Plein-air today!

"Crimson Clover" 12x12"

"Red Rows" 9x12"

Today I took a trip with 4 other artists to North Plains and found a field of crimson clover to paint and WOW, what beautiful colors and the view all around was great! Weather for an Oregon spring was just fabulous, it almost makes up for all the drizzle we've had for the past 3 weeks. The first piece, "Crimson Clover" is part of a farmer's crop to replenish the soil, and if you turned around and looked behind, there would be the scene of red rows of shrubbery. Not so sure of the plant, but it was redder than the clover. I may tweak these pieces a bit, giving them a few final touches back in the studio. But, for now, this is it!


Lemons in Red Bowl 6x6

"Lemons in Red Bowl" 6x6

I think this will be my last broken color study on fruit for awhile. Although I had a lot of fun creating these little studies of fruit, I'm ready to begin working on water subjects again. Here, I have used a resource photo from the Reference Image Library on Wetcanvas, uploaded by "Nitsa".

To start, I begin with a sketch of the image in pastel pencil and then an under painting of complimentary colors of the intended image. I used Createx acrylic airbrush pigment. It is a pretty potent pigment in a waterbased binder.

After the underpainting dries, I begin applying color. I usually establish the darkest and lightest values of the image as well as some of the mid-toned values. This is the "ugly stage" of the painting. I am intentionally letting the underpainting show through the marks of pastel. This "broken color" creates nice energy in the painting. I've noticed that the underpainting in the darker areas (bowl, parts of the fabric) needs to be in the same value! I'll take note of that next time to give it more spark.

At this stage of the piece, I'm giving shape to the bowl and lemons by adding shades of the local color. The highlights on the bowl and darkening the sides of the lemon with intense orange helps to make it look round. I'm thinking that the stripes on the back wall are conflicting with the stripes in the draped cloth. Almost done...

I've made the stripes in the wall less noticeable and worked on the fabric a lot. The top edge of the table originally was going to have a fold in the fabric, but I decided to simplify it by just making it straight across. I also rounded out the lemons a bit too. Finished!

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"Cantaloupes" 6x6

"Cantaloupes" 6x6

Here's my take on some cantaloupe slices. I took this image in the late afternoon before dinner. The sunlight came streaming in just right, making the cantaloupe glow from within. Again, I'm using broken color for a little fun. Below, I have provided the steps in which it took for me to create this small piece. Comments welcome!

Sorry about the glare in this photo...
First I started out with a pastel pencil sketch and underpainting of Createx paint in the complimentary colors of the final piece. These odd shapes and colors look funny and it is very hard to understand this step, but rest assured, it will turn out...well, I'm hoping it will turn out! You may notice a "ghosting" of squares from a previous color study just underneath the under painting. That's because I'm re-using some paper (going green here) by rinsing off the offending work. It may affect my work, but I'm not too worried here because the pastel does cover most of it anyway.

Next, I begin to block in with broken color marks, working on establishing my lights and darks. It is a pretty offensive piece right now...yuck!

At this point, I begin to get the color established by filling in most of the cantaloupes with an orange and some really intense reds. I'm also thinking where the highlights will go, or just what is my focal point. I begin to notice that my subject not correctly drawn, and the shapes are a bit off. I have to go back and fix this....

Here I have made my drawing corrections. Can you tell from the previous image? I'm now interested in getting that glowing orange from the sunlight and making sure my shadows are correctly in place. Almost done...

Darkening the background makes it look a little mysterious doesn't it? Because the two farthest background cantaloupes are in the back, I dull the colors by adding the compliment green back on top of the reds. This makes them recede out of the focal point. I do this so the highlights and bolder colors of the focal pieces come forward, giving the piece some nice depth. I think the image is done!


"Yellow Bowl of Cherries" 6x6

"Yellow Bowl of Cherries" 6x6 SOLD

On a roll now with my color studies. My work seems to be taking on a different direction, one with looser markmaking, broken color and lack of definite detail. I've struggled for years to get my work to break from pure photographic realism believing that art should look like it is art, not a photo. With these broken color studies, I'm finding so much more joy out of the process. Here, I have taken a reference photo from the Reference Image Library from WetCanvas, posted by Rosemarie. I was struck by the cool light coming in from outside and the mix of cherry varieties in this little bowl. As usual, I have posted my painting process. Comments welcome below.

First, I started with an underpainting of Createx paint in the complimentary colors of the intended piece. I'm not paying attention to the values of the underpainting like I should have. You may notice there is some ghosting in this underpainting and that is because I've re-used a previous project and am painting over it. I guess one could say I'm being green...

This is the "ugly stage". At this step, I'm establishing my values, but not all of them are placed. It's a process I go through, juggling the values all the time. My main objective at this stage was to get the "light" right from the window, hoping to establish a mood early on.

Filling in color, and correcting as I go. I like the dark cherries, but have so much more to do.

Wow! That pop of red really screams! I'm noticing trouble with the shadow of the bowl. Because a cool light dictates a warm shadow, I"m not necessarily following that rule here. I'm not so sure it's working for me. I will let value dictate over color here. Don't want to over work it, keeping the fresh feeling of broken color.

Details, but not too much! Just enough to keep it alive!
Now...go eat a cherry!