Thursday, June 28, 2012

Painting in the Sunshine

©2012 R.L. Delight, Plein Air
I had a glorious day yesterday. It was so glorious that I didn't have time to make this post! So here I am. Yesterday was one of those clear just-right-warm days from start to finish. Now, don't get me wrong, I love where we live. I really do love the cool gray weather. It makes for breathtaking scenery. It also means when the sun comes out to play, life pretty much stops and we too go out and play, if at all possible. I was up early to drop my mate off for his own all day adventure to a major league baseball game in a distant city. I knew I would want to be heading out to paint so I got a few hours in my studio during the early morning. I had a quick lunch and did some much needed yard work. After an early dinner I packed up my plein air painting kit, my driftwood frame and supports and headed to the north end of our beach at the foot of Neahkahnie mountain.
In last Sunday's post I mentioned that we were celebrating our anniversary that day. One of the things we did on that wonderful day was to hike to the top of Neahkahnie mountain. Just for perspective, here is the view from there looking down at our town and south along the Oregon coast.
©2012 R.L. Delight, Just a little place we call home.
If you knew what to look for you could see the street we live on!
Getting back to yesterday afternoon, I spent the remaining few hours of light on the beach painting an oil study for the next painting I will be starting. Another lovely aspect of living where we do is that it stays light out fairly late during the summer. Of course, on the other side of the solstice, it gets dark pretty early in the winter. I finished up my day feeling productive, happy, and tired. My mate arrived home with the dark and we snuggled in for some well earned rest.
I will have some progress pictures to show for my next post. Today I have docent duty at the Cannon Beach Artists Gallery. Before I head up there, I just have enough time to get a little work on my painting in. 
Take care all.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Valuable Grisaille

©2012 R.L. Delight, Duet closed grisaille in progress.
As I promised in my last post, I took the painting off the easel where I was unable, due to the huge loom currently in my studio, to get a picture of the painting straight on. This is not perfectly straight on but pretty close. When I left of painting last, the cornet, which I had left for last, needed a lot more work to get it right. I decided I would start in on the closed grisaille with the cornet. It isn't what I would usually do as I tend to work with the big shapes first before moving down to smaller shapes but the cornet is particularly challenging. Not only is there a really nice bit of foreshortening, but the tubing gradually narrows as it coils and bends from the bell of the cornet to the mouthpiece. My light source is actually coming from below the table and from the right side of the painting. It isn't focused dead center on the bell of the horn but much of the light falls there. The horn is silver metal so it lights up quite nicely. Even so, the value wasn't as light as one would think, nor is it the lightest light (not counting highlights). My light source is also a warm light and the bell of the horn glows warmly in spite of the cool silver metal. The rest of the cornet is somewhat shadowed behind the bell and definitely grows cooler as it recedes. It still needs tweaking but here is a close up of the roughed in cornet:
©2012, R.L. Delight, Duet grisaille in progress, close up.
I have not added any highlights yet. They will be added toward the finish of the painting. I need to refine the shape of the bell and the tubing a bit, work on the mouthpiece, and correct the angle of the valves, which I noticed were off the last time I passed the painting and set up and looked. 
After I finish with the cornet I will move on to the larger shapes again. 
I am experimenting with a bit of a different approach than I usually take. When I was working in fiber (weaving and spinning), I was a workshop assistant for a color and fiber class. We used Color-aid papers to do our exercises, one of which was to make a gray scale or value card. The other day I decided to make a five value scale and a nine value scale as well to use as a tool in determining the values of my set up. Here is a photo of the value scales:
Value scales
 The bottom one was the one I made in the fiber workshop in the late 1990's. As you can see, it is looking a little stained and battered. It has 18 values with the white being 0. The middle chart is the nine and the top is five values. 
For the grisaille, I am using the five value chart. The cornet actually falls in the three middle values. I pre-mixed three warm brown/grays and three cool brown/grays to match those values. Doing all that really helped me to focus on the value relationships, which is what a grisaille is supposed to do. I am going to continue to use the five value scale for the rest of the closed grisaille, comparing the value relationships as I paint.
That is where I am at on the painting. Tomorrow I will be back in the studio working away. 
I have to add that today my mate and I are celebrating our 28th wedding anniversary. We have a lovely day planned. 
Progress to be shown in the next post! 
Until then, 

