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jackiesimmonds
04-16-2004, 10:53 AM
I was clearing up today and came across an old partwork magazine, with a load of step by step images of a still life I did for them. Here are a few of the steps, in case anyone is interested. I have quite afew more but did not want to take up an entire page of a thread! I just thought that there might be people who would find the early stages useful.

Actual set-up, photographed by magazine (I worked from life incidentally, they stood behind and photographed as I worked)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Apr-2004/1805-floral1.jpg

First I did a charcoal and white conte work-out of the balance of tones, using grey paper. Seems a lot of work, but I feel it was worth it, I often still do this, very roughly tho, only spending about 10 minutes on the piece, but it helps enormously:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Apr-2004/1805-floral2.jpg

I redrew onto a piece of grey Canson, and began to block in some of the main shapes and colours:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Apr-2004/1805-floral4.jpg

Then, I built up the image, using fingers to blend where necessary, and building up shapes and tones over blended areas here and there, allowing some areas, like the china plate, to stay blended and smooth, and some areas to be textured and lively so that the whole pic "breathes" and isn't too blended and choked with pastel. Here is the Hydrangea in progress:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Apr-2004/1805-floral5.jpg

I ended up with this:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Apr-2004/1805-floral_8.jpg

I work slightly differently these days, with a LOT more colour, but the partwork was supposed to be for relative beginners, and this is a fairly straightforward approach.

Deborah Secor
04-16-2004, 11:09 AM
Jackie, this is very informative. I always love to see a really well done WiP like this! Thanks for sharing...

Deborah

sundiver
04-16-2004, 12:21 PM
Thanks, Jackie, I enjoyed this. :clap:

Alachua Artist
04-16-2004, 12:29 PM
This is wonderful. It is so enlightening to see a detailed WIP so we sponges can soak up techniques and recommendations. I have adapted many artists' techniques myself, and have benefitted greatly from their willingness to share such valuable knowledge. Thank you!

And this painting is delightful! :clap: No wonder it was featured.

:::stands in awe:::

artbyjune
04-16-2004, 01:21 PM
I think the study in black and white for tonal values is a great idea when you have an image to paint where you are interested in accuracy and depth. Sometimes, I do the tonal study in blues first and then lay colour on top.

I like to see WIP as it is informative but also just because its interesting to see how other artists work.

I hope you do more when you have time.

I see this WIP was from an earlier way of working. How do you prefer to work nowadays??

SweetBabyJ
04-16-2004, 01:34 PM
Nice WIP, Jackie- your "style" comes through very clearly.

Thanks.

Geoff
04-16-2004, 01:54 PM
Many thanks for sharing, Jackie.
Much appreciated.

Khadres
04-16-2004, 02:44 PM
Another good step-by-step! You're so good at this! Thanks for another peek into your studio.

meowmeow
04-16-2004, 04:49 PM
Very nice, thank you! I was interested in how you used the blue in the background...and it works of course! I would have felt compelled to add a contrasting (or complementary color) but this works very well.


Sandy

Harm Verbeek
04-16-2004, 05:27 PM
Hello,

Thanks for sharing. It gives me a lot of ideas how to paint.

Greetings Harm

lozz
04-16-2004, 06:06 PM
Thanks for this Jackie!

lozz

Kathryn Day
04-16-2004, 08:39 PM
This WIP was very informative. Thanks for posting it.

Shari
04-16-2004, 09:05 PM
Jackie,

This was great to see, thanks for posting it. I see you are left handed too!!! I should have picked that up from your videos. Just want you to know how much I appreciate all your contributions here.

Shari

Orchidacea
04-16-2004, 10:06 PM
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience so generously!

