One of the exercises my watercolor teacher had us do in her introductory class was to paint eggs, white eggs on a white sheet of paper. It was a good technique for teaching students to see colors in the shadows, both cast shadows and form shadows. It was during the week when we were supposed to practice this at home that my husband and I went to spend the weekend at my parents’ beach cottage, where there were brown eggs! So, I looked for colors in their shadows. That picture now hangs on the kitchen wall in my folks’ house.
The Doodlewash prompt for our February Nature Walk today is eggs, and what we have in our kitchen today are brown eggs.
The challenge was to document a day in one’s life. It has taken me all week to even get this far, so here is my incomplete day, as recorded in pen and ink and watercolor in my sketchbook.
1 April 2013
My day usually starts in this chair with a cup of coffee, reading the Bible. It’s often dark when I sit down and I get to watch the light brightening the water and the boats on the creek through the windows beside my chair. Since the windows face west, the morning sun turns the boats and trees on the far shore yellow-orange while our side of the creek is still in shadow.
We had eggs and English muffins for breakfast. Rick commented that he’d never seen me cooking with a sketchbook in hand before! And, yes, the eggs were cooked a little too much, but not burned!
Morning found me doing further work on a program cover for the New Score Chamber Orchestra. My friend wanted more color and contrast than the drawing I had submitted previously. Here I’m working out a possible color scheme for some of the detail.
We had Easter dinner with my folks yesterday and my generous step-mother sent us home with ham for my sandwich.
Physical Therapy for my knee. The therapist thought my sketchbook was an electronic game! Not shown in this sketch are the two pads with wires attached that provide electrical stimulation for the muscle on my right thigh.
More work on the program cover in the afternoon. I’ve sketched with pen and ink and am starting to add the watercolor washes. The gray spots are masking fluid, and will become multi-colored shapes to represent the music being played.
I did also do laundry, take a walk, and make dinner, but those sketches are still in very rough form and the pencil lines don’t show up well on the scans. Thanks for allowing me to share my day with you!
After a boisterous weekend celebrating my father’s 80th birthday with twenty of his relatives, a weekend full of non-stop puns and eating interrupted by games (the eating, not the puns), I got back to work yesterday, and today finished the painting from last week’s value study.
My goals were:
1.) to make the eggs the focal point without letting the chicken, with its bright red comb and wattle, upstage the eggs. I think I accomplished this by putting the chicken in front of the bowl, also painted with red.
2.) to leave a section of the painting unfinished and suggestive, which I did in the lower left hand corner.
3.) to use a monochromatic color scheme, which didn’t happen. I added Winsor green to the cadmium red to get a dark and then liked having the two colors together, complementing each other and making a greater contrast. So I have a complementary color scheme.
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.