Being a dedicated “en plein air” painter, it is clear that I like to work from direct observation. This is true, even for my studio work.
As a general rule, I like to have an arrangement of various objects – a still life, if you will – set up in the studio all the times. I keep a separate palette, brushes, water and a couple sketchbooks set up and laying out near this still life at all times as well. This allows me to always have a painting going.
The value of this is that it is easy to jump into painting without any effort at all – just sit down, pick up the brush and see what needs to be done next, or what needs to be started.
This painting began as a sketch. The intention was to get a quick study of the turquoise bowl and the folds in the white cloth backdrop and the golden yellow napkin. Should have taken me a couple hours at most. Instead, the study continued session after session. The actual painting developed over the course of two weeks while I had time to consider each brush stroke, each addition of color or value and the development of each shape.
Cerulean blue is one of my all time favorite colors. And, I happen to be very particular about the exact color. This is one of those traditional artist colors that has been around for a very long time. In it’s original formula, cerulean blue was made from a component of tin oxide (also known as cobalt stannate). This happens to be a relatively expensive pigment. Due to this, many manufacturer’s have developed other formulas that use more modern chemical components. In my mind, the modern substitutes are not good substitutes if you are looking for the best qualities of cerulean blue.