24 July 2011

Condiments on a restaurant table

Challenge #319
Of course, I created my own restaurant scenario at home, so this is on my old picnic table on my patio. It was hard not to overwork this--that's the trouble with watercolor, you always want to do just a bit more, but end up obscuring the highlights you need. The ketchup bottle was particularly challenging because of the reflections and what color to make them. Likewise, the salt shaker, which was clear glass through which you could see the salt and the mustard bottle--what to leave white, what to make gray, when to stop. Not to mention that the perspective on the lids to the salt and pepper is significantly different, even though they were almost on the same plane. (We will just say that the waitress replaced one of them crookedly after she filled them!) And the table is painted white, but it was all too much the same, so I used my brush with some dirty water to dull it down a bit. Oh well...a good exercise!


I have had a painting in the back of my mind for quite awhile now that includes a mirror with an image in it. I don't know how to achieve the feeling of a mirror--it's shiny, it's metallic in a sense, and yet it's not about that, it's about the image reflected there. I decided to try a few preliminary quick paintings, and this is the first. The thing is, the only thing that really lets you know this is a mirror image is that the outer form is discernibly a mirror, and the interior it shows differs from its background. So is that the secret? It can't quite be--the image is flat and doesn't have that sparkle quality to it, and also, what if you're painting a mirror (as I will be for my final piece) that could equally as well be an elaborate picture frame?--but I don't know how else to convey it. It's frustrating. Any advice from anybody out there?