30-in-30: Eggs, eggs, eggs, all eggs, all the time

Egg 4 Watercolor on #300 Arches hot press
Egg 4
Watercolor on #300 Arches hot press

Dear reader, are you getting tired of eggs? I know I am.

But it’s not just eggs I’m painting, I’m trying to get the hang of painting a sphere. I have to admit, I’m frustrated. These eggs are not coming out like the pictures in my head. Today I emailed a friend of mine, Doreen Barton, who is a wonderful painter (really, go look at her work). She sent me a list of color temperature “rules” to think about and some suggestions; this one helped me the most:

But attack it another way – how would you “model” the form with pencil/graphite, i.e., the only area where you didn’t apply graphite would be the highlight?  In that case only the highlight could be white because you wanted the viewer not to understand that the egg is white, but to clearly see the form with all of its imperfections.  It’s another way of defining the light/shadow values.”

Funny how advice you’ve heard a million times takes further repetition to make you listen. That bit of advise—the only area where you didn’t apply graphite would be the highlight—freed me to put more tone on the lit side of the egg. I had to scrub and sand away some of the dark value, because I belatedly realized that my drawing, done in a hurry, was way off.

I also pulled out a stack of blue paints that I’ve had in a drawer. I’ve been using Ted Nuttall’s palette since last March, and I finally realized that it was too high key for what I wanted.

Color chart
Color chart

This batch of blues has pthalo blue (top left) and my favorite dark blue, Maya dark blue (bottom middle) from Daniel Smith, the two colors I went to for this egg. It’s beginning to look like what I’m after, but it’s still not there. You know what that means.

Another egg.