I’ve been tweaking the arrangement. Now I’m ready to begin painting. Because the big painting is in the next room, I forgot that the background for the flowers isn’t green, it’s orange. So I slipped the closest thing I’ve got to orange paper behind the flowers to simulate (somewhat) that background. I’ve been tweaking a lot actually as I remember this and that thing. I also spread out the flowers. The earlier version just wasn’t working.
I have returned from the grocery store, got my flowers, and have begun setting up. I’ve been trying to get the flowers to jump into the vase that I drew. Jump, flowers! It’s hard to mix the real with the strictly two dimensional things.
I’m going to be painting a study for the Big Picture. As I begin I’ll be looking at this somewhat awkward arrangement. But once I get the vase indicated I’ll move the drawing off to the side.
The drawing is sitting on a music stand. That’s because the drawing is the score!
Today’s plan is to get some grocery store flowers to paint as a study for the flowers in the big painting. I need some actual flowers to put in the virtual Limoges vase that will sit in Bonnard’s window at the Villa Castellamare.
I am still trying to decide what objects will also sit on the table. The frog teapot (remember the frog teapot), a second smaller bouquet of flowers, the songbird figurine, the black teapot with flowers, and a couple of oranges.
I’m also thinking that I should include a seashell because I’m always painting seashells. Of course the compotier with lemons has a prominent place, and the porcelain basket (which I got from the internet) sits in the closest foreground. Maybe the honey jar.
I’m trying to figure out a way of setting up a still life in the studio so that I can put the objects in better relation to each other. Logistics … The virtual objects will, of course, have to be content with the place they occupy in my imagination.
I found a new Limoges vase online, and I’ve decided to use it instead of the pale white one with roses. I just like this jaunty vase with handles better. So I made a study of it using Neopastels and I’ll be using it to replace the main vase of the picture.
I have also decided to investigate using a second smaller vase to be sitting on the table a little closer in the foreground. More on that development later. I have an actual glass vase that I’ll use with real flowers.
Before I canned the white vase I made a little painted study of it, below right.
So far my painting follows the structure set forth in Bonnard’s picture which I emulate. And notwithstanding my window shopping, I seem to be using his window — at least for the present. The horizontal and vertical elements of Bonnard’s window are an essential component of his painting’s structure. Of course, the real structure of mine is as yet unresolved. I’m looking for it, and I’m hardly even started.
I made the study above a year or two ago with the aim of using it in a variation on the motif of flowers on a table sitting in front of a window. I recall that the light was changing rapidly and I just decided impulsively to see if I could make a fast drawing with oil pastels. Some element of the colors still beckons and those sinewy lines of the tree that’s up against the house. The tension between the squares of the window panes and the curvy trees and the colors, they all hint at something. I don’t know what.
For much art, getting the perspective right is significant for the sake of realism. In Bonnard’s art the flying off askew of perpendicular and horizontal lines obeys a visual physics all its own. You don’t get there by constructing perspective lines or by assiduously drawing the architecture as it is. You have to find the lines through sensibility the way that ants follow pheromone trails.
I was having trouble drawing a door many years ago. Just couldn’t figure it out. So I poured through my Bonnard books until I found a door of his. Simply looking at his image showed me the solutions I needed. They weren’t elements of perspective. They were ideas about what to describe and what to forget about. My door is as wobbly as his, but it serves its pictorial purpose — it’s a passage way into the pictorial outdoors — or from realm to realm.
He was talking about the landscape but his observations can apply equally to an interior. Anyway, there’s a landscape in this interior — the one that’s visible, that will be visible, through the window. Color is what this picture’s about.
Il a dit: Par temps beau mais froid, il y a du violet dans les gris et du vermillon dans les ombres orangées.
He said: Beautiful weather though cold, there’s violet in the grays and vermilion in the orange tinted shadows.
The painting comes along slowly. I make studies of particular objects to figure out what they’re going to look like. Not all the things have locations yet. I’m setting the table.
Another note to self. I want to remember to put the frog teapot on the imaginary table in Bonnard’s dining room at the Villa Castellamare in Arcachon. The whole right hand side of the table at present is empty. I was wondering what to put there. Remembered the frog teapot.
I’m also going to add some oranges — in the foreground — on the left.
I made a drawing of the compotier with lemons for the big painting. This quick drawing is on an 18 x 24 inch sheet of Strathmore drawing paper made using Neopastels. I had already made one study of the compotier in oil paint — and I’ll make others. Today’s light isn’t even right. I just want enough information to get the contours at least close enough for jazz. This one is close — still not right though it will be enough for me to use to paint some of the lay-in tonight.
The study in paint was more accurate in some respects, but it’s seen from the wrong angle. I set up a partial still life and also looked rather more closely at Bonnard’s image (I’m emulating Bonnard’s painting The Dining Room) and I find that I should be standing up when looking at the bowl. I was sitting for both the painting and the drawing, though I sought to prop myself up a bit higher for the drawing using a stool and pillows.
In any case I like the further engagement with the subject. It’s very satisfying simply to follow its lines and colors with the crayons.
I need something I can take with me into the room where the painting is. I use my computer periodically because that’s where the reference photo for the vase is — once again I’m using a picture from the internet, a vase that I cannot perhaps afford to buy even if it were available. I use my computer until the battery starts sending out alarms that it needs its fainting couch. As it calms and restores itself, I use a drawing while as I block in the vase. Here’s the world’s quickest drawing! –because I need some reference while I put down the first layers of the painting. The vase I’m using this time is white porcelain with roses (see the group below).
I’m going to be painting over layers and changing things as I go so I only need enough to get me started. All the elements of this painting are very exploratory. I paint inside the moment.
The white vase was preceded by the black vase. Lots of vases.