Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I started a new painting yesterday using Playing Cards in a still life set-up with a Peach instead of a Postal Card.  The Playing Cards are all found objects, things I’ve found, mostly out on the street,  throughout the past few years and being the pack-rat that I am, have saved.  (They might come in handy some day....)  

I used my favorite blue check dish towel and my favorite embroidered runner and an interesting dark blue tea napkin with an interesting border, the cards and a peach.  I’m using Winsor-Newton Aquarelle 140# watercolor paper.  I’ve been working for a few years on developing another series continuing a theme of Peaches and Postcards the theme of a series of paintings I 1st showed 5 years ago.  The blue check towel, embroidered runner, Peaches are familiar props; the Playing cards are a new addition.

I enjoyed doing the drawing.  Planning a painting as I’m working on a drawing is a pleasurable place for my mind to be.  I spent an hour or so arranging my setup and then working out my idea on the paper.  I enjoy being in a mind-space where possibilities are endless.  After I did the drawing, I wetted the paper thoroughly and added a bit of Raw Sienna to the bottom 2/3rds of the paper, a mix of GBB to the upper third.  As the surface dried, I used a variety of mixes to model the shapes, contours, shadows surface to the point where every object was separated, defined.  When the paper was completely dry, I outlined the flowers and the playing cards using a small chisel point nib on a calligraphy pen that I loaded with a thin mix of water and GBB.  When that bit of outlining was dry, I erased as much of the graphite from the drawing as I could.  I like this paper because it can take a lot of erasing without breaking down.  I made the decision to leave the pattern on the runner at the top of the painting until later.  I didn’t erase the graphite, nor did I outline the pattern with the pen.  

This morning, I reiterated.  I went over much of what I did yesterday, only moreso.   I said it again....  I’ve mostly intensified the blues and the shadows.  I’ve also cleaned up a lot of graphite and muddy bits with brush and water, especially on the cards.  To show the depth of the runner I started way in back with thin mix of Raw Sienna and GBB, worked forward, into the light.  In the light part of the runner, behind the cards, I glazed-in a thin wash of Raw Sienna and some of the mix from the higher & darker spot at top in the shadow behind the 3 of Spades as well as in the area behind the Nine of Hearts.  In the area of the cloth receiving the most light, I used a very thin wash of Indian Yellow.  The Peach, so far, is composed of grays using GBB and in the lighter parts, thin washes of CR and CY.  

I’m pleased with the progress, so far.  If I squint and view this painting with only my left eye, it’s easy to see the illusion of depth I’m creating on a flat surface with dabs of pigment.  

March 7, '10
Peach and Cards 1
I’ve been working on this painting this morning while watching Sunday Morning on TV.  When I began, this painting had been reiterated in quite a few ways over the course of the last few days, with many separate layers of paint, tone and/or color,  in the form of thin washes, color-glazes etc.    I’ve worked from Big Brush to Medium Brush to Small – the paint is built up to the point where it’s an attractive surface for work with a calligraphy pen, which is a  point where the all over paint surface is arranged in a pleasing to me manner.  I feel that there are 'ends' that need tidying up, little spaces to be filled in,  dark fine lines need to be made....

This morning I worked on this painting with a calligraphy pen filled with watercolor paint.  I really enjoy using the pen and creating an effect with it. I used it to create the illusion of stitches that edge the embroidered cloth, to create an illusion of stitches around the embroidered flowers on the cloth, in the stems, in the blue line on the card and to refine many of the shadows.      I am calling this painting Finis, for now, anyhow.  I reserve the right to do a little further tweaking at some point in the future....  But for now, this painting goes to the pile and I’ll soon start another.

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