Freesias in a Pill Bottle

Freesias from Brigitte, oil on panel, 8x8"

Freesias from Brigitte, oil on panel, 8×8″

This was a quick little painting from life that happened spontaneously one afternoon when my tenant came out to my studio and presented me with some freesias in a vitamin bottle.

It might have been a more interesting painting if I’d a) included the lettering on the bottle and b) taken time to do a preliminary thumbnail sketch so that the flowers weren’t almost touching the top of the panel. I was interested in looking at white in shadow and gray in light and shadow and the colors found in both from the warmish light and flower reflections.

Fresia photo reference

Photo of set up (slightly different perspective and light)

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)

Winter Begonias

Winter Begonias in Tin Pot, Oil on Linen Panel, 10x8"

Winter Begonias in Tin Pot, Oil on Linen Panel, 10×8″ (Click image for purchase info)

It was time to face something more cheerful than my own face in the studio. This pretty pot of begonias was just what I needed. I worked on them a bit at a time, between visits to my mother in hospice.  My mom passed away very peacefully last week, in no pain and with family at her side. She taught me many things in life; her final and maybe most important lesson was how to let go and fearlessly accept this final passage with grace (and the help of amazing hospice nurses).

This painting is available on DailyPaintworks. Below are the steps in the progress of the painting.

Medical Supply Still Life

Medical Still Life #1 Final v2, oil on Gessobord, 8x8"

Medical Still Life #1 Final, oil on Gessobord, 8×8″

My attention, time and energy have been focused on elder care and family needs rather than art for the past couple months. Creating a still life out of medical supplies (plus a couple of caps from used-up tubes of oil paint) made sense on the day I started the project.

I intended this to be a one-afternoon painting but each time I thought it was finished there was one more thing to “fix” or change. Fiddling with it became a way to squeeze in a little painting when time and energy permitted. I finally called it done so I could start something else (a series of rather dark self-portraits, which I’ll be posting soon).

To show you all the fiddling, I thought a slide show might be good. Click on the image or link below to start the slide-show if you receive this post in your email.

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Pomegranates and Wine Corks

Pomegranates and Corks, oil still life on panel, 10x8"

Pomegranates and Corks, oil still life on linen panel, 10×8″

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.

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