Still life – lift your heart

Is finished! Worked on this for a final day today and although I know IImage could keep going on and on, it will not necessarily get any better and might even get worse.

Kept the patterns flat as the best way to deal with this painting. I think it works.  I can see definite weak areas but on the whole I am not unhappy with the outcome.

In the past week, I have not done much creatively. ¬†I did draw a quick drawing in pastels. A view of our back garden but then the cold weather came back with vengeance for a day. Yep, that is right a day but somehow I managed to stretch my lack activity to 3 days ¬†(yesterday was Juniper’s day). ¬†Today was also unusually cold with freezing rain but I was determined to finish this painting today.

Tomorrow I am going to work in pastels.

when to call it a day?

adjusted

In the studio, working

So this week has not gone smoothly and my time at the easel for various reasons has been limited.  Sunday, no painting as it turned out rainy and cloudy, making the studio too dark by the time I got up there. Monday playing with Grand-daughter and her nap time is now more like an hour instead of the previous nearly 3. Got back to the easel on Tuesday and it was like starting again. Wednesday, dental surgery. so no painting.  Back on Thursday and Friday (only an hr as I work Friday pm).  Exhausted myself gardening yesterday, not painting, so back today and again it was like starting again.

In fact I have gone back, several times in the past week.  Constantly redrawing and repainting.  Deciding do I want to make it a purely decorative motif?  How do I tackle the glass?  Wine cooler still looking flat but red vase coming along.  I have finished for today but I am not happy with it. Yesterday, I thought it was coming along fine but having redone the fabric under the still life to concentrate on the pattern by scrubbing it out (including the fruit), I realise the wine cooler is not quite right.  The red jug is still OK, sigh.

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As it was on Thursday 1/16/2014

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today 1/19/2014

Tomorrow (no Juniper tomorrow ūüė¶ as public holiday) will be the last day for this still life. ¬†Whatever its problems which it will have, constantly working will only lead to discouragement. ¬†It has shown me I need to draw more, use my eyes rather than dart all over the place or as I have tendency to do, focus on one area without relating to another. ¬† Once the drawing is done, build up the colours rather than draw with the brush.

Tuesday I will make myself go outside and look at my garden.  Also need to do more drawing.  However, not all disenchantment, as I have still managed to continue to paint for the 3rd week in January. Now to make it month, then another and soon it will be a year. I will manage to do it this year.

still drawing

So a couple of step more forward. Today was more of dealing with the drawing, in particular the fabric under the still life. At first I was being too timid as the pattern is not a solid black. Eventually I decided I would tackle in much like I did with the stripped pattern fabric of the last painting. However this time I have put the darker colour on first. Some of the oranges were removed and repositioned as I progress. In fact you can still see the original position of the bottom right hand orange.  The margarita glass has all but disappeared at the moment as I worked on the fabric design and becoming quite abstract.  Gradually the objects are become more solid as I work with the colour. Next I have to deal with the light.  Still just using acrylic paint but tomorrow I think I will start adding in pencil and pastels (water soluble and soft)

altered

Still life with wine bottle Jar

Yesterday as promised I started a new still life. ¬†I like the background fabric on the last still life so much I decided to reuse it in this painting and then I coordinated the rest of the still life to complement the fabric. ¬†I feel I am going to struggle with the base fabric as it also has a pattern on it and at the moment, I am not sure how I am going to deal with it. ¬† It not a bold pattern and it’s not striped like the orange fabric. ¬†The pattern is actually leaves which are textured stripes and blackish, so not solid and reflecting light.

So I managed to get the basics done on this painting before the light faded completely. As I was drawing it in I wasn’t too concerned about the light but it actually turned out to be quite a bright afternoon, after the morning fog and showers. Looks like today might be the same but I will working this afternoon so the light will be fading by the time I finish, so will probably continue tomorrow when I know the weather will be sunny.

altered

Today I think I will try to draw something as my drawing skill definitely need brushing up. When I was Camberwell, I constantly used my sketchbook, even for the Saturday morning classes and was actually a requirement in my foundation year. I sort of kept it up at Bath but with the lack of encouragement from the staff, it wasn’t a high priority (in the painting dept anyway.), it soon became an infrequent habit. So really my sketchbook has not been a priority since I was about 20, so its time it regained its importance, if only to reinforce the habit of looking, rather than roaming with my eye.

That is one thing I was always doing in my painting, redrawing, you can sort of see it with the wine bottle as I reaslised when I was working on the background fabric, that it was much taller than I had originally drawn it.  The little red vase is also a little more squat and fatter than I have it here, so  that will be altered  as will the some of the small satsumas. Still I have plenty of time as next week the weather is returning to the normal TX sunshine so I am not going panic.

