Sunday, October 18, 2009

Out Damned Red

I guess after having a few good painting weeks I was due for a struggle. I am having the hardest time with this subject - and it isn't just the problem that I'm having with the red, I'm starting to question what I'm doing with these still lifes (so is it "still lifes" or "still lives"? There is no past tense for "still life" as far as I know). They're starting to bore me a bit - so I think I need to add more complexity to what I'm doing.

But back to this painting. So many things that suck. This the second weekend I've tried this - last weekend I wiped the whole canvas off in complete frustration.

The red of the tomatoes and peppers are very different - but I can't seem to capture that difference. There are shadows on both of them, and mid-tones, and highlights - and I tried very hard to depict the differences between the two very different veggies but they ended up the same. I'm closer on the color of the tomato because there is a lot of yellow and orange in the tomatoes, but the pepper is more blue. I couldn't figure out how to get that bluish hue without making it muddy or just not "light" enough. The peppers have a kind of internal glow and it is totally escaping me. So frustrating!!! I can see it with my eye, but I am not skilled enough to interpret it on the canvas.

The veggies are sitting on a black stool. I'm ok with where the reflection on the stool is going - but the background is not working. I changed it halfway through, the stool actually extends all the way to the left but that didn't work. The background is really a placeholder until I figure it out. I think the issue is that I didn't think through the composition enough before I started painting. The background doesn't exist really, and I'm making it up. I'm trying to create the "air" around the still life and, again, beyond my skill level. I think I need to create a decent background in life, and then paint it.

I'll get back to the studio during the week and continue working - try to separate the colors of the tomatoes and the peppers. They all have stems too, in fact the tomatoes are connected on a vine. The stems will make this more interesting, and add green in other places besides the big green pepper, and they will be the last things I paint in.

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