Thursday, April 5, 2012


This is my newest work. It is another painting from our trip to Italy last May where we took cooking classes. In this one, the two women are making suppli, which are basically balls of rice surrounding cheese dipped in breadcrumbs and fried. This is a large one for me at 24 by 30 inches, and is in oil.

Below are the notes I've taken as I've painted it:

Session one was the beginning of a long process. This painting is complex because there are two light sources, a cool blue light coming from the left, and a warm yellow light coming from the right. For this session, I wanted to lay in the the dark shadowy background. It had to be graduated because of the two light sources, going warm to cool from left to right. I got carried away, though, and threw in the appliances on the right, which to me was the weakest part of the session. Those will have to be redone.

With session two, I started on the first figure. This one is tricky because even though it is closer to the warm light source, the face is also in shadow. I used two warm pigment for this, transparent oxide brown, and terra rosa. So far, I'm still using transparent pigments, and will continue to do so until the under-painting is done.

Session 3 was an emergency repair job! I looked at the image the next day, and I noticed that the jaw line right around the ear was messed up. Unfortunately, the paint had dried, so I could not just remove the paint. I had to go in with some titanium white mixed with terra rosa and transparent oxide brown. That, of course, being opaque rather than transparent, did not quite match up with the rest of the face, so now the jaw line does not match my nice transparent face. Argh! It need to be repaired though.

In session 4, I finished up the first figure. I spent a lot of time on the hands trying to get them right, after that I started on the table and the towel in the background. The towel turned out nice and painterly, I will likely have to put a glaze over it to send it further into the background, however.

One thing that I also did in session four is that I added white paint to the face of the figure in the foreground. This is because I tried to patch it up last session, but I did not like how it turned out. I am hoping that when the white paint dries, I can cover it with the same transparent pigments as the rest of the face and seamlessly blend it in. If that does not work, I will paint over the entire face and redo it. I hope that it does not come to that, because I like the rest of the face.

For session 6, I finally got the face patched up the way I want. My next problem spot: I did notice that the shadows under the bowls are too dark and too warm. Those will have to wait though. I will go in with opaque paint when the under-painting is done.

I took some time off from this painting for personal reasons and I'm now getting back to it. For session 7, I worked on one of the figures. The only thing left is the face for that figure, and then under-painting is done

Session 8: The under-painting is done.

With session 9, I starting indicating the two light sources, a cool light coming from the left, and a warm light coming from the right. This was done with titanium white mixed with cerulean blue for the cool light, and Naples yellow for the warm light.

Session 10 was not the best session. I kept putting paint down and then taking it right back up with a paper towel. I did get the shirt sort of put together for the right figure, as well as work on the face a bit.

Session 10.5: I tried to correct something on the face of the right figure and then simply scraped it right off. It is going to be what it is going to be.

Session 11: after two frustrating sessions, I needed a success. I did the table, including the light and shadows under the bowls. The cool light from the left adds some light to the cool shadows created by the warm light from the right. All in all, it worked out pretty good.

Session 11.1 was not really a painting session. However, I got a new flash for the camera, which I can bounce off the wall or ceiling. It really makes the cool blues pop without washing out the yellows or reds.

Session 14: It might be done.

If you want to check out the progress over time, check out the links below:

Session 1
Session 2
Session 3
Session 4
Session 5
Session 6
Session 7
Session 8
Session 9
Session 10
Session 11
Session 11.1
Session 12
Session 13
Session 14

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