Goblet of Fire Stairs

oil painting
Goblet of Fire Stairs, oil on canvas 20 in. x 16 in., January 2017

This was the first painting that I completed post-MHC. I was out of the arts classroom, and on my own in my studio. For my first series of paintings, I wanted to make studies focusing on different types of light play, architectural angles, and color tone. To pay attention to these three aspects, I did not use realistic colors. The only colors I used were French ultramarine, cobalt blue, and Windsor yellow. I was thinking that I could work efficiently on relative color value and warmth/coolness of tone if I restricted my color palette.

I worked from a picture I took of our main staircase. Before beginning to paint, I carefully took the time getting the angles and slopes right with a pencil under-drawing. While making this painting, I unintentionally ended up using watercolor techniques to get the effect of radiant, glowing, and bright light on the stairs. I did not use white, but rather let the white of the canvas be my lightest color. I layered sheer washes of paint (as I do when water-coloring) around where the light hits the stairs and other points. I thinned the oil paint with Artist’s Medium to get that softer look. In places of darkness/ shadow, I painted more thickly and with greater opacity.

I am happy with how the painting came out. I think that the effect of the colors came out nicely, as well as the overall composition. It’s really enjoyable and satisfying inserting perspective and depth onto a flat surface. I want my paintings to feel like you are looking into something. Maybe it’s a space that leads you somewhere, such as upstairs, or maybe it’s somewhere you want to sit and absorb for a while.

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