on the easel

landscape on the easel

I have been bit by the landscape bug again.  I am still working on my myriad projects — various still lifes that have appeared on this blog in recent weeks — but, you know, sometimes you just have to paint some landscape.

Here’s the block in.

filling in the blanks

basket of oranges

Going through some things in storage, I think I may have found some more oranges to include in The Big Painting.  I had drawn a half circle near the bottom of the painting just like Bonnard without knowing what would go there, if anything.  It was previsionary perhaps because soon after I stumbled upon the ancient picture above, a little basket of oranges that I painted many, many years ago.

100_2452 (2)

Seems like a contender!  We’ll see …

big painting on july 31 in morning (2)

 

seashell as landscape

seashell study for 18 x 24 ptg

The craggy, complex surfaces of the seashell are so mesmerizing and beautiful.  It’s like a landscape of beautiful mountains.  I never tire of drawing the seashells, studying their intricate forms.  Master artists the little fellows who build these shell homes.

I decided to turn one of the seashell, ginger jar and honey pot drawings into a painting.  And the first elements of the painting are blocked in.

seashell ginger jar and honey pot painting start

But I have been unsure about aspects of the seashell, and since any excuse will do, I made the drawing at the top of the post as a study.  It’s on Canson pastel paper, 16 x 12 inches and is drawn using Neopastels.

The drawing that forms the basis for the new painting is this one:

ginger jar honey jar and seashell

But I’ve also started drawing another version on the same size sheet (24 x 18 inches) in which the objects slightly smaller.

seashell ginger jar and honey pot 2nd drawing further work

I work on the second version sometimes late at night.  It gradually comes along.  But though I felt this desire to do the second version, I knew I still wanted the objects to follow the size of the first drawing.  So there are many versions.  There’s also the drawing inside my brain, the one that is the neurological composite of the variations!

seashell ginger jar and honey pot 3 pictures together

Many versions.

Another earlier version —

seashell ginger jar honey pot sennelier finished (4)

The pictures multiply ….

into the small passages with color ideas

two oranges (2)

Drawing two oranges on the still life table this morning using oil pastel, looking for color changes and for ideas about how to complicate the passage of the Big Painting that has the two oranges in the foreground.

I had it on my “to do” list to make a study and I think I’ll make some more.  I am just looking at color passages, exaggerating some of them, thinking about my pal Bonnard.

the in-between-times project

fish teapot creamer frog painting

I have this little 14 x 11 inch still life that I pulled out of the stack.  I’ve already altered it a little to conform to the new drawings that I’ve been making of the motif.  Like The Big Painting, I am painting this from drawings.  The objects are set up in a still life right here in the studio, but the light has been variable — plus I cannot commit to being in the studio at the right times since The Big Painting is the priority.

But it’s nice to have something else toward which I can turn my thoughts.  So here’s the side project.  Small, fun, no worries.

Here’s some of the studies so far — all the studies except one are made using Neopastels on various pastel papers:

fish teapot creamer frog painting study 2

This one needs some adjustment to the size of the compotier bowl, just visible, that hangs above the frog’s head.  Yes, again, frogs!

fish teapot creamer frog painting study 1a

I love dealing with the edges around things and the spaces between things.  I like the “things that are not things” in a picture.

koi teapot drawing2 (2)

The above drawing proves that I can draw a motif that has no frog in it .   See, no frog.

koi teapot with shell in pastel 3

This pastel above (traditional dry pastel) is from an earlier suite of drawings.  I found it among some dry pastels and was surprised to encounter my current subject.

frog progressions

And here’s yet another recent drawing that I started and haven’t as yet finished.  Then again, does it really need to be finished?  I mean, hey, the frog is there …

not obsessed, really

frog teapot and blue jay figurine on aug 1 oil pastel

It’s not an obsession.  Really.  But I have needed more information for the famous froggie teapot and his side-kick the blue jay figurine so I was doing studies of these two — again — yesterday.  I made the little painting first  (10 x 8 inches) and later in the night I drew them in oil pastel.

