My painting "Times Past 1" was selected as a finalist in the International Artist Magazine competition and I was invited to write about my inspiration, design and working process. Here it is, thank you for reading:
There was a time, when objects had more dings and scratches, more character, and many memories associated with them. A simple cooking dish like an iron pot, was sometimes passed down from one generation to the next and seemed to carry the family history with it. It could spark memories of all the meals that grandma used to make in it, and the summers spent with her and grandpa at the seaside. But that old pot can can also help us see, how quickly our years go by and how irrecoverably gone are the days of our childhood. It is that sense of beauty and character of an old object, that inspired me to paint this work.
My Design strategy
I wanted to balance two primary objectives in this composition. First, I wanted to have a clear main character - the set of iron pots. As in painting a portrait, everything else was to be subordinated to my main character. To achieve this, I placed the pots prominently in the center and rendered them with the utmost precision. As the eye moves further away from the center of interest, it sees less contrast and less detailed (even unfinished) rendering. Second, I wanted the scene to appear more impromptu, more real - as if the owner of the house placed these objects there temporarily, and then left home never to return, leaving the viewer with a window through time. To achieve this subtle mood, I used diffused cool lighting (which created almost no shadows). Thus, the objects do not appear to be purposefully lit, but rather receive ambient light from elsewhere.
My Working Process
I do not use photographs in my work. Therefore, the initial drawing (with the required level of accuracy) was one of the more difficult and time-consuming steps. I used a Dürer’s Grid (a wooden frame with equally spaced vertical and horizontal strings), to help me get the overall proportions correctly. After noting the proportions, I developed a pencil drawing on paper. Next, I transferred the drawing to a canvas and created an underpainting with black, burned umber and white. After the underpainting was dry, I started painting in color. Some areas were painted in multiple layers, while others were left untouched after an initial block-in - always keeping with my main objectives and leaving out detail that did not contribute to them. Note, that my process varies in different paintings depending on my goals, as well as depending on time, light or other constraints (if painting outside).