Tom Christopher
04-16-2004, 11:25 PM
[
First I did a charcoal and white conte work-out of the balance of tones, using grey paper. Seems a lot of work, but I feel it was worth it, I often still do this, very roughly tho, only spending about 10 minutes on the piece, but it helps enormously:

Great WIP Jackie--the painting is beautiful..I was wondering since you don't spend as much time in this stage as before-- do you use this step to determine the tones primarily? I think this step would be very useful to me..thanks Tom

jackiesimmonds
04-17-2004, 03:45 AM
[
First I did a charcoal and white conte work-out of the balance of tones, using grey paper. Seems a lot of work, but I feel it was worth it, I often still do this, very roughly tho, only spending about 10 minutes on the piece, but it helps enormously:

Great WIP Jackie--the painting is beautiful..I was wondering since you don't spend as much time in this stage as before-- do you use this step to determine the tones primarily? I think this step would be very useful to me..thanks Tom

The main reason I dont spend quite so much time on this step these days, is that I tend to do a smaller, thumbnail sketch, rather than a full scale thing in charcoal and conte. That's called experience! However, if it is a really important piece, I do resort back to the more timeconsuming big tonal sketch. My thumbnails are to sort out tonal areas, nevertheless, and I always do those.

Jackie

jackiesimmonds
04-17-2004, 03:53 AM
I see this WIP was from an earlier way of working. How do you prefer to work nowadays??

Well, I use different surfaces, I use more adventurous colour, I use heavier concentrations of pastel for a more lively textured effect, I sometimes do an underpainting, I sometimes work on black paper, and I am a bit more experimental with my still life composition, tipping up perspective and/or making them more unusual. Those are the main differences!

Here is a recent still life. Essentially same colours, but I think you can see the differences. Of course, you may not like it better, but I think it looks more "contemporary".

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Apr-2004/1805-Blue_Placemat2.jpg

Jackie

artbyjune
04-17-2004, 05:32 AM
I love this still life!

I like the feeling of looking down on these objects and I feel I am going to tumble onto them or into the picture. Very contemporary and adventurous.

I see you have pastel teaching videos which have been raved about in an other thread. Do you have one with this new approach?? Are they available?
June

Dark_Shades
04-17-2004, 05:51 AM
its so invaluable to see a WIP ...... your colours and work are always so lovely ..... one thing that hasnt been mentioned ...... is your choices of items for a still life ..... this is a BIG stumbling block for me and many others ....... I know it has been mentioned in the Still Life forum ...... of perhaps using favourite objects ...... but mine never seem to gel ....... any thoughts or insights as to what makes you decide upon what you do ...... they always work so well
You can really see how much you have grown even from your WIP to this last posting, the colour much more vibrant ...... its a beauty ...... I also saw on your art-agent the beautiful 'Red' still life.... thats stunning ....
Do you think of a colour theme, and work from that ...... or an item, and work around complimentary coloured objects

jackiesimmonds
04-17-2004, 08:49 AM
I love this still life!

I like the feeling of looking down on these objects and I feel I am going to tumble onto them or into the picture. Very contemporary and adventurous.

I see you have pastel teaching videos which have been raved about in an other thread. Do you have one with this new approach?? Are they available?
June

so sorry, no I do not. It is an approach much in its infancy. Watch this space.

Jackie

jackiesimmonds
04-17-2004, 08:55 AM
its so invaluable to see a WIP ...... your colours and work are always so lovely ..... one thing that hasnt been mentioned ...... is your choices of items for a still life ..... this is a BIG stumbling block for me and many others ....... I know it has been mentioned in the Still Life forum ...... of perhaps using favourite objects ...... but mine never seem to gel ....... any thoughts or insights as to what makes you decide upon what you do ...... they always work so well
You can really see how much you have grown even from your WIP to this last posting, the colour much more vibrant ...... its a beauty ...... I also saw on your art-agent the beautiful 'Red' still life.... thats stunning ....
Do you think of a colour theme, and work from that ...... or an item, and work around complimentary coloured objects

I often think of a colour theme, and then I find objects which will work for the type of composition I am after - ideally echoing shapes somewhere along the line. The next one is going to use red poppies, and black objects, including a rectangular black vase, an unusual square oriental style black plate, and a kind of small oriental baskety thing in black and red. So, the objects have not only a similar theme, but also some geometric shape similarities. I am working on black paper for these, and am determined to use very strong colours.

