Friday, July 8, 2011


Trasimeno Artichokes
James Aponovich
oil on canvas, 14" x 10", 2011

If you are fortunate enough to be in Italy in the spring you can expect to be treated to an array of fabulous foods such as fresh pecorino cheese from Pienza where you can still taste the grass that the sheep grazed on. In Rome, spring brings puntarelle, a chicory salad served with an anchovy dressing and perhaps the king of them all, fresh artichokes. Rome is particularly famous for 'carciofi alla giudia', a flattened fried whole artichoke, a specialty of the house at Giggetto al Portico d'Ottavia in the Jewish ghetto.

I purchased these baby artichokes from the Botega in Panicle, Umbria. Panicale overlooks Lake Trasimeno and it is stunning. During rainy days Beth and I would remain indoors to draw. We often would go to either the Green Grocer or the Botega to look for interesting fruits and vegetables. Combined with a bottle of Umbrian Rosso these still lifes did not go to waste.


Study: Trasimeno Artichokes
James Aponovich
pencil on paper, 11" x 8", 2009

These are the rainy day artichokes. This study differs from most of my still lifes in that the light source comes from right to left. I usually prefer light coming from the left.
(Reason: I am right-handed, no hand shadows.)

Canvas with pencil and oil wash

A detailed drawing ids transferred to canvas. I could start using full color but because of there being so much green I decide on a reddish underpainting.

Artichokes with sienna wash and painted sky

The warm sienna wash has established the values. A sky is now laid down using seven colors and values. I now proceed to paint the rest of the canvas.


This painting is loaded with cobalt green, a soft bluish green. The warm sienna underpainting comes through in minute spots to give the green some punch,
but it calls for it's

Box of Cherries
Elizabeth Johansson
oil on canvas, 13" x 11", 2011

At the same time Beth was painting a box of sour cherries for an upcoming exhibit. In this painting the red-orange or the cherries is balanced by the blue-green of the box, set against a neutral white. She suggested that I use some of the cherries to jazz things up.
I had so much blue and green going on that I could not use a lot of red so....I found old Pieter.

Pieter Bruegal the Elder, 1525-1569
Landscape with Fall of Icarus

Here the overall cool green and brown color scheme is punctuated with the red scarlet of the plowman's tunic. You know, a few cherries go a long way.

Copyright 2011 James Aponovich

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