dogs’ tails are brushes too

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I run out of places to stack wet panels.  I need to make studies for the big painting, but then I find myself running out of places to set them while they dry.  It’s a small room and I have dogs.  Dogs tails are also brushes so wet paintings have to be put out of the tail’s reach.

A study like this one of the flowers in the vase will be something I go back to whenever I want to reconnect with the object.  It’s not finished in any sense.  It will never be finished.  It’s just something to put paint on when I want to think about that vase some more.

Between times I have to keep it from the dog’s tail unless I want the household furnishings painted as well.


more flowers in the bouquet

bouquet study june 5

I’ve been slowly adjusting the bouquet for the Big Painting.  Still more to do, but here’s an updated version of the picture that I posted previously —

I added the yellow to better match the color that will appear behind the flowers in the painting for which they are a study.

The sun has come out finally!  So the colors in the flowers are more vivid — in the actual bouquet.  The colors in the painting have always been bright.  Here’s the early and present state of the study, which is still on-going.


my studio this morning

studio today may 24 2018

So I did accomplish several of the things on my to-do list of yesterday — or have begun doing them — since most are tasks that take a bit of time.  I have begun adding design in the blue background and arranging some folds in the curtain there; I added indications of leaves near the rim of the vase, and I began working on the bottom of the Limoges vase, and I think I’ve made a decision to keep the tulip ….

Still much to do.  The whole top of the drapery nearest the vase is only sketched in.  I remind myself that the real enemy is indecision.  Just paint.  Something good happens after that.

Anyway, my painting greets me in the morning and we exchange pleasantries.

strange saga of the current painting

limoges painting on may 21.jpg

Here’s how the painting with the Limoges vase looks today after I spent yesterday working on the green cloth.  It still has a ways to go but it’s getting closer and closer to my mental target.

I painted this picture over two other motifs.  The first surprisingly enough was a painting of horses that I decided I didn’t like.  Over the horses I painted the first flower motif, one that was very different from the picture as it exists this morning.  In between was a version that included the Limoges vase but had different flowers.  Here’s the trip back under the layers of paint.

Here’s how the painting looked in 2016 when I quit working on it.

early version of Limoges in 2016

And here’s the wild and wacky version of the flowers in 2011:

limoges flowers early-stage-oct-2011

I wrote a blog about the wacky version here and here:

And here’s the picture of the horses, that dates back to 2008, that lies underneath everything:

ToyHorsesOnParade under flowers

So, is that weird or what.

I just hope the horses stay forever behind the other paint because I’m really loving the painting now.

gearing up to paint

studies arranged around painting

I’m going to start putting some of the objects onto the canvas provisionally and see how it looks.  There’s so much missing information so it will be sketchy starting, and I’ll add things or make changes based on incoming ideas — as I look particularly for flower ideas and window ideas. The original notion was something like the drawing below:

owl flowers compotier window drawing.jpg

However, on this large canvas I’ll be adding more space around everything and I need to figure out what goes into that space.  The window is based upon a view from inside my studio, but I’m not sure whether I’ll use that idea or not.  Sometimes I think I want a more elaborate window (and I have at least one idea where I can find one).  Tomorrow I’m going window shopping — literally.

But then I note that last night at sundown the colors outside my studio window were amazing, so if I can figure out how to better interpret my own humble window perhaps I’d be wise to stick to my own resources.  We’ll see.

I know that I want to look at lots more flowers and flower arrangements before I commit to the flower shapes thus the initial idea is just a bough of flowers (like the outer silhouette of a tree).

As things now stand the painting will contain the flowers on a table before a window.  On the table will also appear the owl, a ceramic bird, a frog teapot, a black floral teapot, a seashell, and the fancy schmancy porcelain basket. The flowers are arranged in the fabulous Limoges vase.  The pattern on the table cloth is also a factor.  I need to decide which cloth I’ll use and begin studies for the cloth too.

My ever loyal dog wants to help me out so she’s trying to get some inspiration of her own which she plans to share with me.  And wow she’s got a sun beam streaming right straight for her doggie brain so maybe I’ll consult her as I solve my various pictorial questions.

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first flowers

flowers study first pass

First marks of paint for the flower study.  I set up the still life somewhat late in the day and didn’t begin painting until quite late.  Here’s how it looked on the first pass.  It’s really fun to begin flowers this way.  From the outset, there’s a riot of color.

This is the beginning of the first of what will be several studies of flowers for a large flower painting that I’ve just begun on what was formerly the beginnings of a koi painting (a couple posts previous).

My studio looks like a gypsy caravan these days.

corner of the studio

getting creative

limoge vase drawing with real flowers (2)

The painting that I’m working on develops through a composite process.  I don’t have an actual still life set up to paint.  Instead I make studies of individual objects and put them into a pictorial composition that is partly invented and partly based upon real still lifes past and future.  So, for instance I don’t know exactly what the bouquet of flowers will look like that will sit on a table in the picture.  I have begun auditioning flowers for the various roles.

I got these grocery store flowers and will be painting a little study of them.  I decided to put one of the Limoges vase drawings in front of the actual flowers to get a better sense of how the flowers would appear when arranged in the vase.  The Limoges vase drawings are based on a photograph I found on the internet from an auction site.

more flowers will arrive

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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.

flower mode

vase of flowers

I began this painting in the late autumn and as I switch from landscape to flowers I’m pulling things out of the bin for one more bit of tweaking.  In many respects this painting is where I want it to be, but since flowers still hang suspended in the air, I suppose I should give it another level of completion.

But, you know, old Pa Cezanne did this sort of thing all the time and those of us who admire the old man have a tendency to follow his habits — perhaps even when we shouldn’t!

This acrylic painting measures 36 x 24 inches.

so there you are


In the Big Tidy Campaign of 2017 certain paintings that I haven’t seen for a while have come to light again.  The painting of flowers above is one of them.  It measures 30 x 40 inches without the frame.  It was one of the first large flower paintings I did, the one that created the theme.

It has other companions that have been developing over the years.  And now that Frederick Bazille’s paintings are at the National Gallery of Art, an exhibit that includes large flower paintings by Bazille, Renoir, Monet and others, I will have lots of inspiration when I get into full flower mode.

Some of the others include these guys:


Thinking about when I’ll be able to get into full flower mode helps keep me on track during the Big Tidy Campaign of 2017.  One needs some motivation!