Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Composition HW #1 - Still Life

Yes our easels at school are really that messy. Our first homework in Composition was a still-life. I'm running out of objects at home, and I really love books so I decided to do a shelf. This type of painting is called trompe l'oeil, which I believe means that you are trying to create the illusion that the objects are really there. So it requires a sharp realism across the picture plane and a typically has shallow space. Anyways as I was doing the lettering and my hand was shaking I wondered what had I gotten myself into. But people liked it, and I think the lettering is really required to make the painting work. I need to keep working on this, namely redoing the shelf and adding a flower to the vase. But this is how I turned it in.

Red Onion, Green Apples

Crouching Onion, Hidden Apples. I really love this painting for some reason. This was the assignment where Jon threw out a ton of fruit onto the floor and we had to create some composition from them. It was really difficult at first because the cloths were such saturated colors. But as you stared at it you started to see patterns in the chaos as it were. I saw 3 apples that I felt were in a good arrangement, and they were over an orange and purple cloth that I felt worked together somewhat (as opposed to the yellow-blue-red cloths that were just glaring). I added the red onion on the blue plate because I thought the onion looked cool.

I really desaturated the cloth colors and I think those are working. My painting these days is still hit-and-miss because I think the onion turned out spectacular, while the apples are pretty mediocre. Also I'm a bit paranoid about my greens because I suspect that I'm a little green insensitive, so what looks good to me is too bright for other people. I'm still not sure about this, but I'm trying to over-mute my greens. Too bad I painted this on canvas panel, because I will keep this one.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Still Life Redux

I'm only taking 2 classes again this semester, one of which is Composition & Painting. Comp is a cool class because we do still lifes, landscapes, and figurative paintings based on the composition and design concepts we learn in class. I was anxious to see how my still lifes turned out because I really haven't painted one since Still Life Painting last spring (which feels like an eternity ago). My painting was really bad at the start because I spent the 5 weeks break playing the warcraft expansion pack instead of practicing. But it's starting to come back now. And I actually like how these first two still lifes turned out. They feel quite different from the ones I did a year ago, though it's hard to quantify why.

Chicago Marathon

This painting was for our final assignment in Clothed Figure Painting. It's from a really fantastic photo by Jyothi taken at the Chicago Marathon in 2002 (2001?). I guess there was this little girl high-fiving everyone, and she really caught the perfect moment in this photo. The other thing I like about it is the bands of sunlight surrounding that one big building shadow.

I've been delaying posting this painting because I'm planning on modifying it. Everyone tells me the bushes in the far background are too green, which is most likely true. Also the woman in shadow on the left looks really monstrous. But as I keep delaying the rework, I'm just going to post this now and update it later.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Copy of Homer's "Sailing the Catboat"

For my final project in Watercolor Painting I did a copy of Winslow Homer's "Sailing the Catboat".  I really like how this one turned out, primarily because I love Homer's paintings so much.  He is, in my opinion, the greatest watercolorist ever, and one of my favorite artists.  Also I find that many people in the class paint in a tight, illustrative fashion, and I was trying to do the same and was getting a little frustrated.  But I realized that I prefer to paint watercolors in loose fashion like this, allowing the colors to run and intermix freely, creating a variety of spontaneous effects.  It's strange because my oil paintings tend to be very tight, but I think I will stick with this loose style for my watercolors.

More Watercolors

You guys seem to like watercolors, so here are two more I did for the class.  I'm having trouble photographing the watercolors, so bear with me.  The first one is from a photo I have of Central Park in January.  It's very complex, so I think it turned out pretty well.  But I tend to paint too light, so I have to layer a lot which makes the painting look overworked.  This is especially a problem in the trees.  The second picture is from Point Reyes Station.  It's more successful than the first, but still a long way to go. :(

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Workshop Drawings

My drawings have suddenly taken a turn for the better. I think all of these workshops I've been going to have started to pay off. But also I'm noticing a synergy effect between oil painting, watercolor painting, charcoal rendering, and this comic book / manga-style drawing I've recently been studying. It's surprising that things I learn in one medium carry over so much to other mediums. We only have 2 weeks left in this semester, but the fact that I still seem to be on the steep part of the learning curve means I'll probably stay in school for one more semester.