Thursday, May 31, 2012

Plein Air

This past weekend my painting buddy Sharon and I  managed to get in a bit of plein air painting by the seaside in Oak Bay. It was our first time out this season, and of course I forgot a few necessities, like my garden gloves that I use to paint. But the funniest was that I didn't have my usual paint colours, and I realized that I was using someone else's palette. I had brought a box of paints that had been suggested by an instructor for a workshop I took a while back.

This scene is just a few hundred yards from the Oak Bay Marina Coffee House, where I will be setting up my still life show tomorrow morning. It will be running the whole month of June, so if you live in the area and are out for a walk along the beach front, drop by for a coffee or bite to eat and enjoy the show! 

This is a Mexican inspired painting that will featured in the show. There will be 7 or 8 other Still Life paintings as well.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

More Still Life Step by Step

So where have I been this year? Why am I blogging so infrequently? Well...I’ve been busy with family. My parents are both quite elderly and living in Vancouver, and I’ve been travelling back and forth quite a bit, and will  continue to do so. Add to that my full time Display Design work, my art shows, my own family, the house and garden etc. and something had to give. So blogging has slowed right down, and some months painting has as well. However, I’m fortunate to live close enough to visit my parents to help them out, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. So please accept my infrequent blog posts and please send me a comment when I post, because I love to hear from all of you and appreciate the feedback.

This is another commission piece for one of my collectors. There is a series of these long narrow still life pieces coming together. They are all 24" by 12" on Gallery Wrap canvas with the image wrapping around. I applied some texture to the canvas first with modelling paste to create some energy and movement, and to add another dimension to the painting. Starting with a value study in Transparent Red Iron Oxide, I then built layers of transparent or semi-transparent paint in the fruit. I like to use these transparent colours, because the light can pass through right to the white of the canvas, creating an inner glow in the fruits.. 

The fruit bowl is cobalt blue glass with some rings of texture running around it. I started to build the reflective quality of the glass, and the beaded table center underneath.

Everything but the table cloth is now fully painted.

I completed the table cloth, added depth and colour to the shadows, and added more texture and colours to the beaded table center. Again like in my last post, this was a commission for a strip out of one of my existing original paintings, so I used my previous advise and tried to see the image with fresh eyes, trying not to ask my myself how I painted parts of the image last time. For me that's important in order to enjoy the process and not second guess myself. I have one more painting left to complete in this series of six and this next one features star fruit, something that I've never painted before, so I'm looking forward to that!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Still Life Step by Step

This is a commission piece I recently completed. The commission request was to paint a section from another of my originals, capturing the essence of the image, but in a different format. The original was square and this one is long and narrow. I don't know how you feel about painting similar images in different formats, but I find it very challenging. Instead of enjoying the process and problem solving naturally, with spontaneity etc, I find that I keep asking myself, "how did I create that effect last time?" or "how did I mix that colour?" I decided to approach this painting slowly and to fight the urge to ask myself those kinds of questions. To force myself into a fresh approach.


 I painted my value study in Transparent Red Iron Oxide. I prefer this colour to Burnt Sienna for example, because it's transparent, and the light passes through it to the white of the canvas. Subsequent layers of other transparent colours such as Napthol Red and Hansa Yellow, again allow the light to pass through the paint to the white of the canvas, creating an inner glow in the peppers. 

 One thing that I found extremely difficult was the rounded edge of the colander. I used a grid to draw the image, capturing the turn of the bowl, and the proportions, instead of sketching loosely in paint and adjusting as I go. But during the painting process I inadvertently  made small adjustments to the edge of the bowl and kept changing the shape and losing the circle. Without the line continuum, I kept reading the shape incorrectly. I had to regrid in some areas twice during the painting process to get the shape back again.

In the end it was a lesson in both patience and persistence, and I was pleased with the outcome. But the biggest lesson on this one, was to see the painting with fresh eyes, and to not go where I'd already been, trying to second guess myself. It allowed me to experiment, improve on the outcome, and most importantly, to find the joy of painting the image a second time, as if it was the first. And that was a well learned lesson for me. How do you handle commissions and requests to paint a similar image in a different format?