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Avocados and Teapot

edited April 2013 in Post Your Paintings
This is a 6" x 8" work in progress for the woman who was my mom's Physician's Assistant. She worked with her oncologist and she loves avocados.

I'd like to emphasize that I drew this free hand without using the perspective checker, I'm mixing on the fly (as you can see on the palette) and I'm not using the color checker. I probably should have done both of those things but this is meant to be a fast painting to see how much I can do without being very anal about it all.

It's clear that my eye (or my imagination) sees the shape of the vase differently than it is. I like what I did better because I feel from a compositional point of view it will hold us in the painting by putting more weight at the top. I also screwed up the small avocado and will probably fix that. The colors aren't as far off as they seem it's just the lighting in the photo/studio. I'm not all that happy with the value of the background and will probably darken it up a bit.


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GaryCastilloelenatjscynthiagwilsonmycAmritgusRosannepaul_sdavidwwilson
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Comments

  • You are so good on reflections!
    garrykravit
  • Outstanding, Garry. :) You've pointed out the things I would have if I were critiquing this for you, but you didn't ask for that so I will stay quiet and enjoy your good work. Keep it up you are doing great!
    garrykravit
  • Hey G!
    Love the colors as a group and the copper in particular. I agree with Grandma, great reflections! :-bd
    garrykravit
  • You should not correct too either... There it is more you, more your vision that will be on the canvas ;)
  • edited April 2013
    Christel, thanks for the kind words but I think something that I've just realized that is glaring at me, and I haven't seen before, is about color harmony. The background has too much blue in it and it causes a clash. I'm feeling like it should be more of a grayed green or orange/rust to compliment the avocados or the teapot.

    SAY ONE THING CRITICAL CHALLENGE:

    Here is what I would greatly appreciate ... I'd like for you to say one thing (or more) critical about this painting that you can see and you think should be fixed. Here is what I think needs to be fixed, please agree or disagree:

    - the avocado on the left, size and placement. Should be larger and behind the avocado on the right.
    - vase, asymetical on sides and top.
    - background ... like I said maybe not complementing and thus a distraction and awkward.

    Anything else you see?
  • On your suggestions: the avocado, I would not make it larger even if it is so in your setup. It works in your composition as is. Vase - agreed, but consider softening an edge when you adjust. Background - either a gray/green or grey/brown will work. Consider taking either the local color of the vase or the kettle and greying it down for your background and it will harmonize and give you atmosphere. If you use the vase color, a soft edge will nicely dissolve into your background.

    The only suggestion I would have (not really a critique) is to consider placing a highlight on the front upper edge of the table.

    Martin
    Christel
  • Here is one that I think perhaps you didn't notice. Can you put more depth to your handle? Right now it looks like if you pulled it straight up it would not have enough clearance for a hand to hold it. If you deepen the value of the very top of the handle it should pull it away from the kettle, lengthen the handle and solve the problem.
  • I agree with leaving the forward avocado and general shape of vase as is (with the exception of making the vase symmetrical and "upright"). Here is why: If you look at the shape of the section of avocado with the pit, it echoes the shape you have for the vase and sets up a nice rhythm.

    I also agree with the distortion of the kettle handle. If you had drawn it "correctly" the negative space would have been awkward. As it is, it leads they eye back to the kettle and into the composition.

    As for the background, if you know how to use Photoshop (if you don't, nevermind) you can easily tweak the background color just to test it out.

    But here's what you might consider: The cool of the background pushes the warmer colors forward in space. And it creates a little more visual "activity". Think warm and cool fronts with the weather. Thunderboomers.

    If you decided to grey out or warm up the background, it would create more visual harmony. It would also be less active and more still.

    So it really does depend on what you want the painting to "say".

    My main question would have to do with the crowding of the objects. The space between the kettle and vase has vanished. And the farthest avocado section looks "tentative" like you couldn't decide whether it should be in or out of frame.

    There are some good passages, notably in the reflections and the forward section of the avocado. Your intuitive sense of what "works" visually is fairly strong. Good job.
  • Based on what I see in the photo, I much prefer the background of your set up. The lady this painting is for loves avocados, so I would emphasize the avocado using the soft orangey color in the back ground harmonizes with the vase and the copper pot, but is a close compliment to the avocado green. That back ground pulls everything together and makes the avocados stand out being the "discord". Now if you change the background to the orangey gray then your reflections on the vase need to change accordingly.

    It is way to late now, but I am just curious why you used a vertical format instead of a horizontal that works so well in the set up?

