That part where I said that being back at work after the holidays is not remotely conducive to blogging? Yeah, that. Oh well. I will do better from here on in! Or out, whatever the phrase is. Hmm, am I still even allowed to tag this “postaday2011” given that I have failed so dismally at this pathetically early stage in the proceedings?
But anyway… where was I? Oh yeah. I posted my attempt at painting an apple a week or so back, and mentioned that I was scared to do anything else to it as at least it vaguely resembled a (grey and white) apple at that point. But then over the weekend I thought “what the hell” and decided to try to make it, y’know… apple-colored. At this point I realized that the orangey burnt sienna background I’d already painted on there was going to result in an invisible apple if I wasn’t careful, so I slapped a load of white over it just so I’d be able to see what I was doing without losing the apple while painting! Then glooped a load of reds and orangey colors onto the canvas, with the result you see below. Then I thought I’d use up some green paint that was sitting on my palette to redo the background yet again… this is the reason for the fuzzy area around the edges of the apple. I need to paint over it yet again in a few days, this time getting rid of that fuzzy edge… and, of course, finally giving the poor apple a shadow to stop it floating in minty-green space.
Well… it looks kinda appley, doesn’t it? Just a bit… flat. And that light reflection is awful, I will have to fix that!
So this one is/was supposed to be an underpainting or something to that effect. I actually quite like it as it is, or at least, I quite like it in monochrome. The idea was to paint colors over the top, but… I have to say I have absolutely no idea where to start, and will most likely mess the whole thing up horribly. So maybe I should just do some more layers in greys? I know it’s a bit wonky, and it’s floating shadowlessly in an expanse of orangeness, but I am absurdly pleased with my apple, because… well, at least you can tell that’s what it’s meant to be. Can’t you?
Now THIS is what I’m talking about!
Seriously… WTF am I even trying to do here, you might ask? And that would be a very good question, as I have absolutely no idea. “Still life”, I thought to myself, “I should try to paint one of those”. So I scoured a free stock photo site until I found a still life photo which appealed to me in that I wanted to eat and drink all the foodstuffs the photographer had captured, and decided (based on nothing more than that) that it would be an ideal painting challenge for a beginner such as myself.
I started off attempting to do a bit of a monochrome underpainting thing, having read that that is a very good way to start. Instead of choosing colors that you might normally think of when you think “monochrome” (say, black and white, or something nice and muted and neutral) I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to use up some of the ungodly amount of Phthalo Blue I ended up scraping off my palette on Saturday (more on that later, maybe) and keeping in a jar that previously contained Thai red curry paste. My all-shades-of blue attempt at painting the scene was garish, and it was bad, but it was not actually AS BAD as it might have been. It looked like something that could maybe be salvaged, given lots of effort and knowhow.
And then… yeah, yesterday I thought I’d start trying to put some color on there. I Googled to find out how you mix paint into a wine color (although the stuff in the bottle is actually supposed to be vinegar; same difference, right?) and came up with a reasonably close, ish, approximation. Then I started slapping the stuff onto the canvas. Which made rather a mess. All this stuff I’d been reading about values and such? Yeah, that all went by the wayside. All my attempts to identify the different tonal values in varying depths of blue were painted right over with my newly-mixed paint that turned out to resemble not so much wine as BBQ sauce, but oh well.
Then I attempted to mix a color somewhat resembling that of a tomato. Yes, the round blobs at the front are supposed to be cherry tomatoes. I seem to recall it involved Cadmium Red, Cadmium Orange and Cadmium Yellow Light. Lots of cadmium. Luckily (in one sense, at least) my cads are merely the “hues” rather than the real thing, so not too hideously poisonous. Slopped that on (although it was rather fun, that bit, as the paint went on nice and thickly, regardless of what a mess the blobs look as a result), added in a bit of some other color (Burnt Sienna? Some sort of green? I forget now) in an attempt to come up with something that I could pass off as being the color of an apple. Painted that onto the bigger orangey blob in the middle. Just so you know, the various unidentifiable objects lurking on that canvas are supposed to be, variously, a basket of bread, an apple, a salami, two red onions, some cherry tomatoes, a tumbler of wine and a bottle of red wine vinegar. Oh, and some cheese. Brie or something.
Then I thought I’d try to paint in a background color, so I mixed up yet more orangey/browny stuff and thinned it out with turpentine (or pretend turpentine, whatever that odorless stuff is called), painted it on… oops. It was at once WAY too bright, and WAY too thin. Started dribbling down the canvas. The dark stuff you can see underneath it is Phthalo Blue. Not sure what I was doing with that. I’m sure it made sense at the time.
Yup. This one is pretty much a disaster, I think. But I’m going to force myself to keep at it (although… maybe not today!) to see what I can fix, what I can learn, what I can make look passably OK after I paint over it 27 times. I will be sure to post the end result (and intermediate stages leading up to it), whatever happens. But seriously. Look at this thing. WTF?!