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Month: September 2011

The Great Tomato Escape

Posted in Musing About Art, and Reference Photos

The Great Tomato Escape

What in the world? I opened the blinds this morning to see this….. 

tomato on gate

A not quite ripe tomato hanging on out on the gate handle.  Some blemishes, but no bite marks,  just hanging out.  I'm guess a squirrel hauled it up there on to the perfect eating platform.. Either that or the tomato was on it's way to jumping the gate for the Great Tomato Escape…. 

This would make for a odd  painting. Lots of contrasts: soft tomato, hard wood gate, dull gate, bright colorful tomato….Would the more philosophical among us read symbolism into a painting of a tomato on a gate handle?  Or would it just be a weird painting? Or could I turn into a children's art by painting it in a  whimsy style and creating a story around it? Or take it in the opposite direction and lean it into a Salvador Dali like surreal art ? Something to think about……   : )    Have a wonderful weekend!

Finally… Tomatoes

Posted in Reference Photos

Finally… Tomatoes

After battling poor soil, and every creature this side of the Mississippi, we have tomatoes!  Ok…. two tomatoes!   We have success with what the critters don't like to eat  – peppers, chives, squash of all kinds. But for some reason,  we can not get a tomato inside before someone snacks on it. Apparently tomatoes in our yard are the equivalent to chocolate cake  –  gone in a jiffy!  I picked these a little early before they disappeared. They'll finish  ripening  up in the window sill for a day or two.

Here they are!  I like photographing fruits and vegetables on a white surface. It keeps the focus on the subject and really shows the shadows, highlights, and details.  These guys are now on my very long list of painting ideas. 

Solving A Painting That Is Not Working, Part 2

Posted in Art Work, and Peeking Behind the Easel

Solving A Painting That Is Not Working, Part 2

 I suggested several steps yesterday to take when you can't figure out why a painting isn't working. For this painting, even turning it upside down wasn't getting me to what the problem was.  So luckily for me, my family was here. Family – especially teens and young 20's will tell you the truth – even when you didn't ask them.   : )

My family was curious how I could  fix the imbalance after they noticed the problem.  Since they were interested I got them involved in step 1 – brainstorm how to fix it.   With my chalk – step 2 – I sketched out on the painted canvas our ideas. [ Chalk is great  – it doesn't disturb the painting and wipes right off. ]    We tried adding more sunflowers, more details on the pumpkins, pumpkin leaves and vines from the stems, until someone blurted out turning it into a jack- 0-lantern.  Whoa!….. that was not at all what I had been thinking. 

But you know what?  It worked. It balanced the painting and added a light note to the painting to match the color palette I had chosen.  Here's the chalked idea:

Using chalk to try out details on a painting

And here's the final painting after also adding a final tint on the pumpkins and photographing in natural light:

I had envisioned an Indian summer day for this painting, picking a light palette of colors rather than the usual darker colors used in pumpkin paintings. Adding a face to the pumpkin kept a lightness in the painting in addition to balancing out a composition error.  In a roundabout way, that's where the painting ended up – a warm, Indian summer day in early October.

What do you think?



Solving A Painting That Is Not Working

Posted in Art Work, and Peeking Behind the Easel

Solving A Painting That Is Not Working

It happens to all of us. You're happily working on a painting and as you think you are finished, you can see something is not right. Sometimes it's obvious like the colors are clashing, or the proportions are wrong.  Other times……you just can't see where the problem is but you know it's there.  What to do?  Here's some suggestions I use:

– move the painting to another room for fresh perspective

– turn it upside down.  You'd be amazed at how this simple trick helps your eye see the painting differently

 – put it away for a few days and look at it with fresh eyes.

 – show it to another artist  – they can usually see where the problem lies.

– ask your family members – they never hold back the truth and they look at it differently since they are not artists

Here is my current painting that is having issues:

When a painting isn't working -

Can you see what isn't working?

My family noticed right away that the painting was lopsided.  Non artist words but right on target.  If you mentally divide the painting in 1/2 – the right half has sunflowers and pumpkins, the left half – it's one pumpkin. A composition boo boo that I missed way back in the sketching out of the painting.

How to fix this?  

Step one – brainstorm how to balance the painting, 

Step two – get a piece of everyday chalk and start sketching out right on the painting what changes might work.

Stay tuned tomorrow to see what we came up with! 



Catalog Daydreaming

Posted in Musing About Art

Catalog Daydreaming

Dreams —-> Enter Here. That's what I think when I see a big thick catalog in my mail box. There is something  wonderful about a big catalog arriving unexpectedly in the mailbox. Looking through pages of paint color samples, brushes of all shapes, pastels, canvases, and lots and lots of art supplies is such a idea generator. 

New cataog goodies

Thick catalogs are becoming an unusual sight in these digital times. Is it going the way of horse and buggies? Will I be rambling on about catalogs only to have my future grand kids give me a blank stare and ask what a catalog is?……. !

I am going to scoop up this catalog before it becomes a relic of the past, and open the pages and daydream about new colors, how to use that odd shaped brush, and generate new ideas for paintings.   : )