"Beyond" (copyright Natasha Henderson) There are eggs in this...

Perhaps this is a little late for Easter. Perhaps you don’t really want to paint an egg right now. That’s cool. However, if you paint an (uncracked, uncooked) egg, you will practice observation and the creative manipulation of representing form.

An egg has volume. An egg has a gentle gradation of shadow. An egg can be reflective (depending on the type of egg it is, and what sort of environment in which it is depicted). In any event, if you just read this and don’t paint, that’s fine too. You’ll learn about all these things, through observing the following images.

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

I am opting to paint from memory. I actually do not have any eggs in the house right now; it would be better to have one for a real observation. However, the basic egg-shape is a simple one, and all eggs are slightly different from one another anyhow. Therefore, whatever egg I paint could exist. That is an important question to reflect upon, when trying to be convincing in painting… Could This Exist?

just a simple shape, not perfect at all

To start, I painted my paper with a layer of white acrylic to seal it. This is like in all the exercises, as my paper is quite thin. Next, I simply painted a black oval, almost an egg shape. I just wanted to get some outside, rough darkness, leaving the inside white.

smudging with finger while paint is still wet

Then, while the paint was still wet, I smudged down the centre of the egg. I needed to blend in a bit of the darkness to the middle, too. After this, it is mostly all adding white, a bit of black… just tinkering.

I "drew" the negative space around the egg better with some white... and used the white in the egg too

To make the oval shape more egg-like, I worked some white paint around the edges, to sort of erase the black paint that didn’t contribute to its egginess. I then used a sweep of this white along the bottom of the egg, to create some mystery and subtlety in the shadow on the egg. Next up, I painted a great deal of white along the top part of the egg.

more white added... a little smudging with a finger, more white...

Honestly, I went back and forth a couple of times, adding white and then swiping with my finger, until I was happy enough with the result. After this, I painted in a bit of a shadow under the egg.

just mixed a medium grey to start...

I decided that I wanted to have a gradation or two in the shadow, as well as a bit more in the egg… so I added in some lighter and darker greys where it made sense.

a bit more grey

I finalised what I did today by painting in more white. If I’d wanted to colour the egg I would wait ’til it is dry, then glaze a colour onto it and dab a little bit of white “reflection” on the lightest part. (See last week for tips on glazing, and how this idea works!)

our friend, the egg.

You can see that I got rid of a great deal of the shadow under the egg, this is just what felt “right” to me about the image. It’s up to you how much light and shadow are in your image, and what sort of environment your egg exists within.

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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