So far, I am happy with what I have on the painting board. ¬†Materials used so far, Daler Canvas board 16×12 ¬†Golden acrylic paint and some primsacolour pencil.

Better coloured in this photo

So I looked at the original photo and this is closer to the painting.

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So the last 2 days have been non painting days. Yesterday, I just had to kick in  to the filing as tax year is beckoning and much as I dislike that task, it has to be done!  Still needs to be done but half way there.

Today, was a unusal day for us, Scottish dreich weather ( dark, mild and drizzly) and by the time I had arranged the next still life, the life was way too dark. However, I will draw in the structure before I start work at 7 pm tonight (only 2 hrs) and tomorrow I will be ready for the dull weather. Will need to do it in next 2 days as the weather will be the usual winter sunny day on Saturday.  The best time for the room I am working in, is about 3 hrs after sunrise as its  east facing with only the east wall having windows. So once the sun is high enough above the horizon, the light is pretty steady until about 2 hrs before sunset.

Anyway, time to make dinner. Looking forward to starting the new painting tomorrow.

On a roll, finished

well, this one is for now. I can see areas (lots of them) for improvements but time to move on another still life.

Today, I was looking after my young grand-daughter and normally that would be an excuse not to paint. However, I determined that housework, cooking etc could be deferred whilst Juniper slept and I could work on this during that brief window of opportunity. Wow, a break through for me!  To be honest, it was not that brief as she is still at the longer nap stage at the moment.

The one thing that I had been struggling with was the stripped material the still life was sitting on.  As can be seen in the previous stages of this work I had been painting in the stronger colour and then attempting to put on the yellow/mustard colour. Totally the wrong way to do it and in sudden flash, decided to cover the red/orange completely with  a yellow pastel and using a prismacolor pencil, drew in the stripes.  I just drew them as I saw them, the perspective is all wrong I know but somehow it works.

I worked on the problem area at the top of the painting, scrubbing in white, greys, reds, blues with pastels and pencils. It looks better but it still not quite right. looking at it at the moment, it definitely the large green area to the left that is the issue, more than that area. It lacks substance, maybe that is something I could work on.

I also work on the flower arrangement itself and the material immediately below the still life. The flower arrangement is better but I could never get the shadows on the material to work. I just ended up with a rather ill-defined shape with no real body, it just float very badly.

I added a few touches to the boldly patterned material in the background but not much as it seems to work apart from the odd triangle in the far right.

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Wow, looking this image on the screen and its way too bright. My camera really doesn’t capture reds well. Safe to say it’s not as bright as this image. Think I will need to invest in learning to use my husband’s DSLR. Photography is not my skill.

Anyway, tomorrow, another life to create. This one is finished (maybe work on the bottom material) as the flowers are now too dead!

 

 

progress slow

but its progress. Today I dispensed with the paint, using the pastels, Prismacolor pencils and some Derwent aquatone pencils. Not my best by any means but I’m happy as its only the 5th and I am actually painting. I will probably work on it one more day and then tried out another still life. I am even think of painting a view of the back garden as the weather is meant to improve considerably this week. Unfortunately that also means the Cedar trees will be in full pollen explosion stage. Like most people who live in this area, I am very allergic to it! At the moment it is mainly affecting my eyes, like tiny grains of sand grinding against my eyes. Hopefully that will be the full extend as I take all the allergy meds I can to fight against it.

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So the painting is on ¬†Strathmore Watercolour paper, 140 ¬†11″x15″. Acyrclic paints, Prismacolour pencils, Derwent aquatone pencils and Mungyo soft pastels. ¬† Bit I dislike the most, the grey area at the top above the flowers and the bit I like most the orange star in left bottom, followed closely by the green patterned material in the background.

As to the comment about overwhelmed by the number of colours available for pastels yesterday. Today I realised 60 is not enough! LOL

The New year starts and the anxiety kicks in

So I have actually started a still life – on 3rd Jan. ¬†Set up the still life in a burst of enthusiasm¬†on 31st Dec . Set up an easel on 1st. ¬†Then the anxiety set in and last night it got so bad I couldn’t sleep. ¬†So I got as far as a rough sketch in pastels. They are my issue at the moment because Gordon bought me them as Christmas gift after my bout of excitement with them before the festive season started. Looking at the big box of colours, 60, I suddenly thought what do I do with them!

So today, the 4th, I abandoned the pastels and taking up the brush.  Still anxious but I know I will get over this.  Need to be quck before flowers are completely dead!!!!

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Yes, I know, blue sticking tape is not going to help. Brown tape on my shopping list tomorrow.  Once I have completed the underpainting I will use the pastels again. Monday I start my new shift so most days from 9-5 I am free to do what I want, so no excuses this year but there will be.