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Our Home and Studio- the set up

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As you know, we are selling our place and making that happen is taking up a lot of my time and energy. Draining might be the word. I was starting to feel like I work in an office, on a computer all day. The remedy was obvious: get back in the studio! If I’m hung up on our property then paint it. Last year I painted a watercolor of my daughter’s house, with a SOLD sign outside, when she had to sell it .

I figured the Universe could use a clearer picture of what needed to happen and she got offers within a week!  Maybe I’ll put a SOLD sign in this new painting of our place as well. With oils I can always paint it out later if I want to.

Several days have past and I am glad to report that I feel much better, and since you all seem to really like seeing how I muck my way through a painting step by step I’ll take you through this one as well. It’s not finished but if I end up chucking it at the end, you’ll be right there to see it happen.

I thought about doing this plein air, but it’s too cold. I took two reference photos and taped them together to get the whole scene. Then I did a grid on the photos and the canvas to layout my sketch. I numbered the grid lines to make it less confusing.

Since I was really itching to dive into the color and enjoy getting something started it took some discipline to do a small value study first.
I should have done this first but in this case I don’t think it would have mattered much.
Next I played around with some color options. I really wanted to do something bold to play up the light on the buildings and not stick to the “real” colors of the scene.
I used some pan watercolors and tried this scheme. I didn’t really think about it too much but it turned out to be a split complimentary.
How about a split complimentary with purple? 
I have to admit I was looking for something a bit more natural (there’s that conservative part of me-again), but our buildings are NOT yellow and orange- they are earthen plaster brown.  My color scheme in the corner is a triadic but the study has bright yellow in it… so much for color theory, eh?
A black and white of that color study reveals it to be pretty blah in value range so when I do the painting I better get that worked out first.
OK, I had my value and color studies and started on the canvas by blocking out the values making the lights lighter and darks darker than the study.

Let’s check out the composition by turning it upside down. I fuzzed it a bit, but squinting will reduce it further to just lights and darks.  The sky becomes a lake with trees reflected in it, the driveway a blustery sky, but the important thing is the lights and darks are not equal which keeps it pretty interesting. It’s good enough for my purpose right now, which is to make a painting so I’ll want to make another better one.
We’ll see how the color work progressed in the next post.

2 Responses to “Our Home and Studio- the set up”

  1. Gyllian Davies
    March 6, 2010 at 4:07 am

    Leslie, it’s so interesting and fun to be in on the process. Still mysterious, even though you explain it clearly. Can’t wait to see the next stages!
    love, Gyllian

  2. March 7, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Fascinating to see the process, even though like Gyllian I don’t really understand how you know to do all this. Really glad you’re back to painting, though.

    Love, Joy

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