    You have mentioned the other things I see that need fixing, but I want to say something about the avocados. The half on the left can be enlarged slightly and have the half with the seed overlap more so it is obvious the left half is behind the seed one. The other thing and this is really grabbing my eye for some reason and that is the "pocket: in the left half from where the seed was. The oval is way off and football shaped. It looks like a seed somewhat in color and value and not a "pocket." I would indicate the pocket, but not define it so much.

    You do have a very good painting working here Garry and these things are really only fine tuning and minor adjustment. The background and reflection because of the change on the vase are the only fairly big change. Now one more thing and whether you use my suggestions or someone else's, after you make the changes take a step back, maybe leave the studio andd have a favorite drink, watch a TV show or talk to your wife about something other than art. Then go back and look at the painting and the set up and see how it looks then with a refreshed eye. Making changes in one area of a painting often forces other changes needed to be made for the whole to work in harmony.
    edward
  • edited April 2013



    - the avocado on the left, size and placement. Should be larger and behind the avocado on the right.
    - vase, asymetical on sides and top.
    - background ... like I said maybe not complementing and thus a distraction and awkward.

    Anything else you see?

    DISAGREE to making the avocado on the left larger, doing so would change the focal point, which is the avocado on the right plus it will lead the viewer's eye out of the painting.

    AGREE to fixing the vase

    DISAGREE to changing the temperature of the background. Based on this photo I believe you have a nice separation which in my opinion makes your subject stand out more than if you had a warmer background, but maybe you are aming for an analogous color scheme instead of a complementary one.

  • Wow you guys, you have given me some really great stuff here. I've read through it all quickly and will now print it out and sit and ponder it while looking at the painting. Then I will make changes. I appreciate your thoughtfulness, honesty, and help. Really good stuff.

    G
  • edited April 2013
    @garrykravit here are a few color schemes from James Gurney, something he calls Gamut Masking.
    Amrit
  • Personally, I love this painting...everything about it!

    All the wonderful suggestions are just that, suggestions...I say, if your happy with it...leave it as is....

    The longer you are in the wonderful world of art...the more fun you will discover...for example: you can change the colors of the background a Kzillion times....it boils down to personal preference...and basically what you like....

    I vote to leave it as is.....its beautiful and certainly something I'd hang on my wall

    Garytjscynthiagwilson
  • The two halves of avocado don't look as if they could be joined back together; that is, they don't look as if they came from the same avocado. That may actually be the case (I can't tell from the photo) but for simplicity's sake, and so there aren't any distracting thoughts in the viewer's mind, I think the picture would be clearer if it it obvious that it is the same halved avocado. I like the idea of one still having the seed, and the matching concavity in the other.
    AZPaintergarrykravit
  • tjstjs -
    edited April 2013
    Savannah said:

    Personally, I love this painting...everything about it!

    All the wonderful suggestions are just that, suggestions...I say, if your happy with it...leave it as is....

    The longer you are in the wonderful world of art...the more fun you will discover...for example: you can change the colors of the background a Kzillion times....it boils down to personal preference...and basically what you like....

    I vote to leave it as is.....its beautiful and certainly something I'd hang on my wall

    I agree :)

    But I also know that when you get something the notion in your head of getting all 'fiddly' with with a painting? You are going to do it regardless of what others say!
    :))

    And I also know you love drama in a painting as well. So for your easy fiddly drama fix - make the background really dark and just punch up a few highlights in the front. Add some of the color of the copper kettle in a touch of backlighting above your avocados and in a few other places (not as bright as the kettle though) to pull it together.

    The dark vase will be an easier fix and will become part of the background which will give the painting more breathing space and will add a dimension to the background for which it does not have. It will feel less crowded to you.

    Like Karen posted, play with it in photoshop first. Or just leave it cause I love it as is :)
    garrykravitedward
  • AZPainter said:


    It is way to late now, but I am just curious why you used a vertical format instead of a horizontal that works so well in the set up?

    John,

    Honestly, I wanted to use a 6" x 8" panel and thought it too small to do the whole scene. When I started cropping I felt as if it was more dramatic to frame it this way, allowing the vase to have plenty of room.

    G

  • Kingston said:

    I love the photos. Did you do the set up and photograph. If so use the current painting as a study. And paint the whole photo. Use a projector. That photo is beautiful. Your technique is good. Use Mark techniques and workflow it will help your skills a lot more quickly. Laminate the photo and color check on the laminate. I think it would be astounding with your technique.


    Kingston, when you say "set up the photograph..." The still life is not a photograph, it's an actual set up in a shadow box. Is that what you mean? I did photograph it though. The images are still on my camera.

    I do really like the colors in this and plan on doing a larger version of it with more "stuff" in the scene.

