View Full Version : three tomatoes--WIP

08-06-2005, 09:46 PM
If I keep posting, I keep painting. So far I'm sticking to my August goal of painting or drawing every day.

This is from an image in the RIL. Thanks to toniqart for the photo!

I'm pretty happy with the tomatoes so far. I've cleaned up the edge of that right-hand tomato quite a bit since I took the picture. I'm taking a break now because the bowl is a real head-scratcher at the moment...I don't have the colors I want so I'm going to have to get creative :confused:.

08-06-2005, 09:51 PM
These are looking positively yummy already!!! Good for you, sticking to your goal!!!!

08-07-2005, 04:17 AM
Take another look at the base of the bowl. There seems to be strong light on the tomatoes, so why is the base of the bowl so light?

Better still, go find a bowl in your cupboard. Put some tomatoes or something similar in it. Shine a light from above. NOW look at the tone of the base of the bowl.

A small question............while I can understand someone working from a photo of a highly complex subject, for example a figure when no model is available, or a sudden shaft of light on a still life which will move away very quickly, or flowers which are on the verge of dying ...but why not try putting a few tomatoes in one of your own bowls, and paint what you see? Then, you will be painting from FULL SIZE tomatoes and a full size bowl, rather than trying to paint tomatoes which are only about half an inch in size. Also, the camera tells fibs, it cannot expose properly for both the light, and the shadow, at the same time, and your eyes will.

My mission in life is to encourage more work from life. I know not everyone can do this, for all sorts of reasons, but if you can, why not try.


08-07-2005, 07:11 AM
I can almost taste those tamahtoes! :D Just remember, if you have the value or tone right, the bowl can be almost any color you like!

08-07-2005, 07:51 AM
Jackie--I haven't done the base of the bowl yet. That's why it's so much lighter, lol.

I do plan to work more from life. I've been lurking on WC for a long time, and you (among others) have convinced me it's best. I painted a "live" tomato the other day, and it was much easier to see it than to do these from a photo. But my work schedule this weekend leaves me only late evenings for painting, and at the moment I don't have a light fixture that I can use to create shadows I can work with (I'm planning to go get some kind of gooseneck lamp or something I can direct tomorrow on my day off)...so...I used a photo. Besides, I wanted to paint tomatoes and I didn't have any. I promise not to make a practice of it!

Cori and Sooz--thank you for the warm fuzzies! Once all the green tomatoes in my garden start ripening--that one I had the other day was a fluke--I can send you pounds of the real thing!

08-08-2005, 12:12 AM
Finished it...pretty much, anyway. I'm having fun, and that's what counts.

The second image is after I tried to lighten up those shadows on the left behind the tomatoes.

08-08-2005, 09:52 AM
They look good enough to eat! YOu did a super job.
And good for you for setting goals and sticking to them!


08-08-2005, 10:10 AM
Kim, if you have a dark blue, and used that to create the shadowed side of the tomates, they would not have that rather flat look to them there. It takes some layering and glazing, but a very dark blue laid over the initial red, then the red again, then blue- very lightly- then one more red, again lightly- will read "shadow" much better than the somewhat grayed tone you have there now. In the very deepest part of the shadow, try a light glaze of very dark green or purple- it will make the red richer.

Same with the shadows- just use a pink to lighten them, and try not to use black in the first place if you have any other very darks you can substitute. (Even "brown" will work- you just glaze the "colour" you want it to be over the top).

08-08-2005, 10:31 AM
Sandy - Thanks for the praise! I need all the encouragement I can get, lol.

SBJ - Thank you for the instruction!!! I SO appreciate this advice! I've been wondering how to do shadows without using dark browns or grays, because they never ever look right. This may sound stupid, but is there a rule of thumb in choosing colors for shadows?

Happily, I've added about a dozen pastels to my very small collection, so for the first time I have the colors you mentioned! I'll see what I can do with this.

08-08-2005, 11:52 AM
Now you're getting into colour-play which is an area fraught with rules which are made to be broken. Rule #1: Warm light = cool shadow. This is easily proven untrue by seeing the shadows cast by sunlight (warm) on a red or yellow object (say a pepper- which is warm) onto a surface of any tone- the colour of the shadow will be warm, too. Not only that, if the surface upon which the shadow is cast is warm, the shadow will be, also- just not quite as warm. This is why working from life is so helpful- and if you can't work from life (I'm one who doesn't) then you'd better start training your eyes every minute of the day to see and see and see- co-workers and family will think you're staring into space, but it is necessary so that when a photo shows only "dark", you've trained your eyes to see the colour of the dark. In otherwords: "Sometimes we have to use what we know, to paint what we see."

