Thursday, June 17, 2010

Painting Glass

 There are no special tricks or techniques when it comes to painting a still life other than a good sense of observation.  Study your subject and try to focus on  important visual elements that characterise it.  In the case of glass, it is transparency.  The most important thing to keep in mind when painting any subject is to let the work evolve.  Here are some process images from my last post that show how the glass bottles came into being.

1. The basic forms are drawn with paint and mineral spirits and colours are blocked in. The focus is on getting the right shapes and  tonal relationships.

2.  I continue to block in the colour and focus on tonal relationships. The interesting thing about coloured glass is that the cast shadows take on the colours of the subject which  they would not do with opaque objects.  The shadows are also seen through the subject.  This is what creates the sense of transparency.

3.  At this point, all of the colours are blocked in and I can start to refine the tonal structure.  I will also apply paint in a thicker fashion.

4.  The rest of the painting is constant refinement of colour relationships and tonal structure.  The background and foreground colours become more contrasted as I start to darken the edges and lighten the centre.  The bottles have all of their essential details.  All that is left is to strengthen the contrasts of the edges and internal shadows.  I consider this to be detail work and it can be very time consuming.

5.  The very last detail to be added is the highlight on the bottles.  This painting was done wet on wet, which means that I did not wait for the surface to dry before adding more paint.  Please feel free to post comments or questions.  BMF

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

He Just Doesn't Get It

oil/canvas, 10 x 12 inches
There are many reasons to paint the still life which is why I think artists have been drawn to it for such a long time.  Personally,  I will sometimes paint them for the challenge of trying to depict a specific form, colour or sense of light.  Sometimes I go back to them because I get tired of working with photos and I need to work from direct observation.  What is fascinating however, is how these inanimate objects take on a life of their own and start to communicate their own raison d'ĂȘtre.

The opposing directions of these two little bottles made me think of an argument or a breakdown in communication.  Funny how simple studio props start to personify the ideas that we are trying to express without intentionally starting out that way.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Contact Portrait Project

Melancholy Smile, oil/canvas, 11x 14 inches
Portrait painting was a great passion when I was in art school and I have often wanted to revisit it. My teaching practice has reopened that doorway and inspired me to try my hand at it again. I have decided to post these images on a different blog. If you are interested you can visit it at  Contact Portrait Project.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

White Teapot #2

oil/canvas, 9x12 inches

There are some paintings that just happen, they just paint themselves and then there are those that don't.  This one emerged with a bit of reluctance, but it emerged none the less.  It is another study in white, this time using the complementary pair of violet and yellow (with a touch of ultramarine and magenta).