April 24, 2012

Virtual Paintout: Keying a Painting

Dress in Window, St Petersburg Russia oil on board 9"X12"

 This painting was created using GoogleStreet Views and posted on The Virtual Paintout  which is hosted by Bill Guffey.  At the beginning of  each month, artists are given a new place in the world to explore using Google Maps, Street Views. I enjoy "walking around" and choosing a scene to paint and while I am looking I learn quite a lot about the area. 

It is amazing what Google has done with their cameras and what you can see and learn about a location when you zoom in using the street view icon, which is a little man on the distance bar. It is also interesting to see what other people have chosen to paint. Here is the link to see the  The Virtual Paintout: St Petersburg Russia paintings, including my painting, "Dress In Window".

  Blue Jeans on Roof   9" x 12" oil on canvas on birch plywood, brush and pallet knife
 The painting "Blue Jeans on Roof" is from a view I found in the Canary Islands. You can see the other paintings in this challenge at 
 The Virtual Paintout: Canary Islands.

 You can see my Virtual Paintout Series with more information on  these paintings on my Website.

Keying the Painting:  

It is interesting when comparing these paintings side by side, both depict an overcast day but they have a different Key. 

The painting on the left is St Petersburg Russia, which is in a far northern location, it is predominantly a darker subdued color.  This would be considered a "low key". While the painting on the right is  the Canary Islands, which is near the equator and is a light toned painting in a "high key".  Keying a painting is not about the color but the value. Is the painting in a darker shade or lighter shade?

 While looking at St Petersburg Russia on the Google Street View Map, I saw the photograph as being dark, yet bright. To create this effect I stained the canvas with a silvery blue gray underpainting, using ultramarine blue and raw umber. These colors were also the main dark colors throughout the painting. A yellow ochre was scumbled and brush worked into the stone building. The dark underpainting effected the tonal value of the ochre without diminishing it's intensity. 

The Canary Island painting on the right was painted using a burnt sienna underpainting. A white mixed with some ultramarine blue were  stroked into the sky and building, using pallet knife. These are the predominant colors used along with yellows and mixed greens. This created a bright light value or high key, in keeping with this subject's equatorial setting. 

Deciding on the key of the painting before you begin will help make a painting cohesive and expressive.

Aleada Siragusa

April 6, 2012

He sustains my soul, by him only; I am fulfilled.

Ephesians 3:19
May you experience the Love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

 Colored pencil on paper by Aleada Siragusa

Have a joyous Easter. These two crosses were inspired by lessons from the  Companions In Christ Bible study book.

Colored pencil on paper by Aleada Siragusa
Being familiar with painting grapes I drew the two crucifixes above completely from memory.

 Ink & watercolor, 36"x 24" 
Oriental style brush painting by Aleada Siragusa

As a teacher in Oriental painting at the St Petersburg College in Florida, I wanted to teach the brush strokes used for painting grapes. I grew the purple grapes on my fence which are common in Florida, so I had a great subject to study. I spent time dry brush painting the grapes while studying and practicing the brush strokes. This lead me to create the above painting which was displayed in the annual national competition of the Sumi e Society of America, Salmagundi Club, NYC.

The Bible study group of which I have the good fortune to work with, is now studying the Psalms, using the book; Entering the Psalms; Meeting God in Scripture, published by The Upper Room. In Session one we read Psalm 104, which celebrates God as the creator. One of the suggestions for study was to write a prayer praising God for creation. Since I love to write poetry and have written other prayers, I was eager to write my own personal psalm, which I will share with you now.

Aleada's Psalm of Creation

Vast is the universe my God has made. Both infinitely large and infinitesimally small; God brought creation into being. Beyond my wisdom and judgment, God breathed life into all creation. He set the cycle of birth and death in motion and thus created time. Circle within circle spiraling upward, all I see vibrates with the joy of God's hand. Though small and vulnerable, God endowed me with love and reason and set me on this path. As his child I learn and grow. With the freedom to make my own choices; I am able to reach for the stars. Always I desire the loving embrace of my God, my Creator Father. He sustains the world; he sustains my soul. By him only; I am fulfilled.