In the past, I did loads of still life pics, and always, I looked for echoing shapes, and colour similarities or complements. I would go out searching junk shops for bits and bobs, and sometimes even stand in the shop putting things together to see if they might work! A vase here, a glass there, and imagined flowers and fruits. I found old l930's green glass vases, old fans, interessting jugs and oil lamps, nothing terribly expensive, but they all worked for shape and/or colour.
I would put a dusty dark red oil lamp together with white lace, and then use red-maroon plums;
I would put green glass together with lemons, or even green apples or pears and perhaps white flowers;
An orange jug, with tangerines and white flowers;
a blue jug or two with oranges and white;
a set of square and rectangular glass vases, with colourful flowers and fruits, and perhaps a square tray;
straw ducks, lovely curving shapes, together with a big curved straw trug and dried grasses and flowers;
In each case, as you can see, nothing to do with "favourite" objects - everything to do with making the painting "work" for both colour, and shapes.
I hope that is clear?

Glad you liked "Red Bird", I rather like that one too.
Hope this is enough info.
Jackie

Khadres
04-17-2004, 10:29 AM
Glad you liked "Red Bird", I rather like that one too.
Hope this is enough info.
Jackie

My faves are "On the Rocks" and the other one with the kids and the little tidal pool. The vertical shape is unusually pleasing and the colors are pure "Jackie"! I do not know HOW you get that special blue, much less how you manage to use it with such mastery.

gofish
04-17-2004, 10:31 AM
Jackie,
The explanation of how you put together your still life arrangements was incredibly helpful to me. This explanation was simple and very much common sense, but it clicked with me this time in my mind somehow, whereas it hadn't before. I have all kinds of objects around my home, now I have a different perspective on how to arrange them.

One question, if you don't mind. The background. Do you arrange a color for the background along with the still life, I mean is it actually part of the set up, or do you decide to use a background color without a drape or something to refer to maybe some backing based on a neutral color that can be changed. I'm not sure I'm being very clear in wording the question. Like, is the background real or imagined. :)
Thanks,
Georganne

jackiesimmonds
04-17-2004, 11:25 AM
My faves are "On the Rocks" and the other one with the kids and the little tidal pool. The vertical shape is unusually pleasing and the colors are pure "Jackie"! I do not know HOW you get that special blue, much less how you manage to use it with such mastery.

The blues are made up from a variety of turquoise blues, mostly ... from the Unison blue-green range, I think. They do a set of blues, 18 in a box, which are absolutely YUMMY. There may also be a couple of Schminckes in there too. I do not find that many of the other manufacturers make these brilliant colours.

I am not sure about "using it with mastery" - I just stick the colours down onto the paper, using Broken Colour techniques for variety!
Glad you like 'em
Jackie

jackiesimmonds
04-17-2004, 11:31 AM
Jackie,
The explanation of how you put together your still life arrangements was incredibly helpful to me. This explanation was simple and very much common sense, but it clicked with me this time in my mind somehow, whereas it hadn't before. I have all kinds of objects around my home, now I have a different perspective on how to arrange them.

One question, if you don't mind. The background. Do you arrange a color for the background along with the still life, I mean is it actually part of the set up, or do you decide to use a background color without a drape or something to refer to maybe some backing based on a neutral color that can be changed. I'm not sure I'm being very clear in wording the question. Like, is the background real or imagined. :)
Thanks,
Georganne

Georganne, I ALWAYS think about the background. Inever, ever, leave it to chance,I firmly believe that is really asking for trouble. So, I either choose a background specifically - I put up a piece of coloured wrapping paper, or use a suitable wall, or even, as in the case of Red Bird, (in my WC! gallery), I used red Canson paper. Sometimes, I simply use the table top, by looking down on the objects - so a white tablecloth might be used, or something like a tray, with a cloth or a lace doily. Then, I try to use directional light, to cast some shadows on the wall, or tabletop, which will break up the "background" shapes and make them more interesting.

