Friday, April 19, 2013

Making Guacamole

You never know where a new idea for a painting will come from. Living in Southern California we are blessed with the ability to grow all kinds of fruiting trees. When we re-did our yard a decade ago, we planted avocado, lemon, peach, orange and apricot trees.

Making Guacamole - an original acrylic painting by Alan Krug
One day recently I was eating one of the avocados from the tree in our yard. Looking at the slices I thought I would like to paint them. A small painting. Then I thought well, why not get a lemon a couple more avocados and add a tomato as if I was getting ready to make guacamole? I grabbed our trusty mini wood block cutting board, added a knife and after a variety of arrangements taken with my phone, settled on this shot.

I was in the midst of my cactus series and while I printed a photo of this photo session, didn't think much of it for awhile.

Last week, after finishing the last of the cactus series, I wanted something else. I needed a release from cactuses. I enjoyed them and was amazed at the depth of colors and detail in them but four were enough.

Gathering up my photos of potential new paintings I found this and using a small canvas, actually one of those from my aborted Vegas classes, created this small still life.

I painted the entire canvas a peach color, similar to my favorite DecoArt Peaches and Cream color. In fact I like it so much I took a bottle over to Home Depot and had them color match and make me a quart of paint. This makes a wonderful base canvas color when you allow touches to show through and compliments color, especially the greens!

Since this is acrylic, you can build up colors rapidly. I started with the greens in the avocados and built up the greens from the darkest to lightest. When I painted the lemon I also under-painted the tomato slices as I've learned reds are much richer with a yellow base coat.

I must admit that this is not the painting I envisioned. This, in many respects is very realistic, so much so it could, at first glance, be a photo. While it didn't turn out impressionistic there is a lushness that reaches out, a realism that makes you hungry! It turned out this way with the addition of small yet important touches that give it a depth I didn't expect. An Alizarin red wash, a red violet in the depths of the tomato, a violet and purple wash in the shadows gives the darks richness. The final touch was the addition of white highlights again on the tomato and adding shine to the avocado seed.

Its the details that bring a painting to life.

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