View Full Version : "Granny's Cup", WIP

09-25-2013, 04:40 PM
Didn't do those Still Life works for a while, so just started another one. Feel a bit rusty, but I hope to get over it.

8x10", La Carte sand, Holbein and Girault pastels and mixed pastel pencils.
I'm working in very short sessions in between of doing everything else.

Here is goes... C&C are welcome!





water girl
09-25-2013, 05:21 PM
I have complete confidence you'll succeed! This is a wonderful start and I'll be waiting for the completed piece.

09-25-2013, 05:59 PM
Thank You, Karen! I hope You are right!

09-25-2013, 06:22 PM
Great start, thanks for sharing your process! Looking forward to seeing more.....

09-25-2013, 10:20 PM
Thank You, Chris! I really enjoying working on this piece. Let see how it goes...

09-26-2013, 03:25 AM
I HATE saying this............but it is quite important.

Please check your proportions. It is difficult to do on a computer screen (particularly a touch screen which jumps if I touch it!) but when I tried measuring the width of the cup (and saucer) by comparison with the depth front to back, and compared with your painting, my sense that the proportions are off was confirmed.

Could be a camera thing...perhaps your painting has been distorted by the camera in the close-up you took, and therefore looks wider than it is. It certainly looks different to the painting lying on the table. But please, before you go on much further with it, do check proportions, always so imporltant with man-made objects.

Also - can I gently encourage you, next time, to work from life rather than from a photo? The camera can cause distortions we are not aware of, until we begin to work from life. It is not as if a cup and saucer will perish over time, so really, work from life whenever you can, it will train your eyes so much better.

09-26-2013, 10:13 AM
Hello, Jackie!

I indeed was waiting for You! :) Seriously.
You are just about the only one who will tell me: "Tanya, You can do better then that!" I do appreciate it, because... I know I can do better then that. I just need to work more.

I was sitting here and thinking what you cay about proportions, when it hit me, yes! it actually could be the angle, BUT not so much an angle of original photo, more-less the angle of photo of the painting I take (painting if flat on my table, I shoot down about 45 degrees, naturally there is a distortion). That could be it. I'm going to take picture of finished work normally with camera facing painting, it should look better.

As for "working form life", I adore painters who can do it, but for a while I couldn't paint like this to safe my life. I just didn't see the same nuances in object/subject as I do with photo. Or... should I say "I didn't see" it. I have full intentions to start working from life with some subjects (I'm not sure I ever will do it with florals, but cups are perfectly fine), but once again - I want to build myself that still life box, make light consistent etc. Otherwise I'll get totally lost in it. I do not have a studio per say, I have a corner at our kitchen with small desk facing the wall... not much could I do there really. There is no even studio easel in my house. However... My mom-in-law just passed away two weeks ago and look like I'm getting her big and beautiful room for my studio use, if I so desire.. I need to think about it... we will see what comes out of it.So far I still working in my kitchen corner with my pastel box sitting few meters away... Mmmm-da...

Well, we will see how it goes.
Once again: thank You for all your suggestions, I always looking forward to it, because it is different from what most would say.

09-27-2013, 11:42 AM
This one is from this morning... and I may actually have enough time today to finish it.

09-27-2013, 02:55 PM
very good start from a monochrome fundamental !

the edge of the teaplate on viewer's left is kinda chunky/square .
> yeah , correction would overlap that ' pretzel ' shape ...

the outline/angles of the cup below the banded top might need a second look ...

- like the idea of pastries in the scene ;
visually plays to the palate ( another of our senses ) .


09-27-2013, 03:10 PM
Thank you, Ed!

I'm not sure I'm happy with my support choice for this particular painting. It should be more delicate. Maybe I'll try Canson for it, not sure yet. But at any case, if I'll plop any more pastel on the top of this piece, it will make it overworked. So I call it finished and perhaps will try to do another version of it later on... Few things i really like about this one and few others could be done better. But here it goes.


09-27-2013, 03:20 PM
Very nice.

09-27-2013, 09:06 PM
Thank You, Bongo1 !

09-28-2013, 03:43 AM
If you were shooting pictures at an angle, yes that could certainly cause distortion. But so can the camera, which is why I advocate doing this kind of subject from life if at all possible. I know that the slightest shift in YOUR position can mean that things look different........but that is something you need to allow for, and learn to cope with. At least you are using YOUR eyes, not a camera's single eye.

