Designing a project - Lady Grey, part 2

The break required by life happened to have just perfect timing, since the paint needed to dry anyway before I can put on another layer. So when I got back to the canvas I mixed up my off-whites, tinted with some browns, ochres, greys and purples, and set out to add color to my very, very blue painting. 

I started with mixing yellows and purples into a warm brown to glaze the tea in the cup. If you observe closely, no object in nature everis one single color. No matter how carefully you try mix the perfect "tea color," it will look off, since the tea in your cup is always reflecting other objects around it - the blue of the sky if you're outside, the yellow of the light bulb, the colors of the cup and those of your clothes. So in your cup of tea, you will see a million colors instead of one, so let your brush go wild and add those colors! it does not need to perfect, it just needs to be interesting.  




Starting to add some light brown to the wooden pot handle and greys to the background. I have remind myself periodically to keep in mind that the direction of light should be consistent in the picture - it should hit all parts of all objects on the same side. In this case, it will come from the right and cast shadows toward the left. Lights and shadows are not just whites and blacks - they are infused with color, too. 



Oops! Paint run! Paniiiic! Just kidding. Runs happen, splatters and smudges happen, mistakes and accidents and poor color decisions and slipped hands happen. All. The. Time. Just accept them as a part of the process. Even enjoy them, like a deep, deep stretch in yoga! You might think it's painful when you encounter it, but when you breathe into it, it makes the whole experience just come alive. Eventually you will be happy they happened. So when I see something like this, I just try to channel my inner Bob Ross and look at my happy little accidents. 

Okay, I decided to fix this particular one. It has already started to dry, so  wet the corner of my rug just a tad, wrapped it around my fingertip and started gently rubbing upwards, opposite to the direction of the run. 

Sure it took off some of the paint underneath, too, but that's what's wonderful about painting with thin layers - taking off some paint is nothing we can't fix with some additional ones. 


There's another method to make the layers below the top layer show: scrape off some of it! Not all of course, that would make it boringly uniform, just a bit here and there, to give it a bit of texture. My background in this picture is quite abstract, but I kept thinking of old, grayed, distressed wood when I was painting it, so I scraped some "grain" into my paint. 



A few more layers and I began feeling happy about the colors and textured surfaces. I usually only take out my small brushes at the very end of a project to add a few highlights and details. Almost all of the painting up till now were done with a medium size flat brush, turned at various angles to get sketchy lines, sharp contours, vague blobs, blended edges, splatters and smudges. And fingers! Don't forget fingers! My hands touch the canvas almost as much as my brushes. It's a matter of preference of course, but I just love the way colors blend under the touch of a hand. 

And finished! My five-year-old said he was so proud of me. I'll treasure this compliment :)