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Yesterday in watercolor class, Gwen Bragg introduced us to another planning strategy. The first step is to take a sheet of tracing paper and make an outline drawing. Then, taking another piece of tracing paper, lay it over the first sheet and make a black and white value study, using a black marker and the white of the paper. The third step is to lay another piece of tracing paper over the first two and make a negative of the second drawing, filling in black where the white spaces are.
Those of you who have been following my blog may have noticed that the project I “launched” in January has fallen by the wayside. It got to a level where I liked what was happening but was struggling with what to do next. I also found that I was reluctant to continue for fear that I would mess it up. How much emotional investment do I have in this piece of paper and layer of paint? Too much, I guess! I have gone back to “Sitting on a Curb” and am applying this planning approach with it. Today I copied the line drawing and made the first value study.
I found several interesting things. First, I need to pay more attention to the edges of my shapes, making sure that they convey the information that is needed. Second, I have massed more of the shapes together, being forced to decide if an area should be dark or light and not falling back on a middle value. Third, I need to address the background shape above the children’s heads.
As I struggled with this today I became aware of how much WORK was really involved – and how much I wanted to avoid it! I would rationalize that I needed a break to clear my head and instead of going back right away, the vacuuming is done, the refrigerator is clean, and the piles of paper in the kitchen have disappeared. The ultimate in avoidance tactics will be when the checkbook gets balanced!
Tomorrow, I will decide on the background shape and then try the negative of this study.
This picture hangs in my father’s and step-mother’s kitchen, which is appropriate since I painted it while staying at their summer house (which has now become their retirement home). I was taking my first watercolor class with Gwen Bragg and our assignment was to paint eggs to learn how to paint subtle colors. Most of the class painted white eggs, but my step-mother had only brown eggs in the refrigerator.
This small piece won an award in the student show.
As I wrote last week, I am taking a class and the first two sessions are concentrating on painting white objects. The set up I chose was white ceramic chickens with a glass bowl of white eggs. My finished exercise looks like this:
I’m not unhappy with the result, but as I have thought about it this week, I have realized that I succumbed to the tyranny of the scene in front of me. That was not the picture that I wanted to paint! But what did I have in mind?
I want the eggs to be the focal point, and I want to challenge myself to put in the chicken with its red comb and wattle without letting it upstage the eggs. I also want to leave a section of the painting unfinished, or suggestive.
So today I worked on my plan. I started out by drawing the eggs and the chicken. They were beside one another in the set up and in my drawing, until I realized that I wanted the chicken to overlap the bowl. So I folded the paper until the chicken’s beak was in front of the bowl.
That was better, but still not what I wanted. However, I found that I do want to use cadmium red for all the elements of the painting, a monochromatic color scheme. Mixing Winsor green with the cadmium red makes a very dark value to put behind the eggs.
So here is a value study:
I think I like it, and will think about it over the weekend. Painting is going to have to wait until next week because this weekend is my father’s 80th birthday and there will be a lot of family in town.
Some days just aren’t productive in the way I anticipate and hope. It’s not as though I didn’t work: I went to the bank and transferred money into my business account (I’m enrolling in an art class at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria Virginia and I needed the funds in my business account to document the expense). Following that, I came home and my husband had lunch ready for me! Then I went to the commissary and left him cleaning our bathroom – he’s so domestic now that he’s retired from the Navy!
So I did enroll in the class today – another watercolor class – taught by my mentor Gwen Bragg. But dip brush in paint? No. Painting tomorrow – all distractions have been put to rest.