of course, any problems will have to be fixed, so I got started on those around sessions four and five.


The main issue with this painting was the ginger jar.  I *love* my ginger jar, but it is not easy to paint for several reasons.  One, the symmetry of this piece is hard to capture and two, ginger jars are full on top and then shrink down.  You have to be careful that the jar does not start looking flat instead of full and round.


At one point, things were so difficult that I had to turn the painting upside down.  That usually happens when you have given up all other hope for solving the problem  A painting distress signal, if you will.  Finally, after much time with the t-square, I was happy with the dimensions of the pot and could move on to other things.



After two days of working on the pot, I was finally happy with the shape of it and felt ready to move on to the fun part, the blue and white pattern.  However, I did not do this right away.  I let the painting sit for a week to make sure it was absolutely dry.  That is not something I usually do, but after all that work on the pot, I did not want to have to do it again if I made a mistake with the pattern.  If the painting is dry, you can just wipe out any problems with a paper towel.  And in this case, there were some problems.



Here is a close up of the ginger jar.  As you can see, the pattern is pretty bold.



This was my first pass at putting on the blue and white pattern.  While it went along fine, when I was done, something seemed off.  I knew the pattern was done correctly and I even checked it with the t-square.  What I eventually realized was that my highlight was in the wrong place.

I always do the highlight early on in the painting so I can be sure my whites are done correctly ( if you can't see the highlight, your lightest white is too light).  This meant that the highlight had to be taken out and moved.  Since it had been on the canvas for two weeks at this point, I had to use a palette knife to get the paint off, then repaint the white part of the jar, and then redo the top left parts of the pattern.  I was SO glad that I had let the painting dry.  It would have been a total redo if the paint was still wet.


Ginger Jar With Still Life And Grapes, 16x12, oil


Here is the finished painting.  I was glad to have this one done and get on to the next.  Here is a snippet of the painting I finished earlier in the week.




This painting has an alizarin and french ultramarine background, and in one day there were spots that had totally dried out, making it impossible to get a decent photo.  As soon as the painting is dry enough to varnish, I will post a photo and recap of it.

I'm very glad to have these two paintings finished.  I'm in the middle of the third canvas and so far it is going well.  I'll keep you updated!

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