We are asked to create an illusion of space, drawing our initial composition, then completing with paint. Colour should be kept muted or within a very limited palette. Keep it simple.
I am not used to working in minimal tones and limited palette! However, with the research I’ve been doing during this part 2 work, I’ve come to see how other artists use this to great advantage, so was looking forward to seeing how easy (or hard!) it would be to create the effect required. For my subject, I decided to use an area in our house that leads off the kitchen towards the front door. This is an area that is predominantely white, off-white, grey and soft tones of blue.
When I did my initial quick drawing of this area, there was a great deal of sunlight streaming through the windows in the door. I took my reference photo a bit later on and the light is not as bright in the photo but it is still obvious. I think front doors, the outdoors, outside light, are things that we are all yearning for at the moment with this horrible lock down situation continuing on unabated. I haven’t been out of our house much at all for almost three months, as prior to lock down I’d just sold my car. I have been out for one or two very short walks with my grandson around our estate, which is surrounded by countryside and fields. I am really missing the masses of colour in the rape seed fields. Yeah, so the front door has a deep significance for me (and millions of others, I’m sure).
I cut up some heavyweight textured paper (Daler-Rowney) into just over A3 and decided to use my Cobra water-mixable oils for this exercise, as I am slowly starting to understand them. For this painting I used ultramarine, yellow ochre, pyrrole red, yellow, white and black. I mixed very thin washes to start with using the yellow to paint around the door shape; then yellow ochre and ultramarine – with white (this created a muddy grey-green) for the shadow areas.
I continued to build up the tones. This is a view within a view and distortions of door angles were quite a challenge to get right. I worked from a mid-tone to lights and kept going over shadow areas with darker washes mixed with ultramarine and pyrrole red. I only put in the very dark black of the box lid (under the stairs) and door mat at the end of the process.
I kept adding dark washes to bring up the contrast but i found this slow going. I think this is because I am used to working with acrylics and expect to see something change quickly and dry true to the colour that I’ve mixed. I noticed that that if I stroked in soft lines of white with a rigger, for instance, to create texture on the ‘carpet’ or in the door mouldings, that white would just sink into the underlying paint and once dry, you wouldn’t see it. This was quite annoying. Even though I find these water -soluble oils are good to work with because you don’t have to use chemical solvents, they react more like water-colours and this can be frustrating when you are wanting to get depth of tone. I don’t think I’ve explained that very clearly but I know what I mean. I might try and work with them on oil paper over this coming weekend and not use water – just a brush/knife and see if that makes any difference to the way I can control them. I used a knife to apply white around the door and on the floor at the foot of the stairs, as this was the brightest area and tiny brush marks in the paint make it appear grey. The kitchen tiles are not as brown as I’ve made them but I liked the warmer colour contrast, so left as is.
I will now start to prepare for Assignment two work.