Time to Paint the Donuts…

The flexibility of painting small allows for a variety of subject matter without a huge investment of time.  Last week someone at work brought donuts… this weekend I decided to paint some.

The first painting I did was the chocolate glazed, and it clearly is the best.  I was distracted and running late while painting the pink donut, so it had to be partially wiped off and re-painted later.  And the plain glazed was painted under a rapidly changing light, which was also distracting.

These were a fun group. For each one painted I bought an additional 2-3 ‘models’ which Lance and I promptly ate… I might be done with donuts for a while.

So sweet it makes my mouth water.

I started this series as an exercise using a couple of pieces of candy from works by Felix Gonzales-Torres.  They are oil on 6×8″ wood panels.   My friend Zachary urged me to push the idea a little further, so I perused the candy aisle of the grocery store, bought a few models, painted the ones I liked, and ate those I didn’t.

The allure/challenge with these pieces was reflections and transparencies, and the rich colors.  Reflective surfaces are difficult to map out and depend a great deal on subtleties of value.  However, when done correctly, I find them rewarding.

I also enjoyed that I didn’t have to think much about the idea.  I had a pile of candies to choose from, and a pile of painting surfaces ready to go.  But the danger I see in pushing this series much further is falling it a groove of formulaic repetition.

The sweet-hearts was a one-off done on Valentine’s day.

 

Candy and Flowers

And it’s not even Valentine’s Day.  Three paintings from the weekend.  The models for the two candies are from Felix Gonzalles-Torres’ artworks, in which viewers are invited to take away candies from large piles.

Landscape, Nude, Still Life

Did three more small paintings over the weekend.  The nude was the most difficult again.  If you ignore the weird face and the misshapen hand on the right I’m happy with it.

The landscape was fine, just an exercise to jump start me painting.

The still life was done fast and poorly and was so offensively uninteresting that I wiped it off as soon as it was done.

Small Works over the Weekend

Ive decided to keep up the small painting projects.  I find them helpful in learning about color, composition, and value.  Also they aren’t quite as intimidating as a 4 foot expanse of canvas.

This weekend I did a flurry of paintings over 4 days.  I started with looking out the window at the view of east Cambridge.  The lower half of the painting is somewhat lost, but I’m happy with the courthouse tower and the trees around the tall building.

The second painting was from a photo of Maine.  I am both pleased and annoyed with this painting.  While the underlying structure came out correct, I was in a hurry when I painting the light plane of the tree trunk in and it feels generic.

On a snowy Saturday I tried out a portrait experiment, once again working from a photo.  While the resemblance from the model is definitely off, I like the looseness of it.  When I paint I tend towards tight control of detail, so relaxing a bit was both exciting and frustrating.

I followed up the portrait with a botched figure study that was so bad I’m not even including it.  However, Sunday night I came back to the easel to try again and am somewhat satisfied.  As I said to Lance: Once I figure out color mixing, values, and anatomy, I might be a decent painter. 😉

Color Mixing Studies

Color mixing is, perhaps, one of the hardest elements of painting for me.  I can see (most) color accurately and know exactly what color I need for the painting… but how to get that color?  That’s a little trickier.

Many painters advocate using a limited palette.  That is, giving yourself only a few colors and mixing all else from there.  In the beginning of an experiment/practice program I started this week using only four colors: Cad Red Light, Cad Yellow Light, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Umber (brown) and Titanium White.

It is at once liberating and maddening.  As you can see in the paintings below I’m able to get reasonably close to certain colors.  Some – the pink in the teddy bear – were virtually unmixable given the 4 colors were all fairly warm colors.

Next week I will add 3 more colors – giving myself a warm and cool version of each color.  As the colors above are mostly warm I will add Alizarin Crimson (cool red), Hansa Yellow Light (cool yellow), and Cerulean (warmer blue).

As for the subject matter… I looked out the window and around the studio for random things to paint.  I’m still working on a lighting solution for the new studio.  The overhead lights are halogen and very yellow – making it virtually impossible to see what a color will look like when it goes from palette to canvas.

untitled sketch : Oil on canvasboard. 5"x7" 2015

untitled sketch : Oil on canvasboard. 5″x7″ 2015

untitled sketch : Oil on canvasboard. 5"x7" 2015

untitled sketch : Oil on canvasboard. 5″x7″ 2015

untitled sketch : Oil on canvasboard. 5"x7" 2015

untitled sketch : Oil on canvasboard. 5″x7″ 2015

untitled sketch : Oil on canvasboard. 5"x7" 2015

untitled sketch : Oil on canvasboard. 5″x7″ 2015

untitled sketch : Oil on canvasboard. 5"x7" 2015

untitled sketch : Oil on canvasboard. 5″x7″ 2015