Sunday, November 28, 2010
I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. And that a lot of these beautiful squashes above were enjoyed for part of the Big TDay meal. Winter squashes, along with root vegetables, cabbages, potatoes, and apples, are what New Englanders put in their cold root cellars to keep over the long winters. And it seems that lately there has been a resurgence of "putting food up" and relearning how to can and preserve foods, which I think is wonderful, I do a lot of batch freezing myself. Blue Hubbard squash, the big gray-blue on in the middle of the painting, is my favorite. It has a nicer, lighter flavor than a butternut. It's hard to grow them every year, some years they don't flower, some years there isn't enough rain and they don't attain the impressive sizes that they could eventually get to. Sometimes you can find small ones in the grocery store and sometimes you can find a huge chunk wrapped in plastic wrap, looking like a giant chopped it with an axe. Lucky for me, my mother grows squash in her garden and preserves it in canning jars, and I get to enjoy it over winter.
This is a 5 x 7 watercolor with colored pencil. I loved the different variety of squashes, sizes and colors available at the farm stand, so I took a bunch of reference pics. I'm happy how the green squashes developed out of just the watercolor paint, with just a little colored pencil for the shadows. Watercolor can be so difficult, but there are times when it feels like your hand just knows what to do by itself, no need of help from the mind. Then the rest of it is real work, trying to recapture that spontaneity enough to finish a good painting. Now that the picture is up, I can see that it looks like it's leaning to the right. Funny how our minds think there's nothing wrong with a painting until we put it away for a while, then come back to it and see something right away. I have a mirror in the studio that I use to check the composition. If you hold the image up to the mirror, you can usually see immediately that something is not right with the composition, or maybe if it's a portrait you'll see that one eye is a lot different than the other one, or that the cheekbone needs to move back in space a bit. Now I'm going to add "look at image on computer" to the checklist.