Saturday, March 14, 2009
Posted by Kirkland at 6:08 AM
Posted by Kirkland at 6:01 AM
Oil on Canvas
After studying classical painting in France, I came home ready to paint everything! One of the homework exercises we were given there was to paint an egg, preferably a white one. It sounded so simple. Really, how hard could it be? But when you slow down and look at a white egg, it isn't really white. And there are subtle variations in the surface texture. And depending on where the source is coming from, the light can move very quickly or slowly across the surface. The place where the light can no longer reach is the darkest value but the line of that value, running along the body of the egg, isn't straight. The shadow isn't a solid value, there are variations there. And the surface underneath the egg reflects back onto it, changing the values and temperature of color. And on and on...
Then we learned that a human body is similar to the egg study in many ways. There is no place on the human body that resembles a flat surface, like a board. The body is always rounded, the light on the forms always turning. There is much variation in the texture of the skin. Even the smoothest skin is not like plastic, it is not perfect. A nose is like an egg with two small eggs on either side (nostrils) and how you paint where and how they connect is very important.
So painting these rounded shapes was good practice. I painted onions and garlic, an eggplant, and these Baby Dutch potatoes. Just before they went into my homemade vegetable soup. Yum!
Oil on Canvas
Sarah was a great model. This is the most finished of all the figurative paintings I made in France. I needed more time! Not only does it take time to paint the figure but I had to apply all the things I was learning. I spent forever trying to get the place where her arm joins her body (her armpit) just right. Who cares? I do! I loved one of the things my teacher Michelle told me. She said she spent time trying to perfect the areas of the body other artists don't pay attention to, like the armpit area. In this pose, you really don't see it, only where her arm joins her breast area, and yet it is tough to get it just right.
I had the most fun working on her breast and stomach. I mixed colors I had never made before and I liked them! I have been tempted to work a little more on this painting, to "finish it". And yet, with the model gone, I am likely only to mess up what I've done. Like the feet I painted ("Exposed"), there were many lessons learned in this painting and looking at it helps me remember. Better to leave it alone lest I forget.
Oil on Canvas
I learned a lesson in this piece. There is a mistake I made that I decided not to fix. Because if I fixed it, I might forget I had made it and then forget the lesson. I do not think anyone notices it when they look at the piece, but it is all I see.
And I remember.