My heart was in my mouth…
I’d just set up the first auction of a piece of my work on my web site.
My mouse pointer was hovering over the “publish” button, but I just couldn’t seem to bring myself to click it.
I must admit I was a bit excited. I’d never seen apples as beautiful, as interesting, as these.
I had so many bags of them in my arms that I kept dropping them.
And I’d never seen so many apples in one place. They were everywhere. And not the usual apples you see in the supermarket, grown for high yield and selected for uniformity.
These were real apples.
From the start of this painting I had in mind an idea that I could use the paint expressively to describe the lumpy-ness of this beautiful quince.
And I had a rough picture in my head of how it would look when it was finished.
Still, as I was starting, at the top of my mind were thoughts of past paintings where I’d tried to paint more expressively, to create texture with the paint, and pretty much fallen flat on my face.
Mostly because I’d lost the form and the accuracy of the drawing.
So what do you do when you want to paint more loosely and expressively?
I was at the end of the painting. I thought it was finished. But something was bothering me.
When I looked at it agin the next day, I realised it was the shadows in the background. they just weren’t reading right, they didn’t have the depth and luminosity of the shadows I could see in the subject.
And actually, I’d struggled with them throughout the painting.
It’s a surprising approach to colour. It seems almost scientific at first.
And I think that when people first come across it, it throws them a little. Because we’re so used to thinking about colour in very vague and mostly emotional terms.
So when someone starts to wonder what colour things really are, and wants to try to translate those colours into paint, this vagueness obscures something that is, in fact, rather straight forward – if only we can find our way through the fog.
I was about to hit the publish button, but I just couldn’t do it.
Making something new public is always at least a little nerve-wracking for me. But it’s very rare that I actually stop myself doing it.
I have a rule of thumb that I should hit publish whether I’m happy or not, because I never really am.
I’ve painted this little jug so many times now I think it’s a part of me.
So you’d think I’d get faster at painting it, but I think this was the longest I’ve ever spent on it. In fact, this little painting, despite its diminutive size, took me a little over a week to complete.
Partly I think that was because the values took some work to get right. from the highlight on the jug to the darkest shadows, the value range in the subject was well outside the range of values we can reach with paint.
These apples came from our local farmers market. Every Friday and Saturday in Stroud, there is a market that has rightly become known as one of the biggest, busiest and best in the UK. It’s certainly busy!
Last week I happened on a stall that sold only apples and apple juice. They were a little surprised that I was rooting through their boxes of apples picking ones that looked less-than-perfect. I had to explain that I was looking for ones that I wanted to paint.