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Getting Back to Work After a Pause

Here I am getting back to "When the Party's Over" after 2 months

Sometimes I start a work, only to get busy in other aspects of my life, or have a few commissions that take priority. That means many paintings that are "for me" or done "on spec" take a back seat and may not ever get finished.

This one is such an example. If you follow me, you know that I paint a lot of architecture. Wanting to break out of that cycle and create something with perhaps more universal appeal, I started this wine-themed still life back in June when my pop-up market commitments slowed down.

But of course that was right when I received a few commissions! SO after laying in the basics of darks, and lights, I set the painting aside, and it sat in my studio staring at me for 2 months.

Two months! Until I could pick up my paintbrush and reset my acrylic paint palette to complete it.

This time lapse video shows me at work on some of the basics in this painting

I think part of the reason I also set it aside was because it posed some significant technique challenges for me.

They were:

  • Forced perspective. As you can see this composition is looking down at a weird angle on the bottle and table

  • Depicting glass and ice. These things are thought to be "clear", right? How do you paint something that has no color? You look really hard and find out that there is color and sometimes it is surprisingly dark (check out the tops of the glasses)

  • Reflections and Shadows. There are a lot of reflections on the wine buckets and shadows on the tablecloth. Not to mention everything going on with the glasses.

  • Writing. Yes, text can be a challenge to paint. How exact to make it, or not to keep the illusion of a reality but not get too stiff.

As you can see in this unfinished image, the wine bucket is not quite right. I spent time refiguring out those angles to make them work.

All of these factors weighed on me as I thought about getting back to this painting. Could I make this work?

One thing I found was that I really needed to rework my initial sketch because I had made the bucket way too tall to hold the bottle. I actually reworked that several times til the proportion was correct.

Once I got painting, I found that I actually enjoyed seeing the colors apparent in the tablecloth's folds and shadows as well as the reflections in the glasses and seeing through them to the table below. I especially had fun creating the large Moet bottle and its deep dark Hooker Green shadows.

My initial hesitation, turned to a joy as I completed areas successfully and saw the glasses and table take shape. It was actually FUN to paint the warm colors of the walls and chairs in the background as a contrast to all the cool colors of the glasses and wine bucket.

The contrasts of the deep dark greens of the bottles and the warm ochres and yellows of the walls provide a nice contrast, and the greens reflected into the table cloth and inside of the wine bucket were fun to render.

Maybe I will do some more table scenes! People do seem to love their wine and I am enjoying painting it.

This painting is available and in the online shop of my website.

Finished Painting, "When the Party's Over" acrylic, 18" w x 24" h, link to shop

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