Saturday, January 10, 2009

half measures

(4x7)

I bought myself a lamp for my "studio"--actually a catch-all room I never use, but am trying to begin to ...--to light still lifes. I'd like to set up a few largish, more complex still lifes this winter. Right now, I'm just wading in: using my new stuff (the lamp and and old TV stand on wheels that I nabbed from Peter's warehouse; it's nice because it's a little below eye level) and space (where I can spread out and I hope work bigger and more concentratedly) and marshalling objects, adding something, taking it away ...

One thing I'd really like to get over is my fear of patterned fabrics! I love them, but shy away from--read: avoid at all costs!-- painting them.
So many painters I admire--Matisse and Vuillard spring to mind--use patterns so beautifully, it seems a shame to forgo them.
Below's a small "swatch"; it's not what I had in mind to do, but it will have to do for today.

(4x6)

What I had in mind was a larger, more complex--that is, with folds and shadows (though this piece of cloth is literally a swatch, about 6x8 inches, so not great for folds)--like the exercise "Day 5: Drapery Anatomy" in one of my favorite art instruction books, which is also probably the one I've had and used the longest: Michael Crespo's Watercolor Class.
I think it may be out of print, but if you can locate a copy in the library, I think it's a very useful book.
(NB I have the single volume, which cover two "semesters" of classes--20 days/lessons per; the semesters were also published separately as Watercolor Day by Day and Experiments in Watercolor.)
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15 comments:

Sharon said...

I share your fear of patterned fabric, Laura, although I like using stripes because they help achieve the depth of 3-D.

This apple turned out great. The color blends and shadow work very well.

Laureline said...

I'm sorry to have missed much of your recent work and posts. My life has been very intense since midOctober. i am so happy to be back, though, to see your lovely and graceful work again. The shadows here are beautiful. I am sure you'll be a master at painting patterned fabric before you know it. Happy new year.

Watercolorist said...

Love the apple still life. Beautiful colors and shadings. You are so productive. I have been procrastinating and have not produced anything new this year. You put me to shame.

shicat said...

Laura, your apples are stunning. The colors oooh boy! I love fabrics and have always been tempted to give it a try. Still lifes in your art space,cool.The watercolor book sounds interesting I think I will look on a site,my sister the librarian told me about for out of print books,something.... libra.

snowy night in michigan.10"today alone...brrrrr

laura said...

Thanks, Sharon. I have a beautiful blue and white striped sheet I picked up at a consignment shop for $2--I expect it to be the base for many still lifes!

Thanks for stopping by, Laura! You have been busy with your new grandbaby, your travels, and Watermarks--which I love! It's really wonderful.

Oh no, Jean! My paintings are little and are themselves a form of procrastination! Now, when I get serious about it ...

I think you would like the book, Cathy--it has a lot of student work in, which I like to see. The are many places to buy used books online: Amazon and B&N both sell used books, and I think your sister may be rerring to ALibris--I've bought books from them too!

Art with Liz said...

Hello Laura. Absolutely love the apples. Watercolour at its best! I am so into oils now, but every time I look at your work I think I must must must pick up my watercolours again. You are inspirational.

Maggie Latham said...

Laura, I too love the colours in your apples, but also think your fabric swatch is interesting I had an idea while reading your post: why not make a reference book of painted fabric swatches? This could take the form of small 5x7’s or larger 8x10 size. If you have no fear at this size and are able to loosen up and doodle…it might be a good way to practise and get over the fear of painting colourful fabric. You could either insert these studies into a three ring binder, mount them into a spiral bound sketchbook with double sided tape (which is what I do) or insert them into one of those folders with acetate pockets……it will be a great resource for future if you make colour notes and your thoughts on the type of fabric and difficulty of painting rating. I too love the way Matisse handles colour and fabric in his paintings.

Nancy said...

Hi Laura -- I love your color choices on the apples! And, I read a blog (http://nelseverydaypainting.blogspot.com) that the artist paints a lot of fabric in her still life paintings. Worth a look!

Cathy Gatland said...

Laura, what a lot of lovely new work to come back to - you have been busy. I look forward to seeing where 2009 takes you and to continue being inspired by your paintings and thoughts thereupon!
I'm the opposite re patterns - a friend I painted with used to laugh at how religiously I tried to render drapery on and around my figures. It's a while since I've done those, though! I haven't even begun to think about what my New Year's art plans are...

kosstinn said...

That just reminded me. I need a lamp as well.

Teresa said...

You're SO good with those juicy colors! Apples look great.

Re: detailed fabrics... one of those things that make me cringe and think that I'll tackle that "another day!"

A Brush with Color said...

I love these! Your colors are stunning, and the shadows on the fruit are amazingly light-filled and glorious. The fabric swatch is something I'd use to decorate a room!

Sherry said...

Those apples stuck in my mind from when I saw them the other day, so I had to come back and look again. They really are luscious, with such beautiful shadows. I'm interested in your comment about patterned fabric. That's something I generally stay away from too, though this week I've been looking more closely at Matisse's bold paintings and use of pattern.

Jennifer Lawson said...

Great apples, Laura. You captured the light and the shadows are perfect. Great idea doing fabric studies. The book you recommend sounds interesting.

Your work is lovely—Jennifer

Ruth said...

I think you did a lovely job with the fabric. I do love fabric and artistic renditions of it in still lifes.

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