Tennessee Tomatoes

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I just packed 2 paintings to go to Nashville, Tennessee - they're destined for the the Tomato Art Fest show at the Art & Invention Gallery. If all goes well, they'll find new homes in Nashville and won't be coming back! Why, you may ask is Ann, the animal artist: #1, painting tomatoes and #2, sending the art to Nashville?

Well I'm glad you asked! Here's the story:
I painted a tomato for the 2005 Loomis Eggplant Festival, where I had a booth with my art in both 2005 & 2006. Of course, I was displaying my animal art, but thought it would be appropriate to have some eggplant art and decided to paint a tomato as well. Then, about this time last year, I received an e-mail from the owner of the Art & Invention Gallery asking if I still had the original tomato painting. She'd come across the image in my CafePress store while searching the internet for tomato art for the Tomato Art Fest show.
Tomato, watercolor on Yupo by Ann Ranlett

I had already sold it, but I offered to send her some cards and magnets with the image. She liked that idea, so I sent those items, most of which she sold. Since the Tomato Art Fest is an annual event, I told her I'd get a new painting or two done for this year's show.

Now back to present day. I painted one piece of three tomatoes ("Three Amigos") in watercolor on Yupo.
Three Amigos, watercolor on Yupo by Ann Ranlett
I was contemplating painting another tomato piece, but while searching through my reference photos, I came across an interesting photo of a tomato worm (tobacco hornworm). Now, it may seem blasphemous to put a painting of a tomato worm in a show honoring the luscious tomato, but I felt it could work, even if it was a bit subversive. I did run the idea past the gallery owner and she said "go for it". The photo was completely green (not terribly interesting), but I liked the composition, so I played with it a bit in PhotoShop to tweak the colors and provide a guide for the painting. Below, you'll see the all-green photo, the PhotoShopped version and the final painting ("Green Scourge").

This painting took on a life of its own - I started with watercolor on Yupo, but the background colors blended more than I'd planned. It was at this point that I realized the painting was not going to resemble the photo all that much. That was fine, I decided not to fret over it - I was happy with the colors and overall look, so I moved forward. I used color pencil on top of the watercolor to add detail and additional color to the worm, tomato and stem. I also changed some of the shading - the shadow under the worm was a glowing yellow, which looked great in the photo, but didn't read right on the painting. Even after adding color pencil, it still needed "something", so I put a bit of black ink linework on the same components. Tomato Worm - reference photo #1
Tomato Worm - reference photo #2

Green Scourge, mixed media painting of a tomato worm, by Ann Ranlett
The painting has a psychedelic, graphic look to it - I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out.


Anonymous August 12, 2007 at 11:30 PM  

I can't help but shudder at the bug, Ann, but the art is FABULOUS!




PaintDog August 13, 2007 at 1:26 PM  

Thanks Christine! It's perfectly ok to "hate the bug, not the art".

Christine is one of my cyber buddies from a number of eBay groups. She's a very talented artist and writer!


mousewords August 13, 2007 at 2:20 PM  

Thanks, Ann! Right back atcha. :);)


- - - All art and images ©Ann Ranlett, unless otherwise credited. All rights reserved. - - -

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