Friday, October 9, 2015

Blue And White Bowl With Fruit

Hello everybody.  I have a new still life to show you today.  A few months ago I started work on this still life.  I have to say, it did take me awhile to finish it, but it was worth the wait to get it just right.

Somehow, I neglected to take a photo of my original set up, but here are the photos of the original block ins.  You will be able to see what the set up was like from the actual painting.



The set up was a bowl (blue and white, of course) on it's side filled with pears and grapes.  As you can see, the bowl is propped up on it's side, so even though it is still a round bowl, it had to be painted as more of an oval.  Luckily, I was working on this painting in Gregg's studio and he had a good solution for me.



He instructed me to lay a rectangle over the bowl.  This way I could see exactly how round the bowl should be.  We do the same thing in portrait painting if the model has her head turned.  This made things a lot easier, but we were joking that I was in "ellipse hell" until I finally got the shape of the bowl right.


Now we are getting somewhere!  I always like to cover the canvas the first day of a painting.  It makes it so much easier when you go back to it the next day.  Once that was done, I just kept adding on layers of paint every time I worked on this canvas.  I also kept playing with the set up.  I just couldn't seem to get it right.  That happens sometimes.  I've read about artists who will spend hours setting up a still life, but that is not how I do it.  I just set something up and rearrange as needed.


This was the second day of painting.  It is usually around this time that the painting actually starts to look like something viable and it is always a huge relief.  Even though I've been painting for years, I still get anxious those first and second (and sometimes third and fourth) days of a painting because you never really know if it will work until you get going.



In this shot, you can see I started adding more details on to the fabric.  There were a lot of folds and I really had to get them right as this blue fabric was a big part of the painting. Since the fabric was velvet, there was no pattern to paint in, so instead, Gregg advised me to find little points of "personality" in the fabric.  Velvet can be tricky.  If you do too much, it looks like regular fabric.  If you don't do enough, it ends up looking like an uninteresting blob.  You can see I painted in some little seams and bits of light to eventually make the fabric look like velvet.


This was my finished painting of the original set up.  But, as all of you know, the first time I think a painting is finished really doesn't mean anything.  I always go back and tweak things and this time was no exception.

I was never really happy with that pear on the right.  It seemed disconnected from the rest of the painting.  I tried many times to get it to look the way I wanted it to, but I realized that the problem was in the set up, so I added a big bunch of green grapes which had the added benefit of partially covering the pear.

 
Yes, this was my sad little set up!  The painting was already back in my studio, so I had to fake it.



Here it is on the easel (you can see a little bit of the green grapes over to the right behind the painting).  I'm much happier with the whole painting with the added grapes.  I feel like the flow of the painting is much better now and all the fruit is working together.



Here is the finished painting.  I'm quite happy with it now and it has already been in a still life show.  Working on this was another reminder to keep going until the painting is right.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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