Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Second Thoughts" - SOLD

I am an onion. I've painted them until I've become one. This is my favorite and last for a while. Here's what I've learned: 1. you can't please everyone (see yesterday's comments). 2. the main thing that's tough about onions is the values and colors shift subtely across the onion, and I found the easiest way to deal with that was ... 3. scrub in a kind of mid color first - then on top of that paint in the parts that go lighter, darker, grayer, etc. That way you have a starting point, and something to compare to.
What's funny is I got a lot of comments suggesting I paint in the lines on the onions. It's funny because I never even considered that when I was painting them. You see, what I LOVE about painting is suggesting what I see ... interpreting it ... suggesting. This one is my most realistic I think, and it was a stretch for me. I also got suggestions to find the onions with lots of layers peeling off, and I'll try that at some point, but these were pretty smooth. And yes they were really that color.

31 comments:

Crystal Cook said...

It looks awesome :) Love that highlight on the plate especially. And yes of course the onions too. They are very cool. I think you have sufficiently intrigued me to paint an onion so I can see just how difficult it is.

Enjoy your life as an onion :)

Nancy B. Hartley said...

Carol, What makes your blog and your workshop so wonderful, is that you share your struggles, and how you overcome obstacles, and set backs! I just love this about you! Your beautiful paintings look effortless, and perfect. It is such a relief, and so encouraging, to know that you work very hard, and it is not always as easy as it looks! Thank you so much for your honesty and willingness to share! You are just terrific! By the way, this painting, as always, is perfect!

Sunny Avocado said...

Yes, I agree! You always make it look so effortless. You are so courageous to put yourself out there and let us know the real deal about what you're feeling about your work. I am sooooo encouraged to know that you may have a wiper day here or there... My vote: they were all perfectly oniony.

I love them all.

Lorraine Shirkus said...

Nancy said it better than I can. Carol . . . you have achieved your goal . . . you have, indeed, become an onion! I also value that you share your struggle and let others into your process. It's a beautiful painting: the onions are gloriously round and glow as if a spirit imbued them with life, while remaining at the core, so simple.

bricarwaller said...

Looks terrific! The almost monochromatic background really makes the onions pop. You've intrigued me to attempt an onion at some point. All your onion paintings make me think about Shrek."I'm like an onion, onions have layers, ogers have layers". I think I spend too much time watching movies with my munchkins:)

ujwala said...

went to read the comments on the last post and i disagree with edward powell. what has always drawn and continues to draw me to your work is your style. great paintings and i do so look forward to them finding them in my inbox : )

rahina q.h. said...

beautifully rendered Carol! i recently picked up 'albino' onions and decided to wait til another day when my first attempt went pearshaped;)

Barb said...

I just love your work. I got all bristling at the people who wanted you to paint onions like a photograph --I LOVE so much how you paint suggestions and my mind does the rest. I have learned, though my many years as a personal essayist, that the more opinions you generate, the more that is simply a reflection of how you've engaged people. That seems to be the goal, no?

KBecker said...

You nailed it on this one! I thought the idea of cutting the top off yesterday worked too though!

Laura said...

I have been an admirer of your work for a couple years now, and i think you capture the essence of your subjects superbly. i think it is much more difficult to portray light and color so correctly that it suggests objects than to paint in some details--which is really not how you paint. it really is amazing to consider how much information our senses interpret from some well placed smudges of color. monet's water paintings always fascinate me--there is so little detail yet we all know exactly what he is trying to show. i'm sure he had PLENTY of paintings that did not turn out like he wanted. anyway, keep up the great work, your dedication to your blog is remarkable and your paintings are a joy to see. thanks for making art accessible and friendly to so many people

Kim said...

I love the colour of the rim of that dish against the colour of the onions. And those stems are rockin'.

Suzé Gilbert said...

I remember when I brought a red onion to paint in your class, you keep encouraging me to see the darn grays in it! I like your idea of starting with mud, I think this onion series has been great and I love this final one. I wanted to leave a comment about your Maine painting of the two woman waiting for their lunch outside. Absolutely wonderful. Maine has a very special light quality and you captured it perfectly. My friend Susan and her daughter Lauren had a great time in your class.

dyan said...

I agree, you do make it look effortless. You are so generous in sharing the how and why. Allowing us to see your vulnerability makes you a special and powerful teacher. The love for what you do and teach is as clear as the paint on your palette!

Putting those lines in would have been way too easy and you are not about easy. All the best...

Virginia Floyd said...

