Simplifying the Edges –

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Good morning.  Today I’m talking about a painting I had at the Flower Pepper Gallery’s Summer Show.  This is a still life of orchid leaves inside a copper pot with an orange.  In the setup, there was also a pear, but I knew I wouldn’t finish the pear if I added it – and the composition made it look very odd, too close to the edge of the panel, so I made the decision to leave it out.

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Composition: When I’m coming up with an idea of how I want my painting to look, I often take a photo, and crop that photo to the size of my canvas on my phone.  This way – I can see different placements of my objects and how they would affect the viewers eye.  I also use the View Finder (the small gray square with retractable window) for finding composition, but in this case I did it on my phone.  Since I had trouble with the pear, I left it out entirely.

Painting: You can see here that I have in more or less simplified ALL areas of my colours that will be taking up the whole painting.  This is only about 30-40 minutes in.  A huge advantage of this is that if I don’t want to get too detailed, I can simply leave it as is, and its a more abstract painting.  If I don’t “finish” I won’t have something that looks clearly unfinished, I’ll have a fully realized painting, just some areas will be more abstract than others.

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Here I’ve started to add some details, particularly the large swathes of lights and shadows on the copper and leaves.  Pay attention to each object as it’s own object, so a full value range for the leaves, and also the object as it relates to other objects.  Some of the darkest areas on the painting ended up in the leaves, and the leaves and orange both have reflections on the copper pot.

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The finished painting.  As you can see I really enjoy painting copper and shiny objects.  It was a fun challenge to show the warm light and the two soft, cool, window lights that also affected the pot.  I loved doing the reflection of the orange, and pushing that dark shadow in the leaves that really made this pop.

Thank you for reading.

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