Thursday, August 25, 2011

WEEK # 22 / Three Lemons

Three Lemons
James Aponovich
Oil on canvas, 11" x 18", 2011

When beth and I travel, we always take drawing supplies with us. Pencils, erasers and paper can be easily packed and transported. Oils however are another matter, what with airline restrictions, transporting canvases, easels, solvents and in the end wet paintings. So, on occasion we pack a set of watercolors and a block of paper.

Study: Three Lemons
James Aponovich
Watercolor on paper, 8" x 13", 2009

The watercolor study above was done on one of our "rainy day" sessions. I found these wonderful lemons at an Italian Greengrocer in Panicale (Umbria), and set to work. With the light uncharacteristically coming from right to left, I did my best to control everything.
Now two years later it is time to attempt the oil painting here in New Hampshire. But I cannot find Italian lemons at my local market so I have to make do with ones from California.


If Blue is associated with spirituality and red, passion, then yellow represents the intellect. Technically, yellow is the most difficult color to control. Being the lightest and brightest color it is easily corrupted when shaded, turning a sickly green. Set yellow against black and it becomes its brightest and most luminous. Given that, it is a chore to control the shading and keep these lemons alive.

Francisco de Zurbaran (1598-1664)
Lemons, Orange and Rose
oil on panel
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena

Spanish still life painters could control the extremes of value and still keep their colors clear.
This painting by Zurbaran is one of the greatest still lifes ever my opinion.

2011 copyright James Aponovich

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