Monday, February 15, 2010

Vanitas III

Setup Photo


Drawing and some outlining

I started this painting yesterday on a quarter sheet of Watercolor paper – Winsor Newton Acquarelle, I believe....  I wasn't feeling too great, not exactly in a state of Ennui, more like a bad mood, or Not in the Mood at all.  I think I’m experiencing a bit of Cabin Fever, SADD,  along with an overall feeling of crankiness.  The wind was howling and rattling window panes all day yesterday which also probably had something to do with my state of un-ease.  I planned to start this painting in the morning but due to the ways of procrastination, never got around to it until late afternoon.

Setting up for this painting took forever; I wanted to fill the bowl with cherries and could only find the one.  I looked for quite awhile....  (I’m sure Albert has played with and hidden the other 2 fake cherries I own.)  So, I filled the bowl with fake strawberries.  

Life is just a bowl of cher–er–strawberries....

I started out the drawing using the Prussian Blue watercolor pencil and switched to using a BIC mechanical graphite pencil when I couldn’t find the watercolor pencil – I think that Albert had something to do with that, too....  When I was done with the drawing, I wasn’t happy, but since I wasn’t happy about much anyhow, I kept on with the painting.

After I did the drawing is when I made the decision to work on a toned ground, which didn’t make much sense because the drawing was already established.  I decided to tone the ground anyhow, so went over everything with a very thin layer of Raw Sienna.  I’ve never used  raw sienna, found the tube in my paintbox and decided to experiment with it.  RS seems to me to be in the Yellow Ochre category but a shade darker.  Having the RS on the paper made me somewhat happier not to be dealing with the glare of the white.  Applying the thin & watery wash of RS wiped out a lot of the original drawing so I tried working around the lines, tried to leave some trace.

I've started adding some color but in very thin washes

Something that somewhat startled me about this composition when I stepped back to look at it from a distance.  For a quarter sheet, I have a lot of stuff in the composition.  The objects are drawn to a smaller scale than I generally draw.  I think that I ‘normally,’ for this size paper,  would have used less objet and what I did choose to depict would have been larger.  So, this feels like something ‘new’ already.

I’d planned on leaving the painting for the day but a couple of hours later, thought about this painting and what I’d like to do next.  At the time I was thinking about what to do next, I was reading in bed, listening to a radio program from Cape Cod on my computer.  I hated the book I was reading, so tossed it, then got up and moved everything into the living room so I could listen to the radio program and work on the painting.  The thoughts about what I’d like to do next had to do with outlining everything with a fine brush using GGBlack.  In a former life, I loved to do pen and ink drawings; the outlining everything in ink – and then erasing all pencil lines –  was one of my favorite parts.  I also liked the way the 2 studies went last week – with the tulips and the outlining everything – and decided to try that method on this painting.  

I’m in a somewhat better mood today – the winds aren’t quite as fearsome as they were yesterday and the sun is shining.  My mind is quieter, too.  I think that one of the things I’ve enjoyed so far in this painting has to do with my quieter mind.  Working on this painting feels as it did when I was a kid, peacefully absorbed in coloring in my coloring book.  This may not be the compositon I ‘saw’ in my mind’s eye when I thought of this painting, but I’ve accepted it for what it turned out to be, is turning out to be and will probably stick with it for awhile longer.

 Late Monday night....

Tues Feb 15, '10

Today is a snow day.  Snow has been falling almost constantly since sometime early this morning.  It's not heavy or deep, just constant.  I have no good reason to go out in it, so am home for the day.

I've been working on this painting for the past hour or more.  Hard to tell how much actual time painting, how much time dealing with Albert and other domestic issues;  I've been up and down a number of times....  The best part for me in the past hour of painting was work on the flowers in the vase.  I worked this area wet into wet and enjoyed dumping paint from a brush into the wetness, watching it disperse, pushing it around with the brush....  I started with thin washes and the dark, working to the light with increasingly thicker amounts of paint as I went along.   After that, the tulips, then the strawberries, also wet into wet.  I stopped this session leaving the tulips and strawberries needing more work.  I'll probably wet each area again and work in thicker amounts of paint.  I'm overall pleased with the red added to the general compositon which helps to balance out the amount of blue I've been using.

Wed. night, after 3 or 4 more hours....

Wed Feb 17, '10

This painting is growing on me; I thought for a long time that if nothing else, working on it would be a good experiment.  The weather wasn't great today and after a lot of delays, I decided to stay in and work on inside things and go out tomorrow to do a lot of outside things.  The weather is supposed to be less wintry with a predicted temp in the low 40's.  I've been holed-up for the past few days, mostly because of wintry weather as well as yesterday's snow.  Sometimes,  that can be fun, but after a few days, I've had enough.  I'm starting to feel some Cabin Fever setting in....  C'mon Mud Season..., C'mon Spring!

Feb 19, '10

While I was out yesterday Albert semi-dismantled my still life setup.  The fake strawberries, cherry and sunflower were strewed about the room.  I have yet to find most of the strawberries; I imagine they're under the baseboard and I'll look for them later when I vacuum the rug.  For now, this painting is Finis.


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