Sunday, June 28, 2015

PB & J? Really?

It's a rainy Sunday morning here in Maine and I'm thinking about a very cheerful subject to write about. In my weekly classes, I often set up a still life arrangement. Believe me, I really search for objects that I know will get artists excited! We've had mackerel, high-heeled black sandals with accessories, high tech tools, all-white subjects .....too many to name.

Food has always been a great source of inspiration for artists. I knew that sooner or later, a butter and jelly sandwich would be a great subject. My set up was not one I would want to eat, as the hearty grain bread was cut really thick and the peanut butter and jelly were really ladled on - especially so that they would ooze out of the sides. 

Here are a few things that we learned from this subject:
- everyone had good results with creating the texture of the bread. No two were alike, but overall, getting the value and warm temperature of the sides of the bread in the light and the crust was the key.  

- it was surprisingly difficult to get the color of the jam to look as if you would want to eat it! I deliberately chose the darkest violet-red jam, knowing it's very easy to mix vibrant violets with alizarin crimson and thalo blue red-shade. But these mixtures just didn't look tasty at all! The best results came with adding bits of ultramarine blue - cutting down a little on the brilliance.

- it seemed obvious that yellow ochre would be a good color for peanut butter. But again, it was not quite that simple. It took some experimenting with the ochre, sienna, and touches of darker brown to pull it off. 

Patti's painting turned out really well. Here it is; the photo has the glass of milk a bit "off" - just ignore that.  Doesn't it look as if you could just take a big bite out of it!

Just think of the famous still life paintings of food - I just made a strawberry-rhubarb pie and it could be a perfect subject for a painting!  So off I go; hope you are having a great day, and I'd love to see a photo of your next painting. Leave me a comment and I'll get back to you right away.