Monday, October 3, 2011

Cantaloupe on a Plate

As part of my Artful Journaling Foundations class, I painted this as an assignment. Here's what I originally posted on the class page but then decided to put on this blog instead, with just a short reference over there. The class page can get very long when we all post...

I love cantaloupe, so my choice this time was very easy. (My cats also love cantaloupe, but they had no say in this.) I wanted to create a bit of tension in the painting, so I deliberately changed the directions of the three key elements -- cantaloupe, plate, lines -- to be slightly different. I think that in fact the painting looks more unified as a result, without the tension I'd hoped for. Oh well.

My line widths were broken (cantaloupe edges); narrow (plate edges); and thick (lines of fabric as well as border). I thought about extending the thick border all the way up and across the top, but I thought it might make the colorful part too top-heavy. I'm glad now that I didn't do that. I went with the vertical format not just because I liked how the photo looked, but because I really needed the height to create the upward thrusts. Once I'd decided on this approach, I tried a couple of thumbnails to see if they would work. As soon as I added the dark lines, the image just popped for me, and I decided to incorporate them.

The biggest challenge was the color of the cantaloupe. I kept seeing "orange" but it was far more than that. I layered it a couple of times to get the right sort of color and contrast. Next, the shadows. I kept them cool as a contrast to the warm cantaloupe. They're a bit too bland for my liking, but on the other hand, they don't detract from the focus, which I want to be the cantaloupe and the patterned fabric. (Actually, I don't think of it as fabric, but I'm not sure what else to call it.)

The black border over "cantaloupe" is to hide the paint that strayed from both directions, since my brush picked up some cat hairs and dragged paint around before I realised what was happening. :) I considered doing the same for the outer edges of the plate, but thought it would give too much weight where I didn't want it to be, and would visually separate the cantaloupe from the colors more than I wanted.

I really like the colors at the top. Mixed three puddles of blue, yellow, red, then dipped into each one to get a variegated pattern. Unfortunately I wasn't able to keep the blue and red as pure as I wanted, but perhaps that's not so bad, since now they're more muted.

I'm not happy with the word "cantaloupe" at the bottom. I colored in each letter with the same colors at the top, then put green over it. Maybe I should have painted a very dark color around the letters. I also put a light wash of yellow over the plate to remove some of the starkness of the white -- also because some yellow paint got onto the plate and I couldn't get it completely removed!! I don't know if the yellow shows up very well in the scan.

Fun assignment!

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