In just under two hours I began an oil sketch on Arches oil paper of a ceramic frog and some other objects that are arranged haphazardly on a kind of over-flow still life shelf. The bottle with the bird motif has appeared on this blog before. To its right is part of a conch shell. To its left is a little model of the Eiffel Tower.
I realized afterwards that among English speakers the juxtaposition of the frog and Eiffel Tower might seem significant, but their appearance is accidental. The Eiffel Tower got misplaced on the floor while I was cleaning and upon its rediscovery, I just put it on the shelf with other things. The Eiffel Tower formerly belonged to my mother. And the froggie, while he is exclusively mine has associations with her as well since she owned a similar little ceramic frog (someday I’ll have to paint a face off of the two ceramic frogs). In any case the two things, Parisian landmark and frog figurine, connect through her rather than through any humorous cultural associations — unless cultural associations over-rule all others …
I bought my ceramic frog last summer at Homestead gardens near Annapolis. I liked his cheerful green demeanor. I also loved holding it in my hand. The glass is so smooth that just to hold it offers comfort, offers a mediation on mindfulness through the sense of touch.
It’s amazing to me how sketchy of a sketch this sketch is, but there’s so many little color notes to observe and even in as short a span as two hours the light began to alter rather dramatically.
I don’t know if I’ll continue work on the picture or not, but I like to set myself the task of doing fast little paintings to see how much I can gather together through quick thinking. The froggie has colors across his chest that require a careful depiction if his form is to be evident. Some of the marks on him now relate to those colors, but I haven’t enough there yet to establish them as colors sitting on the surface. Revealing what is shadow and what is marking in a painting’s early stage can be tricky.
If I do continue working on the painting, it’ll be the frog who gets my attention first. For today, though, I wanted to catch some of the hodge podge of things in their thingness. As a preliminary sketch, I think it’s not half bad.
The blue bottle (to the Frog’s left) and the yellow vase behind it are regulars on my still life table, as the drawings above attest.