Studio Sweet Potato
Oil on Masonite
10 1/8 x 7 1/2 in
Hello everyone! It has been a really, really, really, really long time since I have done an alla prima painting. I used to do these on a daily basis, I decided to get back on the wagon again last night and went straight for it, 8 hours later I was done! I'm paying for it today being so tired but it was totally worth it. There is something about challenging yourself to finish a painting in one session. You have to consider the surface area you're working on, how oils react to the smooth surface and how you have to manipulate it to come out looking the way you intended it to. There are a lot of bumps along the way but in the end, there is a satisfying feeling that you reached your goal. The other reason I enjoy alla prima painting, it forces you to really pay close attention to your methods of painting. I'm constantly revising the way I paint certain sections and if it works well then I apply it to other areas, due to time constraints it's trial by error and I enjoy the errors.
This sweet potato I intended to paint many months ago. Initially, I was attracted to it due to the curvy snake-like body, I have never seen one like it. After not painting it for quite some time, roots sprouted from the tip. I kept looking at it every day when I would go to the studio, I knew at some point I would paint it and that point was last night. Usually, after I paint a vegetable or fruit I eat it, this time I decided to bring the sweet potato back to the studio and keep it there. I enjoy having it there while I paint away, I'm intrigued to know how many roots will sprout and how long will they get.
I went to home depot and got 56 masonite panels cut in various sizes, I felt like a kid on Christmas day, and the best part it was all under 7 dollars (Home Depot cuts wood for free). I gessoed the canvas and sanded it down to a smooth finish, I repeated this about four times until it was right. After letting it dry for a day, I tinted the gessoed masonite board with raw umber and mineral spirits. I let this dry for a day as well.
I started by drawing with raw umber and no mediums. I did not use any mediums throughout the entirety of the painting. It was a minimal amount of paint sort of like a dry brush technique. After the drawing was complete, I started lightly painting it the sprouted roots. I make sure to not put a lot of paint on the brush, the idea is to build up to your key values. Think of it as drawing with a pencil, the amount of sensitivity you have to it determines the value you'll create.
Once the sprouted roots were complete, I moved onto the body of the sweet potato. This was challenging in its own way. I started with the darks and build up to the lights. Again it is important to stress I do not start with a lot of paint on the brush, I build up to the value and texture I am going for.
After the body was completed and I stepped away from it for a bit, I thought I was actually going to bed because I was so tired and it was already 2:30 in the morning, I decided to complete the painting and start on the wooden board. Pushing through it was great, I am very happy I was able to conjure up some energy to complete the painting.
This was a lot of fun to complete in such a short period of time. I hope you enjoyed this painting and the journey I took to complete it. Thanks for stopping by!