Painting #5 Experiment

This is the first experiment I’ve done based on a series of sketches in my flatmates room. It was the first time I could apply what I learnt completing the life drawing paintings to a subject that has more purpose behind it. 

The process 
I did an underpainting in burnt umber thinned with turpentine.
I then applied pretty thick paint immediately to the canvas. I am used to painting from a photograph and this process works well for that because I am sure of what I am painting so one layer ish of thick paint is enough. 
Inspiration from the artist Felicia Forte and my own habits meant I reverted to bright, unrealistic colours. 

What works

  • The central section – the bed itself.
    • This is because the colour palette works really well together, and makes the bed seem complete. I based the palette on the colours alizarin crimson and winsor violet. These are both very intense, rich colours that can be applied thinly for a saturated wash, or mixed with other colours for blocks of bright colour. Is there any theory behind why these colours work well together? Minimal colour palette I think. So using the same two colour to mix everything else, creates a palette that is cohesive.
    • Using brighter, lighter colours for highlights and same colour but darker, richer version for shadows works really well! Suggests shadows and highlights without lots of white, and suggests the gloominess of the room well.  
    • The amount of detail I included, leaves lots of nice block colours and suggestions of form without too much detail to weigh the piece down. 
  • The angle of the piece means we are looking down on the girl. This separates the viewer I think from the girl, and makes the viewer feel as if they are looking into a personal space where they don’t belong. 
    • I think this is the case but others who have been in my studio have made the same comment. 
    • So perspective is one factor in dictating whether the viewer feels disconnected from the sitter and the space. 

What doesn’t work 

  • The paint has been applied too thickly. It looks overworked. This is due to the difficulty I had selecting colours. 
    • This meant that I was battling with the paint more than I could have been – having to scrape paint away with a palette knife and rework areas by painting over and over.
  • The objects surrounding the bed are clumsily painted -I struggled with how much detail to include and you can tell I was hesitant with the confused style of the outcome. 
  • Light and dark surrounding the bed is poor. The shadows and lack of highlights on the furniture surrounding the bed, and the fairy lights. All didn’t work because I was improvising more than I have done before and so I didn’t know what I was doing!! 
  • The finished piece I think is too similar to Felicia Forte’s paintings I studied. I did this unintentionally, but I think at the moment I don’t have enough intention/visual language of my own. 

Moving Forward 

  • I need to think more aboutmy reasoning behind colour. I naturally lean towards bright colour, because I feel comfortable using it when abstracting a scene, but I don’t want it to be uneccessary because I lack the skill to use muted colours. 
    • Research into an artist / technique that improvises with colours and does so with success and intention? 
    • What intention could there be for the colours I choose?: emotion, experience, mood of room/sitter/me, personality of sitter… 
  • Apply thinner layers of paint to begin. Because I am improvising more than usual I am going to paint more layers! (Or at least that is how I’m working now) So thinner layers that allow me more room to build. 
  • Try a different perspective; lower down and closer to the figure may make the viewer feel more emotionally connected to the figure? 
  • When I do my next set of sketches I will try to gather more information about the light and shadow of the room (charcoal might work well for this). And also gather more information about specifics i.e. the objects surrounding the figure, the creases of the bed etc. 
  • I don’t want my work to look too similar to Forte’s work! This involves me experimenting more and more and discovering my intentions and my visual style along the way. 

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