Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I've Been Through a Painting of a Book with No Name

Still Life with Votive
Oil on Panel
Raw Umber, French Ultramarine and Titanium White.

Pretty cool huh? No, I don't mean it is a great painting. I mean the overall colors are cool. Raw umber is just not warm enough to really warm up a painting. It is, after all, mostly a neutral color. The blue took over and dominated, even though there are places on this painting that I used no blue.

The original plan was to skew some letters on the computer and make a stencil to put on these books for titles and then my computer broke. !@#$! So I guess these are journals or maybe the contents are so secret that a label could not be used. I know that I am not good enough at lettering to wing it. I would rather leave them blank than fidget with the letters and ruin the painting. I learned my lesson in my Overworked and Underpaid post.

Incidentally, the reason this picture is skewed is because my computer broke and I don't have a way of correcting this currently. Hopefully my husband will get so sick of me using his computer that he fixes mine. That's the plan anyway.

The overall point of this particular study is two fold. First, I suck at perspective. I am consistently getting angles wrong and ellipses are the absolute worst for me. Books are basically boxes and a way to correct myself without just painting boring old boxes. Second, I want to understand more about how my paint is mixing and reacting and how putting one color next to another color works.

When I first started this, I sat and stared at it for a long time in this state:

Even though I am not right on the money, I am closer than I have been in the past. This also gave me an opportunity to see if my lights and darks were balanced. I like the transparency of the blue. It was fun to layer it over the umber in the background and see it take the effect I was hoping for. It kind of makes me wonder how the reverse would work.

This reminds me of an old ugly digital I once did of a wizards book on a table with objects of wizardry near it. I would like to do one of those again, only in oils, with better drawing skills and more lifelike objects. It is not the most original idea. No, I don't mean the still life, I mean redeeming oneself of old disasters.

I like the idea of playing with paint, two by two, to discover properties and values for myself. Reading is great and it gives me a starting point, but putting these theories into action has been a rather random act until I started doing this. I am not sure I am done with the blue and umber. I would like to try to get better warms out of the umber than I did this time. I don't expect a miracle, but it is worth a shot. Sometimes the best knowledge you can bring to the table is knowing what you cannot (or should not) do. Working under such limited conditions has caused me to be more creative in my solutions to problems and really think my way through obstacles. That can never be a bad thing.

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