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:
This one needs some adjustment to the size of the compotier bowl, just visible, that hangs above the frog’s head. Yes, again, frogs!
I love dealing with the edges around things and the spaces between things. I like the “things that are not things” in a picture.
The above drawing proves that I can draw a motif that has no frog in it . See, no frog.
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.
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 …
Another teapot — this time it’s a swimming koi teapot rather than a frog teapot, but clearly I seem to have a thing about teapots. I’ve been making drawings of the teapot and of a frog figurine (Dr. Freud, please call your office). These items appear in a little fauvist oil painting that I started quickly and never finished several years ago. I found it in the bin and decided to do something with it. So I assembled the players. Unfortunately the creamer was missing. I turned the studio upside down, and I finally located it — eureka — and there it appears in the latest drawing above.
I’ve made three drawings of the set up so far. I’ll no doubt make other drawings since I’ll be painting from the drawings and not from the motif. It’s sort of “en plein air” still life and the light changes rapidly which is why I’ll be working from drawings. We had nearly a week of rain and cloudy weather in the Washington DC region which was perfect for my project. But regular July weather is returning and the light gets very bright in the studio quite early. So now it’s NASA launch-style windows of opportunity that I seek to get that light I want.
The other drawings for the painting follow:
I worked a little more on the frog-on-the-shelf painting. The frog is beginning to look more there. And I tidied up the edge of the shelf where a bit of paper over-hangs and confuses things. I don’t know how long I’ll work on the painting, which is a little oil study on paper. I’m beginning to get interested in it, am enjoying going into its small spaces. And I like watching the light make subtle changes among the actual objects.
The Eiffel Tower, the blue bottle, the shell, the yellow vase — I ignored all of them today. I had only a little time in which to work, having taken up the picture again near the end of the period when the light is right. The vase behind the frog which has the songbird design on it needs to twist so that the object recedes in space. And the sea shell is little more than a gear drive shape at the edge. If I continue working, all these things will need their turn. But today was devoted to Froggie and his edges — to all the passages that press against him.
While working and watching, I began getting caught up in the aspect of figurines on display. In yesterday’s post I remarked that two of the objects have associations with my mother. The whole idea of figurines also takes me back to memories of my paternal grandmother. I hadn’t realized it until today’s session. Grandma must have had frog figurines. She had all sorts of little objects of that sort. They sat in rows in her living room window. They were exactly the kind of thing to fascinate a small child, such as I was way back when.
The shelf of things looks wonderful in the natural light of the room. I took a photo which I’ve doctored enough to render the things visible. The squash from today’s other work sits on the shelf under Frog & Company.