    Thanks,
    Garry
    tjs
  • Hey there Garry ... I have been away for a couple of weeks and am trying to catch-up on the forum... was delighted when I saw your latest. Love it... the only thing that did not read true to me is hard to explain but I will give it a shot.
    The avocado's look to me as if they are standing at an unnatural angle... too much of the cut surface is showing.... they don't look like they are laying on the surface of the table.
    Does that make any sense?
    I am sure the woman will love it... lovely gift to give her. :-bd
    garrykravit
  • If I saw this painting on a wall I would stop and look awhile, taking it all in. I love it just the way it is.
    tjsgarrykravit
  • Garry, love your composition and your painting , too. the only thing that draws my eye is the handle of the tea pot looks squished and the avocado on the left, if it was supposed to be the other half looks too small but maybe if placed a little behind the other half wouldn't appear so. And in the setup it looks like the spout of the teapot goes behind vase but it doesn't show in your painting but with the teapot backwards the spout wouldn't show. But I am no expert so what do i know. Leave as is.!!!! I hope you don't mind but I got curious with the mention of changes in background so I played around with old program I have, I dnon't have photoshop so probably could do better with it. I also moved your avocado a little behind other and a tad larger just to see what it would look like and moved the handle just little. I still like original!!!
    garrykravittjs
  • SusieQ said:

    hope you don't mind but I got curious with the mention of changes in background so I played around with old program I have, I dnon't have photoshop so probably could do better with it. I also moved your avocado a little behind other and a tad larger just to see what it would look like and moved the handle just little. I still like original!!!

    SusieQ,

    You hope I don't mind? I do mind and I'm going to sue you, SusieQ! :) Seriously, mind-schmind, that's awesome what you did. I have to learn to do that in Photoshop. Immediately you show what I was thinking... the blue backgrounds clash, and the green, specifically either last two on the top row, or the 2nd one on the second row or the 4th and 5th are my favorites. They show perfectly what I suspected. WHile I like the darker greens for drama, the lighter one 2nd row, 2nd photo allows the vase to pop just enough. I think that is the one I will go with. Red works too but I like the color harmony and softness of the green.

    I did place the avocado further behind the larger one though I haven't posted a photo yet. Regarding the teapot handle/spout. I know it's not as it is in the still life but I didn't want to get it too complicated. I removed the spout because it just wasn't looking right. THe handle is sort of a problem only if you know what the still life/teapot actually looks like. When I showed this to people who couldn't see the actual teapot they didn't have a clue it wasn't right... it's a background thing.

    Thanks so much,
    Garry

    tjs
  • Hey there Garry ... I have been away for a couple of weeks and am trying to catch-up on the forum... was delighted when I saw your latest. Love it... the only thing that did not read true to me is hard to explain but I will give it a shot.
    The avocado's look to me as if they are standing at an unnatural angle... too much of the cut surface is showing.... they don't look like they are laying on the surface of the table.
    Does that make any sense?
    I am sure the woman will love it... lovely gift to give her. :-bd


    Yes, it makes a lot of sense, Shirl. Thanks for that. I will probably go back in and rework the avocados somewhat. I should have done it today but I've been trying to figure out this new Epson printer I got. Even though I keep spraying the avocados with lemon juice they are turning brown. :( I did take photos so maybe I can work from them.

    G
    tjs
  • everything looks so clean in your studio. I'm ashamed.
  • maugie said:

    everything looks so clean in your studio. I'm ashamed.

    No, don't feel bad! It's filthy.

    But seriously, you should see the garage that it's attached to ... it's a vast wasteland of flotsam and jetsam distributed chaotically.



  • SusieQSusieQ -
    edited April 2013
    Garry, Like I said I do like original but I'm glad if I helped in some way. Sometimes I wonder what things would look like with a different color background so I like to play sometimes but of course I couldn't imitate the colors you can get with paint, I just tried to get a green gray and an orange or rust gray and blue gray. I thought it just showed color wise what it might look like with a defferent background without actually changing it and not liking it .
    No one who doesn't see the setup will not know the difference in looks. I like the teapot as is but wondered why you hadn't put in spout since it did show in setup. just shows creativity and what you like the way you did it. Please show us your final version when finished but I'm sure the lady would live it as is. That was supposed to be love not live.
  • Fantastic! I just love it. Such beautiful colors overall. I adore your brushwork as always. Wouldn't change a thing!

    ^:)^ ^:)^ ^:)^
  • AZPainter said:

    Very nice Garry!

