Sunday, October 20, 2013

Painting Again

completing Unfinished Paintings:
Golden Celebration (yellow roses)
I have been away from blog posting, but only because life, working full-time and running a local business have kept me rather busy !  Also, I don't yet have a proper studio space.  Though, good news, now that the weather has improved, Ian is working on that.  Meantime, I do have the al fresco (under cover) work area, and during the week it is busy fixing furniture or building things.  On the weekend I can sometimes commandeer it myself.  And today that is exactly what I did !

Lovely warm weather, about 31 C, or about 88 F.   I decided to finish, or add to two previous works, so they can go to their new places or homes (this actually has yet to be determined).  But too many partly done or not how I am happy with them things is getting in the way of pursuing fresh projects and paintings.

Magnificent Sunflower 2010 (before)
First I decided to fix the background of Magnificent Sunflower, a painting I did in Jan 2010.  It was painted from life and its subject was an un-opened sunflower.  I love this painting and I liked its background, but it was a bit uneven, lacking in balance (even I admit that).  One side had a dripped paint treatment in the background and the other side did not.  I liked the dripped paint background, it was fun to do.  But maybe it is not best suited to this composition, as most people who see it like the not-side (without the dripped paint).  I decided to unify the background, so the painting can be more balanced.  I worked in oils, as this painting was given an oil glaze several years ago.  Oils were very easy to work and I finished this in half hour, maybe a bit less.  I gave it a softer look, framed by fresh greens and yellows, plus white. Not quite impressionistic, but with a romantic soft frame of colour.  It did not need much and I am happy with its new look.
Detail of new background

Magnificent Sunflower, with new background
Golden Celebration, 2010 (before)
Then, with a bit more paint on my palette and a whole bunch of things that need to be transformed, completed, or painted over to start anew, I picked a painting of Yellow Roses that I call Golden Celebration.  They are yellow roses of the David Austin type 'Golden Celebration' .  I did a photo shoot of them in Dec 2009 and painted this originally in May or so of 2010.  I also have a version of it--also almost finished-- in my US West Coast "studio"  (my parents home in Nevada).  I will be there in November and will be finishing that one too.  Three-year paintings !

Golden Celebration, during
So what did the Australian version of Golden Celebration need ?  Well, actually a fair bit of fine tuning.  Edges in the composition could be better and neater, with better colour.   Colours needed a bit more tonal definition.  I wanted the painting to have more light playing in it too, so it would not look 'flat.'  As with Magnificent Sunflower, I decided to work in oils.  Golden Celebration also had been painted in Acrylics and then given an oil glaze.  I had struggled with the edges of the petals, and getting them right.  Painting vivid yellows is harder than it looks, shadows and edges are particularly tricky.  Bright pigments like Cadmium Yellow are a bit "bossy" and easily domineer everything around them.  Which isn't very interesting.  How to keep the yellows clear and looking right and get edges, shadows, and such from looking murky or muddy ?!  That was the challenge at hand.

I worked slowly with size 6 and a size 4 flat brushes.  My oil brushes were so happy to get some action ! I used pure gum turps with my oils and a very light hand as I wanted to refine the painting, not do it over.  Three times I declared I was done.  OK, the third time it was really so !  The previous two times I considered and photographed the painting and found it not quite as I wished it.
Golden Celebration, 2013 (after)

For the flowers, I used Titanium White, Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Australian Red-Gold (by Art Spectrum), and only a small bit of Raw Umber.  For the foliage and dark shadows among them I used Sap Green, Australian Gold Green (Art Spectrum), a bit of Titanium White and Lemon Yellow, Raw Umber, and for a bit of high lights, Art Spectrum's Tasman Blue.

Time flew on by and seemed to be very short.  However, I spent 2.5 hours on this, with only one break to put out a load of clean clothes on the line.  I worked without music, listening to bird sounds and the Sunday afternoon sunshine instead.  There were native parrot chirps, chooks (chickens) up next door clucking loudly about the eggs they were laying, and the junior magpie (young bird) was squawking really noisily.  I asked Ian if this is what it sounds like here during the weekdays when I am in the shop and he said it was !

Golden Celebration, completed 2013
(shown leaned against one of the new studio doors !)
I like how this turned out.  It needs some dry time now.  But it is worthy of being displayed now....I will be tackling more unfinished paintings soon, then will be starting some new works.  I may integrated multimedia techniques, as in the shop I have been experimenting with transfers.  I also acquired an old fashioned overhead projector (ex govt) and have gotten transparency sheets for use with ink jet printers.  I will use either or both for lettering or finely detailed images that I am not confident about doing freehand.

More soon :)