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Drawing and Painting Interiors 3 – Simple Perspective in Interior Studies

3 - Finished Painting

Simple Perspective in Interior Studies – Finished Painting

Depicting perspective was always a task in which I had succeeded in my drawing course but not so much when it came to this exercise. I was sat at my table going through the drawings from the last exercise when I noticed there was a part of the living room which I hadn’t drawn and it was probably the best part of the apartment to paint for this exercise. The window to the Juliette balcony flanked by the bedroom and the bathroom door.

Materials used:

  • Acrylic paint, Primary Blue, White and Ivory Black
  • Paper, Canson Huile-Acrylic 24 x 33 cm
  • Brushes Small flat, Medium Flat, Medium Round and Detail

As the brief for the exercise said I started off drawing the lines with a detail brush in a watered down mix of primary blue. At this stage everything seemed perfect.

1 - Drawing in Paint

1 – Drawing in Paint

From there I went on to use washes in various strengths of primary blue to further define the positive and negative shapes. The painting was simple and at this stage everything looked perfectly in proportion.

2 - Using Washes to Describe Shapes

2 – Using Washes to Describe Shapes

I wanted this to be a painting with a limited palette so I could keep it simple and because I wanted to keep thinks simple when I came to painting the detail I opened the bathroom door so I wouldn’t have to mess about painting the molded panels in the door.

I painted the walls blue and because of this I painted over the chair with a dark wash in a smaller brush leaving the blue to show through which not only made it look like the chair was reflecting the blue of the walls but it helped give it a wooden grainy feel. I then painted the door frames door and curtains in a grey mix adding detail in black.

3 - Finished Painting

3 – Finished Painting

Thoughts on the final painting

In the finished painting the perspective looks fine but the chair does look somewhat out of proportion, I’m not sure why because when I drew it in paint everything looks spot on. Because of this the doors look shorter than what they actually are, or at least the door on the leftto the bedroom.

Drawing and Painting Interiors 1 : Research Point, Genre Painters

Research the work of the Dutch realist genre painters and choose two or three paintings that particularly appeal to you. Find out what you can about the artist and their intentions. Look at the devices employed to draw the viewer into the experience of the occupants of the room.

The first artist that I thought of when I hit this research point was Vermeer, then I realised I had that I had recently come into possession of book , Vermeer and the Delft School by Walter Liedtke. Chapter 5, Genre Painting in Delft after 1650 may help me to identify some of other Dutch realist genre painters.

Delft is is a city in the Central West of the  Netherlands. located in the province of South Holland, it is situated north of Rotterdam and south of the The Hague. The Delft school is a category of mid-seventeenth golden age painting named after the city of Delft which it used as its base, the school is best known for its genre paintings.

Genre Paintings

Genre paintings are visual documents recording scenes and events in every day life, These works contain scenes of markets, streets, taverns and interiors. Probably the most well known Dutch realistic genre painters is Johannes Vermeer who painted almost all his paintings in two smallish rooms at his home in Delft. Due to the incredible detail in Vermeer’s paintings and the perspective of the rooms and the proportions of the objects depicted in the paintings some art historians and artists including David Hockney, who wrote the book ‘secret Knowledge have argued that the artist had to have used optics like a camera obscura to complete his paintings.

Johannes Vermeer - The Music Lesson

Johannes Vermeer – The Music Lesson 1662-1663

If Vermeer was the first genre painter I thought of then the painting above was definitely going to be the first genre painting that came into my head. Who knows what the artists intention was here when he painted ‘the Music Lesson’ (Vermeer and the Deft School, pg160).  Maybe this every day scene tells a story of how the wealthy spend their time in Delft, the rich rug, the marble floor and the harpsichord tell us the owner of the house (if we didn’t know it was Vermeer) wasn’t poor; or maybe it tells a different story a story of a music student in love with her teacher or vice versa, we think she’s concentrating on the keys while the reflection in the mirror tells a different story.

