100 Starts – numbers 61-70

Continuing my 100 Starts, based on Kevin Macpherson’s prompt…

100 Starts - Kevin Macpherson prompt - Days 61-70
Numbers 61-70 of my 100 Starts project

Numbers 1-10
Numbers 11-20
Numbers 21-30
Numbers 31-40
Numbers 41-50
Numbers 51-60

Number 61 notes

This one was cool because I turned the green paper so it was more dynamic in the composition. I like the way the cast shadows change color as they move from the green to the ivory fabric underneath. It would have been nice to add the reflected light on the apple to give that large dark red area more life.

Number 62 notes

Building off of Number 61, I looked for reflected light in this onion and used the green paper at an angle again. I don’t think it was very effective to fuss with the shadow side of the onion — it didn’t really make the form any more clear. I actually think it made it harder to understand. I spent much more time tweaking it and that seems to have taken away the vitality that was captured in other studies. I really like the way the yellow bowl is painted though!

Number 63 notes

When choosing today’s Start I made the choice to give myself a new challenge. And challenge, it was! Every element of this subject pushed me into new territory. I had to figure out a way to simplify the raffia behind the large flower and the flower itself. There were so many more shapes to paint, with each petal angling and catching the light slightly differently. As I stood close to the easel things just did not look like they were coming together, but after I finished, took a break, and looked at it from several feet away it looked better to me. I think you can tell where the light is coming from and how it’s casting over the large rusty-red flower.

It would be interesting to paint this subject but at a smaller scale, fitting the entire arrangement into the picture frame. Zooming out on it might help me simplify better.

Number 64 notes

Picked up a few new fruits for still life subjects today at the grocery store. I included the light blue block in the composition to add interest to the right side of the study and because I liked the contrast of warm and cool colors. This one has a soft, muted quality that I’m really liking. It makes me feel calm and peaceful — and it also felt calm and peaceful to paint. That’s not something I was really expecting to happen.

Number 65 notes

Continuing my study of this pear, from a slightly different perspective and a dark grey block. My drawing of the pear is a little skewed, which could have been helped by double checking where the base sits in relation to the base of the stem. It’s fascinating how the same subject can look so different by changing the viewpoint and lighting.

Number 66 notes

I’m happy with the colors and shapes in this pear study. The colors in the green wedge were interesting because of the warm light being reflected in the left side of it. The composition is dull though…It’s more interesting when at least one of the objects extends out of the picture plane.

Number 67 notes

This was interesting because there were so many warm colors in the subject. I noticed some especially dark shapes on the left side of the pear, next to the light yellow block. But painting them in looks a little weird — maybe just because it’s flat and basic.

Lately I’ve been mixing my colors with the shadow family on the left side of my palette, and the light family on the right. Within that basic framework, there’s no structure. I think a good thing to work on next is to organize them in color value lines (perhaps starting with just a dark, mid, and light of each color) because when it comes time to turn forms I don’t want to have a crazy mess on my hands. That was one of the things I really liked about my palette knife workshop at Art of the Carolinas: having  pre-mixed dark, mid, and light puddles for the trees really helped make painting those areas easier and clearer.

Number 68 notes

I had intended to premix a color value line for this one, but out of habit just started mixing the darkest dark and lightest light. I caught myself when it was time to paint the shadow side of the first pear and rather than premixing the colors I’d be needing I just mixed them in neater piles than usual. It was helpful to see the colors next to each other as they went from shadow family to light family.

The way the light hits the pears in this still life is really nice and describes their forms well. I also like how rich the red-orange is in the pear on the left — it’s so much more alive than previous studies of this subject (#64-67). The near-complement palette of the red-orange and yellow green is appealing to me, especially since the red-orange is less intense.

Number 69 notes

Dang, I forgot to premix the color value lines again. Will need to work on reforming my palette habits! The shadow family should be a touch darker, but the separation of families is good. I really like the reflected light in the form shadow of the pear that’s bouncing up from the orange paper.

Number 70 notes

My husband bought these neat tomatoes at the grocery store — they’re much bigger than cherry tomatoes, but smaller than a typical tomato. Very cute, and remind me of a mandarin orange. My goal with this one was to study the complementary color palette of red and green. After the last few days of pear studies, I’m thinking I need to go a little darker with the shadow family on the next paintings and see how that goes.

I like doing monochromatic spot checks every now and again to test how my separation of light and shadow is going. This one seems particularly successful:

100 Starts 70-monochrome
Start Number 70, converted to greyscale. Looks like 4 values which makes me happy!

On to the final 30 Starts…

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