Hot Terra Cotta
It's been a little over a week, maybe even closer to 2 weeks, since I last painted. Raising a newborn and a 22 month old has really started to catch up with me and my wife. We both are starting look a little exhausted and sleep deprived at this point, but there is hope. The baby is starting to sleep longer at night and our 22 month old is starting to adjust to her new sister and slipping back into her routines.
Anyway, I've been thinking about doing this painting for a while now. It's a commission piece for one of my collectors who wanted a painting to go along with one of the 50 paintings in 50 days pieces he bought. That painting was of cayenne peppers, so to complement it, he wanted haberneros. Habeneros have beautiful variations in colors that range from bright yellows to deep reds when on the verge of being overripe, so they make great subject matter for still lifes. I really didn't think it would be that hard to find a few good haberneros for this painting, but I had to go to 3 different stores before I found any that didn't look like they've been sitting in the produce section for months. The first two stores only had the deep red color, which, while pretty, doesn't really capture my interest. Finally, I headed to the Mexican market and found what I was looking for. With these colorful peppers in hand, I was anxious to get back to the studio and start painting again.
Now, I seem to get rusty quickly when it comes to painting. Too long of a break (anything over 3 days) and I'm paying for it the first few days back. Knowing this, I made sure not to rush the painting process. Instead, I committed to wiping off anything I didn't like and taking as much time as needed to get something I was happy with. After a few days, I seemed to be back in the swing of things and I was able to finish up this painting.
Here's how it came to life:
Here's a photograph of the still life I was painting. You might notice I didn't paint the little pepper at the top of the terra-cotta pot that's standing up. Originally, I thought I would pull back a little further, but once I started placing the painting on the canvas, I realized I needed to crop in a little tighter to get the right feel. After I did this, I really didn't like the way that pepper looked, just barely squeaking into the painting, so I left it out.
This image was taken at the end of my rough block-in. This was actually the second block-in I did. The first one was pulled back a little more, but I think it made the peppers too small in the picture, and, since they are the reason my client commissioned this painting, I wanted to make sure they were very prominent. You might also notice that I only blocked in one little pepper just to the right of the plate. Originally, that's all I had there. Once I got to that portion of the painting, I felt it needed more interest, so I added another pepper.
I give the block-in a few minutes to dry so it doesn't blend with the more accurate colors I start to use in this stage. Most of the paint at this point is still pretty thin, except for the plate and the peppers on it. This was the area I started with, so it's the most complete at this point. The peppers are mostly all painted with the same colors, Cadmium Yellow Deep, Cadmium Red and Cadmiun Yellow Pale, just mixed in different ratios with each other.
At this point, I've more or less finished off the top half of the canvas. Since I had given most of the painting a good once over in the previous stage, this part of the painting went pretty quickly. The terra-cotta pots are painted with different mixtures of Terra Rosa, Cadmium Yellow Pale, Cadmium Red and Viridian. To finish the painting off from here, I pretty much worked from the middle down. I spent some time trying a few different arrangements of peppers to the right of the plate. I liked the two peppers close together the best out of everything I tried. I feel it gives this area a little interest and by having the stem touch the plate it really tied the left and right half of the painting together well.
The finished painting.
Hot Terra Cotta
Larger Version available here
Size: 6x6 inches on canvas panel.
Medium: Original Oil Painting
Signed on front. Signed and dated on back.Comment on or Share this Article →