There are several devices that Vermeer uses to draw us into the experience of the occupants of the room here and the mirror is just one of them. If the detail of the room doesn’t suck you in straight away, you start to notice things like the way the  characters are stood at one side of the harpsichord as though they are trying to escape the sun’s glare through the window. One device that he uses, maybe not to suck you into the occupants experience but to definitely suck you into that room is perspective and how he uses the proportions of the table, jug and other items to set up a perfect linear perspective with a foreground, middle and background. The proportions at which he has painted the table and jug allow them to be seen as though they are in the foreground.

As you look at the painting, you can’t help but let your eyes follow the floor and walls along the left of the room and he has achieved this by giving you a clear path to walk along  by shifting the furniture and the occupants to the right hand side of the room and then shifted your gaze towards the windows by pointing the chair and the jug towards them.

Johannes Vermeer - Young Woman with a Wineglass 1959-60

Johannes Vermeer – Young Woman with a Wineglass 1959-60

Several of his paintings such as ‘Young Woman with a wineglass’ (page 159) employ the gaze of the sitter looking in the direction of the viewer to pull you into the experience of the viewer in the room. And for me, that particular painting says ‘look at me, I’m having my first glass of wine, aren’t I naughty’, but would the gaze of the young woman be enough. This ‘comparatively conventional composition…with its emphasis upon perspective allowed him to place figures and objects at a certain distance from the viewer and thus to describe them more summarily as components in a visual field’

 

 

Peter de Hooch - Card Players in a Sunlit Room

Peter de Hooch – Card Players in a Sunlit Room

Born in Rotterdam, Peter de Hooch was a contemporary of Johannes Vermeer at the Delft Guild of St. Luke with their paintings sharing similar themes and styles. However, before switching his focus to domestic scenes his earlier paintings mostly composed of scenes of soldiers and peasants in stables and taverns. As well as being accurate records of everyday life at the time his paintings also functioning as well-ordered morality tales.

In the painting ‘Card Players in a Sunlit Room’ de Hooch uses the same conventional composition as can be seen in Vermeer’s ‘Young Woman with a Wineglass’ where there is a background, the woman walking towards the door and everything outside, a middle-ground, the card players and everything from them to the door and a foreground, the space between the viewer and the card players of which the viewer too becomes a part of. You get a sense that he’s keeping the viewer at bay, not letting you know exactly what the group are up to, what game they are playing or what cards they are holding while keeping but feeding you just enough information to keep you enthralled.

It has been said, I don’t know who said it, but it was mentioned in Tim’s Vermeer, that Vermeer painted with light and indeed there is a documentary by Joe Krakora titled ‘Vermeer: Master of Light’. Looking at works by both de Hooch and Vermeer it seems they share a similar mastery of light but it was Vermeer’s work in particular that reminded me of the works by two 20th century artists who also took full advantage of the light in their paintings.

Edward Hopper

Light plays an important part of Edward Hopper’s paintings and when you look at Hopper’s paintings at the side of Vermeer’s the influence is very clear but they both use light in different ways.

Vermeer paints a warm calming light while Hopper paints an uncomfortable glare that shines through mostly bare windows indicating the hardships of lonely city life. His genre paintings are usually of interesting characters posed in simple compositions in usually off-angled almost empty apartments or hotel rooms. As the viewer he has left it as your job to workout the relationship between the occupants of the room.

Edward Hopper - Hotel by a Railroad

Edward Hopper – Hotel by a Railroad

David Hockney

David Hockney, (born July 9, 1937, Bradford, Yorkshire, England), English painter, draftsman, printmaker, photographer, and stage designer whose works are characterized by economy of technique, a preoccupation with light, and a frank, mundane realism derived from Pop art and photography. – www.britannica.com

David Hockney - George Lawson and Wayne Sleep 1972-75

David Hockney – George Lawson and Wayne Sleep 1972-75

Where as Hopper’s interiors mostly seem to be at off-angles, Hockney’s interiors, and exteriors for that matter are full on with the edge of the canvas level with the horizontal walls, like as in George Lawson and Wayne Sleep above. However, unlike Vermeer and Hopper’s painting we don’t seem to be invited in to Hockney’s paintings only allowed to view from the sidelines at exceptionally still figures.

