November 12, 2008

Primary colors - painting from my sketch

When I did my sketch from life of this still life set up, I did not really plan to paint it later. I wanted to enjoy sketching and thats it. That changed now and I decided to paint it, using only my sketch as reference.

It is fun to paint this way. I get to paint my own set up without the time/light constraints of working from life. And more importantly, I get to evaluate my sketching skills as well.

Primary Colors - reference

Since this is just a beginning in a new direction, I decided to start small. This is done on a gallery wrapped canvas of size 8 * 10 inches.

Primary Colors - preliminary sketch
Acrylics on Canvas, 8 * 10 inches
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

I have always been inspired by Celeste, one of my favorite acrylic artists. She does such gorgeous still lifes, and does them so effortlessly. One of the techniques she uses is a Burnt Sienna underpainting to block the values in the picture. She consistently gets awesome results with the underpainting and I decided to do give it a shot too. This is the first time I am trying this.

Primary Colors - stage 1
Acrylics on Canvas, 8 * 10 inches
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

The idea is to use only only color, burnt sienna and do all over the painting. The paint is kept a little watery in areas that are lighter in value. For the lightest regions, there is more water than paint in my brush. When the colors are applied over this, getting the values right is much easier and I don't have to break my head over it.

Now onto the colors, here I have done just one layer on top of the underpainting. I deliberately kept the paint a little watery so that my values are still visible beneath.

The painting is quite "flat" now, with only 3 colors - lemon yellow for the sweet lime, crimson on the apple and cobalt blue on the fabric. I have left the background as it is.

Primary Colors - stage 2
Acrylics on Canvas, 8 * 10 inches
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

Then I start adding details to the objects and I am almost done now with the background, and both the fruits. The sweet lime now looks like a pear, to my horror! I will fix that in the end. The apple is done I guess. The right side of the background will also be made a little lighter. Have just started on the folds, and they are driving me crazy already.

Primary Colors - stage 3
Acrylics on Canvas, 8 * 10 inches
(c) Nithya Swaminathan

I realized while painting that I have actually done a decent job of sketching. I am able to make out most of the folds. I only wish I had taken a better photo of the set up, as a back up. But who knows, if I had such a back up, I might have never got to this!

So this is my progress so far. There is still a long way to go, and I hope to complete this today. Feel free to give in your critiques. Let me know if the fabric is all crap! Or anything else for that matter.


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