Thursday, July 8, 2010

Just for Fun; A Corner of my Room

I haven’t minded the present heat wave because I have AC in my bedroom, which I’ve never had before and love.  I’m trying to use it frugally, to satisfy my conscience in regards to the environment and my checking account.  I’ve enjoyed the time spent sitting-out the heat wave in my semi-darkened room, working on paintings, watching/listening to movies on my computer and the drone of the AC.  I’ve enjoyed keeping so cool and with dryer air, I’ve enjoyed working on unfinished paintings and amusing myself with a few sketches and small paintings of corners of the room.

I’ve always loved Vincent van Gogh’s painting of his bedroom in Arles.  Many years ago, I read the entire collection of his letters to his brother.  As I recall, Vincent was very happy when he made this painting.  He was anticipating the arrival of Paul Gaugin, who was coming to live with him for awhile.  (Of course, what happens during Gaugin’s visit is whole other story...)

I was thinking of Vincent and his painting yesterday when I did this small sketch of a corner of my room with bed, bedside table, lamp and book.


I decided to start another sketch this morning, another corner of my bedroom.  In this corner, a small chest of drawers, a carved wooden sunflower on top, as well as a rectangular pottery dish with a candle inside, the wall behind and two framed paintings on the wall hung close to the chair rail separating the wall from the paneling.  In yesterday’s small sketch, I used a burnt sienna colored charcoal pencil; in today’s painting, I drew first with a BIC mechanical pencil, then outlined the drawing with pen and thin ultramarine blue watercolor.

Here’s the sketch with the 1st layer of paint.  The paint was washy, thin.  I did the wall in pure (but thin, thin, thin...) Yellow Ochre; the paneling was done with slightly grayed Ultramarine Blue, also applied thin, thin thin....  Where paint had been applied to the chair rail, I wiped the brush dry and lifted off the paint I’d just applied.  There was enough paint left to make the chair rail appear lighter.  I used the same thin UB mixture to do the painting –but not the frame–  behind the sunflower.  The frame was given a light application of thin (thin thin) black.  The tiny mirror with the very wide frame was given 2 applications of blue/red; the mirror part was left white, as I’m not sure what to do with it, yet.

The reason I painted the chest and sunflower with the red is that the chest is actually green as are parts of the sunflower.  When I eventually paint the bureau so that it appears to be green, the red (complement of green) will be a good base coat and keep the green dull, dark, in perspective....  I’m pleased with the result, so far and think I’ve put down a very good base coat.

Before I apply another layer of paint throughout, I’m taking a lunch and wash-the-dishes-from- last-night-and-this-morning break.

 This painting was done on 6"x8" 80# Strathmore Drawing paper, that comes in a pad of 24 sheets in a spiral binder.  I love this paper for sketches such as these.

The 2nd layer had been applied and after that,  a few glazing layers.  I was thinking to make this painting a little darker because it’s a gray day and the curtains in this room are drawn.  So what light is coming through makes things appear even more gray.  But, I do have an electric light turned on so I can see while I work and I think that’s causing a bit of conflict in the lighting theme.

I think that the application of Green over the red on the bureau and sunflower stem worked well.  I started by mixing the green and then separated the mix into 2 separate puddles.  I added a bit more blue and some gray to one of the puddles, thinned it down w/water a bit and then starting from the back, graded it out to the edge, ending with more water than paint.  I added a little yellow to the other puddle of green and did the front of the chest.  What I applied to the edge of the top, I lifted with a clean and dryish brush.  The shadows under the top edge and the drawer, I did with the blue/green I used on the top.  When it was dry, I made a line across the top of the drawer with the same blue/green to add even more depth, as I saw it, anyhow.

It’s finished.  That’s all the time I have today for this kind of fun.  I strongly suggest this kind of sketch and painting for all those I know who love to paint.

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