Friday, 25 March 2011

What is Happening in the Studio

This is where I left off last time in the progression of this painting. If you want to see the very beginning go here.
I am still in early stages. I have been drawing in the vine, starting to refine her skin and working out values (how dark and light I want to go.)
I think that is how dark I want the background, but I plan on more glazing to alter the colour. I gessoed the background with transparent gesso and only a single coat of white gesso behind the figure. I don't really like it. I feel like I am fighting with the wood panel to cover it. I prefer several coats of the white gesso, at least under the figure.

I have lost my interest in letting the wood grain show through.

Here is the other painting that I have been working on.
I am much preferring the texture of this one. It is painted over an old painting so there are several layers of oil paint underneath. If you want to see how I started it you can return to that same post.
Obviously I forgot to document a few of the stages in this painting.
I have been glazing the background to get it darker and richer. Again, I was trying out my darks and lights to get a feeling for the tones. Initially they are a bit harsh, but that is giving me a sense of my range. Later I will can put in more transitions to make it more subtle.

I am constantly reassessing the painting, looking at it as an entire piece and seeing what it needs. At any point I am willing to redraw and change.

With this last step I decided the painting wasn't having the feeling that I wanted. The vine was looking too incidental, as if it was just looped around her neck like a kind of necklace.
So I went back to my reference photos. I wanted more vine, for the viewer not to know whether she was wearing the vine or it was growing up and and over her.

I prefer the mood now, and I also think it is a more interesting composition.


La Dolce Vita said...

well, first... the texture is awesome and i do love the incidental nature of the vine, as well as the pensive pose, really like these... xx's

Kendra said...

Ooo I love the second one! The colors in the background are fantastic and I love the look on her face. Can't wait to see both when they are finished!
How did you learn to paint portraits? I love portraits and oil and really need to try to do a portrait in oil soon! Do you have any tips about painting portraits you could share?

Zom said...

Thanks Caterina, so glad you like them. :)

Hi Kendra. I learned to paint in a traditional painting school. Lots and lots of drawing, especially life drawing.

That is probably my main tip in painting portraits, pay attention to your drawing. If you want the portrait to look like the person you are painting, even a millimeter out in placement of an eye or mouth can make the face look wonky.

Anonymous said...

I had the same question as Kendra. Your talent is impressive. Thank you for the helpful hints. Right now, I am painting an oil of a single peony. Took drawing courses at an art museum. Have more to learn. Seeing you work in progress helps to understand the process. Thanks.


Johoanna Boykin said...

What beautiful paintings. That is something I don't have much patience for, but would love to learn more about drawing and painting faces.

Thank you for visiting my blog, and for the book suggestion.

Zom said...

Julie, I reckon flowers and people are probably the two most difficult things to paint naturalistically. Flowers are so beautiful, how can you bring that into your painting? I have never succeeded.

Johoanna, the way I paint tends to take a long time to learn, and needs patience. But there are many ways to draw and paint that don't .

Anonymous said...

Not sure I'll succeed. This is only my third oil painting. I've started it with a thin under-painting in acrylic to establish darks and lights. (Water-soluble oil paint). Hoping that I'll get a light drawing down in acrylic then I'll build the rest up with glazes followed by opaque. Flying by the seat of my pants ... lol. Love flowers and portraits and I'll go with my gut-feeling that it's best to work with subjects that really motivate me. Any more advice? Julie

Anonymous said...

Hi! It's Julie again. Spent a little time visiting your blog and reading older posts. I enjoyed reading about your thoughts about being an artist. Although my goal isn't to be a professional artist, I'm learning a lot from your blog. Thank you for sharing your insights. You have a beautiful, spacious art studio, too.

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

I am in love with the growth of the vine onto the woman's body. The mood is there and I want to converse with her ...listen for clues. Beautiful paintings! Love, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Zom said...

Hi Julie, I realize that my comment about painting flowers sounded kind of discouraging. That wasn't my intention, I just meant to acknowledge the difficulty.

When I began painting, I started with simple still-lifes. It sounds boring but it isn't. Something like a white cup on white cloth can be amazing. Again, it depends on how you want to paint. I always knew I wanted to paint realistically but some people hate it.

Actually a really good way thing is to paint something in front of you only in raw umber and white. That is how you learn to paint tones (dark and light.)
I have so much advice that anything I write feels totally inadequate, haha.

Mary Helen, thank you for the beautiful comment. You see everything with your heart.

Anonymous said...

You are so generous to offer your time and advice. Thank you so much.

This information makes a lot of sense. I'm doing simple value gradations in a sketchbook to help me learn about those issues. I've been doing color theory work, too. The museum classes I took were wonderful. Now I am learning at my own pace at home. Again, I appreciate your generous spirit. - Julie

gypsy said...

Zom, I love seeing your work in progress shots! It is intriguing to learn that paintings can be worked and worked (and worked further). Thanks!

Zom said...

Tammy, I am not where near done yet. This is how oil painting (and some acrylic painting) is done. Refining and refining. It is a journey rather than a vision that comes all at once and you slap it down.
I love it.

There is a kind of oil painting that is done all at one sitting,called alla prima. I use it occasionally for studies.