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.