Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Godiva Grid

Placement, angles, and scale are important to me on this Godiva painting so we're on the Godiva grid today. I am using a traditional grid technique to transfer my image to a piece of 300 pound D'Arches watercolor paper. Yes, that is a nearly 6 inch bon bon in the second photo. And how fun is that? Huge truffles. I have 3 key players. Not only do I want them to have their own personalities, but I want them on their marks. And their contextual framework has a specific geometry that captured my attention. So out comes the grid. All this is because that dance of light and reflection moves in a way I like.

What's a contextual framework? Everything else that supports the chocolate goodies. If this were theatre we would call it the set. In this case, the geometry and angles are a wonderful foil for the chocolates. That, like color, is something that can also be pushed. I can compare and contrast them. Let them in their differences, describe the other. That will also show up along the way.

What's in that last photo? A value map. I did a quick sketch and coded the darks in 3 steps and the lights in 3 steps. There are more steps. I tend to deal with all 10. It's my Zone System background in photography. But here's the point. What I want in this painting is a solid grasp of the relationships in light. That is a also a key player in even wanting to paint this in the first place.

Why do all this? Why bother? Because I want to play, but I want particular results. I know what I want out of this piece. I know what spoke to me. And I know where I can play. So I am creating a framework to do just that. It has challenges and restrictions and places to let go. I chose to grid this, draw it in more than I usually do for wetlands pieces for a reason. While I was drawing I found little spots that are going to be so much fun and others that will challenge my skill. Watercolor can be fickle you know. It has a love for accident, for spontaneity of its own. Well this, this is a structured playground with wiggle room for that.

So here we are Brush. We get to look at all that white paper. Pre-painting is a rehearsal you know. Painting it in our mind. Yes, it gets painted there first. It is very tempting to rush in. But this pre-painting can make a huge difference when the truffles are so yummy and big. I know what I am after here. I can hardly wait.

Do you visualize, pre-paint when you're after something important?


ParisBreakfasts said...

I want to be on the GODIVA GRID?
Where is that anyway?
I've never had the nerve to use 300 pound D'Arches watercolor paper...
Quelle triste :(
You are a brave woman - brave & strong to be able to keep those truffles around this long!?
Are they about to explode yet?
WAIT! These are American Truffles!
They probably have a good 72-years on em.
You betcha!
they've been preserved with in an inch of their shelf lives indoubetably(sp)
Love the photos still life with drawing, floorplan and TRUFFLES!
I could never have your retraint..

Crystal said...

I don't usually do a pre-painting. I just draw the outline and let it set for a few days to a week. That lets the colors sort themselves out in my head.

The grid technique might be a good idea for me to try when drawing an outline of a still life from a photo. I tend to freehand everything because I never make an exact copy of whatever I want to draw anyway.

Question: What's the benefit of using 300lb Watercolor paper, over 140lb? I haven't tried 300lb yet, they don't sell anything but 140lb most places around here. So I haven't had a chance to try anything else.

Janice C. Cartier said...

PB-That truffle is going down.. really soon. I use 300 lb. Have forever. I started out on 140, but since I work large most of the time I went very quickly to the heavier papers.

Crystal-the 140 is fine paper. I use it too off a roll when I need to. Well, did. Don't have those rolls here. 300 is my standard paper. What I like about it is the resilience. I tend to use a lot of pigment, very saturated washes. It has a beautiful surface for those and for delicate washes too.
I also have a series on Somerset printmaking paper that I like a lot too. Born of necessity (that's what I had here at first). I began the Chaos series on it. Works more like hot press.
So it boils down to preference and utility. I order the paper in quantity so there is a little price break.

A Brush with Color said...

Wow--I so admire how meticulous you are but your work still looks so free.

Janice C. Cartier said...

ABWC- ironic huh? LOL.
I don't always do an extensive grid. In fact I have a 6 panel piece that I am not gridding at all. Each panel is 40" x 60" inches. So it depends on the piece and what I am about with it.