Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Break 2015!

This is the time of the year where only 2 short weeks fall between 2 terms.  There is just enough time to breathe and recharge for the final trimester of the basic programme.  I'm packing in sleep, plein airs, urban sketching, museum visits in Rome, Sargent's exhibition in London, etc... basically stuff that I can't do while the term is in session. 

The first morning of Spring Break took me to Piazza Beccaria where the pretty Magnolia tree is in full bloom.  After parking my easel ned t to a mobile book vendor, it's sketch away!!! 

Quickly sketching in the scene

Blocking in the local colours

Magnolias at Beccaria
30cm x 40cm
Oil on Wood

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Still life: The Chapati Press

I just completed a still life piece entitled The Chapati Press. I found out recently too that the Mexicans have a similar looking press for their tortillas!  3 weeks went by in a flash for this perishable piece.  

The 2014 movie The Hundred Foot Journey was the main inspiration behind this piece. The live-action movie reminded me of Pixar's Ratatouille. The theme was fairly simple - kitchen.  So I decided to sacrifice my chapati press to create the artwork. 

Music while working on this piece is mainly the soundtrack from the movie:

For a theme as broad as 'kitchen', I decided to focus on the compositional aspect of this piece instead.  The first thing that draws eyeballs to a painting is the visual - colour, design, shapes, etc.  It has nothing to do with the narrative or story.  It's all too easy to design a still life piece using stories. 

Using circles to unify the entire picture, the garlic, onion and lid of the press also form a solid triangle which gives us a sense of stability.  At the same time, the triangle keeps your eyes moving in an anti-clockwise direction, beginning with the bright red tomato, to the duller onion, and then up to the lid, bringing us down to the garlic and finally the flat breads shoot our eyes across and back to the tomato. 

Videos of the behind the scenes:

The Drawing Stage

Flat Colouring Stage

The set up kept evolving during the course of the whole painting.  From the relocation of my models to how the shadow of the lights would fall. It's always handy to have web-action hero Spidey to my rescue!  

 Final set-up taking the piece to a finish. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Playlist: Short pose

in ink

 using china marker 

with conte

This Winter has been filled with good short pose sessions and I've been putting out videos on my youtube playlist. Do look it up if you are curious as to how I sketch during these sessions.

Never underestimate the value of a short pose session.  In just one session, you can see improvements between the first sketch and the last sketch. Guaranteed.

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If you are interested in getting my sketchbook of short poses, Figuring Out - the long and short of it, the link is right here: