This painting is 24″x28″
Rough sketch on canvas. Inspired by our warty pumpkin from last Halloween.
I knew I wanted cells in the background as a pattern. This piece is a play on words, something I often enjoy messing with in my work.
1. to prepare and work on (land) in order to raise crops; till.
2. to produce by culture: to cultivate a strain of bacteria.
3. to devote oneself to (an art, science, etc.).
The figure in the painting is my nephew, Noah. His favorite color, like mine, is green, and I wanted green to play an important role in this piece.
Developing the tree inside the jar.
Adding leaves, etc. Something is NOT right, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
Started playing around with the cells. I am very intrigued by reverse painting, where you paint the negative space, and I am playing with this on the cells.
Defining more elements, but…
I finally realize that the figure is crazy huge for those tiny legs. Redue!
The new figure is better proportioned, but I had really wanted him to take up more of the interior of the jar.
I decide to reduce the jar height, and let more of the cell, something I am really getting into, be more of a feature.
But the cells aren’t quite right. I want the dots to be more colorful like a few of the pieces, so I go back over them with various metallic glazes and begin repainting with a matt titan white paint.
The cell are better! Still need a lot of work, but the basics are there. Like all the composition, so onward I go.
Detail of the cells in progress. You can see the color in the dots better. They remind me of one of my favorite candies as a child, Brach’s Jelly Nougats. I don’t eat them any more since they contain gelatin, but I used to really love excavating the jellies from the nougat.
Starting to build the volume on the cells, adding some dark shadows and going back into the whites. Bringing white to the stones.
Working on tree and pumpkins, but the piece feels crowded and it is difficult to tell what is going on.
I decide to take out one of the pumpkins so there is more space, which creates better rhythm along the base. I brought the vine around so Noah is interacting with the plants. Working on the hair and face, but the face has already had one round of paint overs, so I decide to work on it on paper and transfer the sketch at a later date.
The tree was terrible. Those leaves were getting sucked into the background, so I decide to build the background up a bit to make it less visually chaotic when I bring the tree back.
Going with more of a cyprus/pine type tree, which will be shriveled outside the jar. The top was definitely lacking, and I am thinking this will help.
New face! Still needs a little tweaking, but basically looks like Noah, so I am pleased.
Added plant on left to break up the blue of the pumpkin. Making the tree into a puffy evergreen type thing.
Detail of face in progress.
I had been feeling like something was missing in the composition. It was feeling too much like a kid stuck in a jar without much else going on. I like the idea of these “dogs” since they give the piece an added narrative and help bring your eye around the canvas. Plus, Noah is such an animal charmer.
Building up the color on the plants and animals.
Tweaking the shape of the branches that extend out of the jar. They weren’t different enough, so it didn’t translate that they were rotten or shriveled.
Detail of face with new patterns on trees and shirt.
Patterns added to the pebbles. Working on the pumpkin details.
Detail of rocks and pumpkins in progress.