Got home early today, so I was able to finish this one before darkness set in. Which means I was able to photograph it outside like I used to do. I think maybe this weekend I'm going to re-shoot the last 10 or so paintings outside. They look much closer to the actual color when shot in natural light. Though I've adjusted each one in Photoshop, it's hard to get all the colors correct. After finishing this one up, I had to take my 10 year old Maddie out to ride her bike. This put me on a tight painting deadline. Which forced me to not overwork it.
I thought I'd pump up the color on this piece. Nothing wrong with that, right?
Keeping my focus from yesterday (conservative painting application) didn't work as well on this subject. I don't want to limit myself with subject matter, but I need to be mindful of what items work well with what I'm trying to do. Though I love painting metal, it's not easy to keep it simple. At least not at my skill level. Once this piece was finished, I noticed that maybe my shadows were not pronounced enough. That's a composition and lighting problem. Tomorrow night I'm going to be a little more thorough with my still life setup. Just like in the painting stages, I need to plan my approach better when setting these up.
In my early days of painting instruction from Barrie Kaufman, I had just come back to town after a visit to one of my favorite museums, the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, PA. I've always been a great fan of N.C. Wyeth, and this museum, which rests on the Wyeth family farm, has a great collection of his work (not to mention Andrew and Jamie Wyeth).
As I was talking to Barrie about how great it was to see the paintings in person again, she asked me to write down what it was that I really liked about his work. It's funny, I had never really thought about that before.
What I really liked was the loose approach he took to painting. Seeing them in person allows you to get really close and see the brush strokes, the application of paint and how he never really completely mixed his colors together. He let the viewer's eye mix them for him. The colors vibrate against each other. Shadows weren't just purples or grays, they had streaks of yellow, warm blues and reds. To make a long story longer, yesterday I started looking through my previous daily paintings. Ranking them, one by one. That's when I noticed a trend that I didn't like...I had lost that loose quick painting style that drew me to my favorite artists. So tonight's piece is my attempt to get back to that style. I tried to be conservative with my painting strokes. I feel very satisfied with my effort. I'm sure a few weeks from now I'll probably not feel the same.
I went to our local farmer's market (Capitol Market) this past Saturday. My sister in-law, Kathleen DuBois, had a book signing for her recently published book "Monday Motivation". While there helping her setup I decided to walk through the market with my camera. It's one thing to stroll through looking for food, it's another when your looking for painting reference. So many unique shapes and color to choose from. I took a ton of photos which I hope to create larger paintings from in the next few weeks. I also purchased a few things to bring home for my daily paintings. Here's the first of those purchases.
Somethings are better left alone. I pulled out the monk cup and gave it another try. That voice I heard the other night WAS the monk cup. It was saying "Hey stupid, don't try and paint me again." Next time I'll listen. The one thing I can say is this version was better. I've added the first Lemonhead painting as a reference. Sometimes you have to except the small victories and be happy about it.
Lemonhead and the dearly departed.
6" x 6" Oil on gessoboard.
First version, one month ago. (Yes, that is the same cup)
Well, my summertime routine of painting these pieces before it gets dark is definitely over. The seasons change and so must Teel. Since I've been completing these later, and it's getting darker sooner, I've had to start photographing them inside. A lot of Photoshop adjustments to get the colors close. Since my spoons from last night turned out well, I thought I'd continue the "metal" show with this piece. Last night I thought I heard the monk cup calling my name... I do have a lemon left. See you tomorrow night Lemonhead.
I'm happy to report that I finally escaped from the evil clutches of football. It was a weekend long struggle, but I prevailed. Every spring the Teel family attempts to touch base with our inner farmer. Every fall we recognize another year of failure. We would be in trouble if we had to grow our own food to survive. This year we attempted to grow tomatoes. This painting is the fruit of our labors. Very sad.
Man o' man, rough night. Learned a valuable lesson...don't try to paint and listen to a football game at the same time. Drawing was poor, paint application was overworked, color mixing was dull. I was not organized when mixing my colors. It really shows. My palette looked like someone threw up on it when I was done. What a mess.
I have to learn to plan my approach and concentrate on the task at hand. No multitasking. Very disappointing.
More apples tonight, but I did throw in some strawberries. I should have thrown them out the window. I'm starting to hate strawberries. It's so easy to get caught up in the small details of them. I took a few swipes at painting their "pits", but it just doesn't fit with these small quick paintings. Or I'm just not experienced enough to handle them. Yeah, that's probably it. I'll have to put the strawberries away with the monk cup and move on.
I just made it through my longest drought of non-painting-days since I started my blog. I had a lot of things going on this weekend and I couldn't find the time (what a sorry excuse, right?). As I worked on this one, I keep thinking of what I'm going to write when I posted it: "Just when I thought I was getting good..." or "Painting a fork is hard...". But I think the main insight I can pass along from last night is "Take your time with the drawing stage.". I had a lot of trouble getting the perspective drawing down on this one. It's quite the challenge drawing with a paint brush. I've been noticing my drawing skills are a little rough when it comes to these pieces. Unfortunately, I don't see it until the painting is done and photographed. I can draw just about anything with a pencil, and get the perspective correct, but there's something about the brush that causes me to miscalculate. I've gotten better at it since I began (three weeks now), but I need to spend more time at the beginning stage.
PS: When I finished this piece, my resident critic daughter, Maddie, drop by to let me know where I made my mistakes and to dump my display carrots into the glass of tea I was using for the painting. Thank you Madeline Rose Teel.
I hope this is the start of something good. Flowers died, so out come the apples. This one went smooth and easy. I was really happy with paint color and application. For the first time, I think I put together a good overall value scheme. The shadows look more natural and I didn't overwork the paint. No scrubbing. I love the little touch of light blue at the bottom of the second green apple. I'm starting to think about taking another shot at the dreaded monk cup. My friend Ted will be happy.
Another day, another tulip painting. But this time I doubled the pleasure with two. I'm still having a time with color mixing. It's getting better, just not as fast as I would like. I do like this composition though.
I'm still utilizing the tulips I bought from the store over the weekend. I'm trying to force the color a little on this one and I'm happy with the composition and paint application. I'll be doing a series of these flowers until they die on me.
Though I can start to see some improvement (maybe I need new glasses), I find myself getting frustrated as I work through these. I just have to keep moving forward. The wisdom of working daily is that it's easier to remember what you did right or wrong on the last painting if it just happened yesterday.
In praise of Labor Day, I thought I'd labor a little longer and move up to a 12" x 12" painting. I also decided to switch from a canvas board to press board. I like the smooth finish of the board. This one was a lot easier than I thought, though yesterday I did start a 20" x 28" version that I wiped off this morning. I've learned that if "it's not working, it's not working". Save yourself the headache and just start over. I simplified the composition and went with a smaller size.
My sister Cathy has a lot of antique glass and kitchen related items. She offered to let me borrow a few things for my painting endeavors. One of the things I borrowed was a restaurant ketchup dispenser. Lots of chrome. Really neat looking. Sometimes as you're painting, you have a few "ah, ha" moments. I had one while I was working on this piece. Half way through I thought "Ah, ha, this antique ketchup dispenser is way too complicated to paint on this small scale."