Saturday, January 23, 2010

In the Studio - The Audition

This entry is going to follow my working progress on a current painting.

When I select a subject there are several questions I ask myself and a few I stay away from:

The question I don't want to ask- "Is the subject cute, pretty, beautiful?"
What I ask instead- "Do the shapes in the subject lend themselves to an interesting break up of space?"

The question I don't want to ask- "Is the color bright, dark or dull?"
What I ask instead- "Does the subject lean toward warm or cool, is there potential for interesting color interactions?"

What I don't want to think about - "that's a nice flower and dress and chair."
Better motive for a painting- "What one area do I want to focus on?"

I decided to start this as a monotone in order to work out the value shapes . I used burnt umber, burnt sienna, yellow ochre. In the dark areas I neutralized the burnt sienna with very small amounts of thalo blue. Sometimes working out one problem at a time is the best way to proceed.

By this time I had the shapes firmed up and had used the thalo blue in more areas. This is when the need to really listen to the painting is essential, the original reference will not help. The design foundation is what holds everything together, details will also not help. How are the shapes- do they:
-lead your eye to the most important areas?
-have variety, small, medium, large?
I can see a problem area on the right side, these shapes are very similar-

I need to think about a better way to break up the space, also the image does not have the "feel" I want, and this is something only you can decide. I am going to raise the dark shape in the background - see what happens...

This is starting to work, there is more interesting color breakups in her dress- but still not there yet. Again  I ask questions:
What is the dominant direction in this piece?  Vertical, maybe that's why the horizontal line created with the background shape is not working well.
What is the dominant temperature? Cool, so I will push this shape in the cooler direction.
What is the dominant shape? Angles, the background shape needs to be more angular-

That's it!

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