Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rosemary, Oregano and Color Temperature

Kate Kern Mundie, Rosemary and Oregano, 10 x 14 inches, oil on panel

I brought home rosemary and oregano from our community garden. It was so lovely I had to paint it before I could cook with it. The herbs added a nice smell to cover the normal aroma of oil paint in the studio. 

I used a palette of  earth tones and greens. The earth tones were Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Spanish Earth, and Rosso Veneto . I used Titanium White, Indian Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, Cinnabar Green, Terra Vert, and Courbet Green. All are  Williamsburg Handmade Oil Colors. The red earth colors act as color compliments to the greens. A complimentary color is the opposite of a color and is mixed from the other primary colors. For example, red (a primary color) is complimented by green, which is made from yellow and blue (the other primary colors). Blue’s complimentary color is orange, which is made from yellow and red. I used two of each color, a warm and a cool. Burnt Sienna and Rosso Veneto are both red colors. Burnt Sienna is warm and Rosso Veneto is cool. Raw Umber and Indian Yellow are both yellows but Raw Umber is cool and Indian Yellow is warm.  You are thinking, where is the other blue? When Corbet Green is mixed with a little white it looks blue and works as my cool blue.

the palette

I am left handed and arrange my palette with white in the corner and reds and browns accross the top. Raw Umber could be a brown or a yellow. Blues, yellow, and greens down the left side. I mix my colors in the middle.  L to R top: Titanium White, Burnt Sienna, Spanish Earth, Rosso Veneto, (Vermilion- not used) Raw Umber (its dirty with a lot of green in it) T to B side: Ultramarine Blue, Indian Yellow, Cinnabar Green, Terra Vert, Corbet Green. 

You can see on my palette pictured above, I mixed several different greens. I added Indian Yellow to the group of greens on the left and Raw Umber to the group on the right. The Indian Yellow makes the greens warmer and the Raw Umber cools them down. 

Background color tests
When I was picking a background color, I needed a color that would make the greens in the main object, the cup of herbs come forward. The actual background is unappealing yellowing wallpaper. I did not want to paint the old wallpaper into my painting. A general rule is that warm colors come forward and cool recedes. If I used a warm color for the background it might make the background pop forward. I thought about using blue but thought it was too close to the greens. Spanish Earth is very cool and leans towards purple and the blue family. I ended up using Rosso Veneto mixed with white. It was the cooler of the reds and complements the greens.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hats Hats Hats Part 2

Kate Kern Mundie, Hats, 20 x 40 inches, oil on panel

Last week I posted photos of Hats in progress. I feel like the painting is finished. I might turn it to the wall for a while and look at it in a month and see if I want to make any changes. The owner of the hats and my personal art critic, James Mundie will have something to say about it too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hats Hats Hats

Kate Kern Mundie, Hats (work in progress), 20 x 40 inches

I am posting a work in progress.  I have been working on this painting in 15 minute to half hour increments. I catch a few minutes when the kids are eating dinner or playing in their room. Sometimes, I plunk the kids in front of the TV so I can paint. Its all part of the juggling act trying to manage to art-making, working a full time job, and doing the mom and wife thing. I often feel guilty about the time I spend with the kids or the time I spend in the studio. A line in Daybook: The Journey of an Artist by Anne Truitt sums up my feelings,  "It is becoming apparent to me that the mother and the artist do not speak much to each other, and when they do the speech is initiated by the artist who wishes to off about her business." 
Kate Kern Mundie, Hats (work in progress 2), 20 x 40 inches

Kate Kern Mundie, Hats (work in progress detail)

You can see the finished version here.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Still life or Portrait?

Kate Kern Mundie, Hat and Camera, 24 x 16 inches, oil on panel

Can you paint a portrait of someone without painting a person? I think of this painting as a portrait of Jim instead of a still life. Jim is known by his hats and is often snapping photos with one of his cameras.

I LOVE painting hats; the shape is so nice.  The hat has some structure but also some organic form from being worn.  They seem so simple but can get complicated.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Finishing the Work

Kate Kern Mundie, Bridge, 12 x 14 inches, oil on panel
 A painting of the Brooklyn Bridge looking at Brooklyn. 

Kate Kern Mundie, Beaver Farm late morning, 16 x 20 inches, oil on panel
A painting of Beaver Farm in Chester Co. Pennsylvania.

Unfinished paintings can sit for months in the studio. Some paintings are started en plein air at the location but cannot be finished there due to time constraints, or change in light or weather. I take photos and do sketches that I can use later to finish the painting.

The two paintings above sat in the studio for nearly a year until I felt ready to come back to them. What takes so long for me to finish some of my paintings? Sometimes I am unsure of the direction I want to take in the painting. Most of the time it's fear that I will really mess it up if I go back into it. Finishing work can be challenging; knowing when the painting is finished so you don't over work it and being willing to explore new directions that may be different than the original vision