Thursday, October 28, 2010
Every morning I spend a little time looking at painting blogs and then
go try out what I think I've learned. I believe I have learned a lot,
especially with alla prima. I'm not suffering as I paint anymore, anyway.
I hadn't done much with transparency or translucency . . . this bowl is
another 49¢ "find" at the Salvation Army. Working with something that
you're unfamiliar with really forces observation. My observational powers
need lots more refining, but at least, I know I don't know what this
object looks like and can't fool myself into thinking I do. I have also
noticed one terrible painting habit: once I load the brush with color, I'm
not content with just putting that color in the one spot where it's required.
I carry it into another area where the value has clearly changed. So,
another thing to be mindful of . . .
Monday, October 25, 2010
The companion apple to Lone Apple 1 . . . which, I guess
keeps them from being "lone." Digging them out this past week
and framing them made me stop and consider how I best like
to work. Both were done with an underpainting that wasn't just
a value study . . . one-color value first, then dark areas of color
and the complement of whatever the final background was going
to be. I let that first layer dry before tackling the finish of the painting.
There's a dried chromium oxide green layer under those red strokes
in the background. I could not have painted a red over chromium oxide
green and have it retain its red-integrity and have it recede.
I've also loved learning the immediacy of alla prima.
So I'll work both ways. As a former printmaker, I relied on surprise:
working in a mirror image, not knowing how it would translate backwards
on paper, how a quantity of ink would squish and what I might do with it next.
I had given up on oils years ago because of the predictability of what
my hand would do in front of my eyes in any given moment. The process
excited me more than having me be the author. Carol Marine quoted an
Irish artist in a recent commentary where she said, "instead of asking how
do I do that?, ask what will happen if I try this?" In retrospect, I must have
wanted to give up control. Tonight, I'm thinking that kind of limbo is close
to who I am.
Posted by Lorraine Shirkus at 9:55 PM
This wasn't my intended post for today. I'm posting 2 paintings
from early this year, before the Carol Marine workshop and the
subsequent struggle with alla prima. These are from a former era
of not always knowing what I was doing as opposed to my current
era. I liked both well enough to not sand them off and now that
time has passed, I feel like, uh, well . . . I still like them!
They are stand-ins for the painting I hoped to post . . . a self-portrait.
Having to confront my own visage in a mirror, which, of course, I lit
dramatically, was kind of a horrifying experience. I've tried to avoid
having to look closely at my face, have very dim light in my bathroom . . .
just enough to not poke my eye out with the mascara thing. All I wanted
to do was to get out of any kind of comfort zone, to have a subject I would
really, really have to look at and it turned out to be really, really uncomfortable.
I should go with that, instead of my usual quest to make something beautiful.
It got too dark in the day to photograph and it gives me another day to stall.
Maybe tomorrow . . .
Posted by Lorraine Shirkus at 9:08 PM
Friday, October 22, 2010
My time in the studio is still haphazard . . . still boxes to deal with and
tarp-covered furniture on my porch, left-overs from a yard sale. All this
exterior clutter also makes my brain a mess.
I realized I hardly ever paint blue things, so I went to the Salvation Army
on a quest for a blue object, and lo! a blue cup! I plunked down
my 54 cents. I had high hopes for it but now, on the screen, it looks
frizzy. This panel is the double-primed cotton from Raymar and takes paint
differently from the oil primed linen I usually work on. The apple in the cup
has very few strokes so I'm pleased with it. Reflections are difficult . . .
hats off to Carol Marine who does them so naturally.
Posted by Lorraine Shirkus at 5:06 PM
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I painted this about a month ago and was fairly pleased with the cherries
but unhappy with the way I painted the cups (except for the handle). I
couldn't stand looking at the mud I'd created on the shadow sides one
minute longer, so I repainted the darks and darkened the background
while stalling on starting a new painting.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I thought my head would explode trying to paint these bell peppers!
The curves and turns are so complex and challenging. They're great
models because you have to abandon any preconceived belief that
you "know" what they look like. I had to keep returning my mind to
just looking at shapes of value and color and hoping the objects would
become recognizable on their own. I also handled the ground differently
by using a red where the bells would roughly be and a brownish-green
under the back "wall" to see if the light background would recede
Posted by Lorraine Shirkus at 8:47 AM
Monday, October 11, 2010
I was actually able to hold two things in my mind simultaneously: don't
blend and stick to the light-value-dominant scheme I set out to do. There
was a lot more color in these "alabaster" apples than the greenish-white
I originally saw. The first pale green stroke on the warm ground vibrated
so beautifully, I tried to not disturb it, thinking I could lay in small blocks of
color next to each other and build the painting that way---totally different
from my usual automaton way of working. That third intention flew out the
window about 10 minutes in.
Posted by Lorraine Shirkus at 6:36 AM
Friday, October 8, 2010
I popped into the studio briefly yesterday (had to paint!) and picked up
a panel I'd begun before my hiatus, was unhappy with and scraped off
except for a ghost image. Luckily, I still had the same apples for models
but they'd developed a ghostly pallor in my absence. I haven't really done
them justice---they look more like alabaster than this. I hope to try again on
Sunday and push the value-dominance thing to be mostly light.
Posted by Lorraine Shirkus at 10:36 AM