I think I have what I need to work on the Big Painting now, but I won’t know for sure until I’ve started dealing with that element directly.  I’m painting the picture from the studies. All the creatures will have eyes in the Big Painting.  They don’t have eyes here because it’s too much trouble.  How’s that sound for a deeply artistic reason?

The oil pastel is 12 x 9 inches on tan colored Strathmore 500 series charcoal paper.

frog teapot and blue jay figurine painting (2)

the painting today

big painting on july 31 in morning (2)

Not really this blue, but I cannot ever get the color correct.  Mentally average all the various photos in your mind and maybe that will be somewhat like the actual canvas …

Anyway, I am taking pictures of the painting at various junctures just to remind myself how it has proceeded.  I am SO GLAD that I have been keeping a chronicle of this painting (bloggers, cherish your blogs)  because it helps me put many things into perspective: so for instance, it’s nice knowing that I began work sometime in May.  This being the last day of July — and of course I took a break from the canvas while sorting out various ideas through drawings — I’d say that’s not bad for time management.  I give myself a “gold star”!

Bonnard’s painting has a lattice design along the two far edges and I have indicated something like that on this canvas.  I’m not really sure how this will go because his painting includes various things omitted from mine — most notably a spectral Marthe.  Thus if I have a lattice pattern, it will be even less clear what it references than in Bonnard’s original.  Perhaps it’s a design in wall paper?  Anyway, I LOVE lattice patterns and have used them often in my art.  I probably get the enthusiasm for lattices from Bonnard’s art (where they are everywhere — even in the foliage).  So, I’m all for including it, but I have to figure out the how and why of it a bit more.

He also has patterns in the very topmost part of those edge sections, and I haven’t quite figured out what I’ll do yet.  Even something like the stripes in the cloth is not straight forward.  Oh, how I wish I could see his actual painting again!  (It’s been 20 years.)  Color changes all along the path of each stripe are possible things to fiddle around with so revisiting even just that one feature will be exciting.  And changes to one element affect the everything else.

Frog teapot and the blue jay figurine need to be made really present.  Ditto for the other objects.  Lots of painting ahead.  The whole scene visible through the window is as yet undetermined.  But oh how I enjoy this….

 

(almost) live blogging the Big Painting

studio assistant and other assistants tail

Junior studio assistant gives me a meaningful look while senior studio assistant (mostly unseen) smacks junior assistant with her tail.  (This happens a lot.)

big painting compotier going in

The blue compotier is starting to go in.

big painting flowers going in

The flowers also are starting to go in.  I use music stands to hold my studies.  It’s very convenient — and musical! — I feel like I’m playing the score while I paint.

All these study drawings and paintings are very useful.  I’ll be making more of them as the painting goes forward.  As more of the picture gets painted I’ll know what further information I need from the objects.

Any excuse to draw the frog teapot will do ….

weird and arcane things I must ponder

The bars framing the flowers on either side are products of Pierre Bonnard’s painting that I’m emulating.  They have no other referent.  They’re part of the structure of the window in the Villa Castellamare so I either make stuff up (which may happen) or I follow Bonnard’s lead.  In his painting the two beams are different colors due to alterations in light.  For the present I’m doing what he did so that the left beam is ochre colored and the right is bluish.  (It’s been a long time since I saw the actual painting so I have no idea what the real colors are and book illustrations always exaggerate.)

Anyway it makes me wonder what Bonnard was thinking.  Because the foreground things in my painting are all different from his — especially the flowers — I’ll have to adapt all the Bonnard elements to go with my changes.  All that happens later.

For now I had to decide whether the ochre creeps up and the blue creeps down — and I decided that they do.

Here’s Bonnard’s –

the bonnard painting dining room with window etc

“The Big Painting” is Back!

big painting

Whew!  I finally got the gumption — or the whatever it is — to make up my mind and decide where those foreground objects were going.  I have begun putting them into the picture which means that work can recommence.

Sometimes you just have to DECIDE!  (And I did.)

And for other advice, don’t let your big project get quite this big!  It was looming!  And that’s a little too big — for comfort — inside the brain ….