The Iceberg roses(fee des neiges) are still blooming profusely with a few white button dahlias alongside. Even though I brought A stm or two insife to the atelier to paint, I wanted to portray them as if still in their natural environment…a corner of the rosebush.
Three white roses and a dahlia in oil.
oil on linen, 30x30cm
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
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..
When you forget a paintbrush at home, you use what you have available. In this case, it was my hands. And for this occasion it worked fine, although it will definitely not become my preferred way of working. I will in tie or glue my brush to my bag so I’ll never forget it again.
…interior of “la panettiére” in Toulouse…
pen and watercolorin watercolor sketchbook, 18x24cm..
The next sketch was done in the barn one evening.. and I only noticed the slant during the daytime the next day..the light in the barn at night is just not good enough for any art making, but I quite like the quirky feel to these pots. They are two of my very old terracotta pots from Provence and I adore them! I’ve started doing an oil panting with these pots..a canvas that has already been standing a few weeks on the easel…and now I’m subjecting my name to scandal by admitting it here..
…two provencal pots…
..pen and watercolour on Arches watercolor paper, CP, 18x26cm..
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!”
In the life drawing class a while ago, we had one long pose and used pastel pencils in black, white and sanguine. I’ve never used pastel pencils before. The closest I came to do something recognizable with pastels, is a little still life I did a few years ago. I dug it out to compare. It was done with soft pastel sticks.
…five a day…
I had a hard time with these pencils. They are harder than the sticks and I kept on coloring in instead of putting in mass. Or maybe it is all the sketching and ink line work I’m doing currently and very little painting. And I didn’t want to smudge the pastel, glazing it, smooth it over. I wanted texture and expressive strokes. But it seems I’ve left her out in the sun for too long…I loved the pose, so maybe I’ll redo this later and try and come up with something more painterly and eye pleasing. Any advice from the pastellists out there?