Puzzled Peppers - watercolor demonstration of peppers
6.  By carefully outlining each piece with dark brown, they are all distinct. Even though puzzle pieces are nearly flat, they are three-dimensional. In the close-up shot at left, you can see the shadows and highlights on each piece. 

Puzzled Peppers rounds out my trio of jigsaw puzzle paintings. The first two are Puzzled Iris and Puzzled PoppiesBoth have step-by-step demonstrations.
4.  The ceramic dishes have brightly colored rims. In the detail photo at the left, small streaks of pure white on the rims give the illusion of bright light reflected off a shiny surface. The same principle applies to the white streaks on the peppers. 
2.   It was tricky to keep track of the areas where the absence of a puzzle piece was indicated. I penciled an "x" in those areas to remind myself they were to be left blank.  A clear, cool yellow is the underlying color of the peppers that will ulimately be reddish orange. The roma tomatoes in the center will be a truer red and I decided to apply an underglaze of orange instead of yellow.
3.  The gold background is developed more, but will remain very simple. Orange is glazed on the peppers in several layers. The ceramic plate takes on more life and the shadows to the right on the background cloth get a gold glaze.
Step 1 of red and green peppers watercolor painting demonstration
Step 6 of red and green peppers watercolor painting demonstration
1. Photoshop was a great help when planning the size and shape of the puzzle pieces and their placement. The underlying image of the peppers must have a good artistic composition, but the arrangement of scattered, missing, and interlocking puzzle pieces should have a visually interesting layout, too. 

Puzzled Peppers started out as a monochromatic painting using a greenish blue. Just like the process with Fiery Foodthe basic values were established before any color was glazed on the peppers. Here you can see the first layers of green and red.
Step 2 of red and green peppers watercolor painting demonstration
Step 3 of red and green peppers watercolor painting demonstration
Step 5 of red and green peppers watercolor painting demonstration
Step 4 of red and green peppers watercolor painting demonstration
Step 6 detail of red and green peppers watercolor painting demonstration
5.  Several glazes of red on the roma tomatoes makes them stand out from the peppers. Red was added to the dishes. I didn't like the heavy green look of the shadow on the right. Lifting some of the green with a damp brush and putting on a glaze of golden yellow brightened the shadow. The loose puzzle pieces now have color clues that hint of their proper place in the puzzle.

Watercolor Demo
Puzzled Peppers
Step 6 of red and green peppers watercolor painting demonstration
I have always been intrigued by puzzles of all kinds, and jigsaw puzzles have been a favorite since childhood. I came up with a way to give some punch to my art by combining elements of realism (my favorite) with abstraction (my stumbling block) in the form of a painted jigsaw puzzle.
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Puzzled Peppers
18"x15" mounted on board, sealed with acrylic, framed
$350  ©2010