Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vanitas II

Still Life setup -- Vanitas II

Vanitas II
 January 26, 2010

Because of the somber subject and because I like to imagine that I’m adding color to a bas relief sculpture carved in gray stone when I paint, I’ve chosen to do an under-painting in grisaille (grizz-a) or gray tones.  After I did the drawing, directly on the paper, I covered the entire surface with a light wash of Burnt Sienna and let the wash  dry before I started painting in the gray which was the GBB I made a few weeks ago.  

The 3 photos under the photo if the setup show the 1st 3 stages.

So far, I’m pleased with the results. 


I added color to the background.  The washes were thin.  In the part with the most light, I used UB and a tad of BS.  In the first wash I went around all the tiny white squares.  On the 3rd, most colorful wash, I filled in the brightest blue boxes only.  For the postcard, I used GBB, UB and Burnt Sienna.  As per the postcard, I darkened the lower and upper lh corners and worked into the light on the other side.
In the final session before going off to do other things,  I filled in the lightest areas of the peaches with alternating combos of CR and CY.  It all looks very colorful at this stage but the washes were quite thin, light....  I also smoothed down some of the shadow areas.  The peach next to the skull is the farthest down I’ve worked on this painting.  I’m trying to work from the darkest area to the lightest as well as work with thin washes of meaning, either tone or hue.

End of the morning, stage 5


Friday, Jan 29, '10

end session 6

I added more color + tone to the blue squares, deepened the shadows in the background fabric.  I also deepened a lot more of the shadows with GGB + UB & BS.  The last thing I did was the green leaf in the foreground..  I spent about an hour; it was a good painting session. 
Sunday morning Jan 31

Sunday afternoon, Jan 31

Desaturated version, Sunday afternoon...

Feb 1, '10

Desaturated version, Feb 1, '10

I spent a few hours on this painting yesterday morning and this morning, Mon., Feb 1, ‘10.    Something I was thinking about while working is that I didn’t have much to say about where I went with the painting and with what.  Etc.  Then I thought that ‘s what painting is about, for me.  Start out with a plan and see where it goes.  Stick to the plan, give it up to the Universe,  allow/will the Universe to take over, leaving me free to go with it, to fly by the seat of my pants, to listen to my being, allow my hand to be guided, let my heart-sense over-ride my head-sense....

Another thing; Squinting.   Viewing the flat surface with only one eye gives me a singular perception, like looking at something through  binoculars.   And another; remembering that a painting is an arrangement of pigment on a flat surface, that squinting – working with one eye only – the sensation of flatness transformed into depth, the sense of contrast and color making eye-candy, lighting up my senses, brightening my eye, heightening my understanding,  making a new world with every new touch of color or tone with every new brushstroke, every new step.....  

True to my original plan, I’ve stuck with GGBlack instead of mixing a specific black/dark for this painting.  When I need Dark, I use GGB,  many times with a mix of UB or CY added for lighter, darker....  The final figures for this black are not yet in.  I kind of like it/am not crazy about it.  
Time will tell.

******** late Monday evening....

After a few hours work, Vallentine's Day


Feb  14, '10

I tore down the setup and put everything away.  I thought to put the painting away, too but as I was removing the tape from the edges, looking at the painting, I saw things I could do to make it better.  I've spent a peaceful Sunday morning finishing it off, mostly with glazes of tone and variations of tone or by adding pure color -- all glazes as if varnish.  For now, I'm calling this painting finis.  I'm planning on starting a new Vanitas, another horizontal composition, one to go with this painting.

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