My wife and I started our garden the first spring after we bought our home. Every since then, it's been a constant learning experience for us because in the beginning we had very little idea of when to plant, what to plant, and how often to fertilize and water. This year, our yields way up, but now we have to learn to keep the raccoons from eating all of our veggies. (I am open to suggestions, by the way.) It's been a great hobby for both of us, and, slowly but surely, we are getting better at it. Marcie used to joke that we grow $80 tomatoes, since we use to get so few of them and spent so much money on the garden. This year that joke is down to $5 dollar tomatoes, but I'm not sure that's very accurate any longer since we are picking more than we can eat right now. Our peppers are also starting to produce lots of colorful fruit of all kinds, we have a couple of pumpkins on the vine, both Italian and purple basil, corn, squash, and even a few watermelon plants. So for today's painting, all I had to do was walk out to the garden and harvest what ever was ready to eat. I brought everything straight into the studio and started setting up this still life. I adjusted and removed some of the items I just picked until I was happy with my arrangement. Then I started painting. Here's how it came to life.
Here's a picture of what I'm looking at while painting. This is just to show you what I'm seeing while working. For this painting, I worked directly from my set up. If you like to grow tomatoes, those yellow bell's produce a lot of fruit. Beware though, they tend to spread out a lot. Ours is planted almost in the center of one of our 4'x10' beds and it's vines have just about woven themselves from end to end in both directions.
In this image, I'm working out the placement of all of my objects. I'm thinning my oils with a lot of turpentine at this stage and using a paper towel to wipe out areas that I want lighter. A good example of this is in the bowl. I blocked the whole thing in with the shadow color and then wiped out the lighter areas. At this stage, there's very little actual paint on the canvas.
Now that I'm happy with my block in, I can start to layer in thicker paint to build up the form and color of my objects. I usually try to start with something around my center of interest, which, in this case, is the largest tomato. I'm careful not to get any of the tomato's color on the bowl. Past experience has taught my it's very difficult to cover up a red color with a white color. I'll be just as careful when I paint the bowl color around the tomatoes. If I pick up any of the tomato color on my brush when I'm painting the bowl, it will totally change the color I'm trying to paint.
Once I establish where I'm going to start, I than try to work outward from that point. You can see in this picture I've worked on everything that touches that starting tomatoes except the little yellow bell tomatoes. This allows me to get a good start on almost everything in the painting. The sooner I can do this, the better I can judge the colors, edges, temperature and values of everything else I paint.
At this stage, I'm trying to get to the edges of my canvas. Once I can reach an edge, I can start to finalized areas of my painting. I think the peppers are at this stage now as well as most of the green background. From here, I'll work on the remaining areas that I haven't painted yet, like the foreground and the yellow tomatoes. You may also notice that I haven't painted the design on the bowl yet. I'll save that till the end. I want to make sure I have the underlying values correct first.
Everything had a pretty good start now. At this point, I go over everything and make sure I'm happy with the way it looks. I'm checking the color, drawing and the edges. From here, I'll put in the final details like the design on the bowl and the leaves and vines on the tomatoes.
The final painting.