Wednesday, June 11, 2008


This is a painting I started the week after I had done the one of Woman and Drapes.

I had some red onions in an orange bowl, sitting on a vibrant plaid tablecloth.

To get started, I made a color chart of the main colors I would be using - crimson on one side and ultramarine on the other. In the middle I got the tones for my onions.

I did another with cadmium red and cadmium yellow to get the orange tones for the bowl.

From the beginning, bowls and plates have been my downfall, but after several attempts at a sketch I got the bowl looking exactly like I wanted it to. I then got the onions in there and drew in some guidelines for the tablecloth and then transferred the whole thing to the 16x20 canvas I had brought.

I started with the onions and somehow I managed to achieve the translucent purple of the onion skin so that it looked like they were ready for you to pull them right out of the painting. I got the shades of the bowl in the right places and worked on the shadows for the onions. Then I made mistake number 1 - I put a dark shadow under the bowl with accounting for the varying shades of the tablecloth. Imagining what it would look like once the cloth was colored I saw the shadow would look shitty, so I scraped it off.

I had taken so long on the sketch that I was now out of time, so I took this one home unfinished. The plan was to finish it the next week, but I had to miss that class due to my little boy getting sick. So, this painting sat around unfinished until mid-June.

I threw it onto my little easel at home one night and started working on the tablecloth. The paint clumped up and wasn't cooperating. I knew right off the bat that I was having trouble because the tablecloth wasn't actually in front of me. But I kept working on it, wanting to have it finished for the "show" we were going to have at our last class.

In working on the tablecloth, I kept in mind my failure with the shadow and I used darker versions of the tablecloth colors to work on the shadow. I put paint on. Scraped it off. Put on different paint. By the time I was happy with it, I had messed up parts of the bowl, so I worked on fixing that, which meant that since my color mixes were all different I had to touch up the whole thing. And then I got orange all over a big chunky glob of paint making up one of the onions and being that it wasn't a nice clean flat section of canvas I couldn't just wipe it off.

So then I made the colossal mistake of touching up the onion. And with two or three strokes of my brush the translucence was gone and they were lifeless blobs of dark paint.

So here it is in all of its glorious failure -- Onions:

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