After having spent the better part of 2010 (pronounced twenty-ten) in search of a different painting philosophy, I came to the conclusion that my trying a different style would be like Kermit The Frog spitting Rap. While doing an Elvis Presley impersonation. I guess he could do it, but it wouldn't be natural for good ol' Kermit, now would it? So for the painting I just finished, I let myself be me. Got in touch with my inner Kermit, so to speak.
I mentioned in a previous post that I thought the combination of reflections and light on my bedroom bureau would be cool to paint. So I spent this week staring into the mid-day glare of my bedroom windows while I painted this scene Alla Prima.
My faithful dog Champ spent most of the painting session sleeping on the bed. He probably thought he was posing in Ellen's place. Anyway, I was lucky in that I wasn't trying to portray a specific lighting moment, just how the room looks in the morning's sun. As such, I could devote several hours a day to painting, and not have the scene change much. I also lucked out in that four of the five days it took to paint it were sunny. Regrettably, the one day it wasn't sunny we got hit with a foot of snow.
I'm sure that different artists would have treated this subject differently. Some would have made it far moodier. Others may have infused much more color into the scene. Not me. My inner Kermit wanted me to paint this with as much exacting truth as I could muster. I have to say that after having used photographs so extensively for so long, I had a blast observing and painting this scene! I used a photo to help during the initial drawing stages. However, I can safely say this painting would have been a far different animal if I had used a photo exclusively to paint it. I'm not saying it would have been necessarily worse, it just would have been different.
All in all, I'm pleased with how this one turned out. It brought me back to the days when I was first teaching myself to paint. I was a teen, and my "studio" was the corner of my 9ft by 12ft bedroom. (Gee, that's the size of a prison cell!) I would grab various objects from around the house, set 'em up and paint them. I painted my old sneakers, a shiny metal pencil sharpener. A bottle of whiskey (don't ask how I got one...). You name it. I didn't use photos, I just looked at them and painted. That's what I want to do more of. Not discard photographs entirely, because I think they can be a useful tool, but use direct observation a lot more.
You know, let my inner Kermit run free!