Drawing a TOMATOnion (Part 2)

Drawing a TOMATOnion (Part 2)

We have entered the Saturation Stage of the creative process.

creative process, you are here, Betty Edwards, Creative Process Model

It's where we dive and really explore all areas of our Initial Idea and do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions ... we really dive into the brainstorming rabbit hole ...

rendering an onion, rendering a sphere, drawing tomatoes

In this video I mention I'm not en plein air painter or drawer ... or drafter or drafts(wo)man per se. I'm a painter and a drawer but not a drawer in a piece of furniture nor a pair of underwear. Not to put too fine a point on this, but while I do draw outside, which is what en plein air translates from French into English to, I am not someone who one would reference as en pleine air artist - at least not in the traditional sense.

Painters like the Impressionists work outdoors specifically to capture what they see - how the sunlight and plays upon surfaces and forms. If I were one though, I would be rendering the tomatoes with light coming over my shoulders and would render the highlight on the parts of each rounded form closest to me. That would make it appear more like a relief tonal rendering which we won't get into here. I want to leave my options open as I do some detective work and investigate what I'm looking at exactly.

I had to sit with the sun behind me because of the time of day I arrived at the allotment to work on these studies. I would have had to time my arrival to the correct time of day to catch the light the way I finally settle on and in all fairness I can go back if I feel the need but after years of doing this, I understand the theory behind how light falls on spherical forms. I will render side lighting on these sphereical forms. I will show light coming from left, top-center as though I am watching myself from a 90° angle perpendicular to myself facing that cluster of tomatoes. This is how I had to face them to draw straight-on.

All I wanted to get, from the tomatoes, was the gesture showing how they came together as a group. I began with a quick light doodle and then a light blind contour. I then found got lost in the drawing and fell into the enjoyment of capturing how the pattern of alternating pedicels grew out from along the stalk attaching to each tomato and felt suprise at discovering how different the opposite branching veins on the leaves were. The variation of sphere sizes became intriguing but mostly I loved drawing the contour lines along the edges of each little starfish-shaped character and realized each was comprised of 5 curly calyxes which came together and attached at the base of each tomato. I got lost in time and space exploring every single one them because I was trying to portray each as an individual personality. Always anthrophomorphizing and seeing a few alien faces in spaces between shapes - the negative shapes. It's an entertainingly safe twilight zone and makes drawing fun.

The lighting scenario I show on the onion is different than the one I actually see when I am sitting on my wonky little plastic yellow chair in the garden drawing tomatoes.

Back in the studio though, I am now working from these drawings and from memory. I am also using another series of drawings done on the roof deck of tomato leaves and I've gathered reference material out of a few botanical and gardening books to augment what I come back to the table with. I watched a few gardening videos about tomatoes and then some artists doing watercolour paintings of spheres and I have pieced together a larger story. And I want to tell it using tomatoes I've planted from seed and grown in my garden.


I hope this video illustrates creative process as I perceive it so it demonstrates one of many ways to use visual and verbal language to tell your own story. It's my way and I hope you enjoy it and get something from it.

If you do, please let me know what that is in the comments below.  I love learning from others and find sharing thoughts is a good way to do it.

ONE MORE FUN FACT: At 13:25 on this video I draw the pedicel, calyx and sepals of two missing tomatoes. If you watched the video prior to this, you will know why they are missing. I thought I'd lend an air of intrigue and include the 'gone girls' for anyone into this type of trivia.

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