My art project for February is oil paintings. I find February the most difficult month of the year. It is usually very cold, rainy and grey, and the worst of all, windy. So it turns put to be the month I spend inside most of my time, painting wise. I usually turn to watercolor work, or drawing, both of which I enjoy. But this year I am taking out the oils in February.
..pomegranate in blues..
oil on linen, 27x29cm
I have bought a lot of small canvases on which I intend to do small and quick stillifes, not a formal, still life set up, bit more single pieces of fruit and vegetables, objects from the kitchen and refrigerator and veggie basket. I am awful at doing still lifes, I have done only a very few oil still lifes and I can’t say I enjoyed it very much. I find still life too static for me. I have no adrenalin pumping when doing a still life…there is no changing elements like wind or changing light or heat or movement which prompt me to work loose and fast and prevent me from fiddling. Standing in front of a stillife gives me too much time to fiddle, to much time to stand back and contemplate what to do or change, too much opportunities to return to the work and “fix’ what I don’t like.
..pomegranate in greens
oil on linen, 20X20cm
These little paintings are exercises in different strokes, using different sizes of brushes and techniques and rendition in everything BUT realism.. All of them are done in one go, painting wet-in-wet, impasto, sur le motif, in my atelier. After the third one, I actually started enjoying it. The first painting was horrific..I was so not in the mood for this project, but I didn’t want to fail, so I put 3 pomegranates up on the table, 3 canvases on the easel at the same time and painted all three at the same time. That turned out to be not too bad and I started enjoying it.
..pomegranates in yellows..
oil on board, 33X22cm
I dug this sketch out of the bin. It ended there along with many others I’m lately not happy with. I feel in an awful slump and nothing seems to work..everything is either too “pretty”, or too perfect or it is just plain bad art. I struggle to find that exciting stroke, or that exciting subject, or even the right medium. I work on small tiny papers and do small tiny challenges. I am in need of freedom and uninhibited expression. I know what I want and what I don’t want..or do I?
I wonder if art can go through menopause…in which case, that is where I would say my art is right now. Going through menopause. I hope it passes soon.
the first one is just pencil contour lines and then of course I didn’t like it and thought colour and pen would make it look better…
watercolor, pencil and pen on watercolor block, HP, 18x26cm
Yay..I’m back to plein air painting after a dry spell of two years…..The oil paintings are busy drying, while outside the thunder is rolling and the rain is showering down, bringing welcome relief to a dry garden. The days are wonderfully hot, hot, hot…I love every sweaty minute! Believe it or not, it is in this sweltering heat that I decided to move out to plein air again with my palette and oils. Summer works for me. In the meantime, some peaches in watercolor, done with some big round yellow peaches and juicy flat white ones..which are all devoured by now and the cause of some tummy ache…Summer and its fruit does that to me too..
..trois pêches plates.
watercolor and pen on aquarelle block, 18X26cm
..trois pêches jaunes..
watercolor and pen on aquarelle block, 18X26cm
With this second attempt at an aquarelle still life, I didn’t to set it up the still life. I only painted what was in front of me, which was my copper pots filled with brushes and other art stuff. I moved the objects a little to avoid “kissing” and to bring them a little closer. the apple that rolled to the side, was left as it found its place and I was very chuffed with it!It might be overcrowded for some, but I rather like the idea…in any case more than a composed and deliberate still life. Maybe it is a mirror of my life…anything BUT composed and deliberate!
… stil life with copper pots…
..in watercolor and graphite on Fabriano paper CP 30.5×45.5cm…
…and a close up of my strokes and layers. I still feel I overworked it and could’ve let go of the brush much sooner..
I have moved on from autumn colours to still lifes, done in the atelier. Working in thin washes, laying wet washes over dry ones. not my usual way of working, but I am quite chuffed and will do a series of these watercolors.
I need to bring in a bit darker values and I want to have more informal compositions. I think my inspiration comes here from Cézanne, whose watercolours I love. There is currently an exhibit of Cézanne in the Musee de Luxembourg in Paris until 26 February 2012, for those who want to jump in their private jets for a visit…and a lunch afterwards, maybe at the Mini palais restaurant?
…Still life with quince…
watercolor and pencil on Fabriano artistico CP, 30,5×45,5cm
I’m posting a close up to show the layering of thin washes.
Until the next post where I’ll be back with another still life…hopefully a better one with darker values, more expressive compositions…and one where my patience has reigned!
Now that I have the gallery, I have to do more studio painting, since I can’t lock up every day and go painting plein air. I’m having a hard time though, adapting to studio work “in public”. I’ve always preferred working privately in my atelier at home. Now I’m very self conscious and I worry about every stroke when there are eyes on me. I get distracted easily by what is going on outside and by people wandering in and out. I initially thought it wouldn’t bother me too much, but it does. Maybe down the road it will change.
…Two and half pomegranates…
oil on board, 40x40cm (15.7×15.7)
I’ve fallen into the habit of starting something in the atelier/gallery and then get completely distracted, leave it, bring it home and finish it here at night. Like this painting. And it results in not being me. I find the light very different, the atmosphere is different and even my mood is different. Working on the same still life in two different places just doesn’t sit right with me.
This is a very careful little painting, with no interest. If I look at it, I see a painting done by someone who was afraid to PAINT! Which was exactly the case. There is still this fear and uncertainty that has crept into my oil painting, as I’ve mentioned before.
I was never very fascinated by still life before and I still don’t get very excited about it. But there is a certain kind of meditation that creeps into doing a still life. I experienced it here in the barn at night, when I’m alone and painting on the still life…I sort of like the quietude that a still life conveys. Being someone who doesn’t have a “calm” personalty, I discovered that doing a still life is quite therapeutic for me. I think that is what will make a still life work for me…reaching that moment when I can feel my painting’s quietness, but without having it look and feel static. I will post some more still lifes later.
I had a great drawing afternoon with Casey yesterday. It was the first drawing I’ve done in a very long time and Casey said the same for her. As you’ll see over at Casey’s, her drawing is beautiful, as usual. She has always been so good at drawing. Our first afternoon of drawing years ago was a bowl of eggs in her dining room…maybe we should dig those up one day…
Because she is so quick at drawing and sketching, I set up two subjects to keep her busy for the afternoon, but helas, Casey enjoys talking just as much as drawing…, so you’ll see my attempt here and hers will be the other set up.
…effort number 1…
The first drawing is the one I did yesterday afternoon and I really struggled. The minute I take a drawing tool like a pencil or charcoal in my hand, I tighten up and it turns out a compact, heavy little business. So last night I attempted another one, number two. Unfortunately we’ve had the figs for dinner, so the set up is a little different and my angle changed a little too. This drawing is probably messy and sloppy and quirky, but I’m much happier. Still not what I’m after, but at least it has less “rendering” and more movement and energy. (And yes, the trophy at the back is quite skew, it is bent at the bottom)
…effort number 2…
Both drawings done on in charcoal on drawing block, 50x35cm(19,6×13.7″)
*I’ve once realized how important it is to draw regularly and how different drawing actually is from sketching. Or maybe it isn’t so different after all. If I have to sketch this same scene, it probably wouldn’t look that different!
I’ve also realized the importance of knowing the tools you’re using. I felt very insecure with this charcoal in my hand yesterday, didn’t know where to start, finally started off way too dark, worked with a tight little wrist, smearing all over until everything was one grey value. So, “draw Ronell, draw!”