Painting with light & color with Robert Kondo & Dice Tsutsumi

Lesson 8: Story & color.

Lighting in order to tell a story is the main theme of this course and here we are, at week 8 (one more to go and it´s the end) and already putting into practice all the stuff we´ve learnt through out the course. We were asked to paint 3 different still life paintings and use one of them to set 3 new lighting situations (putting the pig character into the scene) in order to suggest a mood, a story… something else than the scene itself. We also had to provide photo references from the life paintings as well as for the lighting variations.

This was the first time I moved my laptop from my desktop and I adventured myself into a whole new world: the kitchen, the living room and my bedroom. I´ve tried many times after finishing this course going outdoors with my laptop to paint and I´ve always found it very hard. You have to find an interesting place to paint, it has to be comfortable, dark (at least at the shadows) and more or less quiet to be able to focus properly in your work. I don´t know, maybe I´m too lazy but I´ve never felt completely comfortable when I´ve tried. Still I keep pushing myself once in a while out my comfort zone and go for a walk with all my heavy toys to paint. That´s what Robert & Dice recomend and they are the experts here, so…

Anyway, I made these pretty quick for those reasons and I ended up feeling more proud of the life paintings than I did for the lighting variations. This is the work.

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When I see this painting I can clearly see my own progression from the beggining of this course. It´s pretty loose but still simple and clear. I could have put more work into this and made it more finished but at this point it´s well balanced: lighting is correct, the materials look as they should and the colors are pretty accurated.

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With this one something funny happaned. I started thinking it was going to be so hard that I wasn´t sure I was going to be able to finish it. I kept working and thinking at the same time that at the end I would probably have to dismiss it, but there was always something I wanted to try before: “ok, I´ll do the oven and the coffins and then I´ll leave it.”… “ok, I´m gonna finish the bottles and the microwave and then I´ll leave it”. At some point I looked at it and thought it didn´t look so bad. And here it is! I can recognise my kitchen and I ´ve learnt a couple of things while working on it. So I guess sometimes is better to trust yourself and not pay too much attention to your traveling thoughts.

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My bedroom looks ok as well. I might sound smug (believe me I´m not), but I was amazed with the decissions my head was making through the process. Everything tended to simplicty and was more clear to me whether they were good or bad decissions. My work was progressing more efficiently since I was putting my attention into more important aspects of the scene (such as local color, differences of tone between light and shadow…) and letting go others that usually worries me (stroke, shape, transitions between tones of one same color…). This was my last still life painting of the course and I can tell the difference from the first one.

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I wanted to make this one in a mainly neutral diffused light and then added a direct light in the corner to suggest the out panel. It´s a grey day outside but the light inside is warm (maybe too much). Maybe there is someone we don´t see in the living room or in the kitchen and the pig is by himslef looking through the window and visualizing his day. Maybe he just woke up in a rainy day and by making the indoors so warm the feeling of having to go outside into a cold world makes the whole scene more dramatic.

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Just the opposite. Direct light. A hopeful sunrise, maybe too early in the morning (maybe too cold in the indoors).

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Going to bed after a hard day of work. Sweet bed is waiting in a warm enviroment. It´s been a good day for the pig.

See you next friday with the last lesson!

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