Tuesday, July 19, 2016

This Beet's It All

I did a lot of sketching in my watercolor class today, including my first attempts at working on 18 x 24 paper.

I felt intimidated.  So much space.

My teacher, a compassionate man, told me that maybe I would feel more comfortable stepping up.  Using a 9 x 12 sketchbook (one of my largest), but doing something "heroic"--like one vegetable (or fruit), larger than life.

Ok.  I finished class with one golden beet, large.  And an experiment in black gouache (which I've never tried before).

I am pleased with this piece, especially in terms of my three goals for this class:
  1. Go Big
  2. Don't lose my sketchbook style
  3. Let the watercolor do more of the work for me

Check (sort of), check, and check!

I started by painting the negative space around the beet with thick black gouache.  I wanted it to be opaque and matte and unvaried in tone.  I thought a lot about the composition before I started, and chose to leave the greens mostly out of it.  I liked the basic diagonal direction of the object, with the large circle in the lower left.

When I got to the beet itself, I used layer after layer of color to build form and (I hoped) a sense of the glowing color of the golden beet.  Juxtaposing these transparent colors to the opaque matte black helped them stand out and glow just a bit more!   I am pleased that this seems to catch the lumpy odd shape of this particular veggie.

You know, I don't really like to eat beets, so I never buy them.  As a result, I've never really looked at one.  Have you?  Because dang, they are gorgeous.  I kind of feel like I could paint purple and golden beets many many times before I'd get tired of the colors in the root, not to mention the amazing greens.

I'm inspired to go to the grocery before my next class and grab something else I never eat that would be fun to draw....  so I'm off to troll the fruits and vegetables, looking not for something good to eat, but for something good to paint!

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