Avocado & Leaves – 5 x 7 oil
Avocados from our overburdened tree – guacamole coming soon! This was painted from life this morning with actual sunshine streaming in my studio window!
I’m feeling better – finally – things are looking up.
“Fortune Cookie” – 5 x 7 – acrylic
This painting was done in response to a creative challenge to “draw or paint something wrapped in plastic.” Since we had Chinese food the other night, I still had this fortune cookie sitting around, so I decided to paint that. The problem is, I can’t read the fortune inside without opening the plastic and I think I might like to paint it again. So, it will sit on my desk enigmatically with the life-changing fortune and lucky lottery numbers safely sealed inside. I have a feeling that if and when I do finally tear it open it will say something like “this fortune is past its sell-by date and has expired.”
I was thinking a little bit about how I’d approach the painting of transparent plastic and I finally settled in with the realization that it’s no different than painting anything else … it all comes down to color, value, shape and edge. Simple concepts when you get right to it.
Keeping to my art resolutions, tonight I started a figure drawing class with a new teacher and what was the first thing he said about modeling the head? “You have to pay attention to value, shape and edge …(we were working in charcoal so color wasn’t a factor.) So there you go – three teachers out of three and they all concur … value, color, shape, edge – that’s how you render any object – no matter what the medium. So the next time you want to paint a lake or a cloud or a parsnip – you know the answer.
“Harvest” 8 x 10 oil
Persimmons are still in season around here, so I decided to do another still life including one. This is a lot looser than most of the oil paintings I’ve been doing, and I enjoyed the opportunity to try something different. This was painted from life using reasonably thick paint and larger brushes than those I normally use. I had intended to push the abstract qualities even farther, but this was about as painterly as I could manage at the moment. Next time I do a still life maybe I can nudge it even a little more in that direction. Although it’s still a month or more away, I’m beginning to get a few notions about what I want to learn and explore in 2008. Opinions about this different approach?
The Open Pomegranate – 5 x 7 inches – oil on canvasboard
Yes, I know it is a little radical compared to yesterday’s more sedate persimmon and plumbago composition, but sometimes a girl’s just got to cut loose and do something different. I had purchased a few pomegranates to put in a still life arrangement and then I got the idea to break it open and see how I could convey the feeling of that juicy flesh and seeds scattering in all directions.
This was a great deal of fun to paint, as you can probably tell from the enthusiastic brush strokes. And I can’t really say what tomorrow will bring …
Persimmon and Plumbago – 8 x 10 oil – Available
I was coming into the house from the driveway today and saw that our plumbago shrub was covered with blue-violet blooms. It immediately struck me that those colors would be a good compliment to the yellow-orange persimmon I painted last night, and which had survived the ordeal, no worse for wear.
There is something to be said for working in a series. I found the persimmon easier to paint today than last night
So I set up another still life in the same stage, this time a wider shot incorporating a bit of drapery. I don’t often draw folds, let alone paint them, so this was a good experiment for me, and I’m satisfied with the result.
I used the same colors as yesterday for the persimmon, plus UM blue and some alizarin crimson for the plumbago.
Persimmon Passion 5 x 7 oil
Painted from life and still soaking wet. That’s why you’ll see little shimmery dots in the photo of the room light bouncing off the paint. With Descanso and the Redlands show behind me, I’m busy again getting ready for the art walk in our neighboring town of Montrose.
Painting still lives is a very relaxing discipline. They don’t move and under room light I don’t even have to worry about the sun disappearing behind the clouds. I like to paint them alla prima, wet into wet, all in one sitting. Our son tells us that persimmons are very delicious but I never eat them, I just paint them until they start to look old and then, unfortunately, they’re too old to eat also. Maybe next time I should get some to paint and some to munch. Just for fun I took a picture of my setup. The painting looks huge but it’s only because I’m close. It’s only 5 x 7 really. I have it in a cardboard box to eliminate exterior light so that the “key” light, coming from the upper right, is the only one that is consistent.
This was painted primarily with cadmium orange, cadmium red, sap green, a little ultramarine blue and white.
“A Touch of Home” – oil on canvas – 12″ x 16″
First of all, welcome to all the new readers that I’ve told about my blog in the past few days – gentle folk who have passed through our gallery and left me with wonderful memories and stories. I hope that you’ll find the artwork displayed here enjoyable to see – and maybe you’ll even find something you’d like to give a home to. Each of these paintings are very special to me – and most have a story to go along with them.
I worked on this still life for two days in the gallery, and then took it home to have a second look and to put on some finishing touches. Soon it will be signed and framed. In my living room I have a place where I can set up still life setups and they are illuminated by western light. When the afternoon sun comes streaming in, it touches everything with a wonderful golden radiance. Fresh flowers are always a favorite component of these arrangements, but I also include fresh fruit and some of the decorative cobalt blue bottles I’ve collected through the years. I like the cut glass vase not only for its faceted design but also the way it picks up the color of adjacent objects.
“Onion and Peppers” – 5″ x 7″ oil
Yesterday, my “Blackberry Summer” still life painting found a home with a collector, so I painted another little vignette in the same still life genre. It’s soaking wet, which is why the top of the painting is glistening from the light shining on it. When this is dry it will go to the gallery, unless it gets nabbed from the blog first.
Today I think I might paint some cut flowers as part of my demonstration today. When we arrived on Sunday morning to get ready for our reception, we saw that some beautiful flowers were being removed from the manor house nearby – there had been a wedding the night before. I inquired about the destination for the flowers and rescued them from a fate in a landfill. There was plumeria, bells of Ireland, lisiatris, roses, hydrangea and many other beauties. If they’re still a few fresh ones this morning I think it might be interesting to turn into a watercolor or small oil painting. I’m going to play it by ear.
I have been remiss in responding to all the lovely comments and good wishes you’ve left here and sent to me privately in the past few weeks. I want you to know that I appreciate each and every one of them and I am not ignoring you. I’m just very short on sleep and have to stay focused on painting and prepping each night for the day to come. I promise to make the rounds of seeing what you all are doing, and answering questions, just as soon as I can. Karen
Daisies and Crystal 9 x 12 – watercolor
I’m working on a rather large watercolor for a special project, but in the meantime, to have something to post, I did this quick sketch of some flowers in one of my cut glass vases. As it turned out I became more interested in the facets of the cut glass than the flowers. This is 9 x 12, painted freehand with a #14 round brush and a 1″ flat, nothing smaller than that. I didn’t do any pencil underdrawing because I was using this as an exercise to draw with the brush and do some negative painting.
The grays and neutrals in this were composed of the primaries used in the flowers. In other words, palette mud.
But mud can be a very nice thing when it’s used to harmonize and serve as a background to brighter colors.
“Cherry Reflections” – 8 x 10 oil on canvas –
Here’s a detail of the painting. Actual size of this cherry is about 1 3/4″ across. Click to enlarge.