Kale take 2–day 18

I am happier with how this is coming together.  After sleeping on it, and spending some time painting upside down, I think I can perfect this. It feels fresher to me. Needs more work but I need some distance from it to know what to do next. 

This is how it started.  A puddle of pigment with plastic wrap crumpled and laid on top with weight on top until it dries. 

And here is yesterday’s with judicious additions, liftings and glazing. 

So I think I can use this technique in a confined area on kale in the bigger picture. Kind of fun to use the abstract pattern that occur and glaze over in leaf sections. What do you think? 

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Kale day 17

OK. I am sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly! I am not quite sure where this kale study fits in.   LOL. I tend to go too bold in dark values so I have to lift it out and I think a cleaner look would be thinner glazes.  And I feel like showing the form of this krinkled surface makes me feel tight.  Anyway, those are my ramblings late on a tiring day… 

One idea I had was to try texture technique of using plastic wrap over moist wash but I am not sure that would turn our any better for me. 

Another thought I had was to work from life rather than a photo.  

Or…..Or….If you have any tips, I am sure open to hear them!  Please and thank you. 

Here is the photo from which I am working

Pepper study. Day 16

I am painting this again in preparation for a food still life for an upcoming show.  I have painted this previously in a piece called Harvest Song which is hanging at the EPCC show on Viscount until the 24th.  I would paint it differently now including the background, and after some frustration on another piece for this show, I decided to switch to this subject to get the submission done.  

Farmer’s Market Scapes

Farmers' Market Scapes watercolor by Rachel Murphree

Farmers’ Market Scapes.

I’ve put the final touches on this painting and it will be one of the ones that I submit to the Arts International juried show this month.  This show allows submission of three pieces for one price, so it will be this, Contemplation (the water scene) and one other yet to be determined.

I cleaned up the edges on the scapes and brought out more of the light highlights and shadows, and pulled out some highlights in the kale.  This was challenging, and fun, and when I started, I never in my wildest imaginations thought it would have such a dark purplish background, but I think it makes the veggies pop.

It shines with a white double mat, and would make a lovely spot of color in someone’s kitchen!

If you’d like to see previous posts on this process, see Stages four and five and The next stages of the scapes  and Scapes anyone?

And I have to tell you, the scapes (the curling tops of garlic plants) are quite tasty cooked and keep very well in the veggie drawer in the refrigerator.  I quite enjoy painting veggies and fruit.  I sense a series coming on….stay tuned…

I’m always glad to hear from you, so please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.  Thank you for stopping by!

The Scapes return, stages four and five

in process painting of veggie still life

Scapes painting stage 4.  Click on image to view larger.

 

As you can see, if you compare with the last post, I’ve added some darks into the kale and made it so much more lively!  The darks I used were a mix of thalo green blue shade and quinacridone magenta.  This is a great dark combination that’s also transparent, and I plan on using it in the background along with charging into it some other colors used in the existing veggies to give it color harmony.

 

 

 

 

in process painting of veggie still life

Scapes painting stage 5, with a dramatic background! Click on image to view larger

 

 

And you can see it here, I’ve taken the plunge and started on the background.  I think I’m going to be happy with it and you can see that the background is really broken up into sections which is nice.  I can work on parts and soften the edge where they would join up so that there isn’t a hard line where they meet.  you can see I did that to the left of the pepper stem.

I plan on using this background with other colors mingled in with it to cover all the area where the scapes are, and I think the dark colors will make the sinewy snakelike scapes “pop”

What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, I enjoy reading your comments, critiques, suggestions, thoughts…

The Stages of the Scapes

in progress painting of veggie still life

Scapes painting stage 2.  click on image to view larger

Here are some further photos of stages in the painting. At this stage I hopedit could be ok, but I felt overwhelmed by I put down the colors of the kale but was getting lost in the curves, ruffles, and edges. After doing anything BUT painting on this — i.e. cleaning the baseboards, organizing closets, I think some of you will understand these impulses! — I realized I need to look at each section and develop it in an attempt to not get lost. Following the process one would use to paint petals of a flower. Work on each and build it up to a certain level, what feels right, and then do another.

