Where I Buy My Little Debbies – pt.1

Life is like a Zebra cake.  I’m not sure in what way this is true, but I feel very strongly that it must be true.  It’s also true that having Little Debbie Snack Cakes lying around the house is a terrible idea.  While their technical shelf-life is measured in decades, a package of these will never sit uneaten for more than a couple of days.

I’m not sure why this is.  The flavor of a mass-produced, factory-born, packaged snack product is something akin sweetened cardboard.  The texture of the cakes and cremes is airy to the point that it’s almost like biting into a gas rather than solid matter.  I never feel satisfied upon consuming one.  And the coatings are oddly waxy.

All of these are good reasons never to keep Little Debbies in the house.  Much better to let the corner store hold onto them for you until that exact moment of weakness when you feel compelled to dart out the front door, 75 cents in hand, and purchase a pair.  They will probably be gone before you get home, but don’t worry – the calories will stick around all week.

They place where I buy my Little Debbie Snack Cakes is the M&A Market half a block from my house.

The painting of the Market, and this post have been a long time coming.

The first sketch was completed  months ago (as posted, here).  I developed the painting in stages over the past few weeks.  Even once the picture was done, it’s taken Herculean effort to plop myself down and actually write this post.  Darn all that beautiful weather!

A large part of the problem has been with the photos.  I took a few shots over the course of working on the painting, but the colors were off-kilter.  Attempts to adjust them have met with mixed results.  The photo of the finished piece is downright crummy.  But it’s time to move on…

So here is part one, covering the beginning stages of the process.  Part two will come when I can get a good photo of the end result.   But there must be some sort of artistic lesson to be learned here.

Perhaps it is not to get wrapped up in all these distractions.  Keep focused on the art itself and keep moving forward.  Don’t sweat the blog.  It will be fine, even if a few snapshots are fuzzy.  Right?  I’m sure you readers will chime in if the quality slips…

Here you see a very dirty under-drawing of the corner market.  It’s hard to discern, but a little bluish-gray wash has been smeared in where the sky will be.  I wanted to get the sky color close to correct early on, since it will set the tone for the rest of the piece.

The drawing here is fairly detailed.  The sign, especially so.  I fussed over the placement of the trash can in the foreground for an eternity.  In reality, it’s leaning against a stop sign near the intersection.  I decided to move it off-center to balance out the activity happening in the lower left quadrant, and to spread out the centers of interest.

What does it say about me that I consider a trash can a ‘center of interest’?

By this stage, more of the main color regions are blocked in.  I chose let each area be distinct.  Some artist like to have an underlying color theme, or include certain colors in all parts of the painting.  this helps to “hold the painting together”.  However, I often like to stress the disjointedness of colors you’ll find in the city.  There are the earthy and silvery tones of the trees and the sky.  Then there are the harsh and acidic hues that you find in brick and signs and paint.

The painting is officially underway, but the next step didn’t come for a few days.  Sometimes, I use the excuse of letting the paint dry to walk away from a piece – some would say, “procrastinate”.  Pay no mind to the fact that there is a perfectly good hairdryer in the studio that could always use to speed up the process.

Truth be told, sometimes walking away from a piece is the best thing to do.  It allows you to absorb each step, just as the paper needs time to absorb the pigment.

So until next time….

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This entry was published on April 4, 2012 at 10:37 am and is filed under Humor, MN, Neighborhood Landmarks, Style, The Artistic Process, Watercolors. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Where I Buy My Little Debbies – pt.1

  1. The words “Zebra Cakes” brought back memories. Some fond, others not. But now that I know the market by your house sells them, we are definitely making a Zebra Cake run (or two) next time we visit.

  2. Gaia // Children's Illustrator on said:

    Ooh I already like this. I think a new series! The Bodegas Have I Known and Loved. You’ll have to go back to Brooklyn for research. (I’m drawing a zebra right now.)

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