Monday, January 7, 2013

"Melitzanosalata" — in progress oil painting by Paul Baldassini

“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.”  — Oscar Wilde

To secure this Baldassini original artwork  for your collection please call 860-638-0890 today.  Or visit my website to view other works in the series.

Here is the Quinacridone underpainting and in-progress overpainting of a new work entitled "Melitzanosalata".   Melitzanosalata means "eggplant salad" buts its actually a dip, very similar to baba ghanoush.  This is the third work in my new series retitled "Tabletop", and utilizes fruits and vegetables from my own garden, some from farmers markets, some from local markets and supermarkets.  I'm also utilizing a minimally painted white background over the entire composition, something I tried on part of "Hypnotic Citrus" the first work in this series.

In this series, I am very involved in EVERY aspect of the work including:

•  growing the produce
•  selecting produce from local sources when not homegrown
•  choosing props including glassware, bowls, plates and fabrics that I've been collecting for over 30 years
•  designing, composing, and styling the still life set-ups
•  photographing the still life in raking natural sunlight with long cast shadows (usually morning light)
•  digital image editing and compositing
•  producing my own custom reference prints
•  and of course, the painting

I bracket each shot 1 F-stop up and down so I can "borrow" opened up shadows and replace blown out highlight detail as necessary.  Often after viewing the images from the photo shoot, it becomes necessary for design reasons to make changes to the layouts.  So, for insurance, during each still life set-up I also photograph a lot of "support players" that I can add and subtract as necessary, and composite into the final composition digitally.  For example, in the above composition I added and/or slightly moved all 4 of the cherry tomatoes as well as the cast shadow from the shallot.  There was an entirely different red tomato sitting in the blue martini glass that had no stem or stem leaf cluster.  I decided that the tomato needed a stem whereas the green tomato has none, so I composited a different "tomato top" from another shot onto the original tomato.  I can't imagine photography or the creative process without a tool like Adobe Photoshop.



  1. Beautiful work! I do a red base undercoat on my painting to. For your red undercoat do you use oil paint or acrylic?

    1. Hello Jose --

      Thanks for your comments, much appreciated. I use Sennelier Quinacridone Magents, oil. You can read all about my working process on many of my previous posts. I document every painting in- progress.

      Hope this email finds you well.