Sunday, December 15, 2013

A personal challenge painting

Yellow Candy Dish
18 x 28
This painting was a step out of my comfort zone and, in many ways, a painting to learn from

I've been noticing that I don't feel comfortable with yellow; it doesn't disappear off my palette very quickly, and I don't own any yellow still life objects.  Or I didn't own any until I saw this gorgeous, iridescent candy dish in a thrift shop.  It issued a challenge to me, and I bought it.

The yellow was a joy to work with for its exuberance and boldness.  I admit that there isn't much pure yellow other than in the thick highlight, but there's the illusion of lots of yellow in the muted, purple-influenced dish, and I sprinkled the colour throughout the painting in greyed form so that it didn't feel isolated.

Another thing that I'm uncomfortable with - as are many painters - is placing the focal point in the middle of a composition.  Any composition book will tell you that's a bad idea, so I've avoided it.  But painters should question authority, and I decided to do just that.  The yellow dish became the bullseye around which I arranged every other object.

The eye does go straight to it, it's true, but then I think you make at least one full circuit of the painting, clockwise from the red berries in the dish.  I find myself viewing it in a spiral fashion for 1 1/2 revolutions; the first encompassing the lower half of the painting and tracking through the red objects, and then coming up into the red shawl behind the candy dish and following it around and back down into the foreground.
The echoing of curves and colour overcome the perils of central placement.  So if the goal of a composition is to move the viewer's eye through it and keep it engaged, I think this succeeds.

Lastly, this is painted on the coarse linen that I bought in rather huge quantity during the summer.  Because the weave is so obvious, it requires some adjustments during painting; mainly it just requires a lot of paint. The weave breaks up the paint surface and dims the paint in the same way as looking at a colourful flower through a screen door dims the flower.  So I have to apply many more layers, much of it with a palette knife, before I achieve clean, vibrant colour.  That's not a bad thing, and it means that there's a great variety in the paint consistency in this piece.

It was a challenge, and those keep a painter fresh.

Happy painting!


Bobbi Dunlop said...

So beautiful, Ingrid! Love that yellow ... I think this is one of my favourites!

Maria Bennett Hock said...

I love the looseness of this painting and I love that you challenged the "rules" so refreshing!

Ingrid Christensen said...

Thank you, Maria! I know the old saying that "rules are meant to be broken" but realized that I wasn't doing it very often. Hopefully this will be a reminder to me.