Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Late Harvest

So it's getting a little late in the season for this theme - but it's technically still autumn, so here goes.... this is a little painting I did for a project on WetCanvas.

For any artsy folk out there I have to put in a plug for WetCanvas - it's a fabulous site and a great resource for just about any kind of art! Check it out!

Back to the corn - for this puzzle project I received a tiny little image, it's 1/16th of a larger image (which we have yet to see as I write this). Quite obviously some harvest corn. I decided to do it on a piece of terra cotta Canson paper I had around. I haven't worked on Canson in awhile - it's very different than the Wallis paper that Bells was done on. Not better or worse in my opinion, just different.

Here's the preliminary sketch in charcoal - I've marked off quarters around the margin, I'm trying to keep the proportions really exact in this as it has to line up with other people's pieces. The original image is exactly what you see above. My painting will be 6x6" (this sheet of paper is 8x8" to leave a margin for working):

And starting with color... first I block in the dark purple and red kernels. Because further layers of pastel will lighten I want the tone I use here to unfluence the final color - but it isn't what the final color will be:

Next I continue by working a bit more on the weird shapes in the background (upper left) and blocking in the lighter kernels:

Now to give these guys some depth - admirably avoiding the black pencil I used mostly blues for the darker kernels...

And purples for the yellow kernels, with blue-gray for the very pale kernels. I start to smooth out the red kernels:

Next I smooth out the dark purplish kernels. They get layers of the ruddy brown base color with blues in the deep shadows and a pale mulberry color for the highlights. A color shaper helps to smooth the color gradations together and just a light touch of white at the brightest highlights makes them really pop!

I continue, smoothing out the yellow and white kernels, deepening their shadows and brightening some of the highlights. The corn is really getting some depth. I've gone back and futzed with the background a little too - I have to admit, it's frustrating for me not knowing what it is... if I were working from a high resolution photo I could reproduce it, but since I'm blowing up a very tiny image I end up filling in the gaps with my imagination (a dangerous thing):

And there's the finished piece! (It looks little different because the last shot is always scanned and cropped (as opposed to taken under easel lighting with the digital camera - this is closer to the actual appearance of the painting in real life)

Hope you enjoyed this one! Although it started as a little project I quite like it, it will look lovely with a wide museum mat!

Next post I'm thinking we'll be back to the doggies, I've got a few good things cooking so stay tuned!


Liesl said...

That is an excellent little painting, I enjoyed reading the step-by-step!

I really need to venture into the pastel forums there at WC and read more, the process is very similar to Colored Pencil which I enjoy.

Nicely done!

Cat-in-a-Box said...

Ah, I grew up on CP - I use pastel pencils and although it's a bit different, there's a certain familiarity there that helps alot! Plus the pastel group at WC are SO friendly!! :)
- Pam