Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Evolution of a Painting

hi there!

i wanted to take you through the process of creating what i think is my most successful painting to date - i totally love this one!

it all started one day when my son brought home some day-old baked goods - which included this delicious item!

i actually did ask permission to take it - tho, yes, i promised to give it back when i was done! (unfortunately, it was pretty stale by then, & the dog got a yummy treat!)

i tried sketching it in pencil, but just couldn't get something i liked. so i took out my trusty camera & starting shooting away, putting the plate on various surfaces. when i got the above photo, i knew it was right - the background colors set off the main yellows of the center of interest really nicely!

i then decided on which paints to use. i don't know why i do this in advance, except (a) i have way too many colors & have to narrow them down from the git-go! & (b) this is when i really study what i'm painting, looking at all the colors in the body, foreground, background, highlights, & shadows. this is what i came up with - more than i usually use (i normally stick to about 5), but i felt i needed a wider range of reds & yellows for this one.

i had been reading some daily painters' blogs online by then, and saw that one of the most frequent sizes used was 5x7. so i chose a 5x7 canvas, and toned it with cad yellow light. when it was dry, i did the sketch-in, first lightly with charcoal & then using terra rosa. i had a lot of trouble (as always!) with proportions and placement - and, if you enlarge the pic, you'll see an area that's all shiny - that's where i dampened a paper towel with walnut oil & erased some of the sketch! i put in the main forms & all the shadows - and liked it!

next i put in the table & background. i chose alizarin for the main color for the table, and prussian blue for the background. these two tend toward purple (at least how i see 'em & experience them!), so i thought they would nicely compliment the yellows of the center of interest. i worked them around a bit, adding this & that until i liked the texture of the colors, and called them done.

the plate came next - i had to lighten up what was there, and add the beginnings of shape, shadow, & highlights for both the plate & the treat. this became my first block-in:

"all" that was left was to complete the yummy center of interest. i switched to opaque colors to be sure it held the attention i wanted it too. i worked away on the frosting, filling, and main shape, concentrating on the shadows &, lastly, the highlights. (altogether, it took me 4 painting days of my usual about two hours a time.) and here it is!

looking back on it, i really like the way the plate came out, with its shiny parts & the deep yellow for part of the shadow. and also the composition, with the edge slightly cropped & it filling so much of the space.

i found the perfect frame for it - the blue really does good things for it!

thanks for stopping by - take care till next time!



  1. Looks real.Yummy! Good work. Helen x

  2. thank you! it was a lot of fun - and gave me the confidence to keep painting!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your process. This is an amazing painting. The photo reference was great. Loved to see it evolve!

  4. thank you! this is the one that, when something isn't going well, i can tell myself there's proof i can go beyond where i'm stuck! i'm really glad i took the process photos - & i've vowed (!) to do so from now on!

  5. This looks yummy enough to eat to me! In fact, I think I would gain weight painting it - really.

  6. *chuckles!* thank you! i've been having trouble resisting the urge to get more day old baked goods "just to paint"!

  7. Great results on this one and it is not an easy subject. Cannot waite to see your net post.

  8. I love the cropping and composition you chose. You really nailed the colors of the donut. It's making me hungry!

  9. thank you! it took a lot of experimentation w/ the colors . . . one day i'll do color charts - most of the books i've read suggest it . . . it's just so much work!!

  10. thank you, carol - and oh dear! my next post is . . . pretty obscure!!


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