A row of exquisite heirloom pumpkins (and one renegade pomegranate) are lined up for a study of autumn’s bounty in Pumpkin Lineup.
It’s no secret: still life artists love produce. Every trip to the grocery store is like being a casting director watching auditions for which lovely fruit or veg will take a starring role in the next production. So when my wife, Sharon, and I discovered roadside stands selling these lovely pumpkins in the Texas Hill Country, I loaded up our car with them to bring home to Arizona.
Pumpkin Lineup features six of these beauties, each one a different study in color and texture. I included the little pomegranate because I liked how it had a similar seed-heavy shape and provided a little blast of red to the scene.
The pumpkins were all painted in an exacting representational style. But that background! I used abstract techniques to achieve the mottled appearance - scraping the color on with a spatula to create visual interest and depth..
I also employed abstract painting methods to create the texture of the surface of the bench. First, I applied undercolours that were the grey-brown color of the aged wood. Then, I layered on the white paint like spackle, building it on, and then scraping through the paint to reveal the undercoats - just like gouges in a painted surface would reveal the wood underneath. This technique would never be employed by traditional realists, but ironically, I think the results look more realistic because they mirror the way actual paint would be aged.
I have used this old bench in several paintings. I absolutely love the peeling paint, nail holes, and old saw marks which give this worn piece of furniture its charm.