Three Cups, 7" X 14", o/c. These are porcelain Japanese teacups (not sake cups, they're too big for that--although I suppose that's a matter of opinion). They have no handles, which seemed to make no sense until I learned the principle behind it: if the cup is too hot to pick up, the tea is too hot to drink. Ingenious!
Today was about the figure, and we began with review of the proportions of the average adult body and how to map these successfully on the picture plane regardless of placement or clothing. Peggi has a great DVD on this subject, and it's something that's always worth reviewing.
We started with two-color quick studies, using any two colors of different or equal value. Here are mine, hastily photographed and then wiped off to re-use the board:
That middle figure was seated in a sort of twisted slouch that was hard to render quickly, but turned out to be good prep for the first longer study, below. 50 minutes, about 9" X 7".
The next pose was the model in the ballet tutu (painting at the top of this post). In reality, she was standing flatfooted and holding a pole to keep her arms out in front of her. I pointed her toe and tried to give her the build and posture that a dancer would have, relying on the model for the description of light and shadow. Most of you know that the outcome of any figurative work is heavily influenced by an energy that we get from the model. When that's lacking, we have to put it there however possible. This is when experience and a knowledge of how the body is put together will save you.
To finish the day, we did head studies in three values, using varied light angles. You can see some remnant landmark lines beside some of them, where I checked my drawing:
This is my favorite painting of the day, and it was the last one I did. It's an example of simplified shadow mass (using one single color and value to represent everything in shadow), about 5" X 4". I think this principle is particularly enhanced by the practice of "surface quality" where the dark values are painted thinly, and the light values have heaps of texture.
The first day was devoted to still life, and we started with value plans and converting them to color. Peggi talked about the 2/3 -1/3 guideline: making a painting more visually satisfying by dividing any particular aspect into 2/3-1/3 instead of evenly divided in a painting. Value, warm/cool color, it works for most elements of painting. The first two studies below are, respectively, 2/3 dark 1/3 light, and 1/3 dark 2/3 light. Both are roughly 2/3 cool color and 1/3 warm.
In making a value plan, we use 2-4 values, trying to not exceed 4. Nonetheless, when we convert this value plan to color, there may need to be allowances made for the sake of "making a painting." The value study below looked very promising, but converted to color, it presented a lot of problems. I tried nine different color solutions and it still isn't working as well as I hoped.
Possibly the best result for this composition was found in the next exercise, Limited Strokes. I think the painting below is a better solution, in 17 strokes. Possibly because the warm/cool ratio works better, I'm not sure:
And my other limited strokes painting was an apricot in a blue dish, 16 strokes:
These are all exercises that can be found on Peggi's DVD series: Value to Color, Limited Strokes, and Simplified Shadow Mass. The painting at the top of this post is an example of the latter, and I'm very happy with how it works there. The one which preceded it is below. It's a primrose with a small figure sculpture that Peggi did, pictured here from a slightly different viewpoint:
And the painting, using a different shadowmass color than the one above:
Tomorrow: Day two, the figure.