07 July 2013

Chicken to paint the chicken

Now we get down to it: I'm working on more illustrations for the library cookbook, and about half a dozen of them include chicken as an ingredient. Being a vegetarian, this is naturally a conflict for me, to have to make the chicken look appealing; plus, you have to decide what to illustrate.

Painting a casserole dish with pieces of chicken submerged in some unnamed sauce doesn't make for a very effective illustration. Nor is a painting of a "naked" raw piece of chicken waiting to be cooked too appealing, even to the non-vegetarians, right? I mean, if you're making vegetable soup, you can cheerfully paint all the veg and everybody says, Oh, don't they look tasty! but raw chicken...no.

So, I opted to paint the live bird. It gives me pangs, though, because in order to make the recipes, this live and lively bird has to be dead and plucked. But...I took on the job, and the job says illustrate the recipes at hand, so...here's the chicken.

The other part of being chicken to paint the chicken is, of course, that I have never painted a bird before, so I didn't know how far to go re: overall shape vs. feathers and detail. I tried to incorporate and move around all the colors, I tried for some definition, I tried for some lost edges, and I went in with a sepia-tone pen to pick up on some details I just couldn't get with the size brush I was using. I don't know if I stopped too soon or not soon enough.

So, overall I'd have to say that my ambivalence about this painting is total! I'm going back to painting onions now...

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