I am VERY wedded to my process of painting from life in natural light when I am working on a still-life painting. Sometimes this dedication to only painting from life can affect the development of a painting.
This painting, “Late Summer Tomatoes” started out with sunflowers as the leading star, however a family emergency required me to stop work on the painting after the initial first week of work. This situation took me away from home for two weeks and in that time my sunflowers had bloomed out in my garden, leaving me in search of something else to incorporate into the setup from what my garden was producing when I returned to the studio.
Luckily for me, my tomatoes were especially productive and I decided to paint them again.
Here are some photos showing my painting process.
This image is taken from my first day of blocking in the composition. As you can see, originally a basket full of sunflowers was going to be sitting on the green step stool.
At the beginning of the second day of blocking in I realized that I needed to shift the stool down some in the painting, so began to work over the previous day’s burnt umber block-in with lead white mixtures.
Then I left for two weeks, and this was the chaos I returned to, with the sunflowers all bloomed out… My garden always gets overgrown and wild by the end of August. I am painting so much that I do not have has much opportunity to keep the crazy growth in check, and I hate cutting back at this time because I want to maximize what I can paint from in September and October, and so many birds begin eating from the seed heads of the flowers I just feel guilty about cutting back the chaos until the last moment. Sigh. How I wish there were more hours in the day during the summer…
And thank goodness my husband is patient with me and that we do not have a HOA, they would be bothering me like crazy around this time of year ;)
When I got back home and into the studio, things were so crazy I did not photograph any of the earlier days. But, you can see that I made a lot of progress on the quilt and stool along with the first block-in of the tomatoes. To make the change easier after what I had painted in before the two week break, I laid down a middle gray value to simplify everything, it was easier to move forward without any of the previous composition still lingering.
Further along with a big push focusing on the tomatoes. The tomatoes began to ripen quickly in my studio, so I had to give them my whole attention for several days in a row.
Getting closer to the finish line….
The completed painting! Late Summer Tomatoes, 36 x 30 inches, oil on linen.
A closeup of the tomatoes and stems.