While I was away from my blog, WordPress made some nice changes that are making it easier to post so I’m trying to get caught up with a few months of sketches and paintings. Today a couple of fruit bowls sketched in Procreate on the iPad.
I’ve spent the past few months studying Munsell color notation and color mixing with Paul Foxton. My goal was to learn to discern value and color more accurately and to be able to efficiently mix those colors in paint. I’ve posted some of my course studies below. The above painting was done outside of the course, and doesn’t represent what is taught in the course. It is just a fun little alla prima still life, done before taking down my shadow box and lighting set up used in the course. I learned so many important things in the class. I think the number one thing I learned is how much lower chroma (aka less saturation/vibrant) most things are. Most things, including people, are much less colorful than I thought. Also, regardless of race, we humans are all low chroma orange (or as Munsell would have it, Yellow-Red). Read More
I painted this a couple of months ago and I’m finally getting around to posting it. I was focusing on composition and just having some fun with color. and shapes. The gray/black stair-step shape in the back is styrofoam packing material. Below are the steps in the process of the painting.
(SOLD) This painting went through so many changes. I started it before I got the awful cold that kept me out of the studio for over a week. I lost my focus while painting the cloth draped in the background and at the end of the day scraped off the afternoon’s work. When I came back the next day, my foam core shadow box had collapsed and was on the floor along with the drapery and the LED light that I’d perched atop on a piece of plexiglass. Fortunately the brick held steady as did the fruit.
That accident gave me the opportunity to try a different background. I removed the white paper I’d been using to cover the black walls of the shadow box and painted the now darker background. I had fun painting the persimmons and the brick and I think I did a good job understanding them; the pom not so much. It should have a more geometric, boxy shape, not be so rounded.
Below are the stages in trying to get this thing painted, along with the set up as it changed. Click on an image to see full picture, scroll over images to read captions.
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.
When I was a young mother with a newborn babe, the house where we lived had a huge, old fig tree in the backyard. I didn’t know I liked figs then, butI loved the fig tree and so did all the birds and squirrels in the neighborhood.
My infant son and I spent many days that first summer after his birth resting, playing or crying (yes both of us) on the grass beside the tree. The tree’s sheltering, quiet grace and the broad reach of it’s branches lent me strength and helped me feel grounded during those very difficult sleepless weeks and months.
A few weeks ago I ate my first figs and fell in love with them. I was always a little scared to try them; something about their soft squishiness bothered me. But once I took that first delicious bite I realized what I’d been missing.
Now I think of figs as the oysters of the fruit family, just as I think of oysters as the peaches of the fish family. When I slide a succulent raw oyster into my mouth and bite into it, I’m immediately brought back to the happy days spent in the warm salty sea growing up in Southern California.
And now that I’ve painted these little beauties, I’m gonna go eat ’em!