This painting was inspired by my neighbor’s childhood Montessori Pink Tower blocks arranged like a little cityscape on his coffee table. I found the blocks irresistible and had to paint them. The turnips I’d bought to cook for dinner seemed like a perfect addition (I know, I’m weird, right?) The painting is available on my Daily Paintworks gallery here.
If you’d like to see my full notes with goals and outcomes for each painting session, you can open this small PDF file. Life intervened between sessions which made painting from life difficult as you can see in the photos below taken at the beginning and end of the painting process: the turnips had started to sprout and wrinkle.
I wanted to learn how to get from a grisaille underpainting to a full color painting after I did the Frankie Flathead monochrome study. So I decided to set up some colored blocks as if they were a landscape, and paint them in layers, starting with a grisaille, trying to find a method that worked for me.
Aboveis the final painting and belowis the step-by-step process that I followed.
These lemons came from my little Meyer Lemon tree which produces the sweetest, plumpest lemons. I planted the tree from a small pot about 5 years ago and now it’s as tall as me. I really like the Centurion Oil Primed Linen Panel I painted this on, except that it takes much longer for the paint to dry than when painting on Gessobord because it doesn’t sink in to the oil priming.
I set up the bowl of lemons on my new rolling, adjustable (from 28″ to 45″ high) still life stand, also known as an Over the Bed Table on Amazon where I got it with free shipping (good thing because it’s not light). Since I was taking a picture of it I thought I’d also describe the other items in the photo since I’m so happy with my painting set up.
B = Karen Jurick’s “Alter Easel” which I love for holding thin panels instead of trying to balance them between the narrow supports on my easel. Works great!
C = Daylight Studio Lamp for lighting the still life (not visible is the Daylight Artists Easel Lamp that is attached to the top of my easel to light the painting (that I was given for free by the company and liked so much I bought the standing light).
D = A silly maul stick (just the top shows) that doesn’t work very well. I’ve seen people using canes instead, hooked over the top of the painting to provide support for your hand when painting details.
E = Masterson Artist Palette Seal with a lid that seals like Tupperware and with a pad of palette paper inside (the palette paper is a recent discovery that I LOVE because it saves so much time from having to clean the palette.) I keep the palette in my freezer when I have paint left over. Once thawed (in a few minutes) it’s in perfect condition for the next painting session. The palette is on top of an upside down plastic drawer from a defunct rolling cart to raise it up high enough for me to use without bending over (I’m 5’10”).
Not lettered but in the picture is the beautiful silk sari fabric my friend Barbara gave me for my birthday for just this purpose and the ancient microwave cart that holds my palette and supplies. Not shown is the rolling plastic taboret I’ve had for 20 years that holds my brushes and other stuff.
OK, I know I’m a gadget girl and many of these things are not necessary. But I feel like painting (and life) are hard enough, why not have great tools to make it easier? There are lots more pictures of my studio under the category “Studio.”
Two recent discoveries have made my painting life easier, brighter and more enjoyable: the new Daylight Artists Professional Lamp and a new prototype version of Karin Jurick’s tabletop easel that serves as a panel holder in a regular easel.
Happy New Year! Thanks for hanging out with me this past year! Even though I’ve had a nasty cold all week I managed to get in some pomegranate painting between nose blowing, naps, and chicken soup breaks, but not nearly as much as I’d hoped to do over my year-end vacation.
I only had enough energy to be in the studio for a couple of hours a day but fortunately the pom waited nicely for me. I started by doing a value study in oils (above), trying to sort out where the darkest darks and lightest lights are and just how dark and light they are.
I did a small study next since I knew I didn’t have more than an hour or so of painting energy. I had fun with this and feel like I’m starting to find a way to get loose and sketchy with oils.
I used a GE Reveal light bulb in my lamp which gave everything a pinkish-lavender cast and that’s why I named the painting “Pomegranate Revealed.” GE says they are “specially made to filter out the dull yellow rays produced by standard incandescent bulbs.” I’d bought it originally thinking it would simulate daylight but it doesn’t at all. I usually use a fluorescent 5000K bulb 40 watt bulb (equal to 150 watts) which does a better job of producing clean light.
When I compared the final painting and the studies I realized I liked the original composition with less background better so I experimented with cropping the painting in Photoshop. It’s not hard to cut the board down if I decide to crop it for real.
What do you think? Do you like this cropped version or the “final” version at the top of the post better?