Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lost Orchid Painting


     My reason for setting up my own still life was to paint what was visually in front of me. I don't want to rely on magazine or book pictures and when they are necessary I will only use photos that I have personally taken. As I stepped back to view this painting; I fixed the things that I could see were  wrong and then after all that time and effort I determined it was trite and boring.  It just was not me!

     My painting made some of the classic basic mistakes:
 * using all hard edges; no soft edges to show the perspective of background objects or the lack of simple variation of technique
 * very little change in value; everything is competing for visual attention.
 *no major focal point; again everything is competing for attention.
 * lacks life or movement
What does one do when a project bombs out? Either destroy the evidence or start over.  I started over.

     Gesso was re- slathered over the canvas much like Huck Finn did to Aunt Polly's fence. At that point the Orchid painting was lost...gone.... simply another evanescent image.

Fear not, another image entered my mind. Here is the first step for Some Like It Hot! My style took a 180 degree turn but this one feels better to me. Wish I had a good answer as to why one feels better than the
 other but I don't have a clue. My son is developing a recipe for a spicy meat rub and I may of been thinking of him as he designs his product label.

Viewing from a distance I noticed that the pepper and hot fire of the drip technique looked too much the same. The addition of more yellow and oranges to the drips makes the pepper stand out more. With black Gesso the letters and pepper outline were tidied up a bit. I experimented with highlights and shadows but I was not impressed. Sometimes a painter needs to exaggerate and kick it up a notch.

To get into the mood I always have appropriate music in the background; this time is was Caribbean music with the up beat sounds of the steel drums.


 A complement touch of green was added to the stem, plus I mixed the red with a gloss gel medium to make the pepper the shiny focal point. Using a palette knife added texture which does not show up well in this photo.

My last thought is to add some black down in the lower portion of the painting to disperse the color throughout the painting. OK, here goes......the final painting.

This one is for you Braden!


Final touches were highlights, shadows that flowed down the page to unite the painting.

Lost an orchid; found a Hot Pepper!!      :)                                                  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Frozen Reflections- An Abstract Realism

     Abstract Realism, Jumbo Shrimp; yes I get the oxymoron but I did it anyway. This is going to be a "you suggest the ending" to a thriller mystery painting saga. Please look at the painting stages as my thought process developed and help me find a final work of art.
                                                               I am not yet pleased with the outcome!
 The canvas is 40 X 50 inches so it makes a large statement. Using my knowledge from a Dorate Muller workshop, I toned the canvas in a warm color and pasted torn  rice paper strips and gold leaf sheets onto the canvas. I had nothing in particular in mind for a subject matter or color choices. From a distance the blue, green and gold papers reminded me of islands within an Arctic Sea. 

Step 2 shows the softening and cooling of the background with the water showing reflections of the sky and islands. Thanks to Maya Baynes' workshop for reminding me of these principles.

In order to find the compliment of all the cool colors I added an abstraction of warm tones. At that point the painting suggested to me that the water of the sea were spilling down the remaining 2/3 of the canvas.


 In step 3  I see my vision and maybe I should have stopped but I didn't, what can I say! Thinking that the bottom was too busy and undeveloped I continued on trying to develop larger areas of blue to reflect the sky and give the eyes a place to rest which would then bring one's eye to the focal point.

      I do believe it shows better in person but here is my photo of the final stage at this moment in time. Did I lose my vision or did I make a well designed painting? How would you complete this mystery within a painter's mind?

Hope to hear from you.