Monday, January 10, 2011
I decided I would paint the bedroom this year. So, that's where I spent today. No, I didn't have drop cloths and masking tape, I had my easel and paints. Sometimes inspiration hits you in the strangest of places.
Last week I was in the bedroom when I noticed that the mirrors on top of our dressers where reflecting each other, and that the mid-morning light was giving the room an interesting glow. I thought the combination of effects was kind of cool, so I grabbed my camera and took some pictures. A few moments later, my beautiful partner Ellen came up, so I asked her to pose for me. This was the shot I liked the most.
While they may not be spectacular, I like our antique dressers, and I've used them a couple of times for drawings and paintings. Poor Ellen actually had to contort herself in a rather uncomfortable position for me to get that picture, but hey, you gotta suffer for Art, right? I was in the middle of another painting at the time, so I put this on the "to do" list. While I was finishing up the other picture, my mind would wander to this one. I even thought up a title; Sleeping In. "How should I portray this?" I would think. "Should I make it kind of chiaroscuro with the center lit up for dramatic effect? Should I paint it all loose with warm colors?" I'm sure you do the same thing when you're beginning a new project. That's when an inner voice went off in my head. (And not the inner voice that says, "Hey, while you're here on the couch, have some more potato chips!") But my Art inner voice. "Hey, fool-- if this was the scene that attracted you, why don't you paint it that way?" My inner Art voice can be rather harsh... But I had to admit he had a good point.
So, using the photo, I drew it out on a 12X12 inch masonite panel. I worked on this for four days, making sure I got it as close to right as I could possibly make it.
But we all know one thing: Photo color is pretty bad, no matter what camera you may use. As a result, I thought it would be fun to actually go up there and paint "on location". Before I grabbed my plein air kit and set up, I did an underpainting using Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna. Then I just waited for the sun to shine. My intent is to paint this as accurately and truthfully as I can.
Here we are at the end of day one of painting:
As usual in photographing paintings, I lost a lot of color nuance in this shot. But it does show my habit of pecking away, doing a little of this, a little of that... I've never been a top to bottom painter, I like to keep all the elements working at once. It gives me a better idea of how the pieces are coming together.
Here's a detail of the inner mirror:
Plenty more to do on this one. But the Weather Prognosticator says we'll have sunny days the majority of this week.
I guess I won't be sleeping in.