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Thanks to Sara Rosso of The Daily Post for this challenge. This past year has held many adventures, which are now wonderful memories.
This week’s challenge is the color green. In this watercolor painting, the primary hue used is green. If one looks carefully, even the “coffee” is green in the area we interpret as reflected light.
So, here’s wishing you a great cup of coffee, whatever color the reflections are in your cup!
This picture is part of a series of watercolor featuring coffee that can be viewed here.
I thought that this week’s challenge would be tough for me. I spent most of the week getting paintings ready for shows this weekend. I have five paintings at a charity auction and another four framed pieces, an art book, eight unframed pieces, and some cards in the Muddy Creek Artists Guild “Artists on the Half Shell” show in Annapolis.
So my studio is disorganized and I filled our recycle bin with scraps of mat board in order to be able to walk into the room. I wondered, could I find the time and supplies to make one of my daily paintings, photograph it, and post it here TODAY?
Then I went to the “meet the artist” reception this evening. When the awards were given out, I was surprised and pleased to receive the “silver oyster shell” for watercolor for my painting of “Coffee 3.” (There was a silver oyster shell for each category of media.)But my biggest surprise was to receive the golden oyster shell (best in show) for my art book, “Melodic Lines.”
I’ve been thinking about the next painting in my coffee series and decided to use today’s small painting as a time for working out some ideas. I’m glad this is just a practice painting. I learned where to put the reflections on the puddle of coffee to give the puddle some height, but I don’t like the shape of the puddle. I also need to work on the shape of the mug; the perspective is not right, especially in the oval forming the rim.
- “It takes 120 bad paintings to know something about painting.” - Larry Seiler as quoted by Jeff Mahorney in his blog
- Each painting is small in format and should be completed in about an hour or less.
- My goals are to improve my technique, to paint faster, and to gain experience with a variety of subjects.
I didn’t realize until I started talking about using this china in a watercolor painting that my husband thought of this as my “fussy china.” It is delicate, would be expensive to replace, and he doesn’t see it used often, as I get it out on special occasions with friends.
My childhood memories of visiting my grandmother include knowing that she usually had her breakfast brought to her in bed. This was some of the china that would be used on her tray. My mother and I would eat in the kitchen or the dining room and my grandmother would join us later in the day. After her funeral, I was allowed to bring home the bits and pieces of the set that remained and it has sat, mostly unused, in my china cabinet, but I think of her when I get other china out of the glass-fronted cabinet.
Although this painting is 5″ x 7″, the coffee pot itself is 6″ tall.
This is the next painting in my Coffee series, inspired by all the different cups in our cabinet. Instead of rendering the cups with all the designs and colors, I have left them white and just painted in the shadows and reflected light. I limited myself to two pigments, Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Siena.
“Which Cup is Yours?”, watercolor on paper, 11″ x 21.5″
Guest Blogger – My Husband Rick:
I’m back with a progress report, and a couple of examples. Learning how to photograph art has taken a lot of reading and experimenting. I have spent hours and hours studying the camera manual, reading reviews, reading blogs about photography and photographing art. Then more hours experimenting with different settings, different light sources, optimizing the variables for the truest color. Hours well spent, because the results are finally coming in, as illustrated below.
This first photo was taken Saturday, and is the best color reproduction I could manage at that point.
I was using halogen bulbs in the lamps, and I’m embarrassed to say that the camera was on fully automatic mode. It decided that ISO 400, f-4, at 1/50 was optimal. This is also with the white balance set automatically.
I started with these settings as a reference and made many changes in manual mode to improve color. However, Ruth and I concluded that my best attempt… was this automatically rendered photo. Clearly, I had more to learn.
After reading a lot, with numerous ‘aha’ moments, I returned to the studio with new ideas, and came up with this:
Here are the differences Ruth and I see: The green-blue field in the upper right corner has a good bit of green in it now instead of mostly blue, and the coffee cup is more tawny, or tan with red highlights – these are much closer to the appearance of her painting. This also preserves the compositional logic of the original painting, as the green corner resonates in the cup handle, the right side of the rim, and the cup handle’s reflection in the coffee pot.
I changed the lamp bulbs to “Reveal” clear (now tungsten vs halogen), and again began in automatic mode to get the camera settings in the ball park. I then switched to manual and moved the f-stop smaller one stop to f-5, and set the ISO to a slower sensitivity of 200. This allowed me to slow the shutter down to 1/40. The reason for doing this was to get the lens out of its wide-open position, and actually over-expose the image. The painting is fairly dark and to bring off a truer appearance I needed to keep the imaging darker than the automatic settings would allow.
Now, if I could just manage to label the images with a copyright notice in the same format…