Thursday, 20 January 2011

Longer Still Life Painting

PAINTING 2: Exploring Concepts
Part 1 – Painting in Detail

Project: Still Life

Exercise: Longer Still Life Painting

This picture will eventually relate to the Winter theme in Part 6, it does not therefore relate to the subject matter in Exercise 1.

I used a limited palette of Aureolin, Ultramarine and Opera Pink (Shin Han) watercolours on Bockingford Rough paper. Influences: Duchamp, Liz Seward, Joan Heston.

The subject was about “key” medication for the winter and is a pun on the keys featured, perhaps influenced by my recent reading Duchamp. I decided to use a multi-light source because of the interesting shadows it created.  Instead of relying on the horizon line CVP, I wanted to get a central flow from the bottom of the bottle on the right-hand side.  The composition is ‘accessed’ via the thrust of the keys on the bottom left pointing to the bottle which acts as a sort of sign post to the eye.  The strongest lines take to the to the right and the glass, the top curve of which returns the eye to the centre of the painting but higher up where it can explore the top of the bottle, the box on the left then down to the keys again, where the hooked key holder takes the eye to a place of rest in front of the glass, or it can follow the blister packs up and around the central object again.   The lines of shadows are integral to the overall design and introduce a soft texture compared to the more solid objects.  Transparency and brittleness of the glass is aided by the use of dark lines against light . There is a subtle highlight at the bottom left of the bottle.

§         Was it possible to see as much detail in the group as the single object?

It was possible, but the mind concentrates on one object, and in order to show perspective the objects closer to the eye are more detailed than distant objects, whether one chose to do that is answered in the next question.

§         How did you decide which object or parts of objects to bring into focus?

Using perspective with the box on the left being out of focus compared to the bottle, but because the lines of the boxes formed part of the linear composition they are sharper than they would be using perspective.

§         How did the restricted palette and concentration on line, form and tone affect your work?

It was difficult to obtain a really dark dark, but in a sense the composition didn’t really call for too much of that so I was able to intensify the Ultramarine blue modified with a little of the other two colours occasionally.  The line became crucial to the composition to create a rhythm to the whole painting, which ended up being fairly “high key” as a consequence.

§         Were you looking from the side, above or below? How did this effect what you painted?

I was looking slightly above the objects so that I could incorporate the shapes of the various shadows as part of the composition, and also to see the keys splayed out.

§         Were you aware of light source and the difference between natural light and artificial light?

The light sources were critical to the composition, being artificial lights some distance from the objects it did not produce the hard lines sometimes seen when using a lamp, for example to light a subject.  Being artificial the light was therefore less blue and more yellow.  Pictorially, and with the limited range of colours this made for an interesting picture, with reflected light and translucent shadows and reflections bouncing around.

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