Still Life Photos


I’m starting to prepare for next months classes and needed some good, clear still life references. Out with the trusty tripod and LUMIX ZS50, some coroplast board and assorted fruits. I like to have bright and light photos for my still life classes. The classes are great for practicing color identification and mixing and the fruit shapes are simple enough for beginners to tackle. While I had the gear out I took some photos of my white wood blocks and colored spheres. The blocks are great for practicing painting values and the spheres for modeling form correctly. They seem simple but they’re not.


Clear colors, crisp shadows and a white jug for a little height.


These are just wooden toy blocks painted white with acrylic paint.


These are polystyrene balls which I’ve painted using acrylic. They’re not perfect – the bobbly surface disrupts the smooth change in value so I might invest in some wooden ones. Good enough for now though.

Paul Foxton Workshop – Apple Value Studies


I’m really starting to enjoy these simple value studies. Although in practice they are quite complicated to do. They don’t turn out to be great watercolors. Paul works in oils so his methodology is somewhat different to what I’m used to. This does shake things up a bit and I have to solve things somewhat differently to my usual working methods. The first couple I did I was a bit dismayed that they came out a little overworked and splotchy and I was working in many more layers that I usually would. As time has gone on I like the effect of all that effort more and more. If the values are right the overall effect outweighs any surface blemishes and the subject matter shines through.

Zakim Bridge from Boston Naval Yard Study


I’ve been wrestling with this view of the Zakim bridge from Boston Naval Yard for a while. It has a lot of contrast and my first try I overdid the value range completely. So after finishing the heron this morning I thought I’d just do a quick freehand value sketch with no prior drawing and see how it came out. I think I might finally be onto something. Going in with the mid values first, then the darks and then the lighter values helped enormously to tie this together. Let’s see how it turns out with a full size attempt.

Paul Foxton Workshop – Jug Study


Today was the September online workshop in Paul Foxton’s
Threads

course. Paul is an oil painter and a fabulous teacher and I’ve gained an enormous amount from his teaching and watching him paint. I highly recommend people take a look at his work and what he has to say.

We’ve been doing a lot of value studies but today was a color study. I did a lot of color matching and the Munsell chips were put to good use. I was really quite pleased with the end result. It’s not the style of painting I would usually use but it’s refreshing to do something in a different way. His focus is very much on learning to identify values and colors exactly and to be able to replicate them. IT’s an extremely useful skill to acquire and a great starting point for whatever direction you wish to go in.

Garlic and Lemon Value Study

Garlic and lemon value study.

This month in
Paul Foxton’s Threads workshop

it was a value study. I didn’treally think this through and started on my normal 11”x14” paper. Far too big!!!! So much paint on that background and to be honest I just gave up at this point and called it done. Was interesting though – it really gets you looking at values and you soon sharpen up and can see really small changes. Maybe gouache next time?

Evening Fields

Evening Fields. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 8”x10”

A change from the value studies today. Yesterday’s scene came out so well I thought I’d risk a little color. I’m still treating the scene pretty much as value but introducing color (and chroma) as well. Nothing fancy here. No thoughts about atmosphere, mood, texture, interesting shapes. themes or anything. Mind was clear of everything and just concentrating on putting the right colors in the right places. It was the most enjoyable painting I’ve done in a long time and it came out well.

Value Study Landscape


Painting is slowly getting easier in that it doesn’t feel like pulling teeth any more. The results may or may not be getting better but at least the process is getting more familiar and I’m getting some enjoyment out of it.

I’m continuing with value studies from my lucky dip photo bag. This one I applied my simplifying technique of stripping everything back to a few value shapes and finally a single detail shape with the bulk of the contrast. This detail shape can be a pretty odd shape and, in this scene, includes the foreground trees as well as the bushes on the other side of the bank. They’re contiguous in 2d if not in 3d.

I think this worked out quite well. It’s not meant to be a finished painting but I think I could work this one up if I wanted to. Onwards!