Friday, January 05, 2007

Box Still Life SOLD

8 x 8 inches, oil on panel, work in progress

My goal for 2007 is to complete 10 larger, more detailed works, 11x14 and up, in addition to several dailys a week. To start off I am warming up with this painting, which is still small, but will be more detailed and will take several days to complete.

A major difference with this painting is that I am using artificial light, so I can paint after dark from life. I have one light source pointing at my still life, and another light source lighting my easel. I have never done this before, so it is an experiment for me. But it's a good way to get more painting hours into the day.

I am starting with a monochromatic underpainting, and will add color with glazing after another session or two. For this monochromatic phase I am using only raw umber, ultramarine blue, and titanium white.

In-progress shots:

Phase 1
Raw umber only, with a medium of 2 parts linseed oil, 1 part turp

Phase 2
Adding in the white and ultramarine. I threw in the highlights on the bottle too early, they are in the wrong place.

Phase 3
Adding more mid-tones. Neck of the bottle is still too long.

Phase 4
More details within the shadows of the tissue, starting to show some of the depth of the composition. Bottle is closer to correct proportions, but still maybe too narrow.

About the composition:
The bottle, the tissue paper, and the box are all elements I have started working with in my daily paintings these last couple months. Before the daily painting practice, I never would have set up this composition. I am really enjoying all of these elements: my little amber pharmacy bottle casts a really great glow you will see when I add the color.

The tissue paper I am really enjoying for the dramatic qualities, I spend quite a bit of time "sculpting" the paper before I start painting. And the box I think makes a better composition - instead of just an object floating in the black, the positive and negative spaces are more interesting. The box also gives a feel of an environment to enter, making a mysterious little space to explore.

This painting is slightly larger than life, and I think a really large painting of a similar composition would be especially interesting; the intimate made huge, a tiny space enlarged. It's the kind of thing I would have loved as a child, imagining myself small and exploring the dollhouse. I never played with dolls, but I loved to make houses for them.