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Organic Bananas, The FURminator & Blindness

Organic Bananas

Watercolor on Arches Cold-Pressed paper in 5.5 x 7.5 sketchbook

After working half the day I decided to finally vacuum my house since I was feeling sleepy and not particular creative and the house and studio sorely needed cleaning. I’ve been contentedly choosing painting over housecleaning for too long, and the cat hair was piling up. So I dusted, vacuumed, washed the throw rugs, brushed the kitties with a great new cat and dog brush, the FURminator, that thoroughly removes the undercoat and ends shedding for weeks (the pictures on their website don’t lie–it’s amazing how much fur comes off the first time).

After dinner I was still sleepy but knew I’d be sad if I just turned on the TV and had no fun in the studio at all today. So I grabbed the only produce left in the kitchen (I’ve also been putting off the grocery shopping) and painted these bananas.

While I painted I was listening to a fascinating book, Crashing Through, about a man who was blinded at the age of 3, became a downhill speed skier, an entrepeneur, married, had kids, and a great life. Then he was given the historical opportunity to try an experimental surgery and become one of only 20 people in the history of the world who, after a lifetime of total blindness, had his sight restored, via a stem cell and corneal transplant. The book provides really interesting information about vision and how we make sense of what we see, from distance perception, to 3-dimensionality, to recognizing faces and expressions. It turns out it actually has to do with parts of the brain rather than the eyes and is learned in infancy.

A lot of that information is useful for painting. When the author explains how the brain uses visual clues to judge distance, these are the same things artists use to create the illusion of depth and distance in paintings. These include objects getting smaller the further away they are, closeness to the horizon (the further away or taller something is, the closer to the horizon it is), aerial perspective (the effect of moisture and particles in the air between the distant object and the viewer that causes distant objects to appear grayer, cooler, paler than closer objects), linear perspective, and occlusion (one thing in front of another).

7 replies on “Organic Bananas, The FURminator & Blindness”

Jana, your posts are always so thought-provoking and informative. I think I’d stop by all the time even if they weren’t beautifully illustrated as well! I’m going to have to get a copy of that book! And I love your (friend’s) description of the learning process in the previous post – it’s absolutely spot on. Your progress in oils is inspiring, but I’ll first have to work through the conscious incompetence phase in watercolor!


WOW! FABULOUS form and color on the bananas! And congrats for getting so much work done! The book sounds fascinating! I think I saw an interview with this individual a few years ago — incredible experiences!!! And yes, to learn about sight for painting — very neat, Jana! My depth perception is way off due to a near sighted eye and a far sighted eye — perspective for me is some experience in frustration! LOL


Wonderful bananas!!!

I also read that book and was totally fascinated. I also read the author’s previous book and it was also excellent. I love a good author that really knows how to write.


The book you were talking about sounds really inspiring and I love how you made the connections with art. Of course, I always love your paintings too! I haven’t been commenting too much lately due to internet issues and sickness, but I’m still visiting your blog (I have you on the wordpress blog surfer which I love!) and always enjoy your paintings.


I love the soft runs in both the yellow of the bananas and the shadow areas. And yes, I agree, the vertical format is really neat! Clean colors, just beautiful! And your informative posts are interesting and conversational, feels like we’re all sitting down with a buddy. Thanks.


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