Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Southpaw Project

2011 ended with a bang when I fell on the ice and broke my right wrist on December 21st. I had surgery on December 28th to patch it back together. My wrist is on the mend, but my right hand has been out of commission for seven weeks and will be for a few more. 

Of course, I'm right-handed and couldn't imagine weeks without painting. I decided to try painting with my left hand. My husband Bruce has dubbed it the "Southpaw Project". It has been a good learning experience. Once I got my studio and easel set up for a single-handed lefty, I discovered it wasn't all that different than painting with my right hand. The most important part of painting is looking. I still deal with all the same issues of composition, values, color, etc. The big difference is that I can't paint details with my left hand. That can be a good thing. It has forced me to concentrate on the big areas of value and color as I paint them with broader brush strokes. I like the direct painterly style of these paintings.

Below are the first five paintings in the Southpaw Project. I have posted them in chronological order. Once my right hand is working, I will sign them. I still haven't figured out how to write with my left hand.

#1  "Hopeful Pomegranates"

I wanted to start with a fairly simple composition, but wasn't sure I could capture the translucent quality of the tissue. I felt encouraged when I was able to achieve that. A palette knife helped me pull out some of the crisp edges of the tissue.

"Hopeful Pomegranates", 8"x10", oil on board, SOLD

#2  "Lemons on Tray"

Next I tried a more complicated set up with reflections.

"Lemons on Tray", 9"x12", oil on linen, Sold

#3  "Jugs and Egg"

I like the color palette of warm browns and the tranquil composition of this painting. However, I realized I was gaining more control with my left hand which meant I was smoothing out brush strokes and refining edges. I was moving away from one of the goals of the project: a painterly technique.

"Jugs and Egg", 12"x9", oil on linen, Sold

#4  "Sugar Bowl and Lemons"

These objects were back lighted by the north window of my studio. North light is cool which means cool highlights and soft warm shadows. I usually light my set up with a warm lamp which results in the opposite effect: warm highlights and hard cool shadows. These brush strokes are more painterly.

"Sugar Bowl and Lemons", 8"x10", oil on linen, Sold

#5  "Colorful Peppers"

Bright colorful peppers are a favorite subject of mine. I tried hard to keep from overworking the painting. I'm happy with the resulting painterly technique. This painting achieves the goals of the project.

"Colorful Peppers", 12"x9", oil on linen, Sold