seashell in pastel

seashell pastel updated aug 27 (3)

I made an earlier version of this motif using oil pastel (Neopastel by Caran d’Ache) but this one above uses traditional dry pastel.  It’s on a dark sanded paper.

What can I say, seashells are my favorite landscape subject with their beautiful rolling hills formed deep in the sea.

passages

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Some random moments from The Big Painting, passages seen up close.  Nearly all of these things will be covered up in more paint.  But then I’ll take close ups of those too …

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It’s fun for me looking at the surface.  I hope it’s fun for the spectator too.  Many things are abstract seen up close.

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There’s lots of color contrast in this painting, both in the painting as a whole and in the smaller sections.

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The flowers will get more stuff done to them, but these flowers will probably never be anything other than painted flowers with details of paint but not details of botany.

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I am contemplating a plate.  It may go at the bottom.  Not sure.  Right now it exists only as a broken arc.  Blue jay’s tail is visible on the left.

a big painting is just many smaller paintings stitched together

big painting on july 27

Well, the big painting is back.  If you recall how it looked when I left it and compared that stage to how it looks above, you might wonder what all the fuss is about.  However, the renewed work is a big deal in terms of painting problems and their solutions.  I stopped work because I didn’t know where to put the foreground items, namely the famous froggie teapot, the blue jay figurine, the seashell and the black teapot (temporarily ochre colored in the version above).  I drew them over and over, recall, and posted the drawings here.  And you weren’t the least bit bored to see froggie teapot and the blue jay drawn again and again and again and again and again, were you?!

It does pay off though.  Let me tell you, putting that seashell in that spot, for instance, was an order of magnitude easier for having drawn the object so many times.  So, now that the painting’s things have places, I feel that the rest of the painting can proceed.  The great irony is that I have no idea what exactly the painting is going to look like.  I just know now that these particular objects are going to sit in those locations.  That difference, however, is enough that I can continue.

And whenever I get stuck on matters of detail, can you guess what I’ll do?  More studies! (Secretly, of course, I love drawing the studies — don’t tell anyone.)

I have 2880 square inches to fill with colors, doesn’t that sound wonderful ….

From my blog, I see that I began this project around the end of May.  July is ending.  That’s not a bad time scale for a large picture.  See, there’s another virtue in blogging, it helps you keep track of the days and puts things into better perspective.

https://alethakuschan.wordpress.com/2018/05/28/emulation/

Anyway, the real painting begins.  Wish me luck!

Here’s another link to an early stage of the picture:

https://alethakuschan.wordpress.com/2018/05/28/most-tentative-beginning/

a finger in many pies

moth on june 25

Even as work proceeds on “the Big Painting,” I still have other projects that need attention.  One is this partly completed 30 x 40 inch painting of a moth.  I am at a crossroads of sorts with it and must decide which direction it will go.  And I must decide fairly quickly as I have plans for it — plans that have a deadline attached.

But the lovely thing is that every activity helps with all the others.  Making drawings after sculpture at the National Gallery sharpens my drawing skills for my other work.  And the Big Painting and this picture of the moth have more relationships to each other than might ever be apparent to an outside observer.  So it all works together.

I changed my mind

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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.

Monsieur Bonnard’s notes

canvas morning of may 30

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.

grape-like thingy

pattern on the green cloth

I have been mesmerized by the grape-like thingy.  I’ve been working on the grape-like thingy.

Well, you never know what part of the picture is going to arrest your attention, such as a grape-like thingy on a field of grass green.

Rearranged the cloth, to look for more thingies that grab my attention.  Really lovin’ this green cloth.

cloth rearranged

Stuff I love

I love drawing patterns on cloth

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when they recede in depth or when they follow folds in drapery.

I love the picture within a picture, putting something in the still life that has a picture on it, and making this other picture another space in the illusory painted space.

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Another thing I love are the confusing bits of chaos that you see when you look at something through glass.  I like to put bottles in the still life to draw the things seen distorted by the glass, love to draw the fruit in the blue compotier to see the blue alter the colors of the things.

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Also the pattern on a cloth that sits flat on the table top between two objects, to contemplate that space as a special landscape of imagination —

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— the way that pattern looks abstract because it’s partly covered up and is seen from an oblique angle so that’s it’s made twice unfamiliar.  All those kinds of things are fascinating, are wonderful beyond compare.

Sometimes I like the interstices better than the objects. The “negative space” sometimes gets you closer to the perception because when you draw it you are no longer naming the things, but are instead drawing the spaces between the things, seeking to draw parts of the entire veil of light hanging in front of your eyes — seeing it as a veil.

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To dematerialize the objects is part of the goal. A few times (admittedly rarely) I heard painting criticized because it is “flat.”  Also because it’s static (as opposed to a movie). Painting isn’t modern, the critic said, because it’s flat and still. But I love painting precisely because it’s flat and immobile so the mind can enter it and move freely.

The pretended space is wondrous. I like to draw the rim to rim on anything that has a void in its parts, like the opening of a shoe, the interior of a cup.

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I want to create the illusion of the thing on the canvas and the artifice of that delights me. But I also am glad that it is flat because in being flat it has design.  Things are not just things but can connect to each other because some linear relationship that exists only in the mind and on the page begins to pull the things together into a motif.

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“Motif” is a pictorial thing, a picturesque thing, it’s a scenic idea.  Out in the world is raw reality (in whatever form it actually is).  In the mind, on the contrary, are things with names to which meanings attach.  I want to fix the meaning into a shape.

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In the picture, are lines, colors and shapes that can delight the eyes and sometimes puzzle the brain and which pull and tug and affect the emotions in sometimes strange ways.

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