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‘Sunshots’, new painting

June 22, 2012

Charcoal drawing on acrylic background

This is a really big guy- 50 x 70 cm (about 20″x 28″), the biggest painting I’ve yet attempted (aside from murals).

I don’t use a projector, so I did this drawing (from a photo of Rende’s) by drawing a grid on a low quality print of the photo and a corresponding grid on the painting ( you can just make out the central axis lines) , then transferred the shapes by eye.

Blocking in some of the first areas

I really enjoyed this stage of the painting, it felt free and sketchy, and the contours of the drawing are strong enough to hold it together.

Starting to take form

This was the result of about an hour’s session.

Interim result of painting sessions over several weeks

I could have perhaps stopped here. But what I loved about the original photo of Rende’s (we took all the bottles outside in full summer sunlight for a photo session), was the watery, sunshot quality of all the glass together and their reflections bouncing off each other and the surface they were on. So I wanted to work with it until it contained more of that liquidy light.

A final stage, lots more lights brought up

I thought I was done, but when I looked at it this morning there were still a couple of things I wanted to tweak.

Sunshots 1 Sarah’s bottle series

Done. What’s changed?

– more light added in the left hand jar, rim defined better
-whitish reflection in the middle of the glass in the foregound better defined
-on same glass, bent the blue reflection to follow the curve of the glass better (inside of glass, middle right toward the lower rim of the oval opening).
-highlight added to lefthand dark part of green bottle
-extended black line on left through back of reddish purple bottle

Well one could go on tweaking forever, but there is nothing more that I feel I have to correct or adjust, which is usually the best way to find out if a painting is finished. Don’t forget this is big, the bottles are all about 1 1/2 times life-size, the enlargement gives it an extra impact.

A friend asked if I just copied R’s photo’s literally. The answer is not exactly. I choose the photo because it inspires me at some level, it has a quality I wish I could paint. There is longing there an a feeling of excitement and challenge. In this case it was the wonderful clarity of the reflected light. I wanted to see if I could let opaque oil colours shine in a similar way to the glass.  Rende feels so far, that the paintings really go beyond the photos, and I think this is true. They expand on a quality already there as well as adding their own. I’m not a fan of working from photos usually, but that seems to be the flow I’m in right now and there is a lot to discover.

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8 Responses to “‘Sunshots’, new painting”


  1. Truly wonderful, Sarah! Thanks for putting in each step of the painting with your process. I like the second to the last best–it seems more glass-like and brighter than the last one. Aloha, Kathy Carr

    • szoutewelle Says:

      Thanks Kathy.
      I think it might have more to do with the photo than the painting. I had to do a lot to all the photos in Photoshop on exposure and focus.

  2. decorartuk Says:

    Hi, Sarah. How are you? I hope everything is going well at your end? I’m sure it is, as judging by this painting you should feel happy and satisfied with the result!

    You’re getting better and better at all this glass, transparency and light reflections subject. I absoltely adore the colours and all of the stages, that you captured, could exist as individual paintings, yet, of course, the finished work is THE ONE.

    • szoutewelle Says:

      Hey Kristina, nice to see your comment on this. Thanks for following the glass painting progress. It does help me to have a theme to come back to. There is a slight danger of painting myself into a corner, ie tackling only realistic subjects then slavishly copying the photos because I like them so much. Doing so prevents me from a more playful experimental approach, especially with colour, because with this series, the emphasis is still on ‘getting it right’. Good training in mastering the medium though.

      Too bad you don’t live closer by, in the fall I’m giving a 5 session oil pastel course I think you’d enjoy. I will try, though to prepare a series of tutorials for my blog. Don’t know when though, but I notice that many people find them kind of a perplexing medium.


  3. It’s just lovely to see the process through your photos and read about what it is you are doing to attain the finished artwork!
    The more we look……


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