Here’s the second half of my post about making one of my small paintings. You can read the first part here.
12.39 I paint in the background, which is white, although it appears a violet grey blue in this light. I try to paint it a bit darker than it appears to leave ‘room’ for the highlights on the teaspoon. As I only have white paint to make the highlights, which is less bright than the actual metallic reflections, I have to darken the rest of the painting slightly to make these look right.
By 12.56 the shadow is done in rough, although I’m beginning to think I’ve keyed the whole painting too high at this point and will have to darken it down.
13.00 I start to paint in the spoon roughly, squinting at it to see the main tones and putting them down in blocks. A good rule is to work out the correct tone (or value as it’s also called) first and then you will find it easier to work out the colour. I also notice that I need a pink to mix the orangey colour of the light and squeeze out a bit of permanent carmine.
By 13.18 I have finished the basic block-in of the spoon – I have left the highlit area where the window is reflected blank so that I can paint this in near the end. This keeps the pale highlight from getting contaminated with the darker paint and makes it sit on top of the surrounding paint, helping to bring it forward.
13.20 I start to work the edges where the spoon meets the background before moving onto some of the details such as the reflections in the spoon head – these are the most enjoyable parts to paint and are what really attracted me to the teaspoon.
It’s important to keep your head as still as you can – you really notice how reflections change shape with just the tiniest movement to left or right.
After I start to add the highlights my concern about the high key is confirmed – I need to darken the background and shadow to make the highlights work.
13.53 I stop to step back, look at the painting in the mirror, and do the upside down test – does it still read correctly upside down and in reverse?
14.10 More work is done on the handle – the shapes of the reflections here aren’t helping to describe the form.
14.29 I’m asking myself how much detail and which details I shold use? Which ones are essential to creating the illusion of the teaspoon? The light is fading and I need to be decisive.
14.30 I soften the transitions in the handle with a tiny sable brush. I try to keep blending like this to a minimum, preferring instead to add an intermediate patch of colour in between two patches which need to be brought closer together. However, time is running out today.
14.33 I’m happy with the handle now and want to reinforce the shadow.
14.42 I think I’m done, will go away now for 10 minutes and do something else. When I come back if anything needs work it should jump out at me.
14.50 the left side of the handle has become a bit distorted and needs straightening.
14.53 I’ve decided its finished – now its time for the clean up. Fortunately I only used 7 brushes today so it shouldn’t take too long. This is my least favourite part !
15.20 I leave the painting to dry on my easel, along with some other recent work. After about a week I will oil it out with a mix of linseed oil and white spirit – this evens out the surface sheen and brings the colours back to their original lustre.
After another couple of days to allow this oil to sink in I will photograph the work and spend some time adjusting the image to get it as close to the original work as possible. Then I can put it up for sale.