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More Last Tomatoes

The Last Tomatoes in a Bowl

Watercolor on Arches 140 lb hot press paper drawn first in blue Micron Pigma pen, 5.5″ 7.5″

Yesterday I cleaned up my four tomato plants, removing all the dead leaves and icky, gooshy tomatoes (without screaming once — squooshy, slimey things scare me) and was delighted to discover an abundance of still quite lovely tomatoes, ripe and ready to be picked. I was sure when I painted the last bunch of tomatoes that they were truly the last, but we’ve had some wonderful summer weather all over again and the tomatoes just keep on doing their thing.

I piled them in this old stoneware bowl and stuck them in the fridge. I’ve been working on an oil painting family portrait (more about that tomorrow) and have been neglecting my blog. So I decided to stop working on the oil painting, and loosen up with the tomatoes and some watercolor in my sketchbook.

Now back to the portrait. If I don’t finish it tomorrow I’ll post the work in progress. The painting was inspired by looking through some baby pictures of my son with his father and grandfather that we wanted to bring on a visit to my father-in-law. He’s been very ill and on Thursday night he thoroughly enjoyed seeing the pictures (and us). I was hoping to finish the painting before he died and to share it with him but sadly/blessedly he passed away this morning. If the painting turns out well enough, I’ll bring it to his memorial. In the meantime it’s been a blessing for me to lovingly paint his smiling face, knowing it would not be visible much longer.

20 replies on “More Last Tomatoes”

Jana, I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your father-in-law. I’m glad painting his image has been a comfort to you—it’s one that I personally well understand. When my daughter C was gone for an entire year (scholarship to Germany) at age 16, I painted her over and over and over, filling up my studio with her image. It brought her back to me. I hope the same will happen for you.
The reds and the lights in your tomatoes are just beautiful.


Beautiful, tasty looking tomatoes. Your colors are so distinct in the green tomatoes. How do you get the paints dry enough between colors? Love the idea of a blue Pigma pen – will look for one and try it. Can’t wait to see the oil painting.


Jana! I LOVE how you loosen up! Fresh, lively, full of color — loose and yet well defined, beautifully shadowed and valued — absolutely gorgeous —-!! I LOVE this style of yours!


Aren’t you the lucky one to have such talent to share with loved ones. Truly a blessing.

Your watercolor of the tomatoes it very colorful and and look fresh and tastey.


Wonderful tomatoes, Jana! A last remainder of late summer/fall. I love how loosly you paint, it makes everything you do look so simple.

I’m sorry about your father-in-law’s passing. Painting his portrait is a great way to honour him and to keep a loving view of him near you.


Thanks everyone. It was fun doing these.

Shirley, I worked quickly but skipping around the composition so that one tomato dried before I painted one next to it–and I used a hairdryer to dry areas when I needed to. In some areas I just let the colors bleed together when they didn’tneed to be separate.

Julie, Earlier in the season I did leave them out rather than refrigerating them. But now that they’re a bit overly ripe, refrigeration seems to keep them from turning to mush.

Laura, Thanks for the kind words. Don’t you find that painting someone’s portrait is just like caressing their face. It’s so moving. I have a painting of my grandmother I did many years ago in my room and I love to look at it and remember her velvety soft skin and wonderful scent and her huge love.


Wow, these tomatoes really make an impact when you open up the blog page!! Fab colours and lovely and loose too.

I’m so sorry to hear your father-in-law passed away. I agree that drawing/painting faces feels like a caress. I’m sure it will be a comfort to his loved ones and a beautiful tribute to him.


I am so sorry to hear about your father in law Jana. May you find comfort in painting him. when my mother died, I did an oil painting of her…painstakingly every detail, every wrinkle on her face(not at all how I paint) but that was a wonderful, intimate experience for me. I still have the painting, even though it was ruined during one of our moves to another country. you are in my thoughts.
A delicious painting of these tomatoes!


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