You can use a mirror, use a window, use a blank wall with shadows on it, use the room, but whatever you do -I really recommend you THINK ABOUT IT BEFORE YOU START, and make sure the tone of the negative areas - the spaces between and behind the objects, is taken account of, in your thumbnail sketches.

In that original painting in this thread, the wall behind the still life was white, with some cast shadows. I do not remember what those white stripes were, but obviously, I decided to ignore them right from the off, as you can see from the tonal try-out. In that tonal image, tho, the background is a tone, it isn't just left to chance.

Jackie

Jackie

Dark_Shades
04-17-2004, 12:22 PM
Thank you Jackie..... perfect explanation ..... and feel very much as gofish said....

The explanation of how you put together your still life arrangements was incredibly helpful to me. This explanation was simple and very much common sense, but it clicked with me this time in my mind somehow, whereas it hadn't before. I have all kinds of objects around my home, now I have a different perspective on how to arrange them.



:clap:

GeorgesSeurat
04-17-2004, 06:11 PM
Hi Jackie,

Just wanted to say a big "thank you!!" for writing your "Workbook" and other excellent books. You are a wonderful teacher and have really inspired me. I bought your "Pastel Workbook" a few days ago and it is really the best book available for the beginner. Bar None. Great job!!! :)

Rob

bnoonan
04-17-2004, 08:24 PM
Beautiful work - both pieces. I'm a little late here but wanted to tell you how much I too appreciated the lessons. Thanks for taking the time.

B

gofish
04-18-2004, 01:43 PM
Georganne, I ALWAYS think about the background. Inever, ever, leave it to chance,I firmly believe that is really asking for trouble. So, I either choose a background specifically - I put up a piece of coloured wrapping paper, or use a suitable wall, or even, as in the case of Red Bird, (in my WC! gallery), I used red Canson paper. Sometimes, I simply use the table top, by looking down on the objects - so a white tablecloth might be used, or something like a tray, with a cloth or a lace doily. Then, I try to use directional light, to cast some shadows on the wall, or tabletop, which will break up the "background" shapes and make them more interesting.

You can use a mirror, use a window, use a blank wall with shadows on it, use the room, but whatever you do -I really recommend you THINK ABOUT IT BEFORE YOU START, and make sure the tone of the negative areas - the spaces between and behind the objects, is taken account of, in your thumbnail sketches.

In that original painting in this thread, the wall behind the still life was white, with some cast shadows. I do not remember what those white stripes were, but obviously, I decided to ignore them right from the off, as you can see from the tonal try-out. In that tonal image, tho, the background is a tone, it isn't just left to chance.

Jackie

Hi Jackie,
Thanks for another helpful example of how you set up. I know I sound ignorant when it comes to pastels and still lifes, I am, but not for long :evil:.

It may reassure you to know that for a watercolor painting (where I have a little bit more experience), I always do a thumbnail value sketch usually in pencil, and recently have added to that habit the creation of a small color sketch before I start the larger painting. Sometimes the color sketch is better than the subsequent painting, but that's another story ;). I was surprised and pleased at how the color sketch relieves much of my anxiety about starting and progressing through the larger painting.

It may sound odd, but in the pastel class I am taking we are doing a still life, where everything is set up very nicely on a platform at the front of the room, but the background is a view of the rear of the studio, consisting of stacked easels, a sink, dirty paint containers, etc. I don't want it to sound like my teacher is a slack dog, she is excellent, and very skilled in pastels herself. Of course, this still life is practice for us newbies, maybe the background loses some importance in that case. Anyway we all added a background based on the other colors in the painting. Hence my question to you about backgrounds.

In the few still lifes I've done, I've tried to set up a background in the form of a drape of some neutral color. I've never been entirely happy with it. You've given me some ideas in that area too. Thanks.

Sorry for the long post.
Georganne