Anyway – on with the demo. First the drawing as usual. He was using a different paper today – Schut paper. This is dutch and not widely available in the US. It’s not cheap – about twice the prices of Arches – and it has the distinction of being Judy Reid’s favorite paper. Apparently it is very absorbent so doesn’t allow much lifting or reworking which isn’t a problem with Mr R’s technique. It also has an interesting texture. It’s supposedly rough but it didn’t look like the usual rough texture which has a pronounced tooth to it. The tooth was less pronounced and coarser grained which allows for interesting brushwork without feeling like you’re painting on a brick (something which Mr R. said about Arches 300lb rough. Chortle!)
There wasn’t as much description going on today as there was with the figure painting and Mr R pretty much just got on with it. First there was 30 minutes of contour drawing. Emphasis on drawing connected objects, joining shadows to objects and giving as much, or more, emphasis to the inside shapes of things.
Each of us had a critique of one of our paintings over lunch. He was very kind to everyone but not to the point of abject flattery. If your painting has a person with a head that’s five times the size of their feet he will point this out as probably not the best feature of the painting. But we don’t really need to be told that.
So – on to the still life. There were 6 different ones set up around the room. I wanted Charlie the seagull but the front row people had the first choice so I didn’t get the chance. I did want an arrangement with a lot of white flowers however so I plumped for the one below. I was sharing this with other people and they decided they wanted to clump all the fruit together. I really didn’t want this – I wanted the scattered approach with different objects linked by shadows. I snuck in the lemon and lime on the right hand side and chose to ignore the squash things.
The drawing – I’m usually pretty happy at this stage. This took around 30 minutes to do.
The start of the painting – probably after around 45 minutes. This was an extremely difficult painting to do and I concentrated extremely hard. I usually finish a painting in well under two hours but this was close on a 3 hour job and I hadn’t really finished then.
Having said that I really learned a lot in this afternoon’s session. It felt like putting a puzzle together. Where do I place the leaves to make sure the flowers stand out? Where should I have sharp edges to the flowers and where should I leave things soft? Where do I put broad strokes and where to put detailed ones?
The finished piece. (There are a couple of gaps but I ran out of time). This is a huge improvement over my previous flower pictures.
Oh – Charles patted me on the shoulder and said ‘beautiful painting’. <Blush>