Monday, May 4, 2009

Bok choi start to finish

Here is the beginning of Veg Van painting #2 (see earlier posts for #1). Below are in-progress photos of the bok choi detail. I have been working on the bok choi for about a week, while also bringing other parts along more slowly. This first view is the toned linen, the sketch of my design in india ink, with the bok choi and some zucchinis roughly blocked in. Please forgive the uneven lighting, the left side is not really so dark.

I have added some shadow, and more surrounding detail.

Loosely sketching in the white veins on the leaves gives me some landmarks, and establishes the rhythm of the of the form.

Here I have started to refine the shapes and lines, and the zucchinis are also coming along.

Those green beans on the left have morphed into scallions! And the napkin under the blue jar is gone. The stalks of the bok choi are looking good now. especially against the background red. Further refinements to the leaves, finishing some detail on the lower leaves.

Many hours later, the bok choi is nearly complete. There may be a few touches when the rest of the painting is brought up to a similar state of completion. One of the zucchinis will get a little highlight. The sprig of mint will also be completed later. I'm happy with how this is going, I think it will look good on the veg van.


Linda Hill said...

Wonderful to see how the Bok Choy is transforming. Love your style.


Karen said...

I think it will look fantastic on that van. I love this, and, I have to tell you that this statement made me laugh..."I have been working on the bok choi for about a week". How funny...maybe only an artist can appreciate the absurdity and truth here!
Thanks for the process shots, as always...I'm always so interested to see what seems like such a patient process. What are your current brushes? Are you still using the Silver GRand PRix? If so, how do you get it so smooth?

Carol Lambert said...

Hi Karen and Linda,
Thanks for the comments and encouragement!
Yes, I use Silver Grand Prix flats in various sizes at the beginning of the painting, and also Robert Simmons Signet Filberts, but for the finishing layers I use softer brushes: Langnickel series 5510 and 5515 sizes 6 and 8, Old Holland series 7002 Kolinsky brights and flats, sizes 4 - 8, and the less expensive but very useful Winsor and Newton Eclipse Flat/bright, 6 - 8.

I keep some other tools handy for edges and taking out ridges. A selection of soft fans for smoothing over large areas, several used up brushes for single edge smoothing, often the synthetics are good for that because they splay out with use and become like little brooms.

For very small work, like the veins on the bok choi, I use cheap brushes and replace them often: W & N University series in sizes 000 - 1 and Robert Simmons Saphire, same sizes. They make good edge smoothers when they are old, too.

The soft surface is from using soft brushes in the late stages, applying as many as 6 layers, and using a bit of fat(linseed or
walnut oil) on the brush as I work, fat over lean principle.

I have eliminated solvents such as mineral spirits as much as possible. I have to use solvents when I varnish, and sometimes when I put on initial washes, but after that it's just paint and oil. I try to accomplish as much as possible on the first day of painting, when everything is wet and no extra oil is needed.

I use organic safflower oil to clean brushes, then wash them with cheap soap (ivory) and water. That keeps even the bristle brushes relatively soft. As one teacher said, you wouldn't wash your hair in mineral spirits.

Whenever I travel, I look for deals on brushes in art stores. There is a place in Palo Alto that never lets me down: Accent Arts on California Ave, check them out if you are ever there.

I hope to get this piece very close to finished today, so it's back to the studio! Soon I will be going outside, hooray!

Jala Pfaff said...

Magnificent veggies!