Saturday, October 18, 2014

Turkish Light Still Life Painting

Dear Art-loving friend,

Shortly after carving stone in Bulgaria this past summer, I then went to Istanbul for a few days.  I did not buy as much as I wanted, however, I am a sucker for burning things… so I bought a couple of the tea light candle holders that glow with glorious hues from the colored glass mosaics.  One of those became a model in my next project, “Turkish Light.”

I have always moved slowly; ask my parents if you believe this not.  But while I have come to accept this part of myself, I still work to improve my productivity in creating art.  And when it also helps me to improve the quality, well, … you know that accepting the idea is a given.

I have also come to accept about myself that I have a self-sabotage mechanism in my brain. To that end, I refer to the idea that no matter how many times I do “shape exercises,”  my first attempts at drawing anything are way off.  It is difficult for me to do demos when I teach in part because of this problem.  [Another problem is talking while drawing… they rarely mix in my brain.]  Anyway, despite the encouragement by some to simply start my compositions in paint, I prefer to use charcoal.  

Pentimento is the Italian word that describes the concept of “the sins of the past will continue to haunt you.”  I know that oil paint goes transparent after many years and I know that red is a tricky color. I do not want my bad drawing to show through.  And I know that on this composition of red, white, and black… I increase the odds a bit of having problems.  So, you see me figuring out my design in charcoal on a mid-toned primed wooden panel.  

 I was not sure that I wanted the vase thingy as close to center, but later decided to leave it as is.  I liked the shapes between the objects, too.  Once my drawing was close enough, I used egg tempera to paint in the light shapes.  This is opaque and dries very quickly… like acrylic, but I think that I like egg tempera better, and hopefully it leaves more of a tooth for the oil paints.

I then layered in some of the cadmium orange and the serious reds.  The black came later.  These colors take forever to dry (an exaggeration, I hope you understand) and I had to be careful not to smear a thing, yet keep the edges I wanted soft … soft.  This painting then went up on a shelf to dry for about a month, I think.   

I took her down occasionally to develop the painting in layers, letting each one have about a week to dry, if I could manage that.  My models stayed in place while I worked on other easels.  Ok, so THAT part of the process is not particularly efficient for productivity, but hey, I love red and black, both slow driers.  It was the egg tempera trick that gave me light and speed.  There… I have given away all of my secrets.  So, I will go home now. 

I started “Turkish Light” in mid-July.  I finished her in mid-October.  Sadly, in my new flat, I have not yet figured out how to get a high-quality image of an oil painting.  But here is the shot that I have.  

“Turkish Light” is available.  She is a 50 x 35 cm (19.6 x 13.7 inches) oil painting on Italian Geso-vero’d primed wooden panel.  Please contact me if you would like to own this gem or gift her to someone you love.

Thank you for your interest and enthusiasm,
~ Kelly Borsheim, sculptor, painter, writer, teacher


Jo Castillo said...

Very beautiful, Kelly. You really captured the light.

Kelly Borsheim said...

Thank you, Jo. Although it is hard for me not to smear red over everything (and it is a slow drier), I really love the result of the cadmium reds and oranges. so rich! said...

Wonderful Kelly! I love the strength of this painting.
Thanks for the step by step tutorial, interesting to watch the process.

Kelly Borsheim said...

Thank you, Rae. Of course, there is a lot more to it than what I have shown... including that my drawing does not exactly match the model. I made changes for compositional reasons, such as where lines meet and negative shape considerations. Also, the images do not show a candle lit because when I was designing the shapes, that little bit of light did not matter. And it was summer here, so I was saving my candles ... haha. Thank you for posting a response.