From Veggie Porn to Bad Begonias

Veggie Porn, oil on Gessobord panel, 8x8"

Veggie Porn, oil on Gessobord panel, 8×8″

I’ve developed the goofy habit of storing my leftover cucumber in the bell pepper half when I prepare a salad. It always makes me laugh so I decided to paint it. My sister called it veggie porn. I hope it makes you chuckle too.

I’m trying out a new format for my blog posts, a simple list with images of what I’ve been working on, successes, challenges and what else is going on in the studio and my life. Theoretically it will mean less writing and more frequent posting. So here goes…let me know what you think.

CHALLENGES: I’ve been struggling with composition, discovering half way through a painting that the composition sucks and the painting will never be an enjoyable thing to look at.

SUCCESSES: I finally got the willingness to begin all paintings with some thumbnail sketches. I realized that COMPOSITION is simply the structure that directs the eye around the painting, creates a feeling of action or stillness and (if done well) delights the eye. Two of my favorite painters, Susan Jane Walp and Giorgio Morandi use composition in unexpected ways, and both delight the eye (or at least my eyes) whether they are following or breaking the “rules” of composition or making their own.

LETTING GO OF A BAD PAINTING: This one started off really happily but ended up in the trash, after scraping and redoing it over and over until I killed it so dead it couldn’t be revived. I just felt there was too much red, that it was too “hot” somehow. A friend suggested adding black. That was the final nail in the coffin. I’m not sure why I’m even sharing it at all.

FAIL: Bad Begonias, oil on panel, 10x8"

FAIL: Bad Begonias, oil on panel, 10×8″

SKETCHES: I try to do a sketch from the SKTCHY App at least weekly. Here is a recent one.

Isabel T, from Sktchy photo reference, graphite, 12x9"

Isabel T, from Sktchy photo reference, graphite, 12×9″

WHAT I’M READING: “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked.” Great book about how our devices and apps are designed to keep us using them. I waste way too much time web-surfing on my phone. This book gave me some tools for changing my habits along with a good talking to! I think it’s a must-read for parents especially.

WHAT I’M LISTENING TO: Ed Sheeran and Alicia Keys on Amazon music, which I like much better than Apple music. (If you’re interested, here’s a link to  Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial)

Figs on a Grey Plate

Figs on a Grey Plate, oil on Arches Oil Paper, 9x11"

Figs on a Grey Plate, oil on Arches Oil Paper, 9×11″

My fig tree is supplying me with figs that are delicious to look at and to eat. I’m working on simplifying my paintings, aiming from strong values and composition, and trying to stop at “good enough for jazz.” This is so much more fun than trying for perfection and ending up with overworked instead. This painting is available on DailyPaintworks here.

Below are the steps in the progress of this painting and below that some bonus fig Read More

Sliced Granny Smith Apples

Granny Smith Sliced, oil on Arches Oil Paper, 11x9 inches

Granny Smith Sliced, oil on Arches Oil Paper, 11×9 inches

I was struck by the beautiful cream color of the apple when I cut it open and then all the subtle pastel colors I could see in the flesh because of the light shining through and reflecting off of the apple skin and the turquoise plate. Below are photos in the process of painting the apples from life, with a snapshot of the set up. This painting isavailable here: (Click here for purchase info) Read More

Kissing Cantaloupe

Kissing Cantaloupe, still life oil painting on Arches Oil Paper, 10.5 x 9 inches

Kissing Cantaloupe, still life oil painting on Arches Oil Paper, 10.5 x 9 inches

I’ve been thinking about still life painting and what, for me, makes it fun to paint and enjoyable to look at. Number one is color that pleases me and a feeling of light and space and a close second is strong value contrast (between dark and light). Traditional or classic still life paintings often have dark backgrounds and somber colors and I’ve realized that’s just not me. That style seems very masculine to me; perhaps because the old masters were mostly men and even back then men liked their “man caves.”

I want to find a way to paint in oils that incorporates what I like so much about my watercolor paintings, which have mostly been light with bright colors painted on a background of white unpainted paper. Another difference is that in oils I’ve tended to work small, painting objects smaller than actual size, and in watercolor I’ve typically painted much larger than life size. I’m going to be exploring working larger and lighter and in colors that make me feel joyful.

This painting is available on DailyPaintworks here

Did It! One-Hour Pear Painted!

One Hour Pear, oil on Arches Oil Paper, 5x7 inches

One Hour Pear, oil on Arches Oil Paper, 5×7 inches

After struggling for a few days trying and failing to do a one-hour painting exercise as I posted yesterday, I returned to the studio determined to tackle the challenge again and this time, obey the timer. I “cheated” just a little, redefining the project to better suit my current abilities by doing a quick outline and monochrome block-in with diluted burnt sienna and pre-mixing my paint (below) before starting the timer. At exactly one hour I stopped and then gave myself 5 more minutes to soften the edges on the shadow and back of pear and to add a highlight. It’s not a masterpiece but I met the challenge and, most importantly, enjoyed it!

One done, two more to go before moving on and returning to some skull drawing and painting practice to enhance my ongoing portrait drawing and painting study.

%d bloggers like this: