These apples came from my amazing friend Donna who is a hospice nurse, fosters dogs (and cares for a pack of her own), raises chickens, rescues feral kitties, and has turned her urban property into a virtual farm, with a huge garden, fruit trees and a giant chicken pen she built herself that I call chicken world. She’s funny and smart and beautiful. And on top of all that she is an amazing carpenter, tiler, sheet rock hanger, landscaper, gardener, and does almost all of her own remodeling and home maintenance.
I can’t do any of those things so I drew pictures of her apples.
And we have more morning sketches. I was really trying to force myself to stick to 3 values for each object. My glass-topped table is so great with its frosted glass square design elements and reflections.
I’m happier with this painting of apples on a linen tablecloth embroidered by my grandmother. After the mighty fail of my cringe-worthy zombie apple painting, I got really curious. What was I missing? Clearly my drawing hadn’t been careful enough, per my friend Michael’s appraisal of the painting: “Uh, what is it?” And I know it was way overworked.
So before trying to paint these apples again I sat down with my sketchbook, an apple and my Lamy Safari pen. (The note below about Cathy’s special pen was just me grabbing any old page in the sketchbook to try out her strange new pen when she handed it to me.)
I sketched one very dark purple delicious apple over and over in ink, trying to understand what I was seeing, where the planes changed, where the darks and lights were, trying not to get tricked by the reflections. That gave me a little more courage to try to paint the apples again in oil.
The painting at the top of the post was the result. This was a new painting surface for me: oil-primed linen on panel, surprisingly inexpensive (for linen), on sale at Jerrys Artarama. It was quite lovely to paint on. It was slippier than I was used to; the Ampersand Gessobord panels I usually use kind of “bite” the paint right off the brush and the oil primed linen allows it glide.
It’s funny how a small apple on a small panel can look so big! In the lunch room at the office where I work, people bring in boxed lunches from a nearby cafe. The boxes always include a petite Delicious apple but nobody eats them, preferring the sandwich on homemade bread, chips, and giant cookie.
So the apples are abandoned on the lunchroom table and I take them home to use as still-life objects. I have about a dozen of them now (they seem to last forever) and like setting them up to interact with each other like actors on a stage.