Friday, May 23, 2014

#16: When Life Gives you Lemons

... make lemonade!

6" x 6" canvas paper

Will Kemp's Art Tutor online tutorial, "Still Life Lemon"

What I like about the painting:
  • I love the challenge of working with only two colors (raw umber and cad yellow, light)
  • It felt great to accomplish this painting in less than an hour
  • The impressionistic style Kemp demonstrates allows for a lot of flexibility
  • It was interesting to paint almost the entire lemon in pure yellow, and then go back with the raw umber to add tone to it.
What I might do differently:
  • Again, my colors are darker than I intended - I need to lighten up!!
What I learned:
Kemp's focus was to start painting with the darkest darks and then the lightest lights. He suggests squinting to help notice subtle shading. From there he completes the background.
Apparently not all Raw Umbers are created equally! Kemp's painting had grey tones. My Raw Umber has more of a warm brown tone.
I did not complete this painting. In the past I would have gone back to work on the shadow of the lemon. I might have tried to lighten up the cut surface of the lemon. I would certainly have tried to improve on the background. I decided that I had the opportunity to practice what Kemp suggested, working with the darks and the lights first. I didn't need to 'finish' the lemon, or be more exacting. I was pleased with the outcome. I practiced a set of skills. Now... it's time to move on.

Monday, May 12, 2014

#15: Goghing

My son picked up a copy of Van Gogh's "The Old Mill". I stuck it in a frame and propped it on the mantle of our fireplace. Then... the snow came. I wanted to paint. The painting I really wanted to try requires raw umber, which I don't have. So.... what to do? Maybe I should try my hand at replicating Van Gogh's work.

Van Gogh's "The Old Mill"

My version of the mill:
9" X 12" canvas board

What I like about the painting:

  • I was pleased with the impressionistic look of my buildings, and I was very pleased with the colors of the green land space beyond the mill.
  • I fell that I have been able to show some dimension of the hillside going up to the mill.
What I might do differently:
  • I didn't have the right yellow to match what Van Gogh used. 
  • When I painted the bank by the river, I saw the trees, not the forest, so to speak. It wasn't until I put the pictures up here that I saw that the brown area of the bank was intended to show the shadow of the drop off into the water. 
What I learned:
The transparency of some colors was very evident in creating this picture. In some instances, I am thinking, I could use that to help me. I kept trying to replicate Van Gogh's yellow by mixing the two that I had on hand, light cadmium and yellow ochre. In hindsight, it might have been interesting to try layering the light cadmium on the yellow ochre to see if the transparency would counter the lemony color of the cadmium with the ochre showing through. I enjoyed using the rough brush strokes instead of the detail I have tried to use in the past. I need to be more precise in sketching out images when I am copying them in the future. There are some problems with the perspective I used, as well as the placement and size of other portions of the painting.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

#14: A Walk in the Rain

Last year I visited Switzerland with my brother and sister-in-law. We noticed a small church on a hilltop, and walked up to visit it. A light mist began to fall as we walked back to the car. I wanted to capture that image on canvas.

8" x 10" canvas board

What I like about the painting:

  • I chose to make the road a dirt road so I could use a toothbrush to splatter the paint to create pebbles on the road, and then shade the spots. I like the outcome. 
  • I think my brother and his wife bring the viewer into the picture.
  • I like the bank in front of the house - I think it adds some dimension to the painting

What I might do differently:

  • The house isn't at the right angle and looks a bit awkward.
  • I tried to use the fence posts to show that the road was going downhill. It didn't work as well as I had planned.