The Art of Charles Sovek


Simplifying Your Painting
The Artist's Magazine - March, 1987 (Cover story)

Enlargement of Illustration

Step 1: Massing Middle Values - The subject is loosely sketched in using ultramarine blue mixed to a thin consistency with turpentine All of the objects and background are "massed" with this one middle value. Hence, details are minimized and only the basic shapes are developed, leaving the whole composition open for refinement, or even major changes if needed. Step 2: Key Darks - The key pattern of darks is added next, much of it being the local color of the objects. But these shapes only suggest the fruits, vase, flowers and shadows in the background - no detailed rendering yet. Notice that a layer of muted violet has been added to the background, this complements the pink and white flowers atop the vase, but this area still retains its middle-tone value. Paint is applied more thickly now, with some of the thin blue underpainting attractively showing through in places.
Study - "Still Life with Flowers and Fruit"
Step 3: Developing the Parts - Chadbourn now focuses on the individual parts, adding more precise shapes to render the forms. Texture in the lights becomes more important, with the flowers taking on a fresh, leafy quality. The fruits are depicted with a loose pushing of the paint, and the lights are painted with thicker, warmer color The foreground is then painted with a light-value mixture of blue and white to eliminate the stark canvas and to better fit the overall value scheme. Other key darks, such as those around the windowsill and shadows in the background building, are also emphasized. The building also takes on a deeper middle value, creating a shaft of light. Step 4: Details and Lights - Still Life with Flowers and Fruit (30x30) is now complete, with all of the objects assuming their proper importance. Notice the addition of the melon in the bottom left and how it balances the objects on the table. Also, minor adjustments are made throughout the painting-details on the flag, definition to the windowsill and subtle modeling in the background building. Finally, thickly painted lights in the foreground and in the flowers make those areas "pop" with life.