It’s go time. Time to apply paint over the painting and come out with a bolder, more expressive result. Hopefully.
Luckily, today I saw that Richard (www.thecompleteartist.ning.com) has come out with a preview of the Workshop 7 painting that is a still life involving an orange. It’s a great reference to what I’m trying to accomplish here. I noted two thing immediately in looking at this painting:1) the background has a LOT to do with the overall “loose” look and 2) the farther from the focus object, the looser he is (note the leaves blend into the background).
Approach: Start outside with a loose background, darkening the part farthest from the light and keep it with a brushy, almost unfinished look. Let part of the background color merge into the objects more as they get farther away from the main focus. Use a large brush.
The top of the salt shaker and the grapes need to merge into the dark background and lose their edge.
Paint over the orange with a 1/2″ brush and try to keep it simple strokes without loosing the color look. Need to be more careful on not overlapping brush strokes too much. It loses the bold, loose look very fast. I want to add stem to grapes, but will it stand out too much? Loose means loosing some of the definition in object out of focus. We’ll see. Yep, stands out. Will re-do later. In trying to use a few bold strokes for the shaker lid highlights, this was very hard. BE VERY ACCURATE WITH HIGHLIGHTS! Smooth & slow. Gotta redo this. Lots to learn.
Painted over the grapes with 1/4″ brush. The 1/2″ brush was too big to form a grape. I really like the loose look of the grapes. It still looks real with using bigger strokes. Nice.
Ran over the edge of the shaker when correcting stem and needed to repaint the entire right background to cover up the repair strokes over stem. Now I’m seeing why painting “loose” actually means being more aware of exactly what/where the strokes are going. Painted a red-gray dull highlight over grapes. I think it’s harder to stay loose on small objects.
Ok, attempt #2 at shaker lid. Using a smaller brush to match width of highlight I could each one with a single stroke. This is a nice look. Painted white dots for highlights on grapes and also the orange. I over, highlighted the orange and had to redo the right side. “Loose” highlighting is hard!
What can I do to make the cloth underneath have edges that lead the viewer to the object? Twisted the plate some to get fold underneath. Nice effect. Added to orange reflection to the grape (single, careful stroke when I could). Grapes are too dark. Added some red-purple with touch of white to add the effect of light illuminating through the foreground grapes. Much better. Added plate highlight with 1/2″ brush with off-white color in single stroke. Went back with some pinks and tans randomly to loosen up the single color. Added white highlight with a dab and hold, then pull stroke that had a nice bold end and blended end. Gotta remember that stroke.
Overall, this is an excellent way to learn to loosen up!! And fun! This ended up a bit darker than I was expecting and somehow it seems just as tight. But when I look closer, I can see bold strokes! Nice! I think on the next painting I’ll go for an even looser effect. Hopefully others at the complete artist had luck and will have more tips. I’ll update this if I find some!
Update: Here’s the pic with the ruler to give some idea of the size of the object (sorry for the delay!)