February 20, 2018

I've completed two more paintings, "Ratatouille" and "Linda's Macareux (Puffins)".  I actually started "Ratatouille" first --bought the vegetables, did several set-ups, several photos, back-and-forth (including with teacher and friend, online) about which version to select.  Ultimately chose a set-up that wasn't my first choice, but was others', and turns out they were right (they're both artists, so have a better eye than I do -- at least at this stage in my artistic development. 
Ratatouille:  Photo of vegetables on board on top of washing machine in my kitchen.

Then came the drawing, which I'm getting better at (especially since I've started with a weekly drawing group), but curved lines remain a challenge -- well, so do straight lines, for that matter!  :)


Next, "color blocking" -- mixing and painting major shapes with solid colors, in acrylic, mostly going from darker to lighter.  I also put in some shadows and highlights, but notice how "flat"the tomato looks on this day...

"Ratatouille": color blocking, some shading and highlights.
..and then how much better the next day, once the highlights are put in, and the color nuances (the greens, purples, and reds) are adjusted):

But here is where I got stuck with the perspective, especially with the board and wall, so had to wait until teacher returned and for a lesson in perspective, which I actually found rather confusing!

In the meantime, while she was going to be away, teacher had given me a magazine photo of "macareux" (puffins) to paint.  I really wasn't very interested, except perhaps for the texture of the white chests, but then reminded myself that my old friend Linda loved puffins, and thus the title, "Linda's Macareux":

When my teacher returned, I showed her the signed, final version, and confessed I'd found it a boring exercise.  She nodded, said she'd given me the assignment because she knew I could do it (I want a challenge!), and then remarked, "It looks the way it's supposed to."  Maybe (see below)...but I'm not going to frame it.

"Ratatouille", though, was another story.  Once I worked on (well, struggled with) the perspective and made some finishing touches, I was pleased.  Signed and framed:

After I took the initial photo, I cooked the vegetables and ate the ratatouille.  Not bad.

January 2, 2018

Rachel's wood

I've decided to add on to the top of this blog entry, "Painting", because it seems to make more sense -- especially given how we typically read emails -- to make the most current, first.

The idea for this painting came from a photograph sent to me by my friend Rachel Lowe, owner (with her husband, Jamie Rattray) of the Gîte au Chez in St. Vaury that was my introduction to the Limousin in 2014. Rachel has a keen eye for composition and natural beauty; I really loved this picture, and told her I wanted to paint it.  Teacher Janette was kind enough to print it for me:

First step with Janette was to draw -- always a challenge for me!  But she gave me some good tips about how to proportionally change the size (even the format -- e.g., from portrait to landscape).  Then came mixing the "base" colors -- the grays (from red, blue and yellow + white) and taupe (add in some burnt umber).  I started on the backgrounds (wall above and ground below) with Janette, and then came home to add in more colors -- more white in the blue-gray wall "stains".

Oops -- what IS that color I started to lay down for the wood?  Redwood?  Hmmm...

Actually, I kind of liked it (one of the things I love about acrylics -- you can easily change/add to/subtract from the colors), so kept playing around with that "redwood" underpainting theme...

Janette's comment when I sent her the above:  "Wall in the background is good.  If I were you, I'd tone down the red wood."  Definitely!  What I love about painting textures, is how you have to use so many different colors and brushes/brush strokes to get the effects you want.  And how creative a "mistake" can be!

Rachel's wood:
Below: Signed and dated (PDLee01.18 ) Acrylic on canvas.   Tilted because I was holding the camera funny, or had hung the canvas funny, or the wall is tilted...:)

Rachel says she loves it, and can't wait to see the original painting.  I'm hoping she'll accept it as a gift for "my" gîte (pictured below, May 2014).

A la prochaine --


December 23, 2017

I'm really disappointed -- my excellent art teacher here, Janette Booth, is traveling with her husband for 7 weeks, and then a couple of months later will be working outside of Paris.  Thus, she'll only be at the country home in Darnac occasionally, which means my weekly lessons will no longer continue.  However, I thought I'd keep adding to this blog posting as I do new paintings, and use this site to keep track of what I've done and, more importantly, to highlight what I've learned from what I've done.

So, to start:  

After determining what I liked to paint (still life, lots of texture!) and what I wanted to learn (everything! but especially how to mix colors, use brushes and other implements, drawing (which I can't do), and techniques for making textures and forms....Janette started me with shadows, starting with black (seldom used in actual painting) and white (used a lot).  She first had me mix gradient shades of from white-to-black, then vice-versa:

Then I was to draw an apple using eight shades of B/W (she liked it, but I think I could have done better with the shading of the top portion of the torn paper towel, which was pushed up against a window pane.  Perhaps if I had actually roughly painted in the window, to show it leaning on something...

Next I created my own color wheel:

And then she selected an online photo of a painting of avocados, which she downloaded for me to paint, starting with learning how to mix greens. My homework was to mix the other two secondary colors, violets (which ended up including a tertiary color, turquoise) and oranges:

I also practiced brush strokes, "washing" colors with water and also using a dry brush and sponges for blending and effects:

For Avocados (see below):  I had coaching on drawing, and painting the wood and colors of the cut avocados; I did the large, uncut avocado, the pit, and the cut avocados myself (and am pretty proud of them), as well as the background (burst of light in my painting to right of uncut avocado, is due to my photo flash).  Sigh --  I needed a whole lot of help with the towel.  If I were going to make any substantial changes, they'd be to shorten the length of the flatter avocado piece (without the pit) and round off the bottom left of the smaller slice (in foreground).

But my teacher said no -- it was fine, and finished, and I should sign it, frame it, and even could sell it!  And, she said, she could see my "style" in it; that while she couldn't explain what that was, she saw it.
Who knew I had a "style"??!!  😁  This is the result:

A la prochaine --


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