filling in the blanks

basket of oranges

Going through some things in storage, I think I may have found some more oranges to include in The Big Painting.  I had drawn a half circle near the bottom of the painting just like Bonnard without knowing what would go there, if anything.  It was previsionary perhaps because soon after I stumbled upon the ancient picture above, a little basket of oranges that I painted many, many years ago.

100_2452 (2)

Seems like a contender!  We’ll see …

big painting on july 31 in morning (2)

 

seashell as landscape

seashell study for 18 x 24 ptg

The craggy, complex surfaces of the seashell are so mesmerizing and beautiful.  It’s like a landscape of beautiful mountains.  I never tire of drawing the seashells, studying their intricate forms.  Master artists the little fellows who build these shell homes.

I decided to turn one of the seashell, ginger jar and honey pot drawings into a painting.  And the first elements of the painting are blocked in.

seashell ginger jar and honey pot painting start

But I have been unsure about aspects of the seashell, and since any excuse will do, I made the drawing at the top of the post as a study.  It’s on Canson pastel paper, 16 x 12 inches and is drawn using Neopastels.

The drawing that forms the basis for the new painting is this one:

ginger jar honey jar and seashell

But I’ve also started drawing another version on the same size sheet (24 x 18 inches) in which the objects slightly smaller.

seashell ginger jar and honey pot 2nd drawing further work

I work on the second version sometimes late at night.  It gradually comes along.  But though I felt this desire to do the second version, I knew I still wanted the objects to follow the size of the first drawing.  So there are many versions.  There’s also the drawing inside my brain, the one that is the neurological composite of the variations!

seashell ginger jar and honey pot 3 pictures together

Many versions.

Another earlier version —

seashell ginger jar honey pot sennelier finished (4)

The pictures multiply ….

first stages of version number three

seashell ginger jar and honey pot new version in progress 2

I am working on a third version of the seashell, ginger jar and honey pot picture.  This one’s on 24 x 18 inch Strathmore pastel paper.  I have been striving to get the relationships of the objects more accurate in this version.  The objects are also slightly smaller than they are in the first version I made of this same size.

I think I like the larger objects better, and it’s probably the version I’ll use when I do the painting.  But the relationships in this one are more careful.  And it’s still in the works, of course ….

It’s hard for me to break out of a motif.  I fall in love with the objects.  Like Miles, I fall in love too easily ….

History of the motif below:

Version one: 24 x 18 Neopastel on Strathmore Pastel paper; version two: 16 x 12 Sennelier on Arches Oil paper.

into the small passages with color ideas

two oranges (2)

Drawing two oranges on the still life table this morning using oil pastel, looking for color changes and for ideas about how to complicate the passage of the Big Painting that has the two oranges in the foreground.

I had it on my “to do” list to make a study and I think I’ll make some more.  I am just looking at color passages, exaggerating some of them, thinking about my pal Bonnard.

I ate half the still life

apples two jade background (2)

Sometimes for fun, or just to get started for the day, I’ll do quick drawings in Neopastel.  This time it was apples.  To add to the fun — and for my own perceptual interest — I also drew without my glasses.  I have fairly profound myopia.  It’s interesting to observe the much more generalized forms of things as they appear in my uncorrected vision.  Color looks a bit different too.  Not that it changes hue or anything.  It’s just that it gets similarly clumped into masses, ones that are a bit different from what I see when the acuity is there.

apples two

This second one I did very quickly, without glasses.  I had to get up for something going on in another room of the house.  When I returned the light was completely changed.  Sometimes it changes very quickly.  So it’s en plein indoor drawing — one deals with all the fluctuations.

apple 1 (2)

And then there was one!

of course there’s another one

seashell ginger jar honey pot sennelier finished (4).jpg

Seashell, ginger jar and honey pot on a blue cloth: my sort of art heaven.  I had to do another version of the motif because that seems to be who I am.  Edgar Degas hypnotized me when he said “il faut refaire la même chose dix fois, cent fois.” [You must redo the same thing ten times, a hundred times.]  Now I’m like a Degas Robot who redraws stuff ….

Well, there’s worse things that could happen to an artist.  The earlier one which I repost further below was drawn using Neopastels on an 24 x 18 inch page of Strathmore pastel paper.  The one above was made on a 16 x 12 inch sheet of Arches Oil Paper using Sennelier oil pastels. It’s very gooey.  Particularly as the sticks of oil pastel are old.  Lots of impasto in it, as you can see in the detail here:

seashell ginger jar honey pot sennelier finished detail honey pot (2)

And here’s the larger antecedent picture —

ginger jar honey jar and seashell

[The little square in the top middle of the uppermost image is the shadow from the easel hinge.  Oopsie!  Gotta rephotograph that one sometime or other …]

 

where do ideas come from?

ginger jar honey jar and seashell

I get my ideas from the still life table.  Here’s one of my favorite things to do — pull out favorite objects, set them on the table, start drawing.

Usually I draw the same motif over and over.  I am loving this motif so much I think it’s destiny that I draw it again.  But I am trying to train myself to reshape the set up regularly and do faster drawings of different arrangements for the sake of the variety.

The above is 24 x 18 inches on Strathmore 400 series pastel paper using Caran d’Ache Neopastels.  Seashell, ginger jar and honey pot, with a bit of blue compotier peeking in from the left.

the in-between-times project

fish teapot creamer frog painting

I have this little 14 x 11 inch still life that I pulled out of the stack.  I’ve already altered it a little to conform to the new drawings that I’ve been making of the motif.  Like The Big Painting, I am painting this from drawings.  The objects are set up in a still life right here in the studio, but the light has been variable — plus I cannot commit to being in the studio at the right times since The Big Painting is the priority.

But it’s nice to have something else toward which I can turn my thoughts.  So here’s the side project.  Small, fun, no worries.

Here’s some of the studies so far — all the studies except one are made using Neopastels on various pastel papers:

fish teapot creamer frog painting study 2

This one needs some adjustment to the size of the compotier bowl, just visible, that hangs above the frog’s head.  Yes, again, frogs!

fish teapot creamer frog painting study 1a

I love dealing with the edges around things and the spaces between things.  I like the “things that are not things” in a picture.

koi teapot drawing2 (2)

The above drawing proves that I can draw a motif that has no frog in it .   See, no frog.

koi teapot with shell in pastel 3

This pastel above (traditional dry pastel) is from an earlier suite of drawings.  I found it among some dry pastels and was surprised to encounter my current subject.

frog progressions

And here’s yet another recent drawing that I started and haven’t as yet finished.  Then again, does it really need to be finished?  I mean, hey, the frog is there …

not obsessed, really

frog teapot and blue jay figurine on aug 1 oil pastel

It’s not an obsession.  Really.  But I have needed more information for the famous froggie teapot and his side-kick the blue jay figurine so I was doing studies of these two — again — yesterday.  I made the little painting first  (10 x 8 inches) and later in the night I drew them in oil pastel.

I think I have what I need to work on the Big Painting now, but I won’t know for sure until I’ve started dealing with that element directly.  I’m painting the picture from the studies. All the creatures will have eyes in the Big Painting.  They don’t have eyes here because it’s too much trouble.  How’s that sound for a deeply artistic reason?

The oil pastel is 12 x 9 inches on tan colored Strathmore 500 series charcoal paper.

frog teapot and blue jay figurine painting (2)