Rule #2: Colour is not important if the value is right- or, the way it is stated here: "If the value is right, the colour doesn't matter". This is entirely true- but ONLY if colour doesn't matter. To me, the colour matters. The value must, indeed, be right, but I can push that value a bit either way using colour- fool the eye some- as long as the colour I use in the first place is right.

This one's tricky to explain, so let's use gray as an example. Gray *is* a colour- and also a value. So let's say we have a shadow which is of medium-dark value, but only medium colours to use- either that or we have to use black to darken everything and that is what we're trying to avoid. So use a medium gray, and then the medium green, then the medium blue, and then once again the gray; try it- you will see that the layering has given a depth to the "gray" colour which seems to make it appear darker than its medium value. You've "fooled the eye" into seeing a darker value than what is there. Another way to darken a value is to surround it by much lighter values- even a light pink can look dark if it is surrounded by much lighter yellows and greens. (And a lavender would appear darker if surrounded by- what? Yellows and creams, of course. Why? Because contrast of colour fools the eye, and complements are contrasts. This doesn't work as well in large areas, but it does in small ones).

Take a look at the shadows on the flowers- on the blooms- squint your eyes to see the value differences:


There isn't a lot of value difference here, but the volume of the bloom is fully described- how? By playing the warm yellow-y cream of the light areas against the cool blues and lavenders of the darker- the complement play "fools the eye" into seeing more contrast than value alone will do.

See how NOT using that kind of complement contrast DOESN'T work on these same blooms:


All the colours in and around the blooms are analogous- so they don't have that extra bit of contrast going. The values are right, but they do not look quite as fully described- they appear "flat"; yet look at the base of the vase with its complement play of greens against those reddish hues- the vase, despite little value change outside of that seen between stems, is fully described as "rounded".

Keep an eye on E-Bay, see if you can't find a couple good sets of colours there to augment your palette, then you won't feel so hamstrung when you don't have *just* the right colour. Then you can learn to make purple look like orange- honest.

08-08-2005, 05:06 PM
Fascinating stuff. I need to go play around with my pastels and see some of this stuff for myself.

Thanks again!

08-08-2005, 10:18 PM
Okay...I applied SBJ's advice, and I think it made a difference. This is a really bad picture--the color is much nicer IRL. I've fixed up the front (left) tomato since I took the pic, but the batteries are out of the camera and charging, so no more photos tonight!

08-08-2005, 11:24 PM
Ta-dah!! Look how much richer and "real" they look! Now one more thing: See where the highlights are? Brush off the white, and give that area a bit of orange- just a nice light glaze, same way you did the shadows, and THEN re-do the white highlights (although I would use a very, very light yellow, but white will work).

Congrats, Kim- this was a big step.

Mikki Petersen
08-09-2005, 01:04 AM
Very nice work here! You did a fine job of using the instruction to advantage. Now the next step is to have the bowl cast a shadow so it does not hover in mid-air. Very nice study and I love the bowl.


08-09-2005, 08:34 AM
SBJ--Thank you! I can't believe the difference myself--it's much more apparent IRL. I'll tackle those highlights this evening. I can't wait to paint something new so I can see what I can do with the shadows.

Mikki--Thanks for the encouragement! You're right about the shadow on the table, of course...I was ignoring it because of my shadow-phobia, and then I forgot all about it. Alternatively, I suppose I could just call the painting "UFO, with Tomatoes"...

08-09-2005, 09:24 PM
Okay--new and improved.

Ruth Grinstead
08-10-2005, 03:25 AM
Hi Kim - I think you are working really well with your tomatoes it is interesting seeing this one develop.

One thing catches my eye but I haven't seen the ref photo - the top of the bowl is very elliptical and the base doesn't seem to match.


08-10-2005, 08:43 PM
Ack! You're right! Excuse me while I run around screaming for a minute or two.......
........................................................................................................................Okay, I'm working on it. I'm calm now. Thanks for the sharp eyes, BTW :) I knew that bowl was wonky, but didn't really want to figure out why, lol.

08-10-2005, 09:30 PM
Okay, I fixed the bowl. I promise I won't post any more pics of these #@!!* tomatoes :D . Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. I learned a lot from this.

Salad, anyone?