Freitag, 19. Februar 2016


From Pam

My true art efforts have been few this new year. I started this painting before the holidays. It didn't progress at all in January My latest struggle with it was the lemons but I think I've reached a point where I am satisfied to leave it. I didn't spend much time on the table, just brushed in some color as a working surface, and the background is just paint (it changed tone a couple times). Please advise, Teacher, (and others!)- what, if anything, should I do with the table and background? And do you see anything else that needs attention?  Should I call it finished? 

The title is---"Lemon Curd"


Lots of great input in your comment Sarah. It occurred to me that you might want to see the photo that I worked  from. I think you might chastise me about this but I have to say, I do like working this way. I set up the still life near a west window so it was all natural light. My digital photo can be enlarged on my iPad and that is how I study the bits of glass reflections and such. I know you wanted me to look at a life arrangement to paint. My eyesight has deteriorated with age and I don't have decent distance glasses so looking at the close up photo is the best way that I can see the details. Here is the photo (I took others of parts, closer up).

You will no doubt notice that I added a lemon and an eggshell. That is because after I had it all drawn in pencil on the canvas, the arrangement was left of center. I didn't want to erase or try to draw it all over again so I added elements to give balance.


  1. So very well done, Pam! The first thing I noticed (I only saw the top part initially)was the gorgeous color flow of the blending on your metal scoop. So well painted.
    I really like your reflections and refractions, too.
    As to critique, I would personally soften the table line at the back,to almost non-existent, and bring the far background color into the back of the table to tie the two together and not have the distraction of a line emphasizing two separate areas. You might consider a glaze of brown-table-mid-tone over the bright front of your table, too. And touch some of the same into the bottoms of egg shells and glass wares.
    I would really like to see the painting in a different light to be able to tell better what you did with the lemons. If you could possibly take another picture in lower light, I think the color of the lemons might be truer. (I'm wondering about the colors you used in the lemon shadows.)
    One other very small thing: you might want to adjust the right egg shell so its bottom is more rounded than squared.
    But if you do nothing else at all, you have a picture to be proud of. So nice.
    My favorite part is the lemon-yellow reflection on the curd jar, next to those purple-y tones. Lovely.
    What is the size of the canvas? Life-sized objects? Was this painted from life? With what kind of light - natural north light or light bulbs or... ?

  2. Thank you for the great suggestions. The background is just a mystery to me but I notice how it disappears in other still life paintings of this style. Should I add any lighter tones to the background color for movement? I'll work on doing what you suggested.
    I repainted the lemons numerous times after blocking in the shadows. I have a photo of them from last week and I felt they were way too bright and almost cartoonish. I was using purple for the shadows mixed with the yellows. This week I added more orangey tones and greenish (hooker) tones and that made them much better. I'll email a different photo to you.
    It's interesting how much better I see the painting in the photo, the flaws. I will touch up the egg shell, both the shape and I'll do something to ground it as it is floating a bit.
    The canvas is 16x20 which was very ambitious of me.

  3. Thanks for the additional information, and for the reference photo. I do know that photos are handy and eyes can be troublesome.
    From your photo I can see why you had a strong background line. The back color is a higher value (lighter tone) than the foreground, so that seems to have been disconcerting to you, in that it ended up a more "normal" lower value (darker tone). I would agree with that decision, but when you do that, you should actually put a piece of dark paper or something behind your set-up, so that your light and shadows stay true and don't say something in the final product that you don't mean. I'd still soften out the table line in back and pull the background color into the table. (In your photo it has beautiful blues in the woodwork; you'll probably need your purple-blue-greys that you used.)
    Your composition adjustments worked out well with the additional lemon and shell.
    When you adjust the front of the table top, try to put in the reflected highlights (eggs and jar) and local color hints(lemons and red plate and yolks) and the decisive oval shadows under objects. You will find the objects "sit" more securely.
    For more solidity in your butter, you might want to deepen the shadow on the right side and the small shadow on the plate rim by that side. I like the yellows you put in that plate, but that shadow needs some of your purple-y brown/red.
    A 16 x 20 is quite ambitious, and does take a while to do. But why not, right?
    Looking forward to seeing more.