listening while posting: American Football – I’ll See You When We’re Both Not So Emotional
alright. this is a shitty phone picture from my first painting ever, which is almost finished (I think I need to sign it and give it a name/title). I have a lot to say about it/register here. first of all, I started classes on
April, if I am correct, just checked and it was May. and the first thing I did was the color wheel that is down on the left. the teacher explained to me that all colors (ALL OF THEM, can you imagine? I was overwhelmed as well) can be produced with the mix of: magenta, cadmium yellow, celestial blue and, obviously, white (I use titanium white, and my teacher said we don’t use “pure white”, but she hasn’t explained why yet and this is the exact purpose of writing this stuff. I remember what I don’t know). a complete color wheel looks something like this:
where blue / red / yellow are the primary colors and the mix of blue with red results in purple (side note: my teacher also says “purple” is not a real color, but the real name is violet – I didn’t argue, but sometimes I still call it purple because I love that word far more than the word violet, which I say it only when talking about the flower). yellow and blue result in green, while yellow and red result in orange. but then, when you mix like 60% of that orange you just did with a little bit more of yellow, you get yellow-orange and so on. of course, things are intuitive. if you can just put 75% yellow and only 25% magenta you won’t get the same effect. some people (me) like to have some kind of order. this, to this day, is still my favorite thing to learn as an adult. I should do a top five about that, too!
so after learning the color wheel/schemes, there is that little white paper in front of the color wheel, that can be divided in different ways – 2, 3, 4 divisions, or even subdivisions – so that you can understand what are complimentary colors. you will probably understand this best by reading this wonderful and helpful website, but the idea is: colors that seem to balance each other out. so you can see there that I have a reddish and an orangish, along with a purplish and bluish – you get the overall. so when I started to actually paint something on the white canvas, it was just the mixture of the three primary colors – which give us shades of gray. I tried to get a little more out of the blue color because that’s the background I sort of wanted. however, right now, you can only see it behind those purple lines in the up left.
that was my whole background. and I was really unsatisfied with it, because the color scheme was too much of getting one color, using it all up in one spot of the canvas and then trying to get that same shade, not being able to, and adding a different color ANYWAY. like, hello? I didn’t know what I was doing, but now I sort of do. sort of. you can see a little of what it was like here. it’s messy and you can tell exactly where one color finishes and the other begins, like little stains instead of painting. I knew this wasn’t what I wanted (which is the first thing you need to know to start making changes). but okay. I was just beginning. next class, the teacher told me about this technique that all students that are starting do: to paint some variations of one color and use it as a “wall”. I picked
purple violet because I like it. and then I did this. the background is the whole and the wall should be like a variation of that background scheme. we use masking tape in order to paint on it and still protect the canvas, which is easy to remove after it and also does not affect the painting (usually).
after that, it was time to pick what I would paint. there wasn’t much of a choice, to be honest. the teacher showed me some bottles and I had to pick one and she added that I would also draw/paint a fruit later, both would be on a table. so I drew the bottle that I liked best, a small square that could be the table and was also balancing the wall in terms of placement (notice that the canvas is divided in four pieces – the purple tones, that brown one, the right down corner where the tablecloth is and the left down corner, which is sort of empty, just below the purple wall), then I drew the bottle almost in the middle because it is the object I wanted to get the attention, considering the element of the wall and the table/tablecloth. I didn’t have much say about the tablecloth. The teacher explained as a technique, so I went with it, also because I couldn’t think of anything else.
when I was drawing the bottle, we use fusain charcoal, I noticed how I know nothing about drawing things with volume and/or depth. I think it also reflects on my painting and this is the thing I want to focus on for the next thing I do. the green of the bottle wasn’t connecting with the whole background, I actually wanted something to be different. the choice of the grapes was… I don’t remember, to be honest. I wanted to draw a banana because it is my favorite fruit and it would be easy to bring to class (I was considering watermelon before, but abandoned that idea), however when I stopped at a fruit vendor in the street, the grapes sort of called me. later I would make a connection with the grapes I was painting, a dream I had and the mythology of Dionysus (the god of wine). I like that connection a lot. It was also fun to draw the grapes because it was a challenge – they are all together into this thing that you can’t really wrap your head around it, I often wonder how they stay there, bound by a thin twig. I like the way I applied the white on some of them to sort of inform where the light is coming from (it’s from the left to the right, which is also why the bottle is white on the left and gets a darker green as you move your head to the right).
after that, things moved quickly, but also changed a lot. I did the tablecloth with the orange that would be complimentary to that purple and blue I already had. the first time I did the tablecloth technique it turned out okay, but the stains I had before were too different and noticeable, even when I painted orange on top of them. so I then covered everything again, my teacher suggested I should paint one color on top of all those stains I had. I ended up liking this color I got which is almost turning gray, but it’s mostly blue with a hint of green. then did the tablecloth again (I finished that part today, actually). of course, I didn’t like how a part of the tablecloth didn’t really fit and when I tried to do it over it, it ended up painting over what I already had (which you can notice when going down from the grapes to the overpainted orange)
my actual favorite part of the painting, that I haven’t talked yet, is also the one I did faster than anything else and it surprised me because it’s not a color I like. it’s that brown background, on the up right corner. I did that last week. although it’s not possible to see it here because of the photo quality, that area has a good changing of pace and variations of color, without being obvious (like the stains I mentioned earlier and bothered me). it was a surprise because I don’t like yellow and that brown is definitely rooted in yellow. it was a surprise because I mixed the colors with confidence and not caring about the results before doing things, while also being careful to give it rhythm. from everything I did on the canvas, this was the part I felt more satisfied with. which, if you think about, is really weird because to most people, including perhaps me if I did not live this back story, it’s like this huge brown block. but I wouldn’t be able to do it so well without the stains I hated earlier, or without anything else from the whole process.
painting, even if just one canvas so far, has taught me a lot.
my next challenge: I want to paint a beautiful tree.