I like empty bowls — and the air that floats inside their curved interior surfaces and those photons of light that bounce against the wall of the bowl and fall out into the universe. I like doing posts in themes. A recent instagram post is dedicated to the motif of an empty bowl. Two of the bowls used in the still lifes are made of papier-mâché. The third is a little Chinese teacup. I have three mediums represented, watercolor, oil and acrylic paint.
Come visit …
And thus I was able to photograph my painting.
Currently it hangs in the May exhibit at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria. Very pretty light in the gallery today though there were areas of flooded streets just outside the building. Mother Nature dropped A LOT of rain on the Washington DC region.
Capricious Mother Nature.
Here’s a view of the installation:
Years ago I bought a beautiful table cloth at the Smithsonian institution. It has one pattern on one side and another on the inside so it’s a versatile still life cloth. As with anything else that an artist paints it gets interpreted. The pattern of the real life cloth doesn’t exactly match the pattern of the cloth in the picture. It’s like jazz — it gets improvised.
And in that strategy the artist finds a great deal to explore and enjoy. This particular cloth has a great melody. I never get tired of looking at it, thinking about it, painting it. Thank you, textile artist, whoever you are who created my still life drapery.
I’m working on another large still life. Almost everything is inside the painting already, and yet the painting isn’t its things only; thus there’s still a lot of painting to paint. I add colors without a plan, thinking “this might look interesting here.”
Almost everything is there and yet it still seems to have more potential than I quite know what to do with.
The rice bowl is textured and nubby. It’s the most textured element of the picture. But then it’s surface is composed of so many shapes.
It’s a very satisfying way to paint — or way to see — to be telling oneself: “this goes here and this goes there.”
It’s like housekeeping.
Lights comes through the back of the canvas that’s in the works. The flowers are amorphous and I don’t know how much paint and flower I want — or how much I want the grain of the canvas to be part of the picture’s essence.
All I know is that the ethereal morning light, coming through the back of the canvas, is not a thing to be held and captured.
I find it difficult to work on a large still life from the motif because you see all the parts from different angles as you move around. And the whole canvas is too large to see everything all at once. So although I did begin the painting all at once and very spontaneously — as I get into the weeds of it I have to sort out parts one by one.
My first couple attempts to get the notebook on the left in correct perspective on the table went awry — in the painting itself and in a drawing I made as a study. Happily a painted study is getting me closer to where I want to be. I propped it up against the painting in the photo above. I needed to see how this change would look in the actual painting.
After painting out two compotiers that had appeared on the right hand side, I used a study that I had made a couple months ago to form the new right hand side of the painting — and I propped that smaller painting up against the canvas to get an approximate notion how it would look.
So part by part, I’m gonna get there ….
I am still working on landscape ideas in the moments between moments. And you can see the edge of the recent pine tree drawing peeking on the lower left hand side of the photo.
But I have been longing to get back to this large bright yellow still life that I began a while back. And now I have resumed work on it.
I flit between pictures sometimes like a bee flits among flowers. Well, since I paint flowers I guess I literally flit among the flowers too ….
I’ve assembled some of the landscapes in the studio to see how they look together and to decide what work remains. As a consequence there’s a definite “greening” to the decor. It’s still wintry enough outside this mid-February to find the green quite comforting — very comforting indeed.
My winter pond painting has a frame now. It’s there on the lower right.
The large flower wall has been thoroughly blocked in, and now I have to bring the individual parts into greater clarity. At the same time I don’t want to spoil the element of abstraction, the aspect of the painting that suggests forms. I want to suggest more than to describe, though my natural way of thinking is descriptive.
I learning to look at the painting itself more to gain a sense of how to go forward. I waver between the pull of the motif and the needs of the picture to stand on its own.