Visiting my Mum and Dad last weekend, I was struck by the light and colour of summer flowers in a vase on the living room table. The thing that really got my attention though was the way the red coaster was visible beside the vase but disappeared behind it even though the vase was transparent. It then ‘appeared’ in two other places ‘on’ the vase. Well I wasn’t about to figure out why and how that happened but I did become interested in capturing the effect. This painting was so much about painting what you see, not what you know! So let me take you through the process.
Because of timing, I couldn’t work from life. So instead, I worked from a photograph. See what I mean about the coaster?
First step was a quick thumbnail sketch. I used an HB pencil, an uncommon medium for me to use for these types of feeling-it-out sketches (I usually grab a pen). The whole thing was predominantly mid-value with some lights and a few darks.
Then into the painting!
And here are the pastels I used:
After deciding what to paint and playing around with various thumbnails, the actual painting took about one and a half hours. I was thinking I’d come back to it after a break but I realized it had the feel of a plein air or alla prima painting – done in a single sitting – and felt it worked as is. So decided to say the painting is finished (except I still have to sign it!).
This was a bit of experiment for me as I decided not to do my usual three-value dry underpainting and instead, started applying various colours immediately. I was still cognizant of the three-value structure while I worked though.
I also chose colours from my larger collection of Unison pastels rather than being confined to their starter set. As you know, I’m always trying to show what can be achieved with a limited selection of colours in a pre-selected kit. This time though, I wanted to do something just for me! Still, I thought you’d be interested in seeing the process and how I found my way through the ugly stage to the end.
Until next time (when I can’t wait to introduce this month’s guest blogger!),