Yesterday was the last session of my current art class with Dawn and Val (who was sadly away with the flu but came in at the end to say goodbye). Dawn brought in and arranged this still life: a turned burr elm bowl with two wine (?) glasses on a patterned pink cloth. It looked great. I took a few shots of it on my compact camera but had forgotten to put the card in so they went onto the internal memory and I cannot find the appropriate cable. Luckily I took one with my phone; it is blurred but better than nothing.
I started with a sketch on a small pad and transferred that to my acrylic paper (at which point another class participant came in and picked up the bowl to look at it; just as well the sketch had enough detail to recreate the position!). I then started by filling in the background with a pick/orange colour to approximate the cloth. The bowl was very difficult. As I’ve said before, I’m not good at representational art and getting the modelling of the bowl so that it looked three dimensional was hard.
The light in the room confused me as well. I was standing and the painting was flat on the desk. I’d got a long way with the bowl when I shifted my point of view and realised that what I thought were dark browns that I’d been laying down were actually greens. The bowl looked more like a camouflaged helmet . Still does a little. Dawn suggested switching to yellow ochre for the lighter areas on the bowl and this helped bring in a bit more definition. This is where I stopped.
I do have a long way to go but I enjoyed doing this and intend to practise on some still lifes at home. I’ve signed up for another class, this time in Nottingham, starting next month and hope I can improve my representational techniques.
This is the piece I painted in yesterday’s Acrylics class. Val arranged the following still life:
I played around with some of the edges and shapes in a sketchpad, put them all together, added and erased lines, until I had what seemed an interesting arrangement. I had already prepared a background so that I didn’t have to paint directly onto the white paper or have to wait until one dried during the class. I then started filling in the shapes with some colours. It didn’t seem to cohere so I added the two thin lines on either side to ‘bracket’ the shapes and hold them together.
I have to thank Dawn for the yellow-green line on the left. I initially painted it in white but Dawn felt that it unbalanced the whole. We then played around with colours from my collection and hers, finally combining a deep cadmium yellow of hers and a pale green of mine to come up with that gorgeous spring colour.
I thought it was a mistake to put the ultramarine and phthalo green together in the top left shapes (you have to look hard in the jpeg to see that they are different colours) but the combination has grown on me. I’m wasn’t overly keen on the pale lime at the bottom, either, but Dawn thought it worked and again, I’ve come to accept it.
I really enjoyed this session and think abstraction is the way I need to go, eventually. I’m currently struggling with a representational picture of a tree. It is a challenge, and one I want to learn how to complete, but it really isn’t my ‘thing’.
Yet another challenge. In order to keep myself doing art, mainly painting, I intend to post one piece each week. It’ll either be a work in progress or whatever I did during any painting class I attended.
For the start, I’m showing the work I did during this week’s acrylic painting class with Dawn and Val at Gallery 18 in Loughborough. In case you cannot work out what it is supposed to be, I’ve also included a photograph I took of the actual still life.
I like the colours in the painting. I’ve restricted myself to using only four colours (Phthalo Blue, Phthalo Green, Permanent Rose and Cadmium Yellow plus Titanium White) to try to get used to combining them and to stop myself trying too hard to get a perfect representation of the actual colours I see (I’m not really into representation though I do accept that I should tackle it some time to build my skills – not yet though).
I must learn to stop using white straight onto the canvas. It always tends to ruin whatever I’m painting. Small spots are ok but using it for the light lines of the chrome around the edge of the guitar and the reflections from the strings has not worked. I really need to figure out how to paint a smooth line, too. We’re to do some abstract work next week so I’ll ask to be shown how to do this better.