Sunday, August 12, 2018

Red, White, and Passion Painting

Still here, my art-loving friend?

I felt a bit wiped out after one month in vacation in Italy, Spain, and then Portugal.  This was a marvelous gift from a generous brother [all of my siblings are generous], but I get a little off-kilter if I am away from art-making for too long.  While I have been thinking about several unfinished projects, I also get intimidated that I am out of practice and will not have the ability to create what I envision.

To that end, I started a brand new painting yesterday to help get me into the flow.  But I am multi-tasking a bit.  Instead of completing this project before returning to the others, I chose to do another “red and white” painting.  You see, reds, as well as blacks, are slow-drying colors.  My goal yesterday was to layout the design on the wood panel and paint the red and the black sections.  I will allow at least two weeks for those colors to dry, probably longer.  Then I may continue with glazes to develop the form of the red cloth.  I will also be able to paint the white reflective object without having red or black bleed into this clean area.  It will also be easier to paint the marble slab.

This image shows how I started out with my easel next to my still life setup.  This helps me get started to make sure that my canvas [in this case, a ‘gesso-vero’ primed board] is the right proportion for my design.  I started off using the Sight-Size Method of lining up the model with the easel.  Horizontal measurements are easier this way.  It is also convenient because the light for the model is also the light for the canvas.  [The grey scarf suspended from the ceiling is a way to create shadows.  I want the right side of the cloth to be receding into a shadow area.]

However, as the second image shows, I later moved my easel back to my point-of-view position.  This may be more difficult for some artists because you have a lot less light on the canvas.  Adding a light for the easel often changes the light on the models, especially in the shadows and reflected light.  One reason I decided again to do this is because I am trying to move away from my training to paint EXACTLY what I see.  To do that is good training for the eye and hand, but it is terrible training to teach how to DESIGN.  I do not need to make an exact record of the objects I laid out.  I am more interested in exploring shapes [relating them to one another for emotional impact] and hinting at a story for the viewer to create or at least feel.  In this very simple still life, though, I want you to enjoy the textures of three very different objects:  velvet red fabric, porcelain roundness, and the amazing and fragrant passion flowers just off the vine.

Of course, my models will be long dead when I am able to continue this painting [the flower lasts only one day, unless kept cold, which is not possible here].  Thus, I painted as much of the flowers on the white background as I could last night [not realizing that I had a dinner invitation that interrupted my painting for several fun and delicious hours!].   I decided that the red color will be prettier if I get consistency on the bottom layer of color instead of working around jiggy-jaggy flower shapes.  As a side note, once I got all of the black, red, and reinforced white painted in, it became clear that I want to put in something subtle in the upper left background.  But I will wait on this since I have a few ideas.  Often the answer becomes clear as the work progresses.  How one travels the path helps determine later decisions, no?

Happy birthday, Aunt Carole!  

Gratefully yours,
Kelly Borsheim