Exercise: Drawing in paint


Still life with stained glass panel and glass bottle (A3), acrylics

Look around for  simple still life arrangement that just happens to be there… Notice the important linear aspects… etc


Sketch 1


Sketch 2

I chose our kitchen window sill  which has an ever-changing assortment of objects. My eye was caught initially by a stained glass panel that I made ages ago, a round glass bottle and a small glass jug.


Sketch 3

After doing a few  exploratory sketches I decided to take out the glass jug because I had noticed that light through the glass bottle was creating lovely wiggly lines and shapes and I didn’t want to obscure this.  I photographed my first two sketches (pen and watercolour ,then  Conté crayons) and cropped them to help me think about composition which I then simplified. My third sketch was a pencil drawing to test the composition and look more closely at the light and shadow.

basic-outlineThen I drew out the picture in paint on to an orange ground chosen because I thought some small elements of orange showing through to reflect the orange of the glass panel might contribute in some  way. And then I added colour and finished the painting fairly quickly by my standards.

What works?

  • I’m reasonably satisfied with the use of line, which is essentially what this exercise is about,  and also the distorted shapes showing through the glass bottle.
  • There are some interesting negative shapes and a geometrical, almost abstract feel which pleases me.
  • Overall I feel the objects chosen and the composition work.
  • The overall picture might be quite enigmatic in terms of the viewer figuring out what is going on here but I don’t mind that.
  • I feel this still life arrangement has further potential to develop into a more abstract image and to experiment more with line, shape and colour so as study for something further I’m pleased with it.

Half way point before I added texture to the blocks of colour… a better less fussy picture?

What doesn’t work so well?

  • It feels like a picture of two halves – one in full colour and one monochrome. Does this matter? I’m not sure.
  • I’m not great at painting glass. the shoulders of the bottle have become a bit fussy. This composition has a glass window, a stained glass panel and a glass bottle. The window and the panel don’t look very glass-like.
  • I would have liked a much more vibrant turquoise in the stained glass but despite all the colour mixing I was not sure how to achieve this. The orange underneath may not have been the best ground in this respect.
  • While I tried to work quickly and keep it simple I may have over-complicated some elements. My husband, David, preferred the painting at an earlier stage (see above)  before I’d put further texture into blocks of colour.

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