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Persistently Painting Potatoes

Feeling frustrated from failing to form a faithful facsimile of a silly spud I sought some solutions. (I’ve always loved alliteration.) Displayed below in reverse order (last version first) are my efforts in trying to understand the shape of one homely sweet potato (and a can of beans).

Oil painting #2, after sketch and watercolor study, 6x8", on panel
Sweet Spud #4 , Oil on panel, 6x8" (after watercolor study and sketch below)
Sweet Potato watercolor study, 6x8" on Arches wc paper
Sweet Spud #3, watercolor on Arches cold pressed paper, 6x8"
Pencil sketch to try to understand planes and volume, 6x8"
Sweet potato #2 (Pencil sketch to try to understand planes and volume), 6x8"
First oil painting before doing the studies, 6x8", on panel
Sweet Spud #1, (First oil painting before doing the studies) 6x8"

I think I like the watercolor best, what about you?

8 replies on “Persistently Painting Potatoes”

Hi Jana – if I had to choose I would take the oil painting – the image at the bottom. There is some strange magic in it – if you could talk about magic in a potato but somehow you manage to make me have this perception 😛 😛 –
the only suggestion that I have – if I may say this – you might try to bring more drama into this by deepening light and shadow areas. The colours themselves are marvellous!

Greetings, Petra


Petra, I totally agree. That was my thought too when seeing them posted. Where’s the very dark and very light value. I think I’m going to try one more time…or go back and adjust these.


Agree too. That’s probably why the watercolor is most eye-grabbing, your confidence lets you go for it with the values in watercolor. For color mixing, the very first oil has wonderful clean mixes, gorgeous soft variations (like that little bit of blue and purple in the spud.)


I vote for the watercolor too. Who knew a potato and a can of beans could have a dark brooding presence with a delicate little tail. Your colors have the feel of oils.


Well, the watercolor speaks to me!!!!!!! And this week I seem to be favoring reds……..hum……but with the anticipation of beginning my painting class….I am absorbing all tips and techniques for oils….so keep ’em coming!


Wow Jana, I haven’t been visiting your site for a time, been very busy. It seems that I have quite a backlog to read, but an enjoyable backlog! 😀

My choice would be your final or top version in oil, though I would have to agree with Chloe Nichols, you need to darken one of the shadows more because, at this time, it appears that you have two sources of light. Still, I’m sticking with the top version as my favorite!


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