Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

After finishing Kim's portrait and falling in love with the palette knife, I've decided to use the same technique with my planned Avocado toast piece.

Avocado toast is the meal of my generation. We are questioned, ridiculed and admired for our allegiance to the healthy fats-packed fruit. It has been going on for years, but I believe it had reached its cultural peak when an Australian economist, a millionaire himself, proclaimed that Millenials should stop eating avocado toast if they were ever to save up money for home ownership, completely ignoring the circumstances that caused a whole generation of people around the world resign themselves to an economy of sharing.

Our generation rents everything from homes to lawnmowers. We do not own cars, we get rides. We do not hoard gadgets but recycle them. We are so removed from the idea of ownership that large companies who have pioneered artificial obsolescence are going out of their way to align themselves with the cultural zeitgeist of reduce, reuse, recycle. Our avocado toasts are starting to change more than our blood screen results for the better, they are changing the world.

With these thoughts, I set out to sketch my toast as I ate. I've intentionally took a bit out of it as a spite to the critics of the wonderful meal. I've first sketched it on wax pastel, and then a few days later it came to painting it.

This is one of those paintings that gave me a headache for the biggest part of the process, which in retrospect doesn't surprise me because I've made a big progress while on it. I had the painting clearly in my head but I know by now to let that image go while actually working on it.

I've started with the general shape and moved to work with the simplest dark colour as usual with acrylics. Then I mixed more and more complex colours on my palette and added them carefully. What I allowed myself to be less careful about was the actual avocado part. I wanted to be thick and creamy, like the actual thing, so I used a moulding paste to make enough acrylic to set the slices as thick as impasto.

I wasn't sure how the paper would behave so I adde only as much was enough to create a solid area of ~3mm above the paper. The rest I gleefully smudged with my palette knife. Despite enjoying the actual act of painting, the work itself did not look like anything until perhaps the last 10 minutes. It is then that I decided that maybe an interesting background would make it pop, so I mixed up red, Millennial pink of course, and a more tame purple.

As I've scraped my palette knife off the background and added it over and over, I was telling myself "well, at least it can a kind of an abstract attempt". Because of the oversized nature of the work, I had to bring it to the largest room in my flat and view it from a distance to see what else was missing.

The last thing I added were the highlights in the avocado and the bread part facing the light. As I added those I still couldn't see it from up close, but once it dried, and gave it another look from afar, there it was: the exact painting I was trying to make!

The lesson from this one? Patience, lots of it, and cool nerves! Also, moulding paste probably deserves at least a canvas board next time. Impasto has may yet to delight me.

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