Diana Probst, Cambridge Artist

Lady in a Landscape: Day 2

A cropped picture of a naked woman on rocks; this shows only her legsThe second day’s work on Whiskey (she’s on the rocks) did not go well. In fact, this post is about day three, which was a day of painting I did not scrub out. The second day of painting left me with dark and light areas smeared in, which was in some ways useful, but I had to make the legs a more reasonable length, and put in actual landscape.

I am not a landscape painter. I really am not. My emphasis on the figure and the interior shows here, where Whisky shines and looks formed, and the rocks are half-made. A figure has to have things in the right place for realistic painting, but for rocks there is no ‘right’ position. There is only success or something wrong with the layout. The picture to the right is halfway through the day’s painting, when much of the rock was planned out. I am going to have to remove the large dark one, or else fade it into the background, but much of what is in the midground will stay.

My problem here is that I started without a plan as to what the rocks would do, so even though I had a good reference for them, I couldn’t use that efficiently until I had moved them around for a bit and painted them a bit and moved them a bit more and chewed the brush and abused my kettle privileges with tea.

Nude on rocky backgroundThe positioning of most of the light and dark areas is finally complete in the left picture. There will have to be some frame around the face, probably falling plants. The bits marked ‘grass’ and ‘water’ will be painted as such, and up in the top right there will be sky of some sort, or else broken leaf cover to support the green behind the head. The painted glyph in the top right corner is my notation for sun direction and intensity; the shadows of the arms will be softened over the body, as I am aiming for a Rubens-style shadow that follows contours and shows the form of where it is falling.

It is still very raw and rough, and I can see this stalling, which is annoying, as the figure in the centre really appeals to me. She might get re-used in an entirely different setting if the rocks fail, but that would make a different painting again, and it might not even be on the same canvas. Most of my time recently has been taken up with the blue glass and blue cloth still life, but Whisky has a good painting somewhere in the design I have in my head. I really want to see it getting out; for that I need to learn a lot more about landscape painting, or bring her into a closer, more intimate shot, inside. That would alter the Classical Nymph ideal I’m trying to blend with the 50s bikini babe pose, but at least I could control what exists around her.