Johannes Vermeer - The Music Lesson

Johannes Vermeer – The Music Lesson

Edward Hopper - Hotel by a Railroad

Edward Hopper – Hotel by a Railroad

David Hockney - George Lawson and Wayne Sleep 1972-75

David Hockney – George Lawson and Wayne Sleep 1972-75

 

 

 

 

 

What is clear though is that Vermeer, Hopper and Hockney’s paintings above when laid next to each other look like distant cousins, showing similarities particularly  the way they have used light and used it to illuminate faces. Although the type of light they use is different it plays a key part in the atmosphere as well as the overall meaning of the painting and with Hockney’s the light highlights the relationship between the occupants of the room. Although the two figures are obviously posing in inanimate poses there is still a lot going on the form of light and colour as the sunlight shines through both the bedroom and living room windows and illuminates the walls in an array of colours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colour Relationships 4 – Still Life with Complimentary Colours

Make a colour study of your still life using only a narrow range of colours. This will require great concentration and discipline in observation and interpretation. Make the most of using colour in an inventive way.

Still Life with Complimentary Colours

Still Life with Complimentary Colours

I should have probably used my Chromium green with primary red for this exercise but I decided to mix my own green from primary yellow and primary blue. Some would call that cheating as even though I did make a nice dark green out of the two colours some of the lighter tones looked blueish with others a yellowy green.

I could have been a bit more inventive with the subjects I used for the still life maybe choosing subjects of all different colours and I regret not doing that instead of choosing subjects of similar colour properties like I did but I still feel satisfied with the end result.

Materials used:

  • Oil/Acrylic Paper 24 x 33 cm
  • Acrylic Paint: Primary Yellow, Primary Blue and Primary Red
  • Brushes: Small Filbert, Large Round and Large Flat

This was the first time using  small sheets of paper although it was only a study I still intended to use it not only to develop my understanding of colour relationships but to further develop my brush skills and painting on a small scale I decided, would help me to do that.

I begun with a very light wash of green mixed with white followed by a very light wash of red. As the green was mixed with a lot of white and went on unevenly the red wash settled around it creating a prime coat of light red and green, which reminded me of rhubarb.

Chosen Subjects

  • Mango x 2
  • Rambutan (gno) x 3
  • 2 slices of watermelon
  • Red Apple
  • Plate

Although the subjects I chose were mainly red and green there were other colours as well which were omitted by using only the complimentary colours these were, yellow, orange and light brown. For the grey details such as the bruising on the mangoes, the watermelon seeds and the dark stripes on the skin of the watermelon on the left of the plate I mixed the colours together and and allowed them to cancel each other out. This was also a technique I used for the darker parts of the rambutan, painting wet red over wet green to get the darker strands.

I also allowed the pigments to cancel each other out for the shadows although I made the result of this biased towards red in most places so that the green of the mango would really stand out.

Being Inventive

I find it hard to use my imagination when painting still lifes and to me there wasn’t really much I could do here to make this stand out all I know is that I was bored of using the same old round table with the plain backgrounds and so if I were try and get inventive wouldn’t this be the best place to start. I applied a light coat of white/red to the background with a scrumbling technique followed by fine drip like streaks then painted the shadows with a muddy green applied with the same scrumbling technique. It may not be genius but it makes the still life composition stand out,however it wouldn’t be until the next exercise Still Life with Colour used to Evoke Mood that the background would really come alive.

 

 

Working on Different Coloured Grounds 2 – Tonal Study on a Dark Ground

Finished Tonal Study

Finished Tonal Study

As briefed I prepared a dark ground with a dark wash of payne’s grey, this I did on A3 size watercolour paper. I had gone larger with the first painting but this time I stuck to the guidelines in the last exercise, Tonal study on a white ground, having now plucked up a bit of courage and got more confident with the brushes.

Chosen Composition

Chosen Composition

As in the last exercise I used acrylic paint for both the ‘imprimatura’ and the actual painting, I still haven’t plucked up enough confidence to use oils, I think this is because I am very worried about the drying time in my small condominium.

