Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Peonies in Blue Vase [oil, 11”x14”]

peonies2 Monday’s art class was the last of our still life exercises.  It’s interesting to try out new painting methods, especially when I don’t really even have the feel of the oils yet.  In short, the method used was:

  1. sketch big shapes in composition with very dry neutral
  2. loosely scratch in the darkest shadow shapes using either a)the same dark neutral above OR b) the darkest local color.  Method b) would help if further layers were getting too muddy for us.
  3. move up to the mid value shapes and continue to loosely scratch those in.  “Scratch” isn’t a technical word…  it just helps me to remember what it’s supposed to sound like when the brush is applied to the canvas…  dry and scratchy at this point.  That means the paint is dry enough and you’re applying it thinly enough.  Also, you’re painting PLANES not PETALS in this step – think geometry…  circle, triangles, square, rectangle, trapezoid… [etc yawn].  Thinking flowers, petals, and vases will be counterproductive at this point.
  4. getting lighter, tighter and oilier, stroke a few petal type shapes “as if you’re petting a bug”.  The higher oil content allows the paint to exit the brush without disturbing the wet layers beneath.  Make only enough marks to say flower or vase or whatever..  don’t overstate.
  5. now it’s time for some background…  I painted the drapery and the wall [including shadows] loosely and quickly.
  6. Assess…  are more highlights needed?  With the background done one can see the overall effect and make this decision.  I added several highlights at this point. 

I’m loving this medium!


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