A light box is always a good idea for consistent light, but a window will sometimes do too. a light box need not be anything fancy, you can make something out of a cardboard box, and use a wee light which shines over the top edge or from a window you have cut out of one side.

But one important thing to remember. You do not need worry too much about the light during the drawing-in stage. Doing a thumbnail from your setup, the light can be general. Then, Getting proportions right is essential when painting man made objects, and whatever the light is doing, from, say, a window, will be fine for just illuminating the scene enough for you to see it and draw it correctly. Then, when you are ready to paint, even on another day, you can use whatever light is happening that particular day. Having done the drawing, you will be feeling very confident and can crack on with the painting much faster than ifyou were to spend time later on, fiddling to make corrections.

I would bag that room if you possibly can. All artists need a space of their own to work in. If you have that luxury as a possibility, try not to let it slip away! Even if you just keep one corner, or side of the room, screened off perhaps, for your own use.

good luckj!

09-28-2013, 04:23 AM
Excellent work !

09-28-2013, 10:15 AM
Thank You, Alain Voinot!

Jackie, I'm going to do slow transition of at list some of my stuff from kitchen over to new space.
General problem (except for the space) always was - I have my dogs during first part of day all around house BUT that very room. My in-laws didn't like my animals and my art evenly... so all was designed on a way - dogs are not to go there (my husband actually build that addition to the house right before they both moved to live with us.) This is a great thing - not to have them around at some point (they wouldn't drag stuff, eat legs of easels and I'll not have to pick up heir from the oil paint), BUT... I hate to live them without supervision and just go get lost in my painting process... So basically I will have to retrain myself to paint at certain time of the day/night, when they are in crates sleeping and fact where I am doesn't change a thing. It is complicated a bit, because You might be aware we have a kennel of show schnauzers, it is plenty of dogs. But I hope to make it work, PLUS I started taking some of them in "that" room and they are fine there.
Place is specious, plenty of light, quiet. Nobody does a thing there, but husband watches TV sometimes... We also have treadmill right in front of that very TV, so hopefully it could be put in a good use, if I'm going to watch some painting videos (what I have plenty and never have time to watch)... We also talked about putting gallery hungers there, because there is plenty of wall space. And if I ever will start doing lessons, I can use that space too without any dog-related interruption. So it is all good, just wil take some time to make it work.
Painting from life... interesting fact I have to mention, I figured out this summer that after painting Plein Air from 3 seasons with Richard McKinley I finding it more easy to do landscape from life that from photo. Somehow it is easier to edit things this way and draw/paint what is important from the nature, then try to figure out the same with picture from the printer. I'm curious, if the same thing going to happen, after I did enough "life drawings " with still life subjects?... Perhaps.

As for the box building... no, nothing fancy, just foam board in combination with some packing box from UPS... I'm trying to get to that thing for about 6 months already, just never can do it. I better.

09-28-2013, 12:11 PM
I am sure you will work it out.

One thing..........I painted hundreds of still life images, and never once used a box. I used a table alongside a window.....or a table with a standing lamp throwing light from one direction. Never, ever a box, I always felt that was so contrived.

I am sure your experience with landscape from life will be echoed when you begin to work your still lives from life. Absolutely no doubt.

Everyone has to find their own way, but there is no question that the camera can be more of a crutch than of value on occasion.


09-28-2013, 12:31 PM


09-28-2013, 01:03 PM
I'm pretty sure I'll make it work out, Jackie... Practice makes perfect. I think I only have painted about a dozen of Still Life images so far... No kidding, it is about all. Not much of what we call "practice".
And I used totally hate it when I was in school... Not any more, I rather starting to find this subject intriguing... Well, we will see how it goes.

Trudi, Thank You!

09-28-2013, 02:27 PM
both recent posts make sense :
- something irl which catches the eye in fleeting light/circumstance can be inspiring .
- a re-creation/set-up can help recall the original attraction and allow time
for figuring out stuff .

some of my still life paintings with natural light had a specific character/time of day/colour scheme ,
but there is no guarantee that the weather will be consistent over several days ...


09-28-2013, 04:37 PM
True... recreation of the light is a night mare. At some point I love when both things available - original 'whatever" AND photo of it. And then whatever is helpful. Combination of both often is helpful.