My Perseptions #2 Form, Edge and Shape
Personal thoughts about a painting fresh off my easel.
Lotus 16 x 20 Oil on Linen
This is not a step by step instructional post, but rather an attempt to put into words some of the thoughts going through my head as I worked on this painting.
My full palette:
ivory black, raw umber, transparent oxide red, Sevres blue, ultramarine blue, dark cool red* , cad red light, cad orange, cad yellow lt. titanium/zinc white.
*my deep cool red is made up of two colors -quinacridone violet, peylene red.
I need to make one disclaimer here before I go on: in this image of the painting (as with all my images) I don't feel the camera captured the subtle changes of temperature and values of the flesh and I always find my images have too much contrast. Even though I'm pretty versed in image manipulation, the images never portray the beautiful subtitles of the original painting. But that's why we buy original art right
OK, so now I have that off my chest, let's move on. When the model struck this pose I knew I had something. I love the simple lines, the simple overall shape. I enjoy the separation between the lights and the shadows. Notice the warm reflection bouncing up from the upper thigh onto the ribcage. The pose really seemed to me to have a lot of emotion and more than enough beauty.
I found the drawing aspect to be easier than most--no hands, no face. But I must say that drawing is always a challenge for me. But it's really just a circle--right? That's what I based it on and then just divided up the big shapes. My next challenge was to turn the form across the back and get a feeling of the light falling down upon the figure. I subdued the light on the lower leg and brought up the highlight on the hip--which is the center of interest.
Currently edge is one of the elements of art that I want to take to the next level. So I had some fun letting go and scraping down and blurring the edges. It seemed to help set the figure into the surrounding environment properly. Atmosphere is the other element that I'm working on extra hard these days--we'll save that for another post.
To finish off the painting I ran out to my lily pond to pick some lotus blossoms...no just kidding I dont have a lily pond. Okay I confess they're just some silk ones I have in the studio.
The whole painting took almost 3 days to complete using a life model and finishing it from photos.
Remember to pay close attention to any object’s inherent shape and try to keep it simple. Think circles, rectangles and triangles. Also, try not to think of what a specific object is, instead think, “What shape is it?” Remember, shapes play an extremely important role when it comes to working with the figure. An arm is not an arm, but a cylinder. Finally, be sure to give shapes a little variety and at the same time pay attention to the negative spaces—which are shapes too.
"If the artist sees nothing within him, then he should also refrain from painting what he sees before him."
-Caspar David Friedrich