Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Black Plums"

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"Black Plums"
8 x 10 in
Oil on Canvas Panel
Plums have such a rich deep colors to them, what I especially love is the way light softens and wraps around them.  The marble I believe also adds a nice element to the subtle colors of the plums.  The more I paint marble the more I understand its textures and how to paint them.  These two components have different textures to them one being smooth and the other being rough, painting these two elements in one painting is a good way in learning how to manipulate the paints.  
I wanted to remind everyone again that I will be giving a live demo at the Uptown Art Fair, it'll be on August 5 from 1-5 p.m.  It'll be great to see you guys there!  I will also be teaching a still life and figure drawing workshops at the Bloomington Art Center, if anyone's interested you can now sign up for the classes.  Click here to see sign up!
I started with the usual dry brush using no mediums and just a bit of raw umber on the brush.  After the drawing is complete I stated the background and also the middle value of the marble.  The colors I used at this stage is cerulean blue, naples yellow and titanium white.  For the marble I used ivory black, titanium white and raw umber.  I keep the paints really thin at this stage, this acts as a base for thicker paint to flow easier up top.
Then I start on the bottom part of the base first stating the middle darker values first, I like to slowly build up to the darks and do the same with the lights.  Then I start to add the darker values and its specific forms, when thats complete I move on to the lighter values and take it to a finish.  I make sure with each of these stages that I take them to a close finish, this allows me to completely concentrate on each area and take it to a finish.  
I repeat the same process on the top of the marble as I did with the bottom.  As you can see with the first picture I state the middle values first, I keep the edges really soft and the paints really thin.  This allows me to slowly build up the edges I want and certain looks I'm going for.
Then I apply a thin coat of a middle value to all the plums in one shot, this as stated before acts like a base so the paints can flow easier and smoother.  The colors I used where alizarine crimson and ivory black.  Then I start on the first plum and completely concentrate on that one until I take it to a completion.  I start on the darker values first and its specific forms, I use ivory black for this stage.  
Then I add the lighter values and its specific forms, I use titanium white and cobalt blue for this stage.  Then I start on the middle plum when the first one is complete and repeat the same process.  With the darkest and lightest value stages I'm starting out with a middle value and building up to the values I'm wanting, I never start with the brightest or darkest values first and model it from there.  I think of it as if I was drawing with a pencil you want to gradually build up to your tones, this allows you to create subtle transitions.  When the transitions are becoming subtle and shifting then I start to see if I want to add thicker paint to get a harder edge or keep them soft with thinner paint, the important part is that I'm gradually arriving to that stage not jumping straight to it.
 I do the same with the third plum after the second plum is complete, I also use the same colors through out all the plums.
I take the painting to a finish after I go back to the cast shadows where marble meets the plums and add darker values which meshes the plums and marble together.  I really enjoyed painting these plums, painting these two surfaces was more fun than what I expected.  I also enjoyed going back to the fundamentals of finishing an area before moving onto the next.  I've noticed in past paintings I have the habit of going really fast and jumping around the whole painting, I wasn't concentrating in one section at a time.  To me thats crucial in really observing what you'r painting and also painting what you see to your best ability.  I noticed that when I jump around in the section I'm painting without a methodical plan it takes me longer than painting it in stages like I did with this one.  I hope you guys enjoyed this one as much as I did, thanks for stopping by and viewing!