In process painting of veggie still life

Scapes painting stage 3.  Click on image to view larger

So here’s the following stage.  I  worked on the swirl of the bud of the scape, to the left of the pepper.  It needs a bit more refining but it’s more true to the spiral.

I worked on various sections of the leaf.  I knew I wanted the detail where it would catch your eye in the middle of the painting, near the red pepper — because red and green are complements so they “zing” against each other and that draws your eye.  I knew I didn’t want a lot of detail, at least not now, in the darker, blue green shadows in the bottom right corner.  With the advice and support of great friends in my painting group — you know who you are! — they counseled me on lifting out some lights, and going in later with the DARKS to give the leaf depth.  Right now it is all medium values, if you squint at it, the kale is all one value, no darks in it so spike it up!

So that’s what’s coming next…  stay tuned….

Thanks for stopping by.  I’d love to hear from you — your thoughts, reactions, advice, critique!  it’s all welcome.

Scapes anyone?

farmer's maket photo

My own photo reference of scapes, pepper and kale from farmer’s market

No, not EScapes, but scapes.  Have you heard of them?  I hadn’t until visiting a farmer’s market recently and picking up these curvy stems of the garlic plant that just make me smile!  You can chop them up into salads (very strong) or saute them as a milder garlic taste.  And when their heads pop open with a bit of the flower beginning — see the bulge to the left of the pepper — it’s enchanting.

Knowing I wouldn’t be able to do these in life before they wilted and dried, I decided to pose some still lifes, with the light source to the left.  For “fun” I added the kale bunch, and that’s proving to be QUITE the challenge to paint!

preparatory sketch of scapes, pepper and kale

Value sketch of scapes, pepper and kale

I thought I’d share a bit of the process with you on how I go from a photo to starting the painting. I first make a small sketch with values to understand the shapes, curves, shadows and other elements that will make the objects recognizable. This was in my sketch book.  I added the grid on top later, in order to enlarge the drawing to fit the selected paper size, in this case 11″ x 15″ (or what is called a “quarter sheet” of watercolor paper, that has traditionally been made in sheets that are 22″ x 30″.

By making the grid and putting in a grid on the larger paper, it’s a matter of transferring lines from one square to a larger one, by seeing where the drawing of the left bulge of the pepper, for example, intersects the grid lines in the smaller version and making it fit a similar dimension in the larger grid opening.

enlarged sketch for quarter sheet of watercolor paper

enlarged sketch for quarter sheet of watercolor paper. Simplified connection of darker and lighter values

enlarged sketch on the lightbox to transfer to watercolor paper

portion of enlarged sketch on the lightbox to transfer to watercolor paper.

While I’m doing this I’m not restricted to how I drew it originally but because I’m understanding it better, I can omit some lines, make less but cleaner shapes, connect shapes of certain values together to make other more interesting shapes, etc.  This is an ongoing learning process for me on how to do that, and I perhaps didn’t do it enough.

Then I trace the major lines with a darker pen or maker in order to see them more clearly when I place them on my light box and put the thicker watercolor paper on top to trace the image with a mechanical pencil onto the paper.  here’s a snippet of how that looks.

in progress watercolor

early stage of watercolor painting of scapes, pepper, and kale

And now the fun part, to start painting!  Here’s the first pass of building up color on the pepper and the scapes and putting in lights for the kale.  I’m using hansa yellow  and clear water for the highlights with warm reds (pyrrol orange and pyrrol scarlet) with a neutral Quinacridone red for the areas of each bulge that are facing the light.  I use cooler reds for the sides away from the light (permanent rose, quinacridone magenta).  I do each bulge (there must be a more precise word for these?) individually, charging them wet into wet to mingle the colors and the hard edges that form help separate one bulge from its neighbor.

Yellows glow through colors layered on top of them, such as blues or greens in this case, so we want the glow of the warm greens to contrast with the color blue greens and shadows in the kale leaves.

Stay tuned because I’ve done more work on this that I’ll talk about in the next post, on how I got “lost” in the kale leaves and found my way out!  Thanks for stopping by.  If you’d like to leave me a comment, I’d love to read it!