Saturday, March 14, 2009

Baby Dutch

Baby Dutch
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!

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