The November Challenge

November? You might well ask…….

Lots of exciting ideas came to mind when my colleague and I agreed in August last year to take on a monthly challenge. Time? Not really a problem – it would be relatively easy to find 3 or 4 hours a month. November was getting towards the busy time of year so completion in December/January was predictable. By late January things were at Stage 2. And then, it was March.

The challenge was to paint with white and three colours: burnt sienna, phthalo blue and cadmium yellow.

Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia

Stage 1 – no, it is not a poached egg

The first stage is rough but a little reminiscent of Vuillard. But I couldn’t leave it there. Is this a person? Is that a poached egg after all?

Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia
Stage 2

More definition of the face and the items on the table-top. Adding another chair to add to the curves in the composition.

Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia
Stage 3 – le bon choix

Where is the main light source? A bit late for this perhaps. But still. It helped to pin down the floating cups and saucers (and meringues). The extra chair was a distraction leading out of the picture plane – had to go. Darker shadows on face and fabric, less hair over the shoulder. This is where I choose to leave it. Perhaps you would have stopped earlier (or later). What do you think?

It is surprising how little I used the yellow. That first meringue would have been a bit dull without it. I love blues and use them often but have avoided phthalo blue for quite a while. Because of its intensity it can dominate so easily. It does make some beautiful chromatic greys with burnt sienna and I was in a sort of heaven playing with those.

The next challenge has been on the table for a couple of months. I am catching up!

Thanks for visiting.

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9 thoughts on “The November Challenge

  1. Philippa – I agree w/ John. Amazing what you’ve done w/ only three main colors in this palette! I am for some reason always drawn to this type of subject: a female, drinking coffee or engaging in a relaxing activity like this! Your model is beautiful, by the way! Love the rendering of that gorgeous red hair!

  2. Lovely to see the painting grow in strength, thank you for sharing the process, with a non-painter. It is a bit similar to writing, I am rewriting a major chapter: “this bit can go, it distracts from the main issue, on this subject there is too little, I have more information which is relevant, where shall I add it.” Etc.

    • There are quite a few elements in common in our creative processes I see. All about getting something across, concrete or abstract! Good to hear from you Jenneke. Thanks for looking in. Philippa

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