Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tone Painting

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

I have been working back in oils lately, fabric specifically. And my mind drifted back to one of my very first oil paintings. It was 1992. I worked as an Image Preservationist for about 60 hours per week and each Tuesday evening for two hours I attended Mission Renaissance Art School in Austin, Texas.

I started off learning to draw with charcoal on newsprint. I later moved into monochromatic oils. Then my teacher had me do a tonal exercise by painting a white cloth draped over a tin can. I was supposed to do the painting assignment in raw umber and white, but I must have been feeling a bit restless even then. I painted the cloth in blues.

It is still, oddly enough, one of my favorite paintings. Painting white fabric is a great tonal exercise and probably even more of a learning experience if you do it in a more neutral tone. You want to learn the subtleties of how light responds to form. And you want to drape the fabric in such a way that you have a variety of folds, some tight enough to create small hollows (for darker shadows) and more open … curves more than folds … so that you get to paint reflected lights that change in a more subtle manner.

The painting that I am working on now is white fabric and I am playing with warm and cool in the shadow parts. I am having a lot of fun, struggling a bit, and learning a tremendous amount. But now … onto the stripes!


Jo Castillo said...

Great exercise and you did a fabulous job. Thanks for the reminder. It is always a challenge and fun to paint white.

Frank Zweegers said...

Looks really realistic. Great job. Keep up the good work.

Kelly Borsheim Artist said...

Thank you, both. These kinds of exercises can be fun ... and so worth the time in learning!