Having just researched ‘chiaroscuro‘ in the last research point, the works of Joseph Wight of Derby and the candlelit studies of Rembrandt really appealed to me and so I chose to do this study by candle light (from a large Buddhist candle that I bought for drawing 1) rather than it being lit from the side with the bendy lamp that I have used in the past.

Because I wanted to employ chiaroscuro effects in this painting the best way to do this was to create a composition that reflected the light best, so I played around with the three subjects that I used for the last exercise until I found a composition that worked well, reflecting light in a dramatic way.

Materials Used for this painting

  • Canson Watercolour Paper (A3)
  • Acryic Paint: Titanium White, Payne’s Grey, Chromium Oxide Green
  • Brushes: Medium Wide (synthetic), Fan, Pointed Round (synthetic), Flat (synthetic) Detail Flat (hog’s bristle) 
  • An old bank card
Empty Calcium Container

Empty Calcium Container

I sat facing the objects with the bendy lamp behind me switching it on as I needed as it was quite difficult to paint the objects in the dark.

For the first object, the empty calcium container I used payne’s grey (undiluted) for the darker shadows leaving the colour of the ground showing through in places for the reflections. I then painted the lighter reflections in a diluted mix of payne’s grey, white and green with highlights in titanium white which I later dulled down in a very dilute mix of green and grey. I then painted a thin line of reflection on the edge of the container by applying paint with an old bank card.

Reflection inside jar

Reflection inside jar

From there I painted the broad band of light reflected inside the vase which was empty for this painting rather than filled with coffee as it was for the last exercise. The reason for painting this part of the jar was so that I knew how far the orange needed to be as i would be painting that next and coming back to the jar as this would be the most difficult part of the painting.

Painting the orange helped me to decide on the tones I would be using for the rest of the painting as up until now I wasn’t sure if I should be putting more of the green in the mixes but as I

Orange

Orange

started painting the orange I saw that the balance of green grey and white was really nice and so I continued as I was. There is a white line on the bottom of the orange that I can see now as I am typing this that I will have to blend in before it’s finished.

After completing the orange I went back to completing the jar which took a create deal of effort  as I messed up with the reflections and highlights a couple of times and had to paint in and around it and trying to find the right mix of Payne’s grey and white was a difficult task.

Completed jar

Completed jar

I do realize that the aim of these exercises is to focus on tone rather than precision but I do like the objects to be the right shape and if the shape is out I do tend to correct them and with the jar it took some effort.

I think for my first attempt at using (if that’s the correct term) chiaroscuro effects I did quite well. The painting took me less time to complete than the Tonal study on a white ground as i was modeling light rather than painting whole objects, apart from the orange which I actually thought I could leave some of the ground coming through for the darker shadows.

On modeling light: Again for a first attempt I think I did quite well, there is still a lot of the ground showing through so I did use the ground to the best of my ability at this point, painting the reflections and shadows helped me to create the shape of the objects as to just painting them and adding the reflections later.

Comparison: Looking at the two studies I have to say that I prefer this one, it was not only easier and quicker but I think it does look much better and composition as a much more dramatic appearance.

Tonal Study on a White Ground

Tonal Study on a White Ground

Finished Tonal Study

Finished Tonal Study

 

 

 

 

 

 

Technical Difficulties: 

  • Painting in low light: This was extremely awkward and I had to keep turning the lamp behind me on and off.
  • Matching up paint with the coloured ground: There were times when I had to correct mistakes by painting on the ground, by doing this I had to match up the tones, I still haven’t perfected this but I realised I had to go with a very dilute mix and then thicken it up to match up the colours.
  • Painting very thin lines of light/highlights: There were times when I used the edge of a bank card, there were times when I went to thick and then thinned them down by painting against them with a darker colour.
  • Getting the colour mixes right: I used a second sheet of the same dark wash to try out the mixes if I was unsure.

Basic Paint Application – Getting to know your brushes

I had no prior knowledge of paintng brushes or their names before this exercise. I had only ever used a cheap round synthetic brush for stippling.

