Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Two Shallots Still Life & Making Color Sing


Two Shallots – 6" x 8" Oil on Canvas Panel SOLD

Yes, sometimes my food will begin to grow before I use it. This happens most often in my kitchen with potatoes and ginger root. Needless to say I was somewhat surprised by the green coming out of my shallot. It was a happy surprise, as they created a very picturesque duo.

I am particularly pleased how everything in this painting came together ~ the process, color theory, and outcome ~ to create something that I am proud of. (I am about to dive into the geek aspects of painting and the little gifts of happiness that makes painting such a joy in my life…) To play off the vibrant red/violet of the skin, I shifted the background to be more of a cool gray/green. Cool temperature colors pervaded the setup, so to offset that and to bring in some warmth I infused warmer colors into the shadow areas. Warm color temperatures are emphasized especially in the reflected light. I really love how playing off the warm/cool color temperatures of a painting can really get some legs and become more visually stimulating.

Prior to painting with oils, I did some watercolor painting. Watercolor is beautiful however all of my pieces ended up being overworked and rather drab. Because I like to read and investigate, I initially turned to researching why this was happening. I read many books on theory, technique, and materials to get a better understanding. From this experience I came away with a pretty extensive knowledge of pigment properties, and knowing the techniques, but not being so adept at applying them when painting with watercolors. However the one thing I did come away from this period of extensive inquiry is a firm belief in the importance of understanding color theory and learning to apply it in your composition. The one book I keep on going back to read, is Jeanne Dobie’s Make Color Sing. This is a watercolor book, however I find many of the color theory principles can be applied to oil as well. I will occasionally read one of her chapters, and purposefully apply the main message to a painting or two to see if I understand it, if not I will go back re-read that chapter and try again. Chapter 30 “A Personalized Light – Changing the Light Pattern” in one chapter I go back to all the time and will sometimes find ways to work out examples of it in my mind. The message still eludes me, but like any quest I will continue on. One day I will go through the entire book and try out each of the principles, and record the effects. That is one of many goals I have, I guess when time is more plentiful, maybe it will occur then...

I am very interested in learning what books do you really enjoy and find helpful? Please leave a comment so I may learn more about them. Thanks, Liz

10 comments:

Jeffrey J. Boron said...

This is a beauty Elizabeth. The use of a neutral colour in the background here really makes the colours of your subject sing!
Great piece.

Its funny but I always think the ones with the sprouts always taste better...=;-))

Jeffrey

S.M. Sedwick said...

Love this one. I saw it on ebay and I had to come running over to comment! I really like the way you handled the wood grain.

FCP said...

My favorite book is Kevin Macpherson's "Fill your Paintings with Light and Color", Elizabeth. I will have to check out the Dobie book - thanks for suggesting it.
You did a really nice job with the shallots.
Faye

E. Floyd said...

Thanks Jeffery, I will be finding out soon how the shallot with the sprouts tastes...

Sarah, I am glad you like this one, and thanks for the support with the wood grain. Every few months I attempt wood grain, sometimes it works out sometimes it gets wiped down and started over :)

Faye, I love Kevin Macpherson's book as well. I think that was one of the first oil painting books I read. His advice to make your own canvas panels was very helpful.

Susan Carlin said...

LOVE this painting! And, omigosh, you started your bid so low on eBay. I'll bet it gets bid up really well, though. Richard Schmid's Alla Prima is wonderful. Pricey, but great.

Paula Villanova said...

In art school many years ago we used "The Art of Color" by Johannes Itten which is a wonderful and intensive book on color theory. It is very expensive and a large format but the excercises inside are well worth the effort for a personal exploration and understanding of color. I saw Itten's exhibition of "Homage to the Square" at the Guggenheim before I took this course, however, I would have had a greater understanding of this project had I taken the class first. I find that I am very aware of some of the principles taught in that class when I am painting, and I still enjoy leafing through the book many years later. Best of luck in your own exploration into the amazing world of color!

E. Floyd said...

Thanks Susan for having such faith in my paintings. Right now in my "art" career I am just really happy that people will buy them and hopefully value them to come. Anything cherished is so valuable ot me.
Also thanks for the advice for the Richard Schmid's Alla Prima, I will need to add it to my list of books I desire... x-mas is only 5 months away...

E. Floyd said...

Paula, I am intrigued by the book you mentioned "The Art of Color". I must investigate it further and add it to my list.

This is great hearing about books others have enjoyed. Thanks for sharing!

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I love to talk books.
One of my favorite artists is Trevor Chamberlain whose books are produced by Ron Ranson. Oil Painting Pure and Simple is my favorite. Pricey now, $12 when I bought it from North Light in 1991 :(
I like your paintings.

E. Floyd said...

Mary thanks for the book title. This post has been wonderful in expanding my knowledge of good art books out there!