Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Radish Still Life Demo

I promised my classes I would post my process of the radish painting so here it is! 
The reason I think it's important to see where a painting like this starts is to understand that there is structure underlying all the fresh paint and notes of color.
It can be somewhat overwhelming at first glance when you first step up to the easel and see all the color in something like these radishes, not to mention the fact that the foliage starts wilting the second the light hits them. . . . I start by drawing my shapes, then separating lights and darks in the masses, ignoring all the reflected light within the radishes 'till later.  Getting the darks established right away freezes the light effect, even when the leaves decide to melt!
At this point my leaves were down but I had my darks in so I was ok. I then get all my lights covered, keeping them warmer since they were in a warm light. I was mostly concerned with my averages. Not caring too much about the subtleties within the masses at this point with the exception of a few prominent plane changes.
At this point in the painting I'm refining drawing and noting plane changes in each form not forgetting that each radish is a form but just as important the entire bundle is a form as well.  It has it's own comings and goings to it's shape.  Always think of serving the whole and try not to get too caught up in breaking up the 'stuff' within a mass.  In a painting like this working from life, I like to keep my strokes clean and fresh to emphasize all the beauty in color.  It's all about color temperature relationship to see the color.  Also, keep lights in light and darks in dark, it's crucial to keep your light effect! 
To see the final painting, scroll down to last week's Radish post.  Hope that was helpful and happy painting!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Conceptual Pieces Of Harmony

"Pieces Of Harmony"
20x24 oil on stretched linen
I've been thinking a lot about conceptual painting lately and just what the word conceptual means to me and my art. I think of concept or theme, as the artist's idea, the vision, the birth of the painting. As painters, we work very hard for years in the beginning of our study at trying to master the tools and elements of building a painting. It's our goal and hope to learn and know these tools so well, that it is no longer conscious but subconscious for the most part when we're working. We have all these incredible epiphanies from bursts of growth that keep us engaged and coming back for more. In this process we soon find that the more we know the more we know we don't know and so the growth continues.
We learn in the beginning, that concept is the start of a painting, and is an essential part of a painting, but we work so hard at just learning and practicing the elements that concept often times, and sometimes necessarily gets pushed under the rug in these building years. Until one day, when we realize that there was a reason we started this in the first place, and it's because we have vision and a voice, and painting is our means of communication and expression. This is when advancing in our work comes right back to the beginning, to concept!
Often times in my work, my 'initial' concept develops during the process of my painting, as if the painting is leading the way. But it all started with an idea, which in my mind is the concept.
The painting posted here is one that I feel was very conceptual for me. I thought a lot about this piece before painting it. The 'things' in this piece are meaningful pieces of my life which made me care enough to spend as much time as I did painting them. I went into this painting with the mind frame that I was going to slow down and take as long as it would take to get what I wanted in the work. Most subjects I paint are very fleeting moments and subjects, so I typically paint pretty quickly, often times Alla Prima. So with this piece my goal was to really study and observe all the little subtleties that make up the whole of this piece. The challenge and danger of taking so long to work on a piece is not destroying the integrity of the whole, the harmony.
At first it was a symbolic painting for me, almost a portrait of my life this far, and the pieces in the painting are symbols of things and people I love. The trigger point for this painting was the treble clef that I had found, and the rest developed from there. Artistically, painting these 'things' was a nice challenge which I always thrive on.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Little Bunch Of Radishes

"Little Bunch Of Radishes"
8x10 oil on linen
This is a little study of some radishes I fell in love with at the grocery store the other day. How does one fall in love with radishes?? I don't know, I suppose the color! They were so tightly bundled, I hesitated to paint them that way but at the same time it was part of their charm. :)
Painting red in light is always a bit of a challenge and a challenge I thrive off of. It's always interesting to me how many cool notes are vibrating on top of red in the light. If you click on the image you can see all the subtle temperature notes. The hard part was stopping and not destroying the integrity of the whole.