July means school holidays and birthdays in my household. Which, by default, means taking bite-sized snatches of painting time between not such bite-sized pieces of cake.
To offset the parental guilt of knowingly placing children into sugar-comas, I like to ensure there is the healthy option of cut-up fruit and plain (okay, lightly salted) popcorn readily available at the multiple birthday gatherings held in our home.
It’s a bit like McDonalds providing plastic bags of apple slices on their menu: Aimed more at adults’ consciences than kids’ tummies and for the most part, useless.
Unsurprisingly, post-party snacks include a generous serve of popcorn and the inevitable fruit salad leftovers for dessert that evening.
Rather than wow you all with my depiction of browned apple slices set amidst bruised grapes and softened watermelon pieces, I went with the leftover popcorn instead.
I had a lot of fun getting this drawn up on my panel and putting down the pink – especially the organic-shaped shadows that the popcorn kernels cast. This part of the process went quite quickly. The real challenge came in creating a believable difference within the whites of the popcorn, and the interior of the cup. And then there was the white of the table surface…
I sat on this for a day, not quite able to sign off on it. It felt too white… There wasn’t enough drama in the colour values to make those three pieces of popcorn in the foreground… well, pop.
Feeling precious, but pretending not to be, I scraped back the white background and replaced it with an indigo one. This wasn’t as easy as I’d envisaged, because the small remnants of white paint still left on the panel surface played havoc with the dark colour I was replacing them with. Hard to maintain a relaxed look to something that you feel you are faffing about with too much.
I still haven’t signed off on this one. It’s close, but for now it’ll join the ranks of paintings still awaiting finishing touches. Call it painting leftovers if you will – which, given the subject matter is actually quite fitting, wouldn’t you say?