Sunday, April 26, 2015

Still Life: Spring Picnic

Spring Picnic
48cm x 38cm
Oil on Canvas
(This image shows a near to completed piece.)

Behind the Scenes
Setting up props for a still life set can take hours, days and even weeks. A good starting point as to go about having the idea is not to think of a narrative. "I would like to paint Grandma's sewing machine because it brings back wonderful memories for my mom" shouldn't be the way to start a still life project. One has to, in fact, think of the objects visually.  The first thing your audience sees would be the colours, then how the objects intertwine with each other.  Three seconds is all you have before your viewer decides to stay or walk away from your piece.

I began Spring Picnic with a traditional chinese thermal flask. The Clementines were in season at the local supermarket, and so were the plum branches at the flower truck parked outside school.  Slowly, an image of a typical Springtime scene in maybe China or Japan began to emerge. A schoolmate mentioned that the scene reminded her of her ice skating adventures in Canada. Go figure!! And thank you to another schoolmate from Japan who gave this piece its title!

To keep the Plum flowers alive, I attached wet cotton balls 
to the base of the branch and GLADly wrapped it.

The idea or gathering of items took three days. And the setting up, another 3 hours.  Here's the clip showing the set-up:

Drawing Stage
I spent about 3 hours getting the measurements for the main elements down.  Here is a sped-up clip of that session:

Dead Colouring phase is where a 2-tone colour is put in place.  
After which, I take the art to a full finish. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Very Short Spring Break - part 2

So what did I do during the 2nd week of the very short break?  Plein Air painting!! All thanks to the fantastic sunny weather we've been having. I'm gearing up for the landscape painting workshop that I'll be assisting this coming summer. If you've missed seeing these on my Facebook Art Page, here's a look at some of what I did. 

Me and my trusty easel

 At Piazza del Duomo

On Via dei Neri

 Skyline of Florence from Ponte San Nicolo

Me and my trusty easel

If you are interested, here's a playlist of some of the time-lapse videos I did.
Don't forget to subscribe and share! 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

A Very Short Spring Break - part 1

The Spring term begins shortly. The 2-week break came and went. 

During the first half of week one, I did my fair share of museum hopping in 2 cities - Rome and London. There is a special Sargent show at the National Portrait Gallery in London which will end during the course of the next trimester. So best to go during the Spring Break. And the verdict? I'm glad I went! And I'm grateful that London is a stone's throw away from Florence - only 2 hours gets you there on Ryanair. 

I was reminded during the last lecture of the Winter 2015 term of how Sargent was privileged enough to travel around the world to see original paintings.  Back then, the internet was not available, so one would have to travel to see great works of art.  And even now with the availability of coffee table books and online jpeg images, none of these come close to viewing the actual works.  I wasn't going to let this slip by. It was my first Sargent show and I was absolutely thrilled.  

Titled Portraits of Artists and Friends, the pieces here were more loose and experimental. Different from his formal commissioned works.  This allowed me to see how far Sargent could push his style.

Here are the highlights of my trip:

I did part of the Roma Antica way. One of my favourite pieces is in 
St. Ignatius Church which houses the frescoes of Andrea Pozzo. 

Big Ben across from St James's Park. 

The National Gallery, London, has a collection of over 2,300 paintings from id 13th century to 1900. 

John Singer Sargent's Show inside the The National Portrait Gallery. 
This piece, Sir Frank Swettenham I, isn't part of the special show which 
explains why I am able to take this photo. This work is similar to the one inside 
the Singapore National Museum.

In the evenings when the museums are closed, I'm glad the theatres aren't. 
This is inside the elaborate Lyceum Theatre where the Lion King is about to start.

There was a Singapore-Malaysian restaurant in chinatown called 
Rasa Sayang serving South East Asian food that I miss!