Saturday, December 31, 2011
Lemon on Blue Stripes
I have come back from L.A. with a sack full of meaty weirdly shaped lemons with big leaves attached! If I don't paint them, the leaves will soon fall off and I'll be full of regrets, so I might stick at these for a bit and have a rest from the mugshots, with which I am still obsessed. I am also reading the book Man With A Blue Scarf, On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud by Martin Gayford, and there is the most discussion about Freud's process of painting I have ever seen in print. He didn't give interviews much and didn't do art talk. Gayford' s book, however, has lots of their casual conversation. I was very surprised to find that LF doesn't tone the canvas at all, leaves the naked blaring white of the canvas there and then proceeds to work very slowly from the top down, as if he were doing a paint by the numbers picture. And it is very slowly, as long as a year or more on a single painting. When asked by Gayford why he left the canvas white, he said, because it seems more difficult to get the values with the white and this made him work harder at it. (I always try for the easiest way.) So on this one I left the white ground to see what difference it made. I wanted to be certain to get a deep enough value on the white stripes in shadow, so I really paid attention to this as I was mixing. I can't yet see if this is a meaningful improvement, probably too small an exercise.