The brief for this exercise:

Part A : Start by exploring the range of marks and shapes that can be made with your brushes, make marks of different sizes, using flats, rounds and filberts.

materials used:

  • Canson XL Mixed media pad (about A4)
  • Gesso
  • Hog Bristle brushes
  • Synthetic Brushes
  • Reeves acrylic paints

After researching the names of the brushes online I then went out to purchase some, Ito start I bought hog bristle thinking they would be the best but after this first part of this exercise on recommendation by an artist friend I went back and invested a bit more money in synthetic.

For this part of the exercise I used flat, angle, fan, bright, round and filbert brushes and acrylic paint and three sheets of Gesso prepared mixed media paper.

The first sheet in blue was basically my first attempt at getting to know the length, width and type of stroke I could get from each type of brush and I did use every type of brush I had at my disposal as I had never used any of these types of brushes before. On the next two sheets in brilliant red I looked more into what marks I could make with each brush.

I found that the main brushes made the following types of strokes:

  • The ‘Flat’ brush made strong long strokes.
  • The ‘Bright’ creates short controlled thick strokes.
  • The ‘Filbert’ can create short round, flat, thin and pointed strokes.
  • The ‘Round’ brush good for thin to thick strokes depending on how much pressure is applied
  • The ‘Fan I thought this would be good for texture like leaves on trees and clouds but I think I need to find a synthetic fan as the hog bristle was a bit disappointing.
Getting to Know Your Brushes 1

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 - Second Experiment

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 – Second Experiment

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 - Third Experiment

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 – Third Experiment

From there I focused on the both synthetic and hog bristle Flat, Round and Filbert brushes in and with just these three brushes I made a wide variety of marks with short strokes, long strokes and by applying more or less pressure and different parts of the brushes to the paper.

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 - Marks with Flats, rounds and filberts

Getting to Know Your Brushes 1 – Marks with Flats, rounds and filberts

Part B : Then, from Memory, paint a small simple landscape (about A4). Use large brushes so you won’t be distracted by the urge to include detail; instead, concentrate on the possibilities and patterns made by the brush strokes.

Gettibg to Know Your Brushes 2 - A Landscape from Memory

Gettibg to Know Your Brushes 2 – A Landscape from Memory

I live in Bangkok and don’t get to see much country landscapes and throughout the Drawing 1 Course I drew most of my landscapes, bar one, in a park close by so the painting above, was from memory, from my 360 degrees studies. I concentrated on possibilities and patterns made by the brush strokes but these happened in the background as to the fore or middle-ground and with the fan and flat more than the other brushes that I use on this exercise which were a hog bristle medium wide, flat, filbert and fan although the smaller filbert was good for the leaves on the trees.

Getting to Know Your Brushes 2 - A Landscape from Memory 2

Getting to Know Your Brushes 2 – A Landscape from Memory 2

i decided to have another go at this part of the exercise, with synthetic brushes. Again from memory, from the same exercise 360 degrees studies, facing West. Looking at the original drawing in charcoal afterwards it is nothing like but it did give me chance to concentrate more on possibilities and patterns made by the brush marks.

I had more control with the synthetic brushes and found that the edge of the flat was great for grass, tree trunks, the filbert was good for shading as well as the curved form of the branches. This time I used a synthetic fan, which I think was for watercolour, and by using grass green at one end and lime yellow at the other I was able to depict the light shining off the trees and by fanning in a circular motion was able to give the trees more body.

Part C :  Once you have experimented, paint a piece of fruit, using the techniques, taking care to set the fruit in direct light to help define the form.

Getting to Know Your Brushes 3 - Painting Fruit

Getting to Know Your Brushes 3 – Painting Fruit

Originally I bought four bananas for this part of the exercise but by the time I got round to it they had gone off in the heat of my kitchen so I used a pineapple I bought the day before. Because it was evening I directed a bendy lamp at it so I could define the form. I used a lot of the techniques that I had learnt above plus a few new ones but I used the Flat, Angular and Filbert mostly on this. I am glad I didn’t use the glossy gel on this as the flat matt acrylic paint makes the pineapple look almost stone like and even though I didn’t do an amazing job on the leaves they only add to the stone feel.