22nd November 2005
This was a quick study, completed in just over an hour. I didn’t have a lot of choice about that since I didn’t start it until 14:00 and the light starts to fade now around 15:30.
Last night I was cooking a moussaka with these little plum tomatoes, and since they were so cute I saved three of them to paint. I don’t think the moussaka suffered much.
This painting is about half the size of the others, this was largely a happy accident. I noticed as I was setting up that there was a deep crease running over half the canvas, so I chopped it down. It was nice working smaller, quicker. I think I’ll try some more little fellers like this, it helped to keep me from getting involved in details.
Unlike the more recent paintings, where I’ve used a medium of turps and linseed oil in a roughly 50/50 mix, I just used a spot of turps in the paint with this one. Thankfully I didn’t get caught up in thin washes and fiddly details, which I did on the first few paintings. I put that down to not using medium at the time, but really I think its just down to how thick the paint goes on, how confident I am with the application. Looking back over the last nine paintings, this one is more related to the recent paintings than the earlier ones. From this I draw the conclusion that my ‘always use medium to thicken the paint’ rule is no longer necessary.
Like the Conker, Orange and Cup, I didn’t putdown a toned ground. Since this one and the orange painting both turned out ok, I’ve decided that a toned ground is unnecessary too. I may return to doing that later, but for the moment I’ll continue working straight onto the white acrylic primer.
Overall I’m fairly pleased with this one. I’m not convinced by the flecks of blue reflected colour on the tomatoes, I suspect that the tone is wrong. I didn’t observe it carefully enough. Also the penumbras of the shadows are a little too blue, which throws the light off a little. To be fair, they’re less blue on the original, but still a little too much, again a failure to see accurately, or to translate what I saw faithfully. The purple in the shadows works fairly nicely I think, not too overstated and helps the little tomatoes tooccupy their space.
Looking over the paintings I’ve done so far, I can see a clear progression in both the brightness and the faithfulness of the colour. This is good. There’s a way to go yet before I’m happy and can start to think about other priorities, but I think I’m moving in the right direction. My confidence with colour and the application of the paint is gradually growing.
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