——-Posted by Alice Dustin————
Recently I’ve been making small paintings of objects on the counter in the sun. It is a treat for me to work with natural light and I am having fun using red pretty much straight from the tube in contrast to the white on white of porcelain on the white countertop. It is a mix of the cheery color combinations, the delicious subject matter: scones, coffee, and berries, and the format that allows me to work fast and complete a painting that is more like a poem than a novel. I’m having fun cropping my subject as the sun creates strong light/shadow shapes across the objects and countertop.
At present I have done 5 of these paintings. I’m thinking of how they will best be framed and think that they will show off nicely in a silver frame that will pick up on the cool white of the counter and the shadows.
I am also having fun with the shapes that are presented to me in the subject I’ve chosen: the rounded edges of the cup and plate, the natural strawberry shapes and the straight edges of the shadows of the window frame on the flat surface.
Spring is a tricky time for me with allergic reactions to nature which is so tempting with its inviting temperatures and all the new greens, bursting blossoms. I feel that I can capture some of the delights of the season with the fruit that is one of the first to ripen in spring and early summer.
Among other thoughts that I’ve had as I work these past weeks are those of momentum and speed and just where and when I take a breath and when I race on. I find it is very key to my creativity to establish a certain momentum. There is a reflective time before I begin, when I am studying my subject, thinking of just where I will focus, what will be my composition, what it is that I want to express. Then there are the rapid first notes that I make on my surface (I work on a wood panel). I may pause once this initial statement is set to see if I’ve created the motion, rhythm, direction that I intend. After that there is a flurry of mixing colors, laying them in and covering the whole panel. Once this is done I feel that I am now only at the real painting stage. Now is when I put down my thickest paint and when I slow down again and see how concise I can be to suggest with a brushstroke just what I mean. I work now more and more slowly. I step back more often to put down only those strokes that add something to the whole, that keep the focus that I have chosen.
Specifically now is when I find the thickest white of the plate or the cup, the whitest white on the cup’s handle. Maybe I need to warm up the coffee, or lighten the red on one of the strawberries. A reflection in the shadow may now be attacked, the value of the darkness is established and it’s time for this nuance.
Time to sign and let it dry.