New work in progress

It's all Holland's faultThis was going to be a post about arepas – delicious grilled arepas made with fresh corn and farmer cheese. But this is not that post. Instead, you’re getting an update on the drawing that has me burning midnight oil and still getting up at 5:30 a.m. for the day job. It’s a still life! With a view!

Mallow and the Causeway, 20″ x 16″, oil drawing on panel. I blame the Dutch.

 

Work in progress

roses and cherries oil sketch

Queen of Denmark Roses with Cherries, drawing in oil on gessoed board, 18 x 24″

I have a new oil sketch on the easel. By tonight it will be dry enough to start the actual painting, so I thought it might be interesting to record this stage of the work. The roses are “Konigin von Danemark/Queen of Denmark”, a beautiful complex pink in form and color, with grey/green leaves. The mallow blooms are an entirely different pink which will be a good exercise for my new palette (that only contains one red).

 

New work

This summer I’m trying out new techniques and a change of vision, inspired by looking at the Masters up close and personal in Paris a few months back. There are matters of scale and structure that never translated very well for me from textbooks. Now I have a laundry list of issues and a garden full of still life material and just need a few more hours in the day.

Zinnias and Cherry Tomatoes

Zinnias and Cherry Tomatoes, 20″ x 16″, pastel on board

On the easel

I’ve been doing studies of Flemish masters lately, and reading about their techniques and working methods. Some things will remain out of my reach – I can’t see coming across a stash of real parchment – but the ideas about what color ink provides the widest spectrum of tones for landscape drawing (sepia, enhanced with brick dust) and a visual vocabulary of marks with a bamboo pen have been interesting and useful.

Several sources suggest using fixative at regular intervals.  I’m finding that it does indeed make the surface more uniform and prevents incidental damage from my dirty fingers as I work. It also means extra time lugging the drawing and an easel outside on a lovely spring day, but sometimes we have to suffer for our art, right? This is a collection of early spring flowers; red maple blossoms, bergenia, and dandelion, in a tarnished silver pitcher, about half-way to finished.

spring setup

Old Master study: Brueghel

From time to time it’s instructive to do studies from the Old Masters. You don’t really know anything about a work of art until you’ve copied it.

The Blind Leading the Blind

Pieter Brughel the Elder painted The Parable of the Blind in tempera on canvas in 1568. The original hangs in The National Museum of Capodimonte in Naples (very pink – I’d love to go someday). My copy is 20″ x 28″, pastel on board.