“Chinese-Japanese” 5 x 7 oil on canvasboard
I had a square cornered Chinese demitasse cup and some Japanese persimmons – and thought they looked good together in a primary color sort of way. It seemed like a good get together for a still life. and the colors are even more vivid in person. Somehow they never look as striking on a monitor as they do in real life. If you want to see how much of a difference vivid color makes, take your little finger and cover that small stroke of bright red. The whole painting changes, doesn’t it? That one small area, the size of a fingertip, really has a big effect. Did you try it?
Speaking of which, I had a very good time this morning going around to garage sales and picking up some props for future still life setups – silver plated vessels – colorful ceramics – and I really don’t know where I’m going to stow them – but they sure are fun to look at and to arrange into interesting combinations.
Solo Sunflower 8 x 10 oil on canvas board
When we were driving on a back road off Highway 1, not far from Paso Robles, we came across a row of sunflowers that had been planted along the roadside. These beauties were 7-8 feet tall and each one had a unique character and form. I must have spent 20 minutes there, shooting them from every angle. I selected this one for my first sunflower portrait – a memory of a bright sunny day with an amazing sky that really was that turquoise.
This one I painted in two sessions … one for the underpainting and a second go for some glazing and highlights. Probably the most challenging part was mixing the colors for the shadowed areas. There were so many colors bouncing around in there – reflected russets from the center of the flower, greens from the abundant leaves nearby, plus ochres and even violets – complements of the yellow.
“The Way Back Home” (Central California Coast) – 9 x 12 oil on canvasboard
When I saw this location last week it left me with a feeling of nostalgia and bittersweet longing, even though I have never lived in a rural setting. Perhaps there’s something about a lonely country road that evokes feelings of homesickness and curiosity – wondering what wonderful things await just around the bend.
Can you tell I am becoming seriously infatuated with vivid color?
Note: if you find that this image appears exceptionally dark (not just saturated color but DARK) on your monitor, please let me know. I’m trying to tweak my settings so that images scanned through a Mac appear reasonably correct on a PC.
“Evening Glory” (central coast) 12″ x 16″ oil on stretched canvas
Now you know a little bit about what I was up to from Thursday to Sunday of this past week – I was on a road trip and photo safari to gather references for new paintings. Much as I’d like to stop and paint quietly at each of these locations, we were on a timetable and my little Nikon served me well, providing a wealth of material to use as inspiration for new works.
Thank you all for the feedback you gave on “Beside Still Waters” – as you can tell, I’m still enjoying the use of heightened colors and there’s a very good chance I’ll be exploring this approach for awhile.
This scene was inspired by a drive we took at sunset near Paso Robles, California – our beautiful Central Coast region. Here, hillsides were generously dotted with oak trees, and the grasses literally glowed shades of gold and orange in the waning light. I made notes on the colors just in case the photographs didn’t reveal the true brilliance of the scene. In fact, I relied more on my memory and notes than the photo in doing this painting. So, I’m painting intensely right now. I sense an opportunity coming that doesn’t even have a name yet – but I know I need to have a number of paintings ready. The muse cracks the whip and I obey.