To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

So many friends I met here...!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

TURNING A CORNER - Scribble and Doodle Window

Once I had a dream where I was driving along, turning all these corners beyond my control. My art life has turned another corner lately, but unlike the dream I know that this change is influenced by blogging. The first time I saw this White Tree Nymph butterfly on Pensby et al's blog, its wings looked like a beautiful brides dress with a bold design. I could not get the wedding dress out of my head, so Scriptor graciously consented for me to to use his photo for the painting.

The design on the wings was so bold that I thought it would do better with a bigger 24 x 24 inch size canvas. Also, I liked to paint this one with the oil medium. Since white, is the sum of all colors, it reflects the colors that surround the white object.

Detail underpainting

It would be easier if I indicated the lines now, so I could easily adjust their position, if I needed to later. Then I let it dry for a few days

In the first session, I painted the wings with a slightly diluted Titanium white, so that the under painting still would shine through. The second session was spent on the background, using lemon yellow, olive green, with Terre verte with Payne gray for the leaves, and a little bit of a Phtalo blue sky color in a big sweeping diagonal brush stroke across the canvas.

First painting session

Next day when I looked at the painting, it seemed like the butterfly was suspended in air, not connected to anything, even though it was perched on a leaf.
This prompted me to use a flower as a lead-in to the scene, connecting the flower to the leaves as well as to the butterfly. I chose a white flower so that it would not take the attention away from the butterfly. Its position was risky, because it was so close to the right lower corner.

After the flower was painted, the scene looked somewhat stilted, so I wiped half of the paint away with my very important and most expensive tool for artists, paper towel (!), to blur the edges and to mix the colors, since the green underneath was still very wet. Painting with wet paint over or into another layer of wet paint is a technique I borrowed from painting with watercolor medium. This brought a light airy movement in the background.

Seond painting session

I left the leaves of the daisy very blurry to prevent this scene from becoming too "busy". Artists call this the "only say one thing with one painting" strategy. Following, I changed the angle of the flower since it looked like it was going to fall off the canvas. I made the heart smaller and the petals shorter.

Now, the butterfly looked flat and sketchy, while the background had more of a painterly flavor. The time has come to follow my own advise to others: Whatever style or approach you take, stick with it throughout the painting if you like it to be one flowing scene, otherwise it looks like a collage where things are cut and paste onto and over each other.

I made the lines bolder and added more color to the white. From a distance though, it still looks like a white butterfly. Voila, the White Tree Nymph Butterfly in all its beauty. This is the moment where I need to stop!!

24 x 24 Oil, St.Germain "Idea Leoconue"

Like to know what message comes across in this painting for you? It is not a trick question. My desire is to involve my readers in the painting process and ask your opinion or what the way the butterfly is painted, evokes?


Michelle said...

Lovely Jeanette.


jeannette stgermain said...

Thanks Michelle. Bytheway, I had no intention at your blog to prescribe what you needed to do - it was a suggestion-hope you know that:)

Gaston Studio said...

Love this butterfly Jeannette. When I look at your painting, I see a stately lady at the top of a double staircase, wearing her hair piled on top of her head and holding an open fan with your butterfly wings on it. It's of course, a monotone picture I'm seeing.

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Jeannette...I'm not sure why but your beautiful painting reminded me of my maternal grandmother who love lace curtains and chrochet doillies!
We have only seen one butterfly this year even though our place is filled with atracctive plants! Where have the butterflies gone??

jeannette stgermain said...

thank you Jane, that's a beautiful picture the painting evoked... something like Audrey Hepburn? (she's one of my favorites, because she had so much class) Hope that the monotne picture is in white (wink) :)

jeannette stgermain said...

That must be a beautiful memory, Carol! I might be considered old-fashioned, but I love lace and crochet:) As to where all the butterflies have gone, I have no idea! Maybe ask a nature lover?

Whitemist said...

There is something about this painting, the butterfly is resting!
There is a bit of exhaustion that it portrays, even in the middle of plenty.
It is very lovely (pretty does not cut it)!
For the detail person like me, I am missing the antennas.
I am close to finishing mt large endeavor. We will see what you say!

crochet lady said...

It's nice to hear the process. Sometimes we can look at art work and think of it only as that finished product, when most art is really a process of growth, building idea upon idea until the form is complete.

I cannot look at a butterfly and not think happy thoughts, there is something about their extravagant beauty, form and flight that just puts me at peace. So I guess I would say I feel a happy restful sort of feeling when I look at your painting.

Thanks for sharing it.

jeannette stgermain said...

do you mean resting, as in waiting, anticipation?
What kind of exhaustion do you mean? Details?
"(mental)exhaustion even in the middle of plenty" that would describe the situation I'm in myself right now (all having to do with the roller coaster of house hunting!)
It's not a realistic painting, Joey - it's more like a sweeping first impression -
Yes, I'm curious about your large endeavor!:)

jeannette stgermain said...

As you will discover after a few blog posts, I'm all about "process."
After reading about several artists, the ones who give us info. about the process I understand so much more, and the guess work is taken out of it, what and how they meant it, etc.

