Shortly after carving stone in Bulgaria this past summer, I then went to Istanbul for a few days. I did not buy as much as I wanted, however, I am a sucker for burning things… so I bought a couple of the tea light candle holders that glow with glorious hues from the colored glass mosaics. One of those became a model in my next project, Turkish Light.
I have always moved slowly; ask my parents if you believe this not. But while I have come to accept this part of myself, I still work to improve my productivity in creating art. And when it also helps me to improve the quality, well, … you know that accepting the idea is a given.
I have also come to accept about myself that I have a self-sabotage mechanism in my brain. To that end, I refer to the idea that no matter how many times I do “shape exercises,” my first attempts at drawing anything are way off. It is difficult for me to do demos when I teach in part because of this problem. [Another problem is talking while drawing… they rarely mix in my brain.] Anyway, despite the encouragement by some to simply start my compositions in paint, I prefer to use charcoal.
Original Still Life Oil Painting
Pentimento is the Italian word that describes the concept of “the sins of the past will continue to haunt you.” I know that oil paint goes transparent after many years and I know that red is a tricky color. I do not want my bad drawing to show through. And I know that on this composition of red, white, and black… I increase the odds a bit of having problems. So, here you can see that I am figuring out my design in charcoal on a mid-toned primed wooden panel.
I was not sure that I wanted the vase thingy as close to center, but later decided to leave it as is. I liked the shapes between the objects, too. Once my drawing was close enough, I used egg tempera to paint in the light shapes. This is opaque and dries very quickly… like acrylic, but I think that I like egg tempera better, and hopefully it leaves more of a tooth for the oil paints.
Of course, there is a lot more to it than what I have shown... including that my drawing does not exactly match the model. I made changes for compositional reasons, such as where lines meet and negative shape considerations. Also, the images do not show a candle lit because when I was designing the shapes, that little bit of light did not matter. And it was summer here, so I was saving my candles ... haha.
I then layered in some of the cadmium orange and the serious reds. The black came later. These colors take forever to dry (an exaggeration, I hope you understand) and I had to be careful not to smear a thing, yet keep the edges I wanted soft … soft. This painting then went up on a shelf to dry for about a month, I think.
I took her down occasionally to develop the painting in layers, letting each one have about a week to dry, if I could manage that. My models stayed in place while I worked on other easels. Ok, so THAT part of the process is not particularly efficient for productivity, but hey, I love red and black, both slow driers. It was the egg tempera trick that gave me light and speed. There… I have given away all of my secrets. So, I will go home now.
I started Turkish Light in mid-July. I finished her in mid-October. Sadly, in my new flat, I have not yet figured out how to get a high-quality image of an oil painting. But here is the shot that I have.
Turkish Light is available. She is a 50 x 35 cm (19.6 x 13.7 inches) oil painting on Italian Gesso-vero’d primed wooden panel. Please contact me if you would like to own this gem or gift her to someone you love.
Thank you for your interest and enthusiasm,
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Most recent revision: 25 December 2014