Calling All Chocolate Lovers!

My newest painting, titled "Decadence" by popular vote, is now complete. It's a different subject for me, and variety always makes the painting process interesting. My intention before starting was to do a painting to enter into an upcoming exhibition, and this necessitates something bold. When a juror stands in the center of a room with over a hundred paintings surrounding him/her, a painting needs to really stand out to make it through the initial cut. Of course, from there it gets down to being individually judged for creativity, use of the media, technical mastery, etc., so those are all elements I tried to incorporate. I wonder if I'd do better with a female juror for this painting of chocolates?!?!

I was inspired years ago by artists who do enlarged views of common objects, like the flower paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe. I remember seeing some enlarged candy by another artist, and it really caught my eye. About 3 years ago, I thought of doing the same with chocolates, the kind which come in a heart at Valentine's Day. I bought a little sampler box, but what was inside didn't look like what I was picturing in my mind - a molded plastic holder with the chocolates sitting in their designated spaces. I wanted the ones in little pleated cups! One day I noticed a Russell Stover store and went inside. They had many many choices of boxed chocolates, and you could see a sample of what was inside each box. I found just what I wanted, with interesting variation of designs, shapes, and colors... and in foil paper cup wrappers. Once back home, I took the chocolates and put them on a silver platter, being selective about the arrangement from a design point of view. Then I moved it around to check different lighting and photographed this little still life. Then I ate the chocolates [tough job, but someone had to do it!]. The photos went into my large digital file folder of references and stayed there until I was perusing for ideas about two months ago.

It was great fun to paint these sweets, and it was a new challenge to create so many shades of brown! I tried to capture the glossiness of the chocolates as well as the reflectiveness of the foil cups and the silver tray. I promise you won't get fat looking at the painting - unless it makes you hungry to go eat some chocolates!