Saturday, December 1, 2007

Tree Ring Shelf

Tree Ring Shelf painting

A nondescript store in Uenomura (see previous) had an amazing selection of wooden furniture. Wooden doesn't seem as appropriate a word as "made out of trees." Beautiful chairs and tables and so forth with prices to match. This dresser/shelf thing was sitting in the doorway as I walked in.

Lessons Learned:
Glazes: When I first start out painting, I block out the shape in some color, but usually that color is not so close to the reference color. Whether it's laziness or not, I think it works out better in the end (maybe) . The plan has been to layer very low opacity glazes of strong colors - in this case it was reds, yellows, oranges, and browns to get the rich color of the wood. This has been one of my favorite new techniques. I can throw down all these crazy colors, and then glaze it over with another to tie all those areas together as a one surface.

They polish and glaze the heck out of that furniture and so highlights were really important to seeing that. And this is the first time I just grasped how important - how really important - those white highlights are. A dash of white in just the right place can make a blob of paint akin to cat poo look like a delicate piece of Japanese lacquer (demonstrations to come).

Those white highlights running along the edge gave shape to the otherwise messy area underneath. I had thought that, "no, I must define the edges perfectly before even considering adding the white ... " but I've realized since that that's hogwash. I think you should at least put in "dummy highlights," even if they are eventually blended in. Especially if speed is important, like in sketching. I've found if you define those highlights early, the piece looks finished earlier, and then you don't waste time fussing to make something look good before adding that which would really help.

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