Sunday, October 10, 2010

One Sunday Morning-a painting

A few weeks ago I read the Donna Zagota article in the Watercolor magazine, and decided I wanted to try a painting based mostly on shapes. Following her work, I wanted to also start from an intimate subject matter. The handiest scene to photograph was Mike and Shredder, our furball cat. The light on this particular Sunday morning was inspiring.

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The inspiration

After trying a few thumbnail sketches, I settled on a composition with an exaggerated figure and strong diagonals. I transferred the sketch onto a small piece of 300 pound Arches, a paper I rarely use. The sketch sat on my work table for a month until I had time in the studio this weekend. I used a limited palette, 4 colors to be exact. The under-painting was done with yellow ocher and manganese blue, a combination that creates some great greens. I did all my mixing on the paper, not on a palette.

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The underpainting

I used cobalt blue and burnt sienna to create darks and began to add details to the figure. The cat was poorly positioned (too close to the center) , so I tried to make the cat part off the figure shape and downplay its importance. In this photo, the L-shaped composition is clear. I've left only hints of the exterior landscape.

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The painting taking shape

From here on out, I added detail, used gauche to regain some white, softened edges, created some positive/negative interest in the bottom of the painting.

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One Sunday Morning, 10 x 14 inches
Now that I'm looking at the painting on the computer, I see that I need to soften the edges of the white swoosh under the hands. Now it is competing for interest.

I do have some questions:
- Is there too much empty space out the window?
- Do the hands need more detail?
- Should there be more transition of value in the floor?
- Is the plant between the figure and cat too busy?

Love your feedback!


Rebecca Snow said...

wow. I loved it from the first washes. Good for you to jump in to a self teaching mode.

I have critiques, of course, but they say that those who can, paint, and those who can't critique.

I am NOW your official fan. Your blog was placed to me by an artist friend. I will enjoy your blogs and painting adventures.

Anonymous said...

Okay here goes:

The hands: How would it be if you just changed the value of one hand...maybe the figure's left hand?

The plant: You might try a glaze over the plant...keep the details but just put a 3 glaze over the leaves

The window/outside: Why don't you just cut some shapes and experiment or do windows that are the same size on a separate piece of paper. Try things with your little windows.

The painting might benefit from running the dark under the table clear under the chair. As the painting is now the under table color cuts off at Mike's legs.

You are a skilled enough painted that if you try some of these and don't like the effect you can use a stencil to lift the color out or just scrub back.

Very nice painting.


Anonymous said...

Mike's got hair!
Yes, the plant competes and makes it hard to see the cat.
More details on the hands would be good!
Love your work!

Anonymous said...


Comments on your painting....Empty space OK...Hands OK...transition...lighten under the table because I like the light corner....yes, tone down the plant. Also suggest you lighten up the hair line on the face of your husband....[I liked him better verging on bald]. Feel welcome to ignore. LaVonne