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/

more flowers in the bouquet

bouquet study june 5

I’ve been slowly adjusting the bouquet for the Big Painting.  Still more to do, but here’s an updated version of the picture that I posted previously —

https://alethakuschan.wordpress.com/2018/06/04/a-bigger-bouquet/

I added the yellow to better match the color that will appear behind the flowers in the painting for which they are a study.

The sun has come out finally!  So the colors in the flowers are more vivid — in the actual bouquet.  The colors in the painting have always been bright.  Here’s the early and present state of the study, which is still on-going.

 

someone else’s flowers

flowers in vase drawing

Not sure whose drawing this is, but isn’t it grand?  I’m painting my flowers today so here’s something aspirational I post to encourage a fine flower mood.  Hope you’re enjoying a fine flower mood wherever you are, whatever you do ….

I’m still working on these below,

picture and reference limoges 2

the vase of flowers grows more sure

100_1502 (3)

Here’s how the painting looks on Friday night.  I put the study on a table beside the easel to make it easier to draw from.  The picture begins to feel more solid after a day of work.  I love painting that vase — and I’m not done yet.  The paint all over the canvas is very thick because I’m covering up parts of the earlier version.  There’s still lots of things to figure out, of course — like the entire bunched up green cloth that takes up the whole bottom half.

Here’s a closer view.  The painting measures 40 x 30 inches.

100_1505 (3)

What a fun day of painting, working on this picture.  You cannot look at blue and green all day with scattered red and yellow and violet and not be in a terrific mood.

Still quite a ways to go.  But I’m very glad with this stage.

putting the flowers into the vase

studio with flowers may 18

So it’s time to transfer some of the flowers in the newest bouquet, the ones on the aluminum easel, to the painting above it.  The painting on the wooden easel is an intermediary stage between me and the really BIG painting.

I’ve been working on this 24 x 18 inch study for a few days in succession.

Jump flowers, into the picture!

bouquet study may 18

And the flowers of the actual bouquet are now kind of spent.  Some are a little worn and others have gone entirely limp!  But that pretty rose is still firm.  It refuses to open, but it still looks like new.

flowers spent may 18

 

second large bouquet

second large bouquet no 2

I paint the flowers as though photography doesn’t exist.  And there’s no deliberate plan, I don’t have a strategy for singling out some of the flowers and subordinating others.  It does tend to work out that way at first, but the plan — if there is one — is subliminal.  I use the bee plan: I flit from flower to flower.

I just pick a starting point and begin describing locations and shapes.  Afterwards my attention goes willy nilly where it will.

I’ve taken lots of photographs — and may take even more since the photographs are like free flowers (and you never know when you’ll need some flowers).  But this direct, unscripted connection to the flowers painted from life is wonderful.  From the various studies, I’ll later choose whatever seems best, and those arrangements will become the bouquet that goes into the big painting.  I keep painting until the flowers wilt (or I do).

I’ve never done a painting in quite this way before so it’s intriguing.  It’s also emotionally satisfying.  I contemplate all the objects separately, getting to know them, before combining them into the big scene.

So there’s a question of light — what will be the lighting of the final picture?  Will it be specific and generalized, both at once?  I’ve been puzzling over the topic a bit.  I would offer that approach as characteristic of how my big hero Pierre Bonnard worked.  He made a compositional study of his painting motif, one where the objects are lit from behind by the window.  That’s the specific part.  But afterwards he painted it from imagination and memory, perhaps also by reference to a few drawings (not many, not nearly so many as I make).  And he got a consistent seeming image without obsession over whether the particular features were actually like the thing he had observed.  And indeed his paintings create a realm of brilliant, dreamlike pseudo-reality.

Here’s one of his studies for the painting that I’m emulating:

bonnard gouache drawing for painting

Bonnard’s gouache drawing measures a precious 6 x 4 inches (it’s reproduced on page 138 of the Met’s “Pierre Bonnard: The Late Still lifes and Interiors”).

And my oil study in-the-works above measures 24 x 18 inches.

I worked on the study during the day and at night.  I noticed only a few really significant differences in lighting (places where shadows fell in one instance and not in the other).  Since I can work on the painting effectively enough no matter the light, I am guessing that I don’t need to be especially scrupulous about lighting in the painting itself.

The blue at the top doesn’t relate to the large painting I have planned because actually there’s a second, smaller intermediate painting for which I plan to use the bouquet. That picture has a blue background so I’ve used blue here.  But my large, Bonnard inspired painting  will have a window behind the flowers thus a surrounding of mostly greens — from the window I found with a view of trees that I found, that I will have found when my “window shopping” is completed.

new bouquet

bouquet night of 5-10

I bought more flowers yesterday, some Sweet Williams, to join the other bouquet I had already.  Again I placed them above the drawing of the Limoges vase.  And I produced the study above, painting until rather late at night.  This is the largest of the studies so far, and I am thinking about doing another study of the same motif.  Here’s the set up below:

new bouquet (2)

 

gearing up to paint

studies arranged around painting

I’m going to start putting some of the objects onto the canvas provisionally and see how it looks.  There’s so much missing information so it will be sketchy starting, and I’ll add things or make changes based on incoming ideas — as I look particularly for flower ideas and window ideas. The original notion was something like the drawing below:

owl flowers compotier window drawing.jpg

However, on this large canvas I’ll be adding more space around everything and I need to figure out what goes into that space.  The window is based upon a view from inside my studio, but I’m not sure whether I’ll use that idea or not.  Sometimes I think I want a more elaborate window (and I have at least one idea where I can find one).  Tomorrow I’m going window shopping — literally.

But then I note that last night at sundown the colors outside my studio window were amazing, so if I can figure out how to better interpret my own humble window perhaps I’d be wise to stick to my own resources.  We’ll see.

I know that I want to look at lots more flowers and flower arrangements before I commit to the flower shapes thus the initial idea is just a bough of flowers (like the outer silhouette of a tree).

As things now stand the painting will contain the flowers on a table before a window.  On the table will also appear the owl, a ceramic bird, a frog teapot, a black floral teapot, a seashell, and the fancy schmancy porcelain basket. The flowers are arranged in the fabulous Limoges vase.  The pattern on the table cloth is also a factor.  I need to decide which cloth I’ll use and begin studies for the cloth too.

My ever loyal dog wants to help me out so she’s trying to get some inspiration of her own which she plans to share with me.  And wow she’s got a sun beam streaming right straight for her doggie brain so maybe I’ll consult her as I solve my various pictorial questions.

lucy being inspired (3)