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 was thrilled when my irises bloomed again this year after failing to do so last spring. I love the warm light I was able to capture in this painting. It went through a lot of changes before I finally settled on this version. (Available on my DPW gallery here.)
This was just a little love letter to a pretty pear. (Available on my DPW Gallery here.)
There was something regal about these two, hence the name, despite the queen sitting in a soap dish, not a throne. I started out thinking “values and planes” and then, as usual, got seduced by color and detail. I did manage to keep some of the planes I saw in this pomegranate (which was becoming more faceted as it became more elderly, having been painted a few times over the past couple weeks). However, I’m not sure the painting actually benefitted from leaving the planes (or so many of them) visible.
Below is a photo of the set up and below that the two previous pom/persimmon paintings that were a nice warmup and introduction to the subject, though perhaps not terribly successful in terms of paint application, composition and/or drawing.
My grandmother ironed everything including underwear and sheets! Doing laundry was a major project. My mother bought her a dryer but she refused to use it, preferring to hang everything out to dry on the backyard clothesline. She dragged her wheeled canvas laundry cart with a big pocket for wooden clothespins (see sketch below) down the stairs and then pinned everything up to dry in the sun.
Before she ironed she sprinkled the stiff, dry laundry with water, using her special sprinkler cork (in painting above) stuffed in a bottle. Steam irons made laundry sprinklers obsolete but I wanted to honor this artifact of my grandma’s life in a painting. A few years ago I also made this sketch of her hanging laundry (below). I always loved playing with the clothespins and hanging out with my sweet grandma on laundry day.
Here is a photo of the setup (which I painted from life, not from the photo).
I’m still having fun painting poms and trying to understand them. Below is the process I used, with photos of the set up. I like starting with a Pitt pastel pencil to sketch in the composition and then go to thinned down transparent oil paint.
I’ve switched back to working on panels again from paper in order to have a slicker surface that allows wiping off more easily than the Arches Oil Paper which is very absorbent.
This painting is available. Click for purchase info on my DailyPaintworks Gallery.
I’m guilty of anthropomorphizing when I draw or paint. I always seem to see human shapes or body parts in inanimate objects. I see tongues, hips, elbows and other body parts in flowers, plants, fruit or even lampposts.
So when I set up this still life, the two paired pears with one alone behind them reminded me of junior high, when two girls would whisper to each other about another, who would be left out of the conversation. Sometimes I was one of the gossipy whisperers; just as often I was the one left out.
Girls having a sleep-over would phone a friend and try to get her to say mean things about someone who was there, secretly listening in. Then after she’d said, “Mary’s butt is too big,” Mary would speak up and say, “Hi, This is Mary. Thanks a lot!” The next week it might work the other way around.
I learned the hard way not to say things about people which I wouldn’t want them to hear. The lesson gets reinforced regularly by a weird sort of karma that happens to me. It almost never fails that if I do speak about another, they unexpectedly appear, often from behind me, just like in the painting.
About the painting
I painted this on a day when I just had a couple hours and wanted to paint with oils. I didn’t take time to plan the composition and did very little with the set up, originally using my black light box as the background. This is how it looked originally before I revised the background, made some adjustments between the two front pears, and glazed the painting with Indian Yellow.
I thought the original version seemed cold and uninviting. I like it better now, with the softer, warmer feel and the rounded shape of the “table top” instead of the harsh horizontal line.
After a lifetime of not even knowing rubber mallets existed outside of cartoons, twice in the past year while working on projects I read directions to “tap with a rubber mallet.” I thought to myself, “Who has a rubber mallet? Not me.” And then used a regular hammer which didn’t work out too well to put it mildly.
So when I was shopping for bookbinding supplies at my local Dick Blick art store and I saw a rubber mallet sitting on a nearby shelf for only $5.95 I couldn’t resist. It was just so funny looking. I have no idea why they were selling it at Blick’s and what artists would be using it for, or how it could sell for less than a toilet plunger at the hardware store.
So I found a good use for it in the studio—as a still life subject—and it fits right in, don’t you think? Tangerines, rubber mallets, why not? Maybe my next still life will be of smashed fruit and a juicy mallet. But that will have to wait for a sunny day. No way I’m smashing fruit in the studio. It’s messy enough as it is.
Meanwhile I thought I’d check out what rubber mallets are really for and I found this on About.com‘s Home Renovation tools page:
“Admittedly, the rubber mallet is not the first thing on your tool list. But once you have a rubber mallet, you begin to discover many uses. Here are some common uses:
- For ceramic tile, it helps gently tap tile into place.
- Laminate flooring: great for this brittle material.
- Tap carpeting onto tacking strips.
- A “sounding device” if you need to hear what is behind a wall or in a pipe.
- PVC pipe work.
- Two tight-fitting sections of drywall.”
I can’t help picturing cartoon versions of each of these uses, especially with me behind the mallet accidentally tapping something into smithereens. And how funny is it that my blog’s spell checker thinks “smithereens” is spelled correctly but that the word “blog’s” is not.