This week’s Tuesday Zoom model wore a beautiful red polka-dotted dress. She sat on the couch in her living room, holding a pillow and looking off into the distance. Her red hair, red dress, and rosy complexion were lovely.
Her pose reminded me a bit of Jules Breton’s painting, The Song of the Lark. So when it came time to create a background, I skipped the sofa and put in a soft landscape.
I wanted to show the corner of our living room that is overflowing with boxes of games. I liked the way it looked through a bouquet of spring flowers. But I did not get the turn of the wall right, so I went back in with fresh paint for a second pass. By the time I finished, something like a huge bay window had taken the place of our actual wall with its long, narrow louver window.
Never mind, I kind of like the result. And, if we were to run into a fortune, it is an idea to entertain.
Tuesday’s Zoom model sat on the floor and leaned her head against wall. She seemed dejected and I wondered what the story was and hoped she would be OK.
At the end of the evening, I put the painting up where I would see it. The background was unfinished and I needed to think about creating one that matched the model’s mood.
A few days later I was drawing a couch for another painting. I got to thinking that if I put a couch behind her and a phone next to her, it would tell a story about her sad demeanor. My husband kindly got down on the floor and slouched against the couch so I could get the proportions right.
Our house sits on a steep lot and has three levels. The kitchen, dining and sitting areas all share the middle section. This view shows the sitting area from the dinner table on a sunny winter afternoon.
The challenge with this scene was showing the brightness coming through the louver windows. It was only slightly less bright inside and colors of the couch, paintings, and flooring were reflected on the ceiling and walls. It was really fun to try to paint it.
I was sketching different views of our kitchen, trying out various views for my series portraying the rooms in our home. Did I want one with the view looking out on the patio? Or maybe one focusing on the odds and ends on our kitchen table? The fruit on the counter? Nothing was really clicking with my imagination.
It was getting late and my husband was making goulash on the other side of the kitchen. And it came to me, that the view I like best is the one with him cooking.
A dining room table, by design, is a device that is all about good times. Dinners with family, birthday celebrations, holiday feasts, Friday night with friends, and game nights. It is the place where it all happens, except, of course, in times like these.
Fortunately, our table, which has served so many people over the years, also works perfectly as a table for two. There are more than enough chairs to go around. Clean up is a chinch, and we can pile it up with books. It is especially nice in the morning when the sun comes in from the east, which is how I painted it today.
Our model for the Fresno Tuesday night sketching group posed in a cream jacket with a white feather boutonnière. With his bare feet, he looked like a tired out partygoer, and I was eager to convey it all in a painting.
His jacket color reminded me that I had several sheets of paper that had been treated with golden watercolor grounds. Perfect, I thought, for capturing the color of his jacket and boutonnière, and I pulled a sheet out and got to work.
The drawing went well, but when I began to paint, I had trouble. The grounds give a texture to the paper that prevents the paint from mixing down into the surface as it normally does. The thinner paint beaded on the surface and dripped down the page until I took it off the easel and painted with it flat on my desk. In the end, I thought the colors appeared too bright, and I missed the eggshell mat finish of the gouache. I spent part of the following two days making adjustments to the sketch and feel like I learned a bit. I like the final painting, but not enough to use golden grounds again soon.