Thursday, February 16, 2017

Wine And Fruit, Updated

You may remember that last summer I posted a new still life, Wine And Fruit.  I considered it done and signed the canvas and made a blog post, but there were a few things that were nagging at me.

This is what I thought was the finished painting.  So what was annoying me?  A few things, starting with the size of the wine decanter.  After staring at it in my studio for a few months, I realized that the decanter was just too big.  Gregg always tells me, if you think something is too big, that means it is.  If you look at the top of the decanter, it is nearly at the top of the canvas.  Not only is it way too high, but it takes the object away from everything else in the painting.  And that was another problem, everything in this set up looks like a bunch of different objects rather than a cohesive group.

I also did not like the background.  Though there really were the light and dark stripes on the fabric (from the sunlight in summer), they were not reading well on the canvas.  And a viewer would not know that the sun did that, they would just think I painted some stripes on my background.

Last week I decided this needed to be fixed or painted over, so I chose to take a shot at repainting.  The first thing I did was to repaint the background.  I just used a simple dark, mid tone and light.  While I was doing that, I painted out the top of the wine decanter.  I then spent several frustrating days getting the correct size and shape for it.  While I immediately got the height, getting the shape of the bottle was very difficult.  The dimensions were right, but this decanter starts with a long neck and gets progressively rounder, something I was having trouble capturing.  Finally, last night, I got so annoyed that I just started throwing paint on to the canvas, and that is when I finally got it!

Once the decanter was properly sized, I moved on to the next problem:  the fact that everything looked like a bunch of separate objects.  Everything was in the right spot, so I just needed to get it all to work together.  I did this by adding color to everything.  I pumped up the green highlight from the pear on the blue and white bowl, then I lightened the grapes at the front of the bowl as well as on the little bunch next to them.  Next, I fixed the green highlight from the pear on the glass decanter.  I added a little more color to bring them together.  I also put some of the wine color (alizarin and black) into the background.  Those steps helped the glass decanter fit in with the rest of the painting.

When you fix anything on a painting, you then spot everything else that if off.  The next thing I tackled was the pear on the far left.  In reality, it was that light, but because it is in the darkest part of the painting, it just didn't make sense.  I darkened up the pear using the shadow and mid tone colors, as well as darkening the shadow underneath it.  I felt like it was still a bit isolated, so I added a few extra grapes to the bunch in front of it, and that really helped bring it into the rest of the painting.  I also put a bit of the wine color on to the pear on the left side of the decanter, as well as putting a dab of the pear green on to the left side of the glass.

My final act was to pump up the white on the edge of the lace, and then add some of the colors of the fruit and wine to the top plane.

Wine And Fruit, 16x20, oil

And here is the finished (for real this time) painting.  I am much happier with it now and have no qualms about sending it out into the world.

As it is so often with painting, the moral of the story is: don't give up!

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