Thursday, January 3, 2013

A greener version

By green, I am referring the ecologically conscious bulb at the center of this painting. This is the second in this series with a CFL energy saving bulb- which truth be told, are not just a less-pleasant light source, but are a pain to render as they are obviously more complicated than a typical bulb. I was also surprised how warm the light appeared relative to the scene. I would typically describe a fluorescent bulb as cool, but that is not what I was seeing as I stared at the bulb for hours.

This latest basement painting is a view of the ceiling in one of our storage rooms. This is the room with where we store house hold supplies: soap, toilet paper, paper towels and light bulbs. Also on the shelves are random empty boxes- some of which are shown in the bottom right corner.
Basement Still Life- Storage Closet #2, Oil on linen, 16 x 20
©copyright Richard Luschek 2012
I tend to paint in such a way that obscures the brush strokes in my still life work. I like my paintings to look as if they are made of paint, but I don't like the focus to be on the brush stroke. This series, in our 100 year basement, lends itself to a rougher and more varied use of paint. The technique began when I decided while scraping down my palette at the end of the day to take that pile of "mud' that I normally just throw away and smear it on the canvas in gnarly piles. I needed more paint on this one so I started mixing large piles in a variety of colors, focusing on warms and cools. Was not concerned about the accuracy of the color or value too much, knowing I would fix that in subsequent passes.
I would loosely drag the paint on with a palette knife and follow up with a brush to fine tune the surface. Once that thick paint dried, I could glaze, scumble*, and dry brush over this texture.

My initial lay in was pretty thin, simple and broad:
Basement Still Life- Storage Closet #2 day one lay-in
Oil on linen, 16 x 20, ©copyright Richard Luschek 2012
Initially there was a pink phone line hanging down that I had painted in, I decided to get rid of it out as it was distracting and mucked up the composition.

Here is a close up shot of some of the initial texture scraped over the initial lay-in. Click on the image to zoom in for textury goodness:
Basement Still Life- Storage Closet #2 , Texture Detail
After the thick palette knife stage the painting looked a bit garish and out of sorts. The next step was to do what ever I could to unify and correct the overall look. Occasionally the texture was a bit much and I had to use a heavy knife to scrap back down to the canvas.
I am not sure yet how, or even if, this technique will affect my still life work, but I am excited about the possibilities.
Also, I may want to fix my basement ceiling.

*glaze- to brush on a thin transparent wash of paint. scumble- to loosely brush on an opaque layer of paint.