Saturday, November 24, 2012

Painting Glass and Shiny things

I just got back from a 4 day workshop taught by Paul Jackson at Ladyslipper
Studios in Sidney on Vancouver Island.  I couldn't wait to set up a
small still life and try out the techniques I learned.  Above is my reference
photo and below is the photo in black and white to help me judge values.

After masking out the whitest sparkles I laid in the first very light wash.

Then I masked out the leaves and tendrils woven into the damask cloth.

The next wash was somewhat darker and I made sure to move from green to lavender for interest.

 I decided to tackle the main colors of the stem next so I could mask it out while
I painted the body of the glass pumpkin.  I laid in the first wash of the cast shadow of the pumpkin.

After I masked out portions of the stem that were touching the pumpkin, I made
the first pass of the blues, violet, yellow, and green in the pumpkin.  I am using a watercolor paper that I am not comfortable with and feel I would have had a better, looser effect with Arches 140# paper.  I made a second pass at the cast shadow of the pumpkin and laid in some of the blue patches in the candlestick.
At this point I removed all the masking and began to add the dark details
to the candlestick, pumpkin stem, and pumpkin. 

I washed over the entire fabric area to soften the fabric details so they would recede more. 

Finally I peeled off the tape and signed my name, the 5" x 7" painting took about 6 hours start to finish and I created it especially for our upcoming Sequim Arts Small Works Show which opens at the
Museum and Art Center beginning on December 5th (I think). 
I hope you get a chance to come to the show!!
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Friday, November 2, 2012


 Here's the still life lit with one light.

A quick sketch with a #2 pencil.

I toned the paper with a warm, mid-value wash of watercolor in a reddish
color which will sparkle through the cool pastel colors I will use.

The initial pastel layers are loose and done with a hard pastel.

I key the painting by applying the light value that is the blue glass. 

I concentrate on adding the mid values, including glazing colors from the
background over the bottle that was too light.

The last step is to add the details in the lightest lights and the darkest darks. 
Three things fool us into thinking the bottle is glass; the sparkle, the
squiggle (distorted objects seen through the glass) and painting the background
through the shape so we feel we are seeing the background through the glass.
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pastel lesson: apples on a reflective surface (Kitty Wallis sanded paper)

Here's the line drawing in a neutral hard pastel. 

I used hard pastels to block in the darkest values in each area.
I now see that the reflection of the apple on the left is too wide, if I had checked the
drawing a mirror before I began painting I likely would have seen my error.

I key the painting by adding the lightest value, the highlight.

I neutralized the colors in the reflections by adding a layer of the warm brown of the table top.

Final touches on the fruit and some colorful background.  I now think the background
is too bright and energetic; it competes with the apples, my center of interest.
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