Wednesday, November 16, 2011

September Harvest step by step

Because of my super cold, I have been home these two days, so I have had time to draw a bit more consistently than usual (except for the interruptions dedicated to vapors inhalations).
So, incredible but true, I was able to finish September harvest yesterday afternoon!

Along the way I took a few WIP pictures to document the process.

The first step was to color the leafy border. The upper portion is made of fig leaves...I was so crazy that I drew the little veins for each of them...almost lost my eyesight there.Unbelievable! I have to learn what is essential and what's not!
The sides are decorated with grapevine leaves. This time, I wised up (and was also tired), so I just quickly traced the veins after coloring the main surface of the leaves. ;)

I picked these two plants, not only because they give us their fruits in September, but also because they surround my parents house. In particular there are two huge fig trees above and around the ancient drinking trough that you see behind the girl. We call it a Fountain, but it's original functions were much humbler than the name suggests. Yet, the water constantly flowing from the pipe is potable and absolutely delicious! Nobody ever buys bottled water in that village! ;)

 This is what I did on Sunday afternoon. I spent hours rendering the Fountain. That was fun. Then I colored the few elements of the village I artificially pasted behind the Fountain, which in reality is built against a hill. ;)
In the evening, while watching Carnival on Netflix (that show is so creepy that I have to do something else to release tension ;)), I colored the backdrop of the Valley. That's the view from my grandma's house, by the way.
At some point, I got distracted, chose the wrong marker and colored too brightly some of those hills. I then started to worry about loosing all the efforts I poured into the leaves that were melting with the other colors around them...

Meanwhile I started asking myself what colors I should use for the writing ans the sheet on which the girl sits (by the way, the first layer of the girl's skin really stinks at this point!).

Moving to yesterday morning, now. The girl's skin is blended a bit more decently, but there is a new concern: because of the shades, she is the same color of the Fountain!
"Nooo! Have to do something about that!"

While thinking about fixing the issue, I decided to color her hair. She is a dark haired lady, which should provide some contrast...;)

Below you can see how the picture looked when I finished coloring the hair. I also decided to color the word September with fall-like colors, which I think works well with the fruit and the soft reds of the tiles.
I was still bugged by the fact the skin tones and background issues, though.

So I tried to fix things with pencils and my brand new Derwent Pastel pencils. I used a uniform coat of white on the background to tone down the greens of the Valley. I did some moderate highlights on the village. Then I used blue, dark green and black on the fountain walls to deepen the shadows and light green to highlight the grapevine leaves. That really made a difference in my eyes. :)

Finally I used, browns and soft reds for the girl's skin. At the end of this step, she looked much more alive and much less stony...

Meanwhile, I came to a decision on the color for the sheet: bluish subdued light you like it?

Ok, probably you cannot see much right now...however I took a much better picture this morning and I'll show it to you in the next post...this one is already extremely long!

Thank you for taking the time to read this diary. Hopefully it was not too boring...;)


  1. i'm sorry you have a cold, i hope you get better very soon!

    i loved reading your step by step of this painting and wow, i really love the end result. i think doing the leaves with so much detail paid off, i really love that part!

    and wow, your parents have fig trees, i always wonder how fresh figs would taste, they sometimes sell them here but there is not much taste in them because i guess they have to pick them too early.
    i want to try fresh figs one time when i'll travel! :)

    anyway, boring with a cold but it enabled you to finish this beautiful painting, which is nice. hope you get better soon though!


  2. Thanks Annina, I am doing much better now.
    Back to work and much less time for art! But it has been a consolation to work on this project while in the misery of being sick. :)

    Yes, it's lovely to have fresh fruits and vegetables on the table. My father has gardens and fruit trees that feed us all summer long. The flavors are just amazing. It's so depressing to come back to the US and buy tasteless produce while dreaming of what I left behind...We don't get good figs every year (it depends on the weather), but when we's spectacular (and fattening! ;)