Monday, August 27, 2007

The Windowsill: WIP

That's such an odd acronym. WIP. Work in progress. It sounds so industrial. Or office hysterical.

I'm still working out how to approach the work meant for the sanded indigo paper (the BIG piece of sanded indigo paper!). So I decided to do something in a more familiar zone to kind of loosen myself up. Ha. A nice piece of pearl (in this case, that means pale grey) Fabriano Tiziano, unsanded, about 9x12, horizontal. A photo of a simple scene: the windowsill in a kitchen I once had. I forgot that the simple ones are the hardest to do. (How did I forget something so fundamental?)

1: Basic layout of composition with first layer of color for wall under window. You can see a bit of my reference photo in the upper left.

Usually once I've worked out a painting, it takes me a day or so to do, and then I let myself live with it for a while so I can fine-tune it. Not this one.

2: Setting up the shadows on the old fashioned wide blinds, outlining the window ledge and frame, and building up the reflected light and shadows on the wall under the windowledge. I did not color correct this photo, which was taken in light that makes the painting seem just a bit more orangey than it actually was.

I worked on this one for 3 days. Not all the time, of course, but having to just walk away from it for long periods and not even look at it. Already I can feel something wrong, but I can't pin it down.

3. Finishing shading the shadows on the blind, giving the window sash some depth and a little shadow, and (finally) setting the tomato and peppers in place.

This is actually number 4. I didn't take a picture of number 3. For that, you have to imagine this with the orangey wall in number 2 above. I was too busy trying to capture the glowing highlights and shadows that so appealed to me to see the problem; I just knew something was off. This is always the worst part of doing a painting for me!

I normally go right to sleep, but last night, there the painting was, drifting across my mind. I kept meditating past it, and then there it would be again. I finally drifted off. When Mona the Magnificent woke me to crawl under the covers for her morning purr, what I needed to do was in my head.

I went straight to the easel in my nightgown, and got out one of my brand-new Terry Ludwig darks (chortle), in the same blue as the darkest in the blinds. I scumbled lightly over the orange, and run a dark band along the base of the window surround. I still have the warmth of the wall, but now the painting is unified by the shadow color.

Now the finetuning: I'll use some of those warm colors when I do the drawstrings, and a touch to warm up the cold looking outside shadows a bit too. Not so you'd notice, but enough so that the whole looks like it belongs together. Then I'll tape it the wall and live with it for a while until I am enough distant from it to know what else needs to be done.

Maybe then I'll be ready to work on that big piece of sanded indigo paper.

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