Thursday, January 2, 2014

Chiaroscuro Onion, 30 in 30 - Day 2

It's only the second day of the '30 paintings in 30 days' challenge and I've already resorted to painting a vegetable!  I knew it would happen but I didn't think it would happen so quickly.  I loved the chiaroscuro effect in the reference photo and it was begging me to paint it.  How could I say no?

I was mentioning to my friend Ellen that deciding on a subject to paint would be the hardest part of this challenge and she suggested painting the same subject using several different mediums which I think is an incredible idea.  You will be seeing this again (and maybe again) during the month.  I'm especially excited to try this in oils.

This was done in pastels.  I put pumice gel on a black panel which made it an uneven gray/black color.  Then, I layered dark blue, dark green and brown in the background and blended it using water and it turned a nice, smooth, rich black.  The under colors of the onion were handled the same way but I wanted it to have more texture so I layered additional color on top without using water to blend.  The green was stumbled on the background and I added a few strokes of rust to indicate the surface on which the onion was sitting.  I added the swish of the lighter color to lead the viewer's eyes back into the picture.

Chiaroscuro Onion
Image Size 8" x 10"


  1. It looks terrific! Wonderful color.

  2. Who knew an onion could be so pretty!!??!!

  3. Love how you caught the shiny skin. I have been stealing Paul's fruits and veggies to paint something from life each day, forgot about onions. I too am already starting to get idea block and it is only day 3

    1. Thank you Nelvia. I haven't decided what I'm going to paint today yet….January is going to be a loooong month.

  4. Love how you captured the light Nancy. I just read another artist who was having trouble finding a subject for her 30 day challenge, and she is painting a fruit (pear) in different styles. Today is cubism, tomorrow something else. Now I see you will do different mediums! Wonderful idea, looking forward to seeing more.

  5. Hi Nan, painting in different styles is a good idea too. Maybe I'll throw some of that into the mix.


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