Meyer Lemons Bowled and New Adjustable Still Life Table

Meyer Lemons Bowled, oil on linen, 8x8"

Meyer Lemons Bowled, oil on linen panel, 8x8"

These lemons came from my little Meyer Lemon tree which produces the sweetest, plumpest lemons. I planted the tree from a small pot about 5 years ago and now it’s as tall as me. I really like the Centurion Oil Primed Linen Panel I painted this on, except that it takes much longer for the paint to dry than when painting on Gessobord because it doesn’t sink in to the oil priming.

Still life table beside easel

A= Still life table beside easel

I set up the bowl of lemons on my new rolling, adjustable (from 28″ to 45″ high) still life stand, also known as an Over the Bed Table on Amazon where I got it with free shipping (good thing because it’s not light). Since I was taking a picture of it I thought I’d also describe the other items in the photo since I’m so happy with my painting set up.

A = Rolling, adjustable height Still life stand/Over the Bed Table

B = Karen Jurick’s “Alter Easel” which I love for holding thin panels instead of trying to balance them between the narrow supports on my easel. Works great!

C = Daylight Studio Lamp for lighting the still life (not visible is the Daylight Artists Easel Lamp that is attached to the top of my easel to light the painting (that I was given for free by the company and liked so much I bought the standing light).

D = A silly maul stick (just the top shows) that doesn’t work very well. I’ve seen people using canes instead, hooked over the top of the painting to provide support for your hand when painting details.

E = Masterson Artist Palette Seal with a lid that seals like Tupperware and with a pad of palette paper inside (the palette paper is a recent discovery that I LOVE because it saves so much time from having to clean the palette.) I keep the palette in my freezer when I have paint left over. Once thawed (in a few minutes) it’s in perfect condition for the next painting session. The palette is on top of an upside down plastic drawer from a defunct rolling cart to raise it up high enough for me to use without bending over (I’m 5’10”).

Not lettered but in the picture is the beautiful silk sari fabric my friend Barbara gave me for my birthday for just this purpose and the ancient microwave cart that holds my palette and supplies. Not shown is the rolling plastic taboret I’ve had for 20 years that holds my brushes and other stuff.

OK, I know I’m a gadget girl and many of these things are not necessary. But I feel like painting (and life) are hard enough, why not have great tools to make it easier? There are lots more pictures of my studio under the category “Studio.”

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Reviews: Daylight Easel Lamp and Karin Jurick Tabletop Easel / Panel Holder

Daylight Easel Lamp and Karin Jurick Panel Holder

Daylight Professional Artists Lamp & Karin Jurick Easel Panel Holder with painting in progress

Two recent discoveries have made my painting life easier, brighter and more enjoyable: the new Daylight Artists Professional Lamp and a new prototype version of Karin Jurick’s tabletop easel that serves as a panel holder in a regular easel. Read More

The Color Temperature of Light: Lighting Still Lifes

Cool light, warm light with blocks, oil study

Cool light on the left; warm light on the right; same objects with white background; oils

When painting outdoors, lighting is controlled by the sun, clouds, atmosphere, and time of day. But in the studio you get to choose your lighting source from window light to bulbs of all kinds. In an article about color in the March 2011 Artists Magazine, Scott Burdick suggests an experiment to compare the effect of cool and warm light sources: Set up a still life of primary-colored objects and paint it twice; once under a warm light and again under cool light. That’s what I did in the studies above.

While I’m not sure I captured every nuance (or get the drawing just right), it’s interesting to see how different the same-colored objects and white background cloth look under different “temperatures” of light.

Warm Light. Left: Stroke counting; Right: One-colored shadow

Warm Light. Left: Stroke counting; Right: One-colored shadow

I did these two studies in Peggi Kroll-Roberts‘ studio, with the subjects lit by 150 watt incandescent bulbs which have an even warmer color temperature than the bulbs I used in my two top studies. The actual goal of the study on the left was to paint the scene (cantaloupe and watermelon slices) with as few brush strokes as possible. The assignment for the one on the right was to group and paint the shadows with one color only.

Lighting technical stuff: Read More

Pomegranate Pom-apalooza

Pomegranate Revealed, oil on board, 9x12"

Pomegranate Revealed, oil on board, 9x12"

Happy New Year! Thanks for hanging out with me this past year! Even though I’ve had a nasty cold all week I managed to get in some pomegranate painting between nose blowing, naps, and chicken soup breaks, but not nearly as much as I’d hoped to do over my year-end vacation.

Pomegranate value study in oils

Pomegranate value study in oils, 8x5"

I only had enough energy to be in the studio for a couple of hours a day but fortunately the pom waited nicely for me. I started by doing a value study in oils (above), trying to sort out where the darkest darks and lightest lights are and just how dark and light they are.

Pomegranate quick study, oil on board, 5x7"

Pomegranate quick study, oil on board, 5x7"

I did a small study next since I knew I didn’t have more than an hour or so of painting energy. I had fun with this and feel like I’m starting to find a way to get loose and sketchy with oils.

Pom photo under Reveal bulb

Pom under Reveal bulb

I used a GE Reveal light bulb in my lamp which gave everything a pinkish-lavender cast and that’s why I named the painting “Pomegranate Revealed.” GE says they are “specially made to filter out the dull yellow rays produced by standard incandescent bulbs.” I’d bought it originally thinking it would simulate daylight but it doesn’t at all. I usually use a fluorescent 5000K bulb 40 watt bulb (equal to 150 watts) which does a better job of producing clean light.

Pomegranate Revealed - Cropped to 8x10"

Cropped in Photoshop to 8x10"

When I compared the final painting and the studies I realized I liked the original composition with less background better so I experimented with cropping the painting in Photoshop. It’s not hard to cut the board down if I decide to crop it for real.

What do you think? Do you like this cropped version or the “final” version at the top of the post better?

Painting a Still Life Using The Carder Method”

Still Life with Tangelo, oil on gessobord, 12x12"

Still Life with Tangelo, oil on gessobord, 12x12"

Inspired by Casey’s success with the Carder Method and frustrated with my own slow progress at oil painting, I bought the Carder Method video and  Color Checker tool. Below are step by step photos of my using the method to paint this still life, a brief review of the Carder Method and photos of my studio set up for working with it.

The Carder Method is designed to eliminate many of the problems that can make painting difficult. By creating an carefully lit, controlled environment, a painter can focus on learning to clearly see color and value differences while eliminating problems caused by variables such as changing light.

Click “Continue Reading” to see photos and read more…. Read More

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