Q1) What is the feeling or the content/ meaning of your painting?Q2) How does the composition/design & brush work support that feeling?
In both experimental paintings, I notice that my compositions are very intimate, almost confrontational. Although there are 2 figures in the setup, my paintings tend to zoom in and focus on one figure. The figure occupies the entire canvas, with their bodies extending beyond the borders of the painting. They are massive yet bounded by the edges. Painting the figures so up-close reduces the distance between subject and viewer and hopefully invites the viewer into the painting’s realm. I wanted to create very intimate and personal paintings where the subject’s form and gaze can be felt.
Following the previous week, I continued to explore the icon of the massive reclining female figure. I hope the painting’s monumentality manages to convey a woman’s strength, certainty and grace. I tried to create a vibrant colour world which employs contrasts and juxtaposition to heighten the different colours.
My first experimental painting had many strong horizontals and verticals. In this second painting, I wanted to explore diagonals and obliques. I emphasised the curves of the figure and made her form even more serpentine. The rest of the space flows and twists in dialogue with the figure. For example, the potted plant on the left was actually flat with a square pot. Instead, I chose to slant the pot towards the figure and round the rim. These intersecting diagonals created multiple ‘valleys’ and ‘peaks’ in the painting which further adds to the slightly off kilter colour world.
I wanted the viewer’s gaze to circulate around the painting fluidly. I tried to do this using both colour, line and form. For example, the figure’s orange scarf is very striking. I applied the same hue in accents in other parts of the painting such as beneath her dress, behind the potted plant and on her thigh. I also used the slanting directional lines and interconnected shapes to direct the viewer’s gaze around the painting.
Following Prof Kelly’s advice, I tried to be more aware of the edges and the ‘zones’ of the painting. During the painting process, I would ask myself what the painting needed to feel open yet resolved.
This first experimental painting responds to the setup in class. I closely cropped the composition to focus on the model and surrounding objects and forms. I feel that this method of composition was successful in creating a sense of intimacy and closeness. It reduces the distance between the subject and viewer.
While painting this, I thought of a massive reclining woman with a thick and hefty form. Her body blends seamlessly into the land, yet her pose remains close and personal.
The red and white light on either side was a challenging tango. The light interacted well with the model’s unique features and brought out some interesting shapes. A really enjoyable portrait exercise!
I really enjoyed the process of composing this painting. The ‘horizon’ of the street casts a strong horizontal at 1/3 of the painting. This contrasts and dialogues with the central vertical of the walking path and the many intersecting verticals made by the trees. The strong vertical of the path is softened with the intersecting shadows of the trees, adding rhythm and repetition to the composition.
The street lamp, tree and shadow form a U-shape in the central foreground, guiding and circulating the viewers gaze.
I amplified the light behind the trees in order to draw the viewers gaze between the foreground and background. The warm light is inviting, and makes the end of the walkway seem like a destination.
We carried our easels to the grass slope above ADM in the hopes of catching a higher view. Fresh air and a lovely night! The biggest challenge for this night landscape was seeing in the dark. This location didn’t have lights so it was difficult to discern and mix colours in the darkness. Thank goodness for phone flashlights!
The many elements and different colours made this still life more challenging than the previous one! Although the stripes were difficult to paint, it provides more visual information about the setup and structure compared to a plain cloth.
I think the composition succeeds in bringing the viewer’s gaze around from the cups, up to the leg bone and plate, along the diagonal bone and back down to the cups via the shadows.
As I was painting, I did feel that my greys were slightly muted and not ‘poppin‘ enough. Prof Kelly pointed out how I could have used the redder burnt umber in mixing the greys. This would have expanded the range of warm and cool tones in the painting and produced richer greys. I’ll definitely apply this in future paintings!
This is a still life of a miniature glass pig with a broken behind. Almost every year, my grandmother would give me pig-related gifts. Pig coins, pig figurines, pig paperweights and even pig gag-gifts. Why? She thinks pigs are adorable and it is also my Chinese zodiac. I find this yearly routine very sweet and amusing.
On my 10th birthday, she gave me 10 miniature glass pigs. They were handmade so each piglet had a distinctive look and colour. When playing with them one day, I accidentally dropped one and its curly tail broke off. At the time, I thought it was a great idea to put a band-aid on its butt (for the benefit of the injured pig and whoever handles him). This flesh coloured band-aid remains till this day.
Pigs are often associated with bad qualities like laziness and gluttony. However to me, pigs represent a joyful simplicity and contentment. These chubby creatures bring to mind my loving grandma, and her quirky yearly tradition.