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)

bird brain (and frog teapot brain)

blue jay and frog teapot july 13 am

Drawing and redrawing this duo, I have a bird on my brain — and a frog teapot.  I no longer know if I am making studies for the painting, or if I’m just obsessed with the motif.  Degas had advised artists to redraw the same thing ten times, a hundred times. He also said that you should draw things from different angles — and he was true to his word as his drawing of the circus performer Miss La La of the Cirque Fernando amply demonstrates.  (She is seen from below, hanging from a trapeze by her mouth.)

I had to find something that mesmerizes me sufficiently before I began drawing the same things from lots of different angles.  Who would have guessed that it’d be a blue jay figurine and a frog teapot.

bird and frog teapot june 19

Flowers growing in the cloth

flowers in the cloth

I have a favorite still life cloth.  It has big flowers printed on it.  Has figured in several still lifes I’ve done over the years.  It’s one of my enduring obsessions.  One of those paintings has been restationed over my desk and I see the flowers everyday once more.  Makes me long for flowers.  A mass of flowers into which I could just lose myself drawing.  Flowers, flowers, flowers!


So, let’s think about this some more.  I had a still life set up of artificial flowers on a table, in a vase, sitting on a cloth that is decorated with flowers, and I made a painting of it, and the canvas is made of cloth — so it’s more flowers on a cloth.

I find myself stuck inside a very delightful feedback loop.  Some obsessions are definitely worth obsessing over, if I may say so myself….


In the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Richard Dreyfuss playing the role of Everyman had a life changing rendezvous with space aliens, and afterwards found himself haunted by the memory.  His obsession led him to do the most bizarre things — such as trying to sculpt Devil’s Tower with his mashed potatoes.  In the photo above, he has moved beyond the dinner media and onward into more monumental materials.

That theme, with or without the aliens, is what art is about.  You have an idea stuck in your head and you unstick it.  What was interior gets projected outwards.  What was personal becomes public.  Sometimes it happens also that it was, in some sense, public all along — since the same obsessions haunt all mankind.

Or delight.  Sometimes our obsessions are about delight.  One can be haunted by beauty.  Indeed, one should be.  This is the genuine art of interior design to which we’ll return again and again:  the imprint that has been pressed into the mind that is made to echo in the world.

Design your interior! Let’s all start with the one between our ears …