Van Gogh did that, and he gave so much details about his life that his art becomes something anyone understands.
Wish Rembrandt would have done something like that. Just knowing that he went against main stream of the time in how he positioned his figures helter- skelter, I can imagine that he was quite a rebel.

Thanks for expressing what this butterfly painting evokes in you:)

Steve E. said...

Do not Butterflys simply flutter-by and flutter-bye-bye away?

My first visit here (you commented on mine of 5/25...)

Thank you for your obvious willingness to offer suggestions to me, and--it seems--others which might help them find solutions to problems great ot small.

I LOVE artists' blogs, but seldom have been treated to a (free) tutorial on the creative process a fine painting or other work of art evokes. Thank you. I'll be Bach! --(punch-line to a musical joke--I'm a violin player -grin!)

jeannette stgermain said...

Thanks for your visit - welcome any time:)
Hope that you got the elusive part(fly by, bye, away) of the butterfly from the painting!
The tutorial part is my nitch, I guess.

Oh, I forgot to comment on your violin - I love J.S. Bach, Rossini, Vivaldi, but also Moussorgski, Stravinski, Rachmaninoff, Grieg...and many more~
I didn't go far enough back on your blog to see if you write about the music you play, your violin, etc. Hope you do, or are planning to do it?

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Now you know by this time that what you have written is Greek to me as I have never painted or even drawn anything in my life. LOL!! All I can say is that I really like the finished painting if that means anything. :) You will never come across anyone so uneducated in art as I am. Sorry Jeannette. :)

jeannette stgermain said...

Wish you lived closer by, I would teach you Greek AND art, LOL:) but don't hold me to the Greek - I've forgotten too much myself!

Unlike the facts you know about nature, art is about feelings (how it makes you feel).
So, how does this butterfly make you feel (freedom, flying, etc.), or
what comes to mind when you see this butterfly?
In the first parapagraph, it says that all I could see was a brides dress. May be what comes to mind for you is how the caterpillar looked like before it became a butterfly.

Whitemist said...

Jeanette - yes mental exhaustion!
It does come through. The butterfly is not flitting about nor feeding, there is anticipation tho...
I think I read to much into stuff, but what can I say? That is me.

jeannette stgermain said...

Since i was in love with the design of the lines and circles on the wings, that is what I wanted to focus on, and since I had only one pic of it...but you are good art reading into stuff -
many people are scared of it(so they put it into the category of parapsychology or the occult, or the prophetic),
but I do it all the time at my job. You have a hunch and you go after it!

Ken Mac said...

jeanette. you are welcome to use my pic, and I am honored. Please credit me in some way...looking forward to seeing your work.

jeannette stgermain said...

Thanks Ken, I appreciate it. I can't promise how it'll look like - maybe you won't recognize it LOL, but it's for my own peace of mind. Yes, of course I'll give you credit:)

Ruth said...

I love this picture. It evokes thoughts of beauty,purity and peacefulness. If I had a sunroom with windows and plants, I would hang it there and sit there after work to relax.

Sreddy Yen said...

I love your painting~! Looking at the final, I can feel emotions like calmness and tranquility. How do you get that right? Thanks for your long comment on my blog :O)


Ken Mac said...

and I just sraightened the pic if that makes any difference...thanks again and looking forward to it. I will be updating my Admiral's Row link might find something there

jeannette stgermain said...

That's a big compliment, thank you...and also very clear about what feelings it evokes. I can see you in front of me, doing that:)

jeannette stgermain said...

it was my pleasure to comment, because I know from my own experience, that it helps to get feedback from other artists, especially in the beginning.
There are a few things to portray a certain emotions, such as (in this case) straight lines, opposite from zigzag, or lines with a lot of movement. Cool colors rather than warm colors like red hot pink, orange, etc. Gentle shadows, instead of jarring ones. But most of all, you can't paint a peaceful picture if peace is not inside of you.
Hope this helps!

jeannette stgermain said...

Ken Mac,
Thank you Ken, but it's okay, because I'm not a realist painter:),
meaning I'll change a few things that I see in reality.
Thanks for getting back to me!!

The Weaver of Grass said...

All I can say Jeannette is that I love the picture.

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you for getting back to me:)

Shellmo said...

I see a little angel out among nature! Such a beautiful painting!!

P.S. Our log home is approx 1,300 SF and our home downstate is 1200 SF. I don't think 1,100 SF is bad- I think smaller spaces are actually freeing as it forces you to get rid of stuff you don't need - life seems simpler. Good luck! When are you moving?

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you for your kind comment about the painting!

The actual date is still up in the air - when escrow closes - maybe in a month - we are both hoarders, so I'll start with the stuff that we can't take, because that will take the longest.

I read (I believe it was on a news blurb: what America can buy these days for 400K - and there was a pic of a 3 story mansion with steps leading up to the front door - the works. We have a simple one story 3 bedroom about 50 years old, without central air for more than 400! So...not in in the L.A. area!