Color and Light : Green Tomatoes 2
Woohoo, time for our memory test! If you remember from the banana series we are going to drill this stuff home by challenging our brains to remember what to do WITHOUT a reference. This is a chance to play a bit and do our best to recall what we learned from the study phase.
Because I get to be a little bit creative this time, I'm going to change the arrangement a bit and add a third tomato. What you do is up to you! You could simply repeat the original setup you had from the first study or change it slightly. The point here is that we are going to do our best to recall the information from the first study and apply it to this painting. So don't feel like you have to get too tricky, this is more about the color work than the sketch stuff.
If you followed along any of my previous studies these steps will probably be pretty familiar by now. Gotta figure out what the base colors are for our tomatoes. I'm deciding to add a bit of variation of greens here so that I can explore some of the different nuances when we get to the shading and light part. As a bonus it will be more interesting to look at too!
Because we're dealing with greens I thought for awhile what kind of background would really push the greens forward. Opposite from green on the color wheel is red so I thought I would play with some neutral reds and even leaned a bit toward purple. My light is going to be coming from the left side so I've kept the ground plane a bit brighter on that side where I don't expect to have shadows.
Time to lay in our shadows, now here we get to start pushing what color can do. The large tomato, at least in my sketch is kind of in the way of the light , so I needed to add a cast shadow onto the tomato in the back. I've also added in my shadows underneath the tomatoes.
What I'd like to pay a little more attention to is how I've treated the shadow sides on each tomato. I know that if I go about halfway to black I can kind of experiment with the hue here. In the back tomato I've leaned toward the magentas, in the left tomato I've gone to the blues and in the front tomato, I've simply crept the hue toward a cooler tone but stayed closer to my original green. You may be asking at this point, "magenta? Isn't that red?". Well... yes, but in terms of the relationship of the warm yellow sunlight versus the cool shadow side, I can kind of creep up into purple or just slightly red before it breaks and looks too warm. And besides that I just really wanted to see what I could get away with, I think it looks cool!
The sunlight is going to bring all of these greens a little bit closer to the yellow of the sun, slightly less saturated and brighter about 70% of the way to white but not too close.
Next up we've go to add our occlusion. This is the spaces where light can't reach. The undersides and underneath the tomatoes and maybe a bit behind the left tomato in the cast shadow on the back tomato.
We're to my favorite part, highlights! Here I go to the sunny yellows again but almost pure white. Because the tomatoes are supposed to look shiny I really want these to pop!
We talked about this last time I believe and I don't want to miss any steps so we're going to add in our bounced light. A little bit of the color from the ground surface is going to bounce up into the shadow side of the tomatoes and a little bit of that green is going to bounce back onto the floor where the edge of the shadow is softer.
Very subtle, I know, but it makes a big difference. Annnnnnd done? Well not quite. Because this is my memory moment, there was something I didn't quite catch on my last painting and I wanted to include it here and that's sky light. I know, just when you thought I was done adding more lights to think about. Sky light is soooo subtle it's hard to notice a lot of the time and if you're indoors you probably wouldn't see any unless there was a window open.
To get that sky light in I'm going to pick a nice light sky blue. Just take any blue that seems like a sunny sky day and creep it a little bit more toward white. To get the sky light, or fill light effect, I'm going to just very lightly hit the right side of each tomato. Not too much and ONLY the very edge in the shadow shape. Think of this as another light on the opposite side that only has like 10% of the power that the sunlight has.
And that's that! I'm going to do my usual blending around where I see that the values are close. I try to think about where I want the viewer to look and in this case it's the highlights so I'll blend carefully around any areas that seem like they compete with the highlights for attention.
If you're following along, great job! You've painted another fruit from memory! This is one of the ways we can teach our brains to strengthen the connection between what we study and how we then execute ideas. By strengthening this connection we are literally rewarding our brains for good behavior and it feels darn good when we can get it right. If you've finished and noticed that some things aren't quite right, this is an easy way for us to spot where we need to study more.
I think for me I notice that I could do a little bit more to get the "waxy" sheen of the tomato. I got pretty close, but maybe a bit more study about how to interpret that waxiness would benefit me for my next tomato. I really like the sunny yellow, but I think a waxy skin would probably go a bit less saturated and closer to white. I'll have to remind myself of that on tomato 3. We're gonna go silly again!
I you want to go over how I made some of these color choices in this study you'll find a basic primer here.
If you need help getting started drawing, I highly recommend you head over to @jorgevandeperre's blog and start following along his lesson plans. @jorgevandeperre has over 20+ exercises to get started and is even giving out rewards to students who complete homework!
UPDATE: I'm a glutton for PAINting so I did the waxy thing and I'm happier with it!