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.
I need to get some more flowers so that I have some for the new painting. When I get them, it’s going to be wonderful making another painted study. While I was looking for something else I found these above by Bonnard. Found them at a wonderful site, link below.
I discovered the flowers while I was searching online for a painting from the book “Pierre Bonnard: Observing Nature,” the exhibition catalog for a 2003 show that took place in Australia. The painting is “The Green Path and Canal,” c 1919. Somehow looking at the picture made me wonder if the view through the window (in my painting) should be a storm. Bonnard’s painting is very dark and ominous looking. We’ve been having lots of storms lately. Summer storms can be so incredibly beautiful for color. Then there’s the further heightening of contrast between indoor and outdoor, warm and cool, man and nature.
It’s not that I want to imitate the picture that I cannot show you here. It’s just the source for an idea that popped into my head, which I’m not even sure I’ll use at long last. An idea about blue-green and darkness.
I’m putting violet around the edges of the picture.
I have been thinking about what colors should occur in the painting I’ve just started. It’s a different approach to painting for me — having decided to study Bonnard more closely. There are largish areas of my canvas that have no real-life referents. I can make those areas any color I want (just as the bathroom in Bonnard’s famous painting of Marthe was actually white). My painting of an interior doesn’t depict an actual place — unless you consider the actual place to be Bonnard’s dining room in the Villa Castellamare at Arcachon. I could use the same colors Bonnard did for some areas of the picture if I knew what those colors are. But I have only my books to consult and even the best of them never get the color exactly right. It was a long time ago that I saw the actual canvas.
Well, mine is my painting anyway. It’s a weird situation to be in to “be able” to choose whatever color I want. I’m not used to that. I typically don’t paint that way. So, here’s to learning new things.
[Detail of the still very amorphous picture, above, taken at night in insufficient light.]
Miscellaneous related ideas below (including two of Bonnard’s works.