Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Awe" 12-23-12

Today I worked mostly on the right side of the table.

I had a zany conversation last night, with my friend Kit, who was on the road to Vermont and I was in Zephyrhills, at home. She has been following my progress on this painting, and many times in the past she has been invaluable as a gentle critical eye for problems in my work. She tried to explain what she saw as a problem with the table, perhaps being flipped up, which is an error in foreshortening....a common problem with artists of all calibers. She couldn't really explain what she saw, and of course didn't have my blog in front of her, so the conversation went back and forth across about 1400 miles which was interrupted by several disconnects due to mountains being in the way, and distant cell phone towers. I could not figure out how to fix what she saw...everything checked out with the photograph, and my measurements were right on. How to deal with this....?

Fortunately, anticipating all sorts of problems with this painting, I made a large scale photograph of it, (using the real flowers) which I transferred to my canvas via an acetate overlay. I knew the cat might mess around with the drapery, and the big problem came when I had to dismantle the still life when tropical storm Debby threatened to flood my house. I got it back, more or less, but still it isn't quite the same with those plastic flowers and a messed up drapery! But I didn't move the table and I was fretting about that perspective. I have had moments when I thought that the table top was flipping up too. I think it was hard to see in my photograph, on this blog, what I had in mind for that area, as I had not worked there at all, and it was pretty foggy. In fact there was hardly any paint there at all, only my initial tonal scumble.

Is it better now, Kit?

Friday, December 21, 2012

"Awe" 12-21-12

Today I worked on the lower half of the painting, reconstructing the violin, flowers on the table, the drapery and the carvings of the table. Here is a detail photo of that effort.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Awe" 12-20-12

Today I worked on that subtle transition between the yellow sunset and the blue-green of the sky. It needs more work, but that's for later. It was essential to reconstruct the whole painting, and since I was working more on the upper half of the painting, both yesterday and today, that's where I began. See the detail photo below to see what I mean by reconstruction. Some people call these "outlines" but it is much more than that...really it is a restatement of the solid forms in the painting, much like bones in a body. Without a skeleton we are pretty floppy, and so it is with paintings. Tomorrow I will begin on the lower half and reconstruct the drapery and the violin. As I go I redefine the shapes and add and improve on what I saw the first time around. I do this throughout the process of the painting, reconstructing whenever there is a trouble spot, or when I need to have a line to paint against. In the end, if the black lines are out of value I can minimize them, or paint them over, but for the most part they will disappear into the painting as I work back and forth between subject and background.

"Awe" 12-19-12

Fianlly, I am on "vacation" until January 2nd and this time has been labeled, painting time, by me! I was able to paint for 4 hours yesterday before the sun made me move my easel into the opposite corner of my studio. It is so low in the sky these days and comes in my west windows and throws light and shadows over my painting. I worked for a bit more in the opposite corner of the room satisfactorily until I actually felt tired.

I quit to spend some time doing a photo editing project and to decide if I really wanted to lower the tree line in the painting. I painted the change on a clear plastic overlay and after viewing the change and photographing both versions I decided it was better to keep the original. It actually didn't make that much difference and painting sky over that black tree line seemed counterproductive, so I decided to leave it as is, even if it cuts the canvas in a bad place. There actually is no better place and I tried to lower it and the only place turned out to be exactly at the halfway I scrapped that idea.

Most of the work I did yesterday was on the upper half of the painting....the flowers and the sky. More shall be revealed!