I have to find more flowers for the bouquet. I go in search of pictorial flowers. I look for them in the pictorial gardens. And a lot of things are beginning to bloom now that spring is here — even pictorial things.
Under the bright pictorial sun, with my face toward the pictorial wind, I walk through the pictorial field to pick flowers that I can bring back to my still life.
Some passages of the painting have the sort of scattering that I like and want. In other sections, the proper texture eludes me. Still, when you find that you’ve got it in one place at least you know afterwards where it is that you want to go.
Working further on the Long River picture (its working title), I’ve turned my attention to little spots of paint. I have no system. It’s all experimentation — just seeing what rhythm seems to work in the small passages.
This is a detail of a panel that measures 24 x 12 inches.
After working on a watercolor version of the two objects, I decided to do some more painting on a little oil study I made on paper. I made dramatic changes to the fish vase, and sometime soon I’ll have to work on the frog tea pot also.
All these recent pictures are studies for a painting — a large still life — that’s in the works.
Here’s a detail of the fish’s face and a similar passage from today’s watercolor.
I worked some more on today’s “morning coffee drawing. While the features are a little lopsided, the frog and flowers appear on the frog tea pot’s surfaces. And the fish vase gets darker. And I begin thinking about the pattern on the cloth a little. I posted an earlier version of the drawing already — the “morning coffee part.” Coffee was long over as I continued working on this watercolor into the afternoon.
I’m getting well acquainted with my still life objects.
I like looking at the accidental features of the watercolor marks in details such as these. And they suggest ideas for ways of portraying these objects in the large oil painting for which this watercolor is a study.
I think I might switch now to the oil study I began for the painting, and work more on the fish vase and frog tea pot in it — let some of the watercolor ideas spill into the oil study. This is how I left the oil study. Clearly there’s plenty more things that I can do with it.
I like switching back and forth between media, letting each one suggest things peculiar to its material character.
I made a first drawing of the lion’s head. It’s a decoration on a vase in the picture. And the lion’s head has deep, echoing meanings for me. I dreamt about a path guarded by lion statues once, eons ago. And of course everyone’s favorite artist Johannes Vermeer has lion’s head finials in two of his paintings.
The lion vase is one feature of the painting that I’m joyfully anticipating. I will think my way through it many times, in various drawings. I merely whet my appetite here.
Today’s morning coffee drawing is a watercolor. I don’t know whether I’ll work on it more today or not. I drank all the coffee, and I need to begin today’s session with the big painting for which this is another practice.
Before I began the watercolor, I drew the two things a little in a notebook where many of the ideas for the painting develop.
I am redrawing the same features again and again. It’s like music that I’m striving to learn. The objects are the music.
In a careless drawing like the one above, you can really think aloud. The contour of the green fish vase goes right through the frog tea pot. And the tea pot’s spout was originally about a half inch to the left. I simply put the lines down where they seem to go. This drawing records random thoughts about lines and their positions and about passages of light and dark, though the tones don’t conform to the scene overall — that would mean too much drawing. I’d run out of ink. My wrist would be killing me!
I got the frog’s face in one of these studies. I think this is the first time the frog’s face has materialized so clearly. Hopefully everything will appear at last — in the painting for which these are the rehearsals.
I’m focused on one painting for a while, one that I’m not ready to picture here. It’s a largish still life. I make small practice paintings concerning parts of it. The picture of two bottles on a varicolored cloth is one such example. I brushed this together quickly and so far it provides just a kind of rehearsal for the forms. But I plan also to use some of these studies to test out color and drawing ideas before I try them in the actual painting. That way if something clearly isn’t effective, I’ll know. Hence more stuff needs to be added to this little pochade for its experiment to be complete.
I like the breezy, sketched appearance of this little study. But when it dries I will begin indicating the pattern on the cloth. During that phase, who knows but I might completely wreak this picture. Or not. I’ll find out. In any case it’s practice so it’s role is to provide me with information.
It’s a bunch of fun to paint. A lark. I love little things like this. It’s 9 x 12 on Arches oil paper.