Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ball Mason Jar

Here's my latest watercolor, finished just yesterday. Although I'm happy with the result - since glass is always a special challenge - I'm even more disappointed than usual in the quality of the scan. The scanner's light always seems to wash out the images, while color and saturation correction in photoshop doesn't do an acceptable job of compensation. So this is the best of three attempts. Does anyone have recommendations? (Even photographing it didn't prove acceptable!)

As for the subject, I think most people look at these old Ball Mason jars with a touch of nostalgia. I recall seeing them at both sets of grandparents' homes, while my mother would receive gifts of jams, jellies - and even green beans - from older family members who still used the jars for storing fruits and vegetables. I also remember my great-grandmother's house in which there were shelves lined with an assortment of fuit and veg. In fact, my maternal grandparents would "can" figs and fig preserves in these jars. (The fig tree still grows in my grandmother's back yard and usually yields a healthy crop which she and my mother sometimes harvest.) Unfortunately I also remember numerous "country"-themed restaurants like "The Black-Eyed Pea" that tried to enhance the "down home" atmosphere by serving their drinks - always iced tea for me! - in Mason jars.

As usual I took a different perspective on this image, not wanting simply to present it in its entirety, static, resting on a table or shelf. Here it's closely cropped, turned slightly, with light from rear left highlighting the raised lettering and imperfections in the glass. (Aren't the blue jars rarer and considered more collectible?) 9" x 12" on Fabriano paper

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jblack designs said...

Wow. I love that. It's definitely a different turn (so to speak) on the usual presentation.

I share your pain over scanners, but have no solutions other than importing the image in Photoshop and trying to tweak without changing (i.e., to get to the original better).

As for canning jars, as a daughter of the South (Tar Heeler by birth and 200+ year heritage, then GA but never the South again (to me, Texas is not the South--it's Southwest, although I'll admit that East Texas is very like the South)) ... ok ... where was I? Oh yeah -- canning jars are part of my youth. Helping my grandmother (if you look at my etsy icon, she's the woman at the typewriter) make pickles was a highlight of many a day of shelling peas or husking corn.

My former neighbor here in Texas still cans (she's about 70) and uses the same jars. Her beets are to die for and her jalapeno jelly--yum.

Thanks for the memory-lane morning and the good art!

One Wink at a Time said...

I'm in a hurry but will be back, of course.
As soon as I saw the title of this post I got excited and was not disappointed when I scrolled down and saw the painting.
You know how crazy I was about the S&P shakers and the ketchup bottle. And the homeless man.
Well take all those X 2 and that's how much I love this one. For a myriad of reasons...

Kitty said...

great job, brian!
watercolors are tough. they have such a luminosity of their own, I can see why they're tough to photograph.

I think the secret is to light it well when photographing. If you have someone there holding a reflector to bounce light on the painting, it would help. Take a longer exposure using a tripod, and a high-res image.

I've been experimenting with photo filters recently in Photoshop, and I'd use that as a last resort to bump it up a little.

Photo filters are more subtle than adjusting saturation. (Under 'layers', you add an adjustment later. There are many preset colors to use but you can also calibrate your own).

keep up the great work!