Monday, June 3, 2013

Sunny Plummy Kind of Day-Sunflowers and Plums Step by Step

8"x6" oil on linen mounted on panel
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It seems I've fallen into a pattern this summer, paint on sunny weekdays, work in the garden on the weekends, and blog on rainy days or evenings.  This is from one of those sunny days last week! 

I did take the time to photograph some steps along the way. For those that have been following this blog for a long while now, realize that I continue to integrate technique as it suits me.  Sometimes putting together things I've done in the past in new or different ways. For the last several years I had been painting with only a knife, no under-paintings,  just straight working onto the support (whether canvas or panel).  Prior to that I had usually made an under-painting of some sort before proceeding.  Of late some fellow artists work has caught my eye that has a wonderful 'thin transparency to  thick opacity' type of quality to it.    I'm enjoying this - altering my painting surface,  in a way that I'd call 'additive & subtractive' - disrupting edges as I go, still in love with the textural quality of the paint.  C.W. Mundy,  Julie Ford Oliver, and Jon Redmond are some of these recent influences. 

So, for starters, I laid in a transparent red on the linen surface, wiped back a little, then added some darker transparent areas.  
Then proceeded to draw in general shapes - for placement - and continue laying in the large dark shapes, then scrape back in some areas to keep transparency. 
And no, that is not black paint as it appears in this photo. For this dark I'll use alizarin & ultramarine & usually viridian. I use a warm & cool of each primary on my palette, sometimes I'll include either a sap green or viridian. 
 I start blocking in mid-tones and lights....again breaking up those edges, or scraping back some of the paint in places altogether...not allowing anything to get "too precious". 
Continue on, adjusting/maintaining the values that you intended for your composition. 
It DOES feel like a juggling/balancing act! I am working under a large patio umbrella to shade my canvas and palette.  If you don't have access to a bit of shade, at least turn your canvas away from the sun. Working with that brilliant sun on your work surface (canvas and palette) can be blinding..and make your final work appear very dark once you bring it inside. 
Bring in the knives to make your final adjustments! Palette knife that is, unless you are terribly disheartened by what you've done so far....and if you are.....either scrape it back & re-adjust, OR turn it aside for another day. If it's a total scrapper, it's experience under your belt. Usually coming back to it with a fresh eye reveals what you 'might have' done better. If your paint surface is still wet/open, go for it. Food for thought!

Over the years methods that stick with us are the ones that really speak to us. I know when I look at any painting, I like to see PAINT used liberally.  Perhaps it is from one of my instructors from almost two decades ago who encouraged me to lay out much more paint on my palette, "stingy paint, stingy painting" (thank you John Bannon).  I knew then I wanted a lush palette,  and the boldness to use that paint. Not all of our intentions come to us exactly when we wish it. I've found it's a lifetime commitment, a continual effort to  show up at the easel and just paint!

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Blogger Julie Ford Oliver said...

Great to see a great step-by-step of this wonderful painting.

Nice of you to mention my name in the same company at Mundy. I know his work although I have never met him I love what he does. Is it true he uses a tissue to lose his edges?

June 5, 2013 at 8:12 PM  
Blogger Roxanne Steed said...

Thanks Julie; I have watched his work evolve over time & always admired it. And yes, long ago I had read he used tissues to loose his edges (though I don't know if he still does that!). It's been interesting following his more recent landscape work on Facebook- and reading his explanations of techniques he's currently experimenting with. It was somewhat similar to yours. Sometimes when I'm looking for certain ways to achieve a certain outcome, things start to come together in interesting ways. So I'm always glad when other artists share good descriptions of their technique. The funny thing is...the same methods in different hands are as different as hand-writing...which makes for an interesting world.

June 9, 2013 at 7:06 PM  

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