My final project(1)

I was interested in doing a series of painting on the same object to study different media. Since Nell told me I need to pick something that has organic quality, I came across the idea of doing self portrait.
Nell showed me art work from the former students which are distorted self portrait. I found that very interesting, so I was looking at different reflective surface. The first object I picked was my lamp. I did a painting based on that


updates on my daily sketch

this is a caramel popcorn– one of my absolute favorite!

I’m drawing small object in a big scale. So that I’m forced to look at more details.

A glass of water. Glass is so interesting because you see everything behind, in a distorted way.

my brush. I’m working on to show the texture here

few words about risk taking

For me, taking a risk means not having so much expectation of how my painting will be. In the process, I felt I didn’t like my painting, but really I just felt not comfortable with what I was doing. Because I didn’t know where this would lead me to. After putting so much time into this piece of work, I would naturally feel nervous about messing up my piece. Going back to adjust the part I’ve done is painful, but I have to do it sometime for the coherency of the entire painting.


Before I did this painting, I list in my mind my challenges.

I tend to have a conservative composition, i.e. paint in the middle of the paper and leave the edge white, fit everything into the paper and rarely go off the edge. This time I intentionally gave just a hint of the flower on the right, and not afraid of majority of it in off the page. But my composition is still pretty fit and not exciting, and as Maria commented, “Top heavy”. Composition will still be my challenge next time.

I like to use small brush, rich and opaque color with little water to create an oil-painting look, and layer the color up. So I want to be loser with my paint brush this time, to use more water to enhance the transparency of water color. I used my biggest brush in the table brush and use the wet-on-wet technique. It was super uncomfortable to make these big bold brush strokes, but I felt I need them and they turn out to be my favorites.


The things I want to challenge myself in future:

  1. Not loyal to the original color of my object. Pick the color that serves the painting best.
  2. Use more crayon. Not only in the details.
  3. Enhance the negative space. Make it interact more with the positive space.
  4. Exciting composition


suggestion vs description

child among hollyhocks- Berthe Morisot

This is the oil painting by Berthe Morisot. When flipping through the painting book, this piece of painting stuck in my mind even when I already turned several pages. I was still seeing the little girl even though my eyes were looking at a different painting. So I decided to take a careful look at this one and to see what gives this strong impression on the viewers.

I would say the painting is more suggestive rather then descriptive. The high contrast of the white versus the green and brown creates light. Among all the bushes, the little girl is almost glowing, which suggest that she’s the very delicate and cherished little babe and the main focus on the painting. And the flowers around her are tend to be lighter as well, and more details are presented around the little girl. The highlights of the bush creates a visual flow wrapping around the little girl, which again brings the attention back to her. The painter uses light and soft colors, small and careful brush strokes (including the zigzags on her dress) on her. This is strikingly contrasted with the bold, big and  almost chaos brush strokes on the left bottom. To depict the  hollyhocks, she literally dabbed painting on the canvas, which seems to has been done very quickly. The hollyhocks looked wild especially in the lower left corner, where she uses big and dry brush to sweep the canvas with muted color, and eliminates the details. The different way the artist paints the little girl, the hollyhocks, and the sky in the background conveys clear message about the literal subjects.

The color palette is limited to green, brown, blue and hints of other color. Again, bright around the girl and muted on the edges.  The low color contrast of the sky make the background recede and thus create depth to the painting. The gold hair of the little girl is marvelous,  its warm tone stands out from the rest, and almost let you touch the sunshine.

In my own, I had the red water pot and the table cloth underneath painted in very different manner. The intense use of paint, the brightness of the color suggest the focus point of the painting. In the contrast to the grey watery and lose brush stroke used in the table cloth.

my still life painting


This is my Painting Wooot hooot!!

This is the set of objects I’m painting from.

I decided not to draw the wheel, it was a big hard decision for me.

I really like the geometric shape of the wheel, and I think it will really balance up and work well with the bright colors around. I arranged the objects and intentionally put it in the middle.

But after painting the orange water pot and table cloth, I didn’t know how I should do the wheel without messing up everything else. I made several plans–charcoal, thick layer of paint, or light wash. But after concerning about it so much, I realized that I don’t have to have it. I don’t need it, my painting is complete with out it.

Giving up something is a type of risk as well as adding something new, I shall say. I still want to paint the wheel someday, maybe I would just to some sketch in my sketch book.

For the flour I just dab some green and pink on it. It’s how the flour makes me feel, busy and energetic.

The red water pot is certainly the focal point. Nell said I need to make it as precise as possible so it’s worth of the attention. As can be seen in this detail picture I went over the original drawing and made adjustment to it. It got very rich color and layers.

My study on sketch book. Nell said you can spend hours looking at the object before drawing it precisely. I spent some time and took some deep look at it. lol

I use the ink to draw this glass pot. did another brush with wet brush to make it look translucent. and Erase the highlights

Below is the study I did on my sketch book before painting it on the large paper. dry and small brush, this is what I comfottable with.

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I finished my still life painting

I finished my painting today. It was definitely a great learning process because I went through the stage of frustration, impatience, hating my work, totally lost, don’t know where I’m going at all. But after dedicating so many times (like 24 hours at least, every night of past week) to this painting, I actually LOVE the result even though it’s nothing like I expected beforehand.

I don’t have a camera so I couldn’t record the whole process though I really wish I could. I’ll borrow a camera and post my finished painting.