Saturday, July 31, 2010

An apple today for artists at play

Things have been very hectic around here because we’re replacing our kitchen countertops, which naturally leads to many other related projects such as changing the lighting, refinishing the sides of the island, cutting precise miters on trim molding, and on and on. It might be easier to just tear the house down and start over. But the art must go on, right?

Since I’ve been doing quite a bit of collage lately, it seemed like it would be fun to take a mini-workshop with a local Orlando area artist, Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson. She calls her work paper paintings, an apt description. Fellow artist and friend Joyce Shelton and I will be there today for four hours, tearing and pasting away. Since time is limited, we have prepared our underpainted panels ahead of time and are bringing our painted collage papers along. The subject: an apple. Below is a cropped photo taken at a farmer’s market with nice greens and reds to play off of each other.
We’re working on a 12" X 12" wooden panel primed with clear gesso. The idea is to perhaps allow some of the wood grain to show through in the final image. I sketched the composition onto tracing paper, then taped it along the top edge of the panel. I don't really transfer the sketch directly, but sort of redraw the image underneath the tracing paper, using it as a guide.
I painted over the lines with a gold metallic acrylic then started splashing on color with Golden OPEN acrylics. They’re nice to work with because they don’t dry as quickly as regular acrylics which allows time for blending. The colors are intensified a little or a lot.
It has proved invaluable to take photos along the way with my little point-and-shoot Sony in black and white to see how the values are working (or not!) 
Here is the completed underpainting which has a lot of nice colors already. I don’t expect to finish it at the workshop, but it’s easy to add more collage and/or paint later. As you can see, I couldn’t seem to stop brushing on paint which would’ve allowed the wood panel to show through...oh well!
One glitch that I can see already is that the apple in the lower left is too large compared to the others, so that’ll have to be tweaked. No worries, it’ll take just a stroke of paint or a shred of paper. Wish me luck!


Mama Pea said...

Wow. That is really neat. I am always impressed with painters and their color selection. I would never thing to put blue in as a color on an apple's skin. It is really gorgeous!

Libby Fife said...

I like Elizabeth's work also and follow her blog. What a great opportunity to take her class. Have a good time:)

PS-The apples look great!

Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson said...

Ok so one of my main bits of advice is "Don't fall in LOVE with your underpainting!" I told Loreen this, and it's because you won't want to collage over the top of something you love, and you will be hesitant. So Loreen told me she was not in love. Well, I said, "I'm in LOVE!" What a fantastic underpainting huh? I think she should sell it, and do a looser one for collage. LOL

thanks for taking my class, it was great fun!

Loreen Leedy said...

It was a very enjoyable workshop, thanks so much Elizabeth! I like painting and collage, so why not have both showing? ; ) I'll post the finished apple ASAP.

Diane J. Evans said...

You're an amazing artist, Loreen -- your ability to see colors and place them in just the right spots always leaves me in awe. Do show us the completed work, won't you?


Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson said...

Can't wait to see the finished product!