Thursday, May 31, 2012

Berries and Glass

This was done at Anastasia Arthouse. It's oil on 16x20 stretched canvas.

I went to the super market one weekend and bought these big juicy strawberries for the kids (sadly I'm allergic strawberries). I took some pictures of the fruits I bought that day to do a still life painting at the painting class.  This painting took me a couple of months to do, especially with the amount of detail I had to do, for example the blue berries which I had to one by one, and all the reflective dots on the strawberries.  By the end of this painting, I've had enough of strawberries (virtually) and blue berries for a while!

Man and the Mirror

This is for Virtual Paintout, May 2012 Jerusalem Israel challenge. It's oil on 8x10 canvas panel.

This was the first scene I picked out to paint from the Old City in Jerusalem. (ref) I liked the man's reflection in the mirror and the lights casted on the man. However, I decided against it initially  because I could not see the man's face clear enough as Google blurred out all the faces, and the face would be such an important part of this painting.

After I've done the previous two paintings for this month's Virtual Paintout, I went back to look this man again. The profile of this man reminded me of someone, and then it dawned on me: Uncle Leo from the sitcom "Seinfeld"! So I looked up Uncle Leo in Google Images and got some pictures of Uncle Leo and I can finally put a face to this man. This is a more benign version of him since Uncle Leo tended to be very animated in the sitcom. To keep this painting simple so I can get done in two days time, I dropped everything else around the man except for the mirror and his reflection.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Esh Hatora

This is for Virtual Paintout, May, 2012 Jerusalem Israel challenge. It's oil with palette knife on 10x12 canvas panel.

This is my second submission to this month's Virtual Paintout. My first submission was a darker work, so I decided my second one would be the opposite, brighter. This scene outside the Esh Hatora World Center at the Jewish Quarter had nice light and dark contrast. (ref)  I heightened the color by using the orange vs blue complimentary color scheme and warm light vs cool shadow. Using palette knives  gave more interest and texture to this straight forward composition.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Old City Discussion

This is for Virtual Paintout, May 2012, Jerusalem Israel challenge. It's oil on 10x12 canvas panel.

The Old City in Jerusalem has a number of very interesting scenes, with so many people from different background there doing so many different things. There were many interesting people scenes with interesting lighting, however, most of the faces got blurred out and would be difficult to paint. This scene I chose (ref) has two main women deep in conversation at the Old City market, while two other passer-by looked on. I kept the beard guy on the left to make the composition more interesting, as we the viewer look at the women in the painting, while the man in the painting looks at us.

I wanted this scene to have a Vermeer or Velasquez type feel, with dark background, earthy tone, dramatic light coming from one side.  This turns out to be quite difficult to execute, for example, how to enhance the lighting to make it paintable, what to do with the background, how to paint the women's blurry faces. I actually had gotten stuck a few times, and had to leave the painting for few days and came back again. I now have new appreciation for these old masters in their ability to turn an ordinary scene into their beautiful paintings. They are very hard to do!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Red Garden Roses

This is for Rookie Painter May 2012 challenge. It's oil on 10x12 canvas panel.

The bright colored roses in this reference photo (ref) made it a very appealing challenge to do. It's basically a study of different shades and values of red, for which I used mainly vermilion, cadmium red neutral, magenta, rose red, Gamblin's radiant magenta, cadmium yellow, with lemon yellow for high lights and burnt sienna and ultramarine violet for shadows.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Flowers Tablecloth Bread and Cheese

This is for Studio Atelier Apr/May 2012 still life challenge. It's oil on 10x10 canvas panel.

When I first saw this challenge (ref), I thought this was such a daunting still life challenge, with so many objects in the photo. However, I liked all the colors in the reference photos, including the tablecloth, and the arrangement was very interesting, with the colorful (flowers and table) vs. the neutrals (bread and cheese). So I decided I would give it a try.

I wanted to keep most of the elements, as I thought many of them were interesting. However, I wanted to refocus the eyes to certain objects while de-emphasizing others.  The obvious choice to focus the eyes first would be the flowers, especially the yellow dahlias. I placed less emphasis on the sunflower, the lily flower buds, and the yellow flowers behind the sunflower. I couldn't completely discard the bottle of wine and the grapes since it would make the left side of the painting too empty, so I kept them, but made them to have similar values as the background to send them to background. I dropped a couple of things from the original photo: the wine glass way on the left as I thought that added nothing to the painting, and also the grass shooting out from the vase since I thought the arrangement was already busy enough. I also skipped the background blackish fabrics as well since I thought that added nothing as well to the overall composition.

The tablecloth looked a bit scary to paint at first because of the intricate design. I painted big blocks of colors, but using the same colors that appeared elsewhere in the painting in order to tie the whole thing together: blue from the background, yellow and orange from the dahlia, red from the tomatoes.