Carol, this is my favorite, too!

Anonymous said...

I love your awesome eye for color - I hope you become a red onion one day soon! I'm also curious to see what would happen if you used curved vertical brush strokes as you modeled the onions instead of fat more horizontal patches?

DSM said...

THIS ONE has my favorite composition...AND a flaky skin. Bink, bink, bink: those little flashes of 'white' on
the crockery.

I've enjoyed bouncing around to your admirer's and detractor's sites. Painters all....

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm ... sweet words of encouragement are like rain drops, but too much can wash away the garden ... and aren't the "illuminating rays of the sun" (or critiques) absolutely necessary for growth, too ?
Seems like there is a need for a balance of both ?!?
And, isn't it obvious that each comment is just "one person's opinion" sent to the Blog Owner ?!?

JanettMarie said...

Yea!

Elaine Hurst said...

I too went back and looked at the comments from yesterday. I am in total agreement with the majority, that your paintings are wonderful for their interpretation of the subject, not the photorealistic reproduction of a subject. I completely disagree with Mr. Powell, although he has the right to his own opinion. It wouldn't even enter my head to tell someone else how to paint. Ah well, each to their own. It can be hard to take when those kinds of comments pop up. Keep doing what you're doing!

Anonymous said...

Love these onions!!! Thanks for sharing your struggles and how you overcame the problem... :)

Heidi Malott said...

Lovin' the onions Carol!

Christi said...

I love your work. I'd like to attend one of your workshops someday, because I'd like to do more "big brush" art, myself. You know, I was driving down the street this morning, before I read my email, thinking about your onions and contemplating what could be the missing link. I can't believe I took the Onion Challenge "with me"! So, what a pleasant surprise to see that you solved it. I wonder how many others get so hooked. Anyway, it looks to me like you had to tighten up a bit (add more strokes of gradated color) in order to clarify that we are looking at round onions. Yet, your fourth painting *still* looks loose and relaxed. I am very impressed. I think the onions were more challenging, because we don't look at onions as often as we look at other produce. Therefore, we're less able to "understand" the looser, more abstract versions. Beautiful solution!

Anonymous said...

Constructive feedback: I think the lower onion works very well, but without the context of the lower onion, the upper one is hard to read correctly. The colors and values work very well, but even with the oniony stem, the very spherical shape makes me think ... "orange?" An additional detail or two (which could be as simple as orienting a couple brushstrokes in a longitudinal direction) might be all it would take.

I say that in a fully constructive frame of mind - I think your paintings are amazing - very bold, lively, and spontaneous, true in colors and form, and wonderful to view. The onions are a challenging subject, and I think you've nailed them in "Mugion", "Don't Lose Your Head", and in the lower onion in "Second Thoughts" - I can feel the crisp, papery skins in each case.

Gaye Adams said...

Couldn't agree more about leaving out the detail lines - in painting less is always more - it takes some skill and an experienced eye to know what you can leave out. Nicely done!

Mike Moyers said...

Very nice. Although, I really love the last one too. That knife was just too cool. I'm a recent follower and I find you blog very inspiring.

mrknaughty said...

nice work
thanks
mrknaughty

Barbara Pask said...

I read over the comments from yesterday too. I checked out the work of Mary Ann Currier and though lovely it is so different from your style. Her work is very realistic not impressionistic. For myself I strive to paint impressionistically and find that style in a painting so much more interesting and rewarding to the eye. So we all have our opinions and I am thankful there are so many different styles in art and we are not all painting the same way. So Edward, your opinion is just one of many and obviously not the way the majority of people that visit here feel and not the way all of the people purchasing Carol's work feel.

Anita Tresslar said...

This is my personal favorite of all the onion paintings. I have painted onions in the past and they are darned hard to paint.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

took my breath away.... and I agree with Nancy and the rest of these folks.
Your grays are just too fantastic!!!!
I'm still trying ;)

Anonymous said...

In response to "like drops of rain", let me say this: Anyone who paints everyday for four years is motivated by much more than "sweet words of encouragement". I don't think there is any possibility of "washing away the garden". It saddens me to think that there are people in this world who feel that their critiques are akin to "Illuminating rays of the sun". Really?!! Is anyone qualified to "light the way" for someone else's artistic journey?!! Ultimately, the only one an artist must answer to is herself/himself. As creators we must remember that it should only be OUR OWN dissatisfaction that pushes us to new levels of accomplishment.

Miguel

Barbara Pask said...

Such great words Miguel, well said.