Still Life with Tulips and Lemons
With this series each painting is both a completed thought and a bridge between what has come before and what will come later.
This composition is such, in that I wanted to emphasize the complementary colors of the pink – almost purple – tulips to the yellow lemons. They dialog between themselves in this piece while they also are a manifestation of the multiple times I have painted tulips and lemons. Never before together as now, in this painting each has their own place while also supporting each other.
I am hopeful that what was learned and gained from completing this painting will be applied to future paintings, while it would have been impossible to complete this one without all the previous times of being in front of the easel and working on different compositions.
From a technical standpoint I also am particularly pleased with this painting and if you will bear with me I will go on to describe some the nuances of what worked out…
1. I have been experimenting for the past several months on how to lay in a simple background that still has visual depth, like the still lifes by Travis Schlaht or Duane Keiser. I am not there yet, but this painting has for the first time some of the visual atmosphere I am aiming at.
The gradation from light to dark, opaque to transparent, with touches of the burnt sienna underpainting peaking through in places, all have some of the qualities that provide a depth that is more visually pleasing than just a solid background.
2. With the tulips I experimented with using thin transparent tones for the shadow areas and thick opaque passages for the light areas. Tulip petals are thin and light does filter through them, making the shadow areas seem like they are warm and glowing.
3. And lastly, I am pleased with how the lemons turned out. The edges are soft and textured, emulating the rough rind found on lemons. The yellows are rich and deep in value with touches of orange, pink, and green often found in the lemons, while the highlights are textured.
There are a few more things I could write about with this painting, however these three items are the main points that turned out.