So for Valentine’s Day, I watched my husband eat cake. We searched several bakeries to find just the right cake. Something oooey-goooey and yummy for him (chocolate, of course), and something visually delightful for me to paint. Don’t pity me – we also found a great deal on a couple of small lobster tails for Valentine’s dinner. The hubby grilled them. OMG, they were amazing, and such a beautiful red-orange color!
Here are some shots I took along the way:
Eventually I’ll get around to painting the whole cake, but for now I decided to start with a slice so the chocolate mousse filling – yet another interesting element – would be exposed.
This is the first time I’ve used Ampersand Gessobord (note spelling – no “a” in “bord”), and it was a little different than painting on canvas. I had to fight the acrylic underpainting to get it to go on evenly, but overall, I was pleased. Any problems I have with it are just a matter of inexperience. Because it’s smooth, this stuff will be better than canvas for reproductions. Nothing screams “reproduction” louder than a canvas weave printed on flat paper.
I’m really enjoying my new tube of M. Graham Terra Rosa. It works great for painting the red-toned chocolate frosting and cake. What I’m sorely missing in my palette is a good cool red or magenta so I can mix a nice magenta-pink color for the berries.
Here’s most of the painting blocked in, with details just starting to take shape. The blackberry in the foreground was starting to look really sumptuous at this point, like it’s bursting with sweet juice. I wish I’d added just a tiny bit more detail and stopped there.
But did I? Noooo! Of course not! I ignored the nice suggestions made after my last post, and worked it until the paint was exhausted and screaming for mercy. The direction the painting was going was definitely “worse” rather than “better,” so I decided to call it done and post it. That’s the “finished” piece, up above.
As I wrote this post, I found myself whining about how the blackberry in the foreground didn’t look as good as it did in the last stage. That berry really bothered me. It was all I could see. It’s always like that for me – if I paint twenty things right, it’s the one wrong thing that grabs 100% of my attention. “Why whine?” I asked myself. “Just fix it!”
So I grabbed it off the drying rack and blacked out both berries before I lost my nerve:
Once I did that, the whole balance of the painting changed for the better. The top berry receded into the background more, and the foreground berry no longer competed for attention with the chocolate frosting. The composition didn’t look as jumbled because I’d made the primary and secondary elements more clear.
In the end, the trick was in putting on just enough detail to make black holes look like berries, without ending up with the same too-detailed- too-light berries I painted before. I redid them a couple more times, and learned a little something each time. I made a conscious effort to keep the colors dark, and use as few brushstrokes as possible. I’m satisfied now.
Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings!Giclee Available on Artfire