Monday, June 18, 2012

This Grisaille is Now Closing

©2012, R.L. Delight, Open Grisaille, painting in progress
 My head is ringing with the Chicago song, Beginnings. We had band rehearsal tonight and it was a blast working on this one. Our band consists of flute, guitar, drums, keyboard, bass, AND, violin, trumpet, me on the cello, and two kick-ass, powerful vocalists (who also play the flute and guitar). It is a lot of fun but I always have to decompress a bit after rehearsals and performances as the music soars.
I am posting a day late and at the end of the day due to unforeseen circumstances. I did get time in the studio in today. The painting has been sitting all weekend, drying. I can no longer push and pull the paint around so I will have to move into the closed grisaille stage. The cornet is pretty rough still as it is rather complex and I left the details somewhat vague. I need to make several corrections. I think drawing and painting the cornet with the convoluted tubing that tapers and the foreshortening is the most challenging bit. Challenging, but so very fun!
I took a bit of time today to study the range of values. I was asking myself what the darkest dark was and where was the lightest light (not counting the bright highlights that will be on the silver cornet). I am glad I did this as I was surprised. I have a homemade value card that used Color-Aid papers from a color-and-fiber workshop in my past life. I held that up and squinted while looking at various areas around the still life setup. It was very helpful and gave me a sort of third party perspective. I should have done that sooner as the values of the painting are off a bit here and there. Fortunately I will have a chance to correct that in the next phase.
I can only get a picture of the painting on the easel from a strange angle so it is a bit distorted. As I sit here typing I realized that, hmmm....Perhaps I can take it off the easel to take a picture of it? Hello! I don't know why I didn't think of that earlier! The next time I post a picture I will take it off the easel and set it where I can get a better shot.
Well, the music energy is winding down and I need to get to bed. The rest of my week is filled with appointments and errands but I will get some painting in every day, just not as much as I want.
Have a wonderful last week of spring as the summer solstice is nearly upon us.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Slight Deviation from the Same Old Drawing Pencil

©2012, R.L. Delight. Life Drawing, 30 minute sketch. Lyra water soluble graphite, water wash on water color paper.
I tried a new-to-me technique at the local life drawing session last Sunday. I picked up some Lyra graphite aquarelle pencils with the idea that it would be fun to be able to use graphite and yet have the ability to produce a water color like effect. Here is my first attempt. I used a Niji water brush on Strathmore Windpower cold pressed water color paper. I wasn't exactly sure if I would like it as water colors never have really appealed to me but I sure had a lot of fun! I am going to keep using it in future life drawing sessions.
I have also been working away on the grisaille stage of my painting. At this point it is an open grisaille which just uses one tone and the paper for darks and lights. Here is a small section in the rough:
© 2012, R.L. Delight, Grisaille close up.
I had transferred the drawing earlier. It isn't exactly my favorite way of working, making a sketch and then transferring the design, but the instruments are tricky to draw and I could use the practice. At this point I am correcting the transferred drawing as I am painting the grisaille. I took this picture earlier today and it already looks different. I think I will draw several scroll studies when this painting is finished. It is quite a challenging object to draw!
I will share more for the next post. In the meantime, the sun may be coming out and the outdoors calls.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Painting Begins...

©2012, R.L. Delight, canvas drawing.

Remember the picture of the canvas frame my mate built? Here it is complete with hand-stretched, sized, and primed canvas. In addition, I have transferred the basics of my drawing. To fill in the details a bit, once I got the canvas on the frame I sized a smooth Belgium linen using Gamblin's PVA size. I like the PVA size for several reasons, the main one being it is not made from animal skins. I followed the sizing with three coats of acrylic gesso, sanding between coats to maintain the smoothness. The canvas is toned with Gamblin's Fastmatte alkyd oil in Transparent Earth Red.
I was planning to use a transfer paper to transfer my drawing but I was not able to find any in my area and I wanted to move ahead. I ended up just rubbing the back of the drawing with a chunky graphite stick by Lyra and then taping the drawing to the canvas and drawing over the lines I wanted with a colored pencil. I used a colored pencil so I could see what lines on the paper I had drawn over. I don't intend to keep the drawing once the painting is finished. After I transferred the drawing to the canvas, I went over the lines with the transparent earth red mixed with ultramarine blue oil paint using a fine brush.
If you saw the drawing in the previous post, you will notice that I did not put in all the detail and shading. I will not be following this line transfer exactly anyway. I will painting from the still life set up. The drawing allowed me to work out some of the possible issues and challenges that may pop up in the painting and also allowed me to determine where to put the musical scripting.
I love to draw but I really see and think better in terms of shapes rather than line. It will be easier for me to refine the composition, proportions, and angles with paint. I am wondering if the upper right of the canvas needs something there to balance out the composition better. It is something I will be thinking about as the painting develops.
So, I am done for the week. The weekends are usually spent catching up on house and garden, life drawing on Sunday, and music. I will be ready to take a deep breath and paint on Monday.
Have a great weekend! I hope to be back to my regular posting schedule on Wednesday.

Monday, June 4, 2012

"Duet" Phase One Finished

©2012 R.L. Delight, working drawing, 22"x40"
The drawing is where I need it to be to continue on to the painting. Notice, I didn't say it is a finished drawing, nor is it finely rendered! This is to be a working drawing and will not be saved. If you look closely, you can see where I experimented with the musical notation placement. I got it all worked out but will need to practice painting musical script. I didn't tone the background drape much beyond placing the dark shadows. It is a rich red in real life and a medium tone. It will not be quite that distracting in the painting.
It has been quite a busy time around here and I have been working away on the drawing to get it to this point. I am afraid I skipped a post or two. I plan to get a few extra posts saved in the near future so I can continue my twice a week posting even when things get crazy busy. The canvas is stretched and primed and ready to go along with a few more things in progress.
I have to finish by welcoming my newest grand-niece, Piper Grace to the world. We are all so glad you are safely here!
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