    John, the colors are WAY saturated in the photo, more so than in person. It's not quite as garish in the copper reflections... Couldn't get the photo right

  • edited April 2013



    John, the colors are WAY saturated in the photo, more so than in person. It's not quite as garish in the copper reflections... Couldn't get the photo right

    Your white balance setting might be the cause.

  • Garry, I kind of thought the photo was a little over saturated, based on your other work. I couldn't be sure of course, but thanks for confirming it. :)
  • edited August 2013
    After a few months of waiting for the nice people at Apple to fix my copy of Final Cut Pro via an update, I was able to make this video of the painting process.

    http://youtu.be/_OxX60tdItQ
    Castillorgr
  • edited August 2013
    @garrykravit you make it look so easy

    Bob_Ahamgarrykravitmyc
  • @garrykravit I forgot to ask, is that easel one of your designs?
  • Castillo said:

    @garrykravit I forgot to ask, is that easel one of your designs?

    Castillo, I saw an easel similar to this and built one. I did not design it.
    This is where I saw it. http://www.karinjurick.com/ZemArt/homeeasels.html
    Robert said:

    Good video. Why the gloves?

    Robert, I wear gloves to keep the paint off my hands. I don't want the toxic elements in contact with my skin; cadmium, cobalt, etc.
    Castillo
  • Great video! It's great to have you back, Garry!
    garrykravit
  • edited August 2013
    :-bd Enjoyed it very much Garry! Like how you made the changes you felt were needed (background.. fatter vase)... shows confidence. well done!
    garrykravittjs
  • Garry nice painting really liked it and the video of how you did it was amazing.
    I love to see how artist work and the colors they put down first to get to the end.

    But just wordering I am new to the Carder site I have seen and bought the videos and I am gathering the supplies and colors. But I noticed your pallete colors are many and you don't use the steps like Mark advises is this something you used before and now use more colors to mix your colors or have you never used the 4 colors mark advises and his steps?
    Sorry for the many questions just trying to figure stuff out.
  • I agree with Shirley it shows confidence. Well done both the painting and the video ^:)^
    garrykravitcynthiagwilson
  • edited August 2013
    rrizo said:


    But just wordering I am new to the Carder site I have seen and bought the videos and I am gathering the supplies and colors. But I noticed your pallete colors are many and you don't use the steps like Mark advises is this something you used before and now use more colors to mix your colors or have you never used the 4 colors mark advises and his steps?
    Sorry for the many questions just trying to figure stuff out.

    Thanks Rrizo,

    In response to your question. I do different things all the time in terms of palette, techniques, styles. I am learning that at the end of the day little really matters except to go ahead and paint. I remember when I started and people said you have to go through miles of canvas before you can develop any decent skills. It's true.

    Regarding what I did in this painting. No, I did not use DMP/TCM. I laid out a palette and mixed as I went. I also did not use slow dry medium. However, on the other video I have up, of Nim the chimp, I did use Mark's method. Though I painted it in a much looser fashion not being very precise about laying exact colors in exact places.

    Mark always says that his technique is a starting point. I believe he is right. One can evolve into any direction they like using it. The beauty of Mark's process is that in short order it really does teach you to see, to mix, to draw, and to paint. You can stick with that if you'd like and it' comfortable and you like the results, or you can experiment from there and develop in other directions. It's all good, and it all works. For me I'm starting to feel that I want a looser, more painterly style, and I also want to mix more on the fly. I was kind of doing that in the avocado painting.

    To be honest, from painting to painting I don't really know what I'll do. That was a hard thing for me at first because I'm kind of anal about most things. I had to let go of that and just trust the chaos. Truth is, it works. Regardless of what I do in terms of techniques and palettes, I'm usually happy with the results. Also, I'm not sure I understand what I'm doing all the time so I don't mean to sound authoritative - frankly, I am as lost as anyone else in all of this. Just paint!

    By the way - the colors in the video are much more accurate as to what the painting looks like. The photo of the painting has WAY over saturated color. I need to work on that in the future with the photography.

    :)

    G
    Martin_J_CranerrizoCastillocynthiagwilson
  • Garry thank you for your response it does help me with this journey I have taken of trying to do something I enjoy doing painting. I am giving Marks method a try and I see your point that after time I will have my own method.
  • Haven't had time to watch the video. But I really like the painting. Are you using walnut oil or Delq?
  • Hi P,

    On this one I used very little medium. 1/3 oil, 1/3 OMS, and 1/3 stand oil. I use walnut oil for brush washing.

    G
  • garrykravit I must have missed this original post and am only seeing it now....I think the painting is great. I am always amazed at the lack of fiddly detail in the close up of the painting...paint strokes seem so loose and yet they convey so much detail...fabulous.
    garrykravit
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