Monday, March 23, 2009

Turquoise Tango - Oil Study

Turquoise Tango

(5 x 7, oil on panel)


This was painted just the other day, another exploration in using exaggerated color. I'm interested in just seeing how far I can push the color in shadows and in the backgrounds. Besides exploring color I'm also making things up which is simply not what I normally do.

Setting up the still life is a hugely creative part of the painting. Instead of making decisions as I work my way through the painting I plan them ahead of time when I'm setting up a still life. The lighting is carefully planned to create mood, objects are placed so that a rhythm is established, shadows are planned similarly, and folds in fabric are used to point to the focal point. I choose a fabric color for the background and foreground or use lighting to influence the color of the wall. After the planning is done and the decisions made I observe carefully and try to paint what I see.

Turquoise Tango and the other studies are completely different. In nearly all of them the background or foreground is a made up color. I have to use my imagination and go with my gut feeling. It's more immediate and very rewarding. Being studies there is no concern about 'will a gallery like it' or 'will the collector who commissioned it like it'. Will it change how I paint? Not completely, the act of quiet observation and the challenge of capturing what I see has it's own rewards but as time goes by there will be a bit more freedom in my work as I continue with the studies, time will tell.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Waiting for Spring

Apple Study
19 x 15
Oil on Canvas

February and the first half of March were spent illustrating a children's book and I didn't have a lot of opportunities to paint or to post any previous studies. The book art has been shipped and I can spend some time with oil painting again. It's interesting doing both illustration and the still lifes, it requires quite a mind switch. One day I'm painting whimsical little characters and scenes straight out of my head and the next I'm painting a still life that is set up right in front of me or from a photo.

This painting was another exercise in looking for colour in white, the shadows were vaguely purple but I pushed them as far as I could. Normally I lean toward accuracy but it's been wonderful fun to exaggerate the colours I see. How will this affect my regular paintings? Will it be a sublte extra bit of color or will it be more obvious - it will be interesting to see.

Apple Study
was done in January but reminds me of the fresh greens of spring that I’m waiting for.