Saturday, December 7, 2019

Tangerine Dream

I have a love-hate relationship with oranges. Oranges are great when they’re juicy and sweet, but sometimes you get one that’s dry and chewy. What do you do with those?

This painting is still available, click to view the auction.



The way that I deal with subpar oranges is that I slice them with a knife and then bite into them, and suck all of the juice out of them. Then I throw the rest of it away because it’s too tough to chew.

Recently, I painted an orange and I thought it would be interesting to paint one that’s cut into slices. I was thinking that the interior has a greater variety of color and texture. The wedges could be arranged into patterns too.

Usually, I take my reference photos early in the morning before breakfast. I was hungry and I could smell the orange, but I had to wait until I was done taking pictures before I could take a bite. Well, I could have ate it, but I would have lost my still life material!

I spent some time trying to arrange these oranges into an interesting composition. “Composition” is art lingo for how the shapes are arranged in a painting. You can't just randomly frame a subject and expect it to look good.

There are some basic principles of composition that you can follow. Photographers often talk about the “rule of thirds” which means that you divide the canvas into thirds and place the subject along on one of those lines.

I like to simplify the rule of thirds into meaning- don’t center the subject or place it too close the edges.

Another issue I had was there wasn't much color in the image, aside from the orange. For fun, I placed a sheet of blue paper under the plate of orange slices.

That seemed to do the trick!
“Tangerine Dream“
Acrylic on canvas
8"x10"
Chris Breier 2019 ©

I liked how the blue is reflected in the white dish, and it’s dark enough to add some contrast to the white plate. Obviously, the blue and the orange provide a warm/cool color contrast too.

Speaking of the color orange, I bought a tube of Cadmium Orange just for this painting. I can mix orange myself, but I wanted the brightest orange that's available. Cadmium Orange is a tad more saturated than the orange that you can mix. It’s also more opaque.

I can mix orange from Pyrrole Red and Hansa Yellow Medium. Another formula for orange is to mix Quinacridone Magenta with Hansa Yellow Medium. However, both of these mixtures are transparent. Opaque colors makes it easier to cover over previous layers.

One subtle detail is the orange color that's reflected in the blue paper. That's a difficult color to mix.

Another fun fact about painting. It doesn't matter how much planning that you do beforehand, there’s always something that doesn't work and you have to figure it out as you go.

When I began this painting, I thought that the background could be simple and that I could incorporate some bold brushstrokes. As the painting progressed, I realized that I needed to capture the subtle lighting effect in the background to make it more dramatic. You can watch me blend the grays in the background in the YouTube video at the top of this post.

I don't know if it was because I was hungry, or if the orange was extra ripe, but it tasted great! It was nice and juicy and it wasn’t tough at all.

1 comment:

SharonKullberg said...

A beautiful painting Chris! Everything is just perfect. The glow through the orange, the light on them, and the colors! Sometimes opposite colors look jarring but they go so well in this piece. Great one!