Saturday, October 29, 2016

"Winter Warmth", 12x12, oil on Ampersand panel, winter still life, snow, wine, candlelight, red pear

"Winter Warmth", 12x12, oil on Ampersand panel

I was attempting to create a feeling of homey warmth on a cold night in this painting and I hope I achieved it. I thought it might be helpful to those who sometimes write and ask me questions about how I go about a painting to document my process. I never start a painting exactly the same way twice, and my process changes depending on my thoughts and goals at the time. But I often do use transparent washes in the initial stage, so I thought this would be a good painting to use as an example.

1. I typically set up my still life with whatever I can find nearby and try to make it a pleasing combination of elements, but in this case I had some specific things in mind, like the wine and the candle. In not having the window that would form the background, I knew I'd need to improvise, so I constructed the night scene with substitutes using my shadow box, some two by fours and a blue bathmat. My biggest fear was that the mat would catch fire so I only lit the candle for short periods of time.

2.The sketch- next I did a quick sketch in a notebook to get comfortable with the drawing, adding some notes that were relevant.

3. Next I stained the support with magenta and then sketched in the composition loosely, using a green pastel pencil. I like to use pastel pencils rather than charcoal, because I find that charcoal can dirty the color when I lay in the paint on top.

4. The initial color block-in: Next I blocked in the elements thinly, using only transparent colors and no opaques. I was not worried at this stage about either color or value, but instead was just trying to cover the entire support with a nice soupy mixture of transparent colors.
5. The next step is to go over the transparent washes with opaque paint,  and correct the values and colors of each object.

6. In the last step, I go back and try to harmonize color, refine shapes and correct anything that looks out of wack. Finally I attempt to create the atmosphere that I'm trying to achieve, softening edges  and checking highlights.

Overall, I wasn't displeased with this one. I think I was able to capture the feeling of being in a warm home on a cold night. Thanks for checking in!

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