Monday, 20 June 2011

No Legwork

After the thorough preparatory work for the last blog entry, a still life with melon, I decided to just paint wet-in-wet (without doing any thorough thinking, detailed drawings and value and colour studies) and see where it would take me. Paul had just bought two bags of braeburn and gala apples, and I thought that the deep red of the apples would make a great painting. So, like a headless chicken I just went on with it.

I set up some lighting and the only plan I made was to make a chiaroscuro-type painting, using a classical palette of cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, permanent rose, scarlet lake, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow light, and the earth colours burnt umber, yellow ochre and terre verte. I did take 30 minutes or so to think about and premix several colours. I decided on a rich dark background (ultramarine blue + burnt umber) turning to an airy green in the foreground (cobalt blue + yellow ochre; a colour Vermeer liked as it provides depth). The red of the braeburn apples was close to permanent rose, which replaced the usual cadmium red in my palette.

To stay in a fast frame of mind, rather than a detailed drawing, I did a quick sketch of the apples.

Still trying not to think too much, I painted fast and two hours later I ended up with a near-finished painting. I'm pleased with the result as I managed to keep the brushwork free which is a contrast with my usual style. I ended up with a refreshing piece of work (for me anyway), feeling I had achieved something. This surely was a breeze compared with the weeks I worked on the melon painting, and this freedom clearly shows I think. Perhaps I should do more of this more often - will need to see whether people prefer this style to my slow-moving usual style.

At least I can now give back those apples to Paul.