Preliminary sketches and colour studies:
My final piece:
Portrait, Acrylic on canvas, size: 14×18 inches
The process, my decisions and reflection:
For this assignment, I wanted to express collectively the learning process as a whole from part two, as well as my emotional response to the subject and what I wanted to express from it.
At first (as you can see from my initial sketches), I included a vast amount more of what I could see in my view. However, after much investigation and my colour study, I felt that moving in slightly and by cropping my view inwards, that I was able to express the subject more effectively.
After working through my previous pieces, during my coursework, I knew that I wanted to layer the paint from the background up with colour and tones. I really do enjoy bringing the subject from darkness similar to the feelings created from monochrome. I absolutely loved the results of the banana and grapes painting and wanted to take this further.
I wanted to explore the meanings behind Vanitas paintings subjects by including some of their well known content. I kept much of this painting quite muted in order to express the darkness surrounding the beauty and colour of life. I wanted to achieve a feeling of homeliness and warmth, whist contrasting with the dark reality of mortality.
After realising that I wanted to move in closer, I wanted to maintain my surroundings as much as possible, in order to take away a 2D feeling and also to bring out some of the relationship that I felt so compelling from earlier studies in my sketches. Therefore by including the shapes of the large curtain, I feel that I have brought a piece of that, without taking focus from the subject. Also this was to bring depth as I took out many of the linear perspective qualities that I had initially achieved through stepping back for my initial sketches.
The curtains hold a real relationship with the concept that I wanted to achieve, not only in a comforting homely way, however, also symbolically expressing the awaiting “final curtain call”. Curtain’s also express the human feeling of we shut them we can hide away from reality.
After completing colour studies with acrylic, as well as a simpler soft pastel colour study(as you can see above), I knew that I wanted to include a black background, similar to many of the Dutch Vanitas painters that I have been researching. I wanted bold colours that would stand firm in shape.
– In the light of the glass doors, the green was not coming through the vase so I relied on many changes in tone within the red-brown.
– I blocked out the background colours and the cloth of the table and allowed it to dry first. As well as painting the main lines with a neutral paint (as you can see from my scanned page from my sketch book.
– I attempted to contrast each of the colours with their complementary, in order to bring as much vibrancy as possible out of each part. For example: purple with yellow, yellow-green with red-purple, green with various tones of red with white.
I was concerned that the black would swallow up the colour, however, by challenging the vibrancy of life, I feel that this only enhances what I wanted it to say. I also made some investigations into the colours on top of black, they did appear much more vibrant with soft pastels, however I added a further layer of a lighter tone on to my final piece to lift it even further.
In comparison to my first assignment, and in fact part 1 as a whole, I feel that I have come a considerable way forward. I am enjoying taking risks with my work, especially with my painting. I really am enjoying pushing each colours capabilities, instead of simply looking at it’s face value.
I am pleased with this piece of work as a whole and have definitely learnt the necessity of studying the subject and experimenting with colours (especially fitting with mood), is crucial to process prior to painting. One change that I made after deliberation was to take awake a stark contrast in change in tone within the background, and instead created a subtle one. Also I added layers to the table cloth with changes in tone and texture as I felt that that the original was too overpowering and distracting once in a larger scale.
My most successful parts of my painting are in my opinion the flowers. I am surprised with my “style” of painting flowers, however I am happy with its ability to captivate them. I am least happy with my grapes which has really surprised me as I thoroughly enjoy painting grapes. I have learnt a lot from this assignment, including how patience is often key to the finished process. In my first assignment I spent less time observing the changes as the paint dried and layering tones as time passed. This is something that I am learning to appreciated within the process of painting.