January 19th, 2012

Rabbetina

Finishing the still life: glaze and highlights

Today: a glaze to create highlights and form. 40% linseed oil, rest turpentine, so it absorbs correctly into the much thinner (and mostly dry) underlayer. Start with a glaze; add highlights; then do the background.

Work on the yellow of the lemon with cadmium yellow (mixed with oil mixture) so it's really smooth, then put on top of the previous week's underpainting. Once on the fruit area, the undercolor will show through, but it will all be much more lemony and bright. Then add white to mixture and use that mix to paint on highlights. An artificial hair brush will help add some texture.
Making the lemon yellow
For the glaze for the red onion, use thinned Crimson lake: very strong (lakes are dyes made into paints, this one would look good on my hair). It gives that paper-skinned glow to the underpainting of the red onion. Mix a tiny bit of white in it to make highlights; as they are both wet, it will make for softened highlights. (His was Michael Harding paint: hand ground, one color a week, only once per year.)

To do the background, make a black with blue and brown. Paint over the original background to darken it up, using your thumb or a clean brush to soften the edges of the fruit (it will look odd if it is too crisp, especially when the color ranges are similar, i.e. dark next to dark). (I wound up creating a foreground color also so it looked more like the fruit was on a table: you can see where I went down too far and had to wipe the dark paint off so I could paint something lighter over it. We went with a cooler color to offset the warmth of the onions and the lemon.)

Then a tiny pointy round brush and some pure whites to do the roots (I skipped this) and maybe a few more highlights (this I did as you can see)  ... but paint slowly as the colors underneath will be sucked upwards. Have some edges crisp and others soft. (I also wound up painting over the original shadows as they now looked too harsh against the grey background.)

Anyway ... next week we're going to do Venice. No idea how that will work out.