Sunday, June 20, 2010

Painting Demo

There are so many ways to paint that I thought it would be useful to see steps to turn a "still life drawing in paint" (which I consider a great way for painting teachers to help students practice drawing) into a finished painting. First, I lay in the major shapes with transparent red oxide or burnt sienna. Then, in addition to reinforcing the darkest darks, I look for the brightest brights and erase them with a little turp on the brush.

Next, I could have painted in a full closed grisaille in shades of grey to establish the modeling and create a soft cool environment. But for the purposes of a timely demo and in order to keep the painting very warm along with the other paintings in this series, I started working in color so that some of the transparent red oxide would show through. This step is focused on finding and blocking in the darkest darks (specifically, the richest but transparent darks.)

Followed by the next level of darks which are slightly lighter and tend to require opaque colors. I generally like to place the core shadows either at the same time or *after* my cast shadows are established.

At this point, I'm beginning to give attention to the lit side colors and approached the painting by focusing attention on the thick, opaque colors of the lit items on the left. This helps to establish them as the objects closest to the light so that as the color becomes less intense moving along the painting to objects on the right.

This is where the painting was at the end of the demo (first day). During the following sittings which were short but a few days apart to allow for drying, I followed the same process with all of the objects: Find the most intense value and color on the lit side. Decide if it's a warm or cool temperature and then look for opportunities to pull out colors of juxtaposing temperature nearby. Although these objects are naturally cool, I wanted the painting to be warm. I trusted the open grisaille in red oxide underneath to maintain the warm temperature which gave me freedom to use a wide range colors and temperatures wherever I saw them. The shells get that shiny look with multiple sittings and layers of paint in opposing temperature.

Here is the final painting: