Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Trials and tribulations of painting a Tangerine


6x6 oil on gallery wrap canvas $100.

I love tangerines. There was always one in my Christmas Stocking.
A genuine treat until they got easier to buy in England.

Artist Note.

This has been a doozy to paint.
I blame it on the interruptions of the Season. So many things going
on plus the frustration of my computer issues.
Here is the progression explaining my discontent.

Two pretty equal sized
objects up front.
I enjoyed painting it,
but then had a good
look and thought
OMG you know better!
...fix it tomorrow.
 Day 2. Decided to see if
peeling part one of them
would improve the design.
Rather liked the dark,
front peel but the new
leaf I put in is on a
tangent with the peel.
Off with its head!
Thought I was finished
so ate a segment...
 Day 3.
Next day came into
the studio and
was intrigued by the
center dark between the
now stiff slices...
so decided to move and
paint a slice on the plate
Leaves are losing their
flexibility and color.
Painted it and left it
Yep  - day 4
A fresh look the next day.
The still leaves are looking
like semaphore flags.
(Girl Guide memories)
I think if they were
moving up and
down it would means "error".
How appropriate!
Tried for some color by
boosting the blue in the
plate and orange in tangerines.

DAY 5 - yes 5!
Painted a leaf drooping
and touching the orange.
Prefer it. Toned down
the color just a bit,
but by this time I
realized that no matter
what, declare it finished.
The tangerines
are all shriveled... just like
my initial enthusiasm.

I do hope by sharing this progression of...lets say, interesting painting
experiences, on a tiny 6x6in canvas...someone else will share with me
some comforting words of their own experiences.
I did paint other things in-between, but lots of interruptions and working
on a soft, flexible canvas instead of my usual canvas taped to a board
added to the frustration, but I tell you this, I would rather be involved
and frustrated with my painting than not painting. For Sure!

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  1. Hi Julie. You know my frustrations well. I have spent a good part of my painting time the last week on one single rose. I am on my fourth completed work and am getting tighter instead of looser. I just keep trying to see with new eyes. Ahhhh the journey.
    My favorite in Day 2. Love the peeled part. So glad to hear from you...

    1. Great to know you can keep going on a piece too, Helen.
      I have tried to figure out why I kept going instead of just tossing it. The reason I paint on canvas sheets is because it usually avoids this problem of trying to save a painting.. Ah..the light bulb went is because it was on a stretched gallery wrap.
      Good one to share with the class because of the many times have I told them to watch out for the tendency to want to save a painting on a more expensive stretched canvas.
      Still learning Julie!

  2. You get a medal for persistence - especially during the silly season. Interesting to see the process.

    1. Thanks Carol. I enjoyed your sketchbook story...
      and love "Silly Season!"

  3. I just set aside, for similar reasons, a painting I have been working on over the holidays. Your persistence has encouraged me to give it another go. And the fact that your painting turned out lovely despite everything.

    1. You are very kind, Jean, and it shows up in your beautiful paintings.

  4. You hung in there. Congratulations! When I have a big painting failure I usually draw order to feel like the day was not altogether lost. (I like drawing, so it usually lifts my spirits after I felt like quitting forever ...which I would never really do, but you know what I mean). It was fun to see this progression and read your thoughts.

    1. Good to know you have the feelings too. I think it is part of the struggle. Would you believe I had done several drawings of this darn thing before I started and should have caught on then. My mind just was not in it I guess, but I loved the colors so much.
      Excellent idea just to break away and draw.Thanks. I painting on other pieces but the drawing would have been a complete break.

  5. Hi Julie, I appreciate you being so honest about your process and the struggles we all face. It's not always fun and games! The painting turned out beautifully in the end. I rarely finish in one sitting, I need to let things gel and look later with a fresh eye. I've got one I've doing the same things too since Christmas....must be the season......

    1. YOu rarely finish in one sitting, but you do a lot of larger paintings than I do, Bruce. I usually finish in one sitting and prefer the texture/surface results.
      Fabulous nude on your blog. Luck you having a model like that.

  6. My favourite is #2 as well except for the tangent leaf; there is something about the modelling of the peeled tangerine, the blue edge of the plate and the colour of that leaf. I've said it before but I love your educational blog. I can't help thinking you should be making money from it somehow and I hope it brings you customers and students to compensate for the time you obviously spend working on it.

    I too remember the tangerine in the toe of the stocking, my favourite gift. Then I moved to Canada and there they have mandarines which have a more subtle flavour. This year in France I'm IN LOVE with the Clementines which taste like fruity perfume Oh la la I will never forget them!

    I'm currently quite confronted by painting so although not relishing your pain I was certainly comforted by it. I am working on some commissions which I just HAVE to finish and I'm struggling. Apart from my commission canvases which I brought with me, I'm bamboozled by the odd sized and expensive canvases in France and although I brought Acrylic paper I'm really a canvas girl. I'm interested in your "canvas taped to board" idea. Do you buy rolled canvas and tape it like water colour paper? Once painted how do you ship it to the customer? Do you wrap and staple it on the board or do you ship it rolled with instructions for framing. This sounds like a solution for me if I can figure it out. Also have the problem of what to do with the Canvas panels or gallery wraps when I leave here as luggage in Europe is a huge problem.

    Anyway, have a great tween week and a very prosperous 2013.

    Sea Dean

    1. Thanks for the nice 'meaty " comment, Sea.
      I pass on the lessons I do at the Guild so I am already compensated. Also I find sharing information invigorating and the blog world has been a wonderful adventure for me both with my own, and the many I visit. Your amazing and informative blog, included.
      Regarding the canvas. I like different types for different subject matter to I buy the pads consisting of 10 sheets. If you get a larger size you can cut out any size by letting your painting grow and decide how/where to crop it. I adore the small 6x8in size for my blog. I use Yes paste to glue them onto a board and for weight/mailing issues you could use acid free foamcore easily cut to the size you want.
      I use MDF board.
      For the pads I recommend:
      Centurion OP (oil primed) linen pads
      Paramount canvas ( I like their gesso better than fredricks)
      YES - multi media canvas - wonderful surface!
      Senso a lovely linen with clear priming so the natural color is your ground
      I mail order these when they are offered on sale.
      Wishing you the best for 2013

      December 29, 2012 9:00 AM

  7. Hi Julie, Just a quick note. I don't comment much although I often want to because it is difficult. Dreama has addressed this by allowing "Annonymous" and telling people to put there name in the comment. I just wrote a long comment and none of the options for commenting work except Google. I don't use google much and I'm never signed in. When you have already written your comment and you then sign in to google your comment gets wiped out and you have to start again grrrr! At this point I usually give up, too busy to type it all again. However, with a little more spare time today I thought I'd let you know.

    1. Thanks for letting me know. I had an upsetting "anonymous" comment once and changed the setting but will check on this for sure.

  8. Ok...I liked the headlights as they were! Still and yet, Julie, your work is always fabulous...

    1. As the saying goes - each to their own... I obviously liked it too at one point, but those old art principles keep coming into my mind. Maybe I like the struggle?
      Thanks for the visit and wish you a happy new year in your "own" home. I especially wish good health.

  9. I always love the progression of your work, Julie! These tangerines are beautifully painted.!!! With the business of the Season, I haven't had the time to paint....I paint 15 minutes at a time...but almost finished with a painting even so!!! LOL

    1. You are such a great blogger - you support us all, Hilda.
      Thanks for the visit.

  10. Thank you Julie, for this series of honest images. Not that I want you to struggle, but there is some comfort in knowing that I am not the only one who can work on the same small composition for a week. Usually around day six, I throw it away, chalk it up to experience, and start fresh with a new subject. I try to remind myself that I am "learning" every time I pick up a brush, no matter the outcome.

    1. Great attitude, Carol I appreciate you sharing with me. I am seeing all of us have the problem some time or other. Why do I think it makes me less of an artist? This dialog from everyone has been very helpful.
      Your recent flowers have a neat contemporary look which I like

  11. Better to do than to do nothing. I find when the above happens to me, (Which is frequently!), that it makes a more successful outcome later on an even better reward. I know exactly how you feel and the only solution is to keep going as you alluded to. Besides, your outcome is but one interpretation of those tangerines. Go enjoy some more:)

    1. Laughing at the idea of painting more. I am afraid I am all burned out on tangerines, but in a few weeks I may enjoy going back with everything I learned.
      I can see your love of quilting coming through in your new post.

  12. Interesting progress of this painting. I am sure I do headlights a lot, but I assume it can be more or less too. Thank you for sharing such a learning experience.

    1. Hi Roger - thanks for the visit. Your work ALWAYS has a strong design so headlights is pretty impossible with that.

  13. I love your sharing the evolution of this painting. The end result is wonderful. Happy New Year Julie!

    1. Thanks Stephanie. Loved your apple. The texture adds interest (for me anyway).

  14. Thanks for sharing! You should see the one I've been working on in between everything else this week. Not a pretty sight right now. Have a Happy New Year Julie!

    1. Would love to see it, Donna. Hope you post it.
      Love your piece titled, Life's Illusions." Great title for a sensitive/emotional piece.

  15. Looked at your work after you looked at mine. I rarely paint in oil you make me want to get out my oil paints. You paint quite freely, which I love. Also the subjects I don't like painting you make look sooo interesting. You inspire me to try still life (in watercolours to start with). I did enjoy your commentary. I will enjoy following your blog. Happy New Year.

    1. Thanks Polly - loved the way your post made me burst out laughing.
      Seriously though your Klimt piece is quite amazing.

  16. Too funny, Julie, and I don't mean to make light of your stress at all!! It is a frustrating feeling to put so much effort into something and it seems to go in circles. But, I found it exciting that at each frustration point, YOU, unlike me, knew right off what was wrong! How great is that?! And, I think your final painting works beautifully! Carry on!

    1. I think you must have been trained in diplomacy. What a great comment, Carol. It is a new way for me to look at it and I thank YOU!
      I read what you wrote about my last comment about your beautiful ornaments on your blog, and was very touched. THANK YOU.

  17. Julie, fabulous! I find day 2 very beautiful, but your finished piece is awesome! Is that Artbyte going to happen? I am so wanting to try your fracturing technique! I guess I need to sign up with DPW and start posting my work....sigh, lazy computer user.

  18. The Artbyte is going to happen. I videoed it in real time instead of speeding it up and the files were huge and they had difficulty with that. I will let you know when it is ready, but this month for sure.
    I would love to see your work... so get going please.

  19. I paint every day (or almost) in a room and the world (those who do not paint) may believe that this is not a life of adventures ...
    So I recognize myself in the problems of tangerines! Painting is always something new to deal with!
    At the end you win! Wonderful tangerines!
    I love these passages that encourage me to artistic tenacity and to correct my work for better results.
    I am so charmed by the touch of lightness and humor that accompanies your post,dear Julie.

    1. I love this comment, Rita. Thanks for sharing and letting me know you share "artistic tenacity" - what a great term.
      Nice to know you see my humor peeping through.

  20. Dear Julie. This happens to me all the time, so comforting it does to YOU , too ! I kind of prefer the freshness of number 2, but the final result is still awesome. Wish you a Happy New Year my friend . xox

    1. Hi Jane - another reassurance. Great to know that we share a common bond. I see wonderful work and it does not occur to me the artist could have struggled.
      Happy New Year to you too, Jane my dear and I look forward to out friendship in this blogging world for another year.

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