While the recent compositional drawings are occasionally boring but necessary, I find that drawing the individual objects — even drawing them over and over again — always brings some new delight.
I feel like I am beginning to get a handle on the relationship between the frog teapot and the blue jay figurine next to it.
The dark blue compotier has been the subject of many drawings lately — this because it occupies such a prominent place in the Big Painting that’s in the works. However, I wasn’t aware how much I’ve drawn it. I think I must be drawing it in my sleep, too. It seems to border on obsession!
Well, I suppose there are worse things to be obsessed about ….
I love the lattice work in this object. It totally fascinates me. I particularly love it in the form of a cast shadow, but the light wasn’t coming from the right direction in the latest drawings to observe the shadows. In the drawing at the top, of which the above is a detail, the widest part of the basin measures 15 inches across which is two inches wider than the actual object.
Several times already I have drawn the objects that are going to appear in “the big painting” of previous posts. I draw and redraw the objects. Drawing them is like solving an enjoyable puzzle. Each iteration reveals different facets of the objects. Redrawing them is like rehearsing a part in a drama. Soon when the time comes to put them actually into the painting, they will already seem very familiar in their shapes and forms.
I have a little table where the objects are stationed that simulates the expansive table portrayed in the painting. I shift them around into slightly differing relationships trying to find the one pattern that connects them well to each other.
These aren’t permanent drawings. They are instead big sketches. Art ephemera. The one above is on a 24 x 18 inch sheet. But they help me find the solutions I need.
Soon these flowers must jump into the big painting. Very soon. They’re resting on the easel for now. But then they make the big leap.
We hope that they land well.
I run out of places to stack wet panels. I need to make studies for the big painting, but then I find myself running out of places to set them while they dry. It’s a small room and I have dogs. Dogs tails are also brushes so wet paintings have to be put out of the tail’s reach.
A study like this one of the flowers in the vase will be something I go back to whenever I want to reconnect with the object. It’s not finished in any sense. It will never be finished. It’s just something to put paint on when I want to think about that vase some more.
Between times I have to keep it from the dog’s tail unless I want the household furnishings painted as well.
I’ve been painting a study of the flowers that will go into the big painting I’m working on — the painting that I’m doing in emulation of Bonnard’s “Dining Room overlooking the Garden.” As often happens, though, while I’m in the process of painting a motif in a certain manner I begin thinking about other ways that I might use instead. It can lead to doubt and dissatisfaction.
So many little hindrances can crop up. For instance, I find it hard even to see the picture sometimes. I thought it was my imagination but then I take a photo and discover that the camera is also having difficulting “seeing” the painting. Oil paint when it’s wet can become shiny enough to affect your awareness of tonality. Thus parts of the picture that are dark look lighter than they should. It’s one example that I use to make a point about psychology. I’ve been painting a long time, but I still find myself affected by this distraction. Duh! I have to pinch myself as it were. “The painting will look different in a day or so after it begins to dry.”
You have to make sure that you don’t let little things knock you off course. Because the painting that I’m doing the study for is really large, I remind myself that each of the studies provides me with information that I need. And information of itself is neutral. If it were to happen that I decided I didn’t like my study, I can always paint another one. Or I can use the study, but alter it in various ways when I adapt it to the larger work.
I ask myself how much more energy I will have for this task when I learn how to banish all the negative thoughts that creep in.
I was beginning to think that the forms in the bouquet lack dimension, or that they seem loopy the way they’re painted. That’s an even more insidious idea that I must cast out of my brain. I remind myself — “HELLO, self! Remember the whole idea has been to emulate Bonnard. Loopy! It goes with the territory.”
For some crazy reason when Bonnard paints forms in a “loopy” way, I love it. Then when I do it — when I do it successfully — I feel many doubts.
This too is another bump in the road. It’s important to keep going with an idea and see where it leads. If I get critical too early in the process, I succeed in doing nothing except erecting obstacles in my own path. Clearly that makes no sense at all!
At any rate I have stayed the course. I carry on with the still life, with the studies, and I’m advancing work on the large painting by gathering this information. However, I ask myself how much more energy I will have for this task when I learn how to banish all the negative thoughts that creep in. They are unnecessary friction. Yes, I’m still “moving” but I’d move more smoothly without the friction.
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 —
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.
I got more flowers and added them to the existing bunch. And I started a second study. This one measures 24 x 18. I omitted the vase this time. In this study I’m just focused on the flowers themselves. But I keep adding new blooms to the group and some of what I painted reflects the bouquet the way it looked before the new additions. So it’s confusing.
But the main thing is that I’m looking at these flowers and painting them. I’ll keep painting flowers. When these wear out, I’ll get some more and paint those. I must sort these flowers out because even though I’m emulating Bonnard’s big dining room picture, La Salle à manger sur le Jardin, it has no flowers so I am already striking out on my own path. Paintings can change quickly. I started with Bonnard’s idea, but just the inclusion of the bouquet begins to nudge the whole motif into a different direction.
This flower direction is a good one to travel. The flowers exert some pull upon me. They suit my temperament, and I spend hours staring at them, describing their forms and colors with bits of paint.
I set aside work on the large painting to begin some studies of flowers. Since the vase of flowers will play such a prominent role in the picture, it’s a feature that I want to get sorted out early. So I bought some more grocery store flowers and have begun making studies. The one above has an indication of the striped cloth on the table and the pale colored Limoges vase that I found on the internet. It’s the first of several practice paintings that I’m making. I’m not sure yet what the flower arrangement will look like. Indeed, I keep changing the still life — adding flowers as I happen to find new ones when I’m out shopping.
The study for the previous painting sits on the easel next to the new flowers. I still haven’t finished the previous painting. But I set it aside to let the paint dry. In between tasks, I’ll go back to it.
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!