Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Meyer lemon still life

Meyer Lemons (resting stage)
30 x 30
Still life has called to me again lately, as has a larger canvas.  Small canvases have the attraction of a speedy output and they allow me to experiment without feeling as though I've lost a lot of time and paint if they don't work out, but they aren't as interesting or challenging as a big surface.  The lessons I learn (and relearn) from these are rich.

This painting has undergone a lot of changes as I've tried to capture the backlit, autumn leaf influenced lighting.  The set up is against a north facing window, but the foliage in front of that window has heavily influenced the temperature of the light making it more warm than expected and creating quite cool shadows.  A lot of cloud cover has acted as a diffuser and created soft edges.

The inspiration for the piece was the intense orange of the meyer lemons.  For some reason, while I don't enjoy painting actual oranges, orange-coloured lemons are great subjects for me.  Probably it has to do with texture; the lemons have a smooth, gleaming surface that catches light beautifully.

At the moment, I'm calling this piece done-ish.  (so decisive!)
It has been on and off the easel often and my lemons have browned and shrivelled, but yesterday, the last piece fell into place.  That background at the top was a muted blue and quite dead and heavy, having been many other colours and values from dark to light over the past couple of weeks. Yesterday, I realized that changing the colour to the greenish shadow colour in the lemons was a better call, and it immediately put some much needed air into the piece, as well as increasing the colour harmony.

But I won't call it done for sure until I've lived with it for a good while, and it won't leave the studio till I'm certain.  The revisiting is the fun part and the most challenging.

Happy painting!


Kate Pearce said...

This painting is so beautiful. You have such loose flowing brushwork and such harmonious subtle colour.

Ingrid Christensen said...

Thanks so much, Kate! It's always nice to hear that a painting touches someone.