Monday, January 14, 2008

The still life is finished; the ladies are still in progress.

The painting of the two ladies was inspired by a photograph by Chester Higgins, Jr., thanks Chester.


painterdog said...

Very nice work on the still life.
I was noticing something the other day, there was this painter who's work I liked and I went to his web site.

He had a demo of how he does a still life, he makes a very detailed drawing, then he does a small study of the values.
He then transfers the drawing to the canvas or panel and inks the line drawing.

He then fills in the objects, the results are amazing realistic, but I found myself thinking of your still life and how you could never do this as the leaves would be dead by the time you got to painting.

It is interesting that the classical painting technique that this guy was into was more about drawing than painting.

I have been thinking about this a bit lately as I have never produced a figure drawing or a highly rendered drawing of a cast.

I never thought this was needed, yet it is something that is now being held up as way of drawing and painting.

I like the results some of these people get, Jacob Collins for instance, but I don't know about this methodology.

Elizabeth Torak said...

What a great comment; I've got so much to say I don't know where to begin!

First of all, I should say that although I would never work that way myself (for reasons that I'll get to in a minute) I, too, enjoy some of the work that is done that way, especially in still life. When it comes to figures I think that the lack of movement in the technique gives the figures a lifeless inanimate somewhat mannikin-like feeling.

One reason that I would never adapt that technique is that I do not think that being "amazingly realistic" is the ultimate goal of realism. I think of myself as a poet; the ability to create an illusion of reality is one of my poetic tools, though not the only one. Movement is also extremely important to me; I do not think that the technique you describe is conducive to a sense of movement in painting.

I also think that technique shows a lack of confidence and, to some degree, a lack of practice and training - I do not need to fill in a detailed drawing and make a value study to get the qualities of detail and organized values into my painting. I am quite capable of drawing with a brush and keeping the values organized on my palette without those intermediate steps. For example, I did the leaves in this painting from life without a preliminary study and I think they look pretty good. By the way, you are absolutely right that they were dying on me and I had to paint fast. In fact, the placement of the leaves did not look the way it is in the painting: I winged the composition as I went along from whichever ones were still alive.

Good skills give you tremendous freedom. /For example, the still life I am currently working on (post to come soon) has lots of grapes in it; when I set the painting up I wanted black grapes but unfortunately there were none to be had and I was forced to use some very large sort of pink-gold ones. I set the still life up with the pink grapes and simply painted them as black grapes. The weird thing was how easy it was to transpose the values and colors down an octave, so to speak, as i went along - not the kind of thing you can do if you are carefully copying nature!

WLM Artist said...

You really got the feeling of "glazey" pottery. And the bright clean yellow of the mellon is excellent. Great work, keep it up.