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.
I was going to be a koi painting, and it would have been horizontal. But now it’s a flower painting and it’s vertical. Here’s the canvas before it’s transformation — which is taking place these coming days.
Years ago I bought a beautiful table cloth at the Smithsonian institution. It has one pattern on one side and another on the inside so it’s a versatile still life cloth. As with anything else that an artist paints it gets interpreted. The pattern of the real life cloth doesn’t exactly match the pattern of the cloth in the picture. It’s like jazz — it gets improvised.
And in that strategy the artist finds a great deal to explore and enjoy. This particular cloth has a great melody. I never get tired of looking at it, thinking about it, painting it. Thank you, textile artist, whoever you are who created my still life drapery.
Some years ago I began the painting in which this detail appears. Now I’m reworking it. But this detail is my favorite element, and I’m not touching it. Some of the bare canvas appears between lines. There’s clear acrylic so it’s not actually bare canvas, but it’s got the color and appearance of the untouched canvas.
I’ve pulled a 30 x 40 inch painting of a pine tree out of the rack. I began it a while back but I’m ready to finish it now.
Made this drawing above to sort out some questions I have about the top of the tree. The drawing measures 24 x 18 inches so the image is just a bit smaller than the related section of the painting.
The pine tree is an oil painting so I’ll be switching gears from acrylic to oil. The studio will soon be filled with the wonderful aroma of linseed oil. Soon!
I’ve assembled some of the landscapes in the studio to see how they look together and to decide what work remains. As a consequence there’s a definite “greening” to the decor. It’s still wintry enough outside this mid-February to find the green quite comforting — very comforting indeed.
My winter pond painting has a frame now. It’s there on the lower right.
I’ve been working on this picture for the last week. It’s a 30 x 40 inch acrylic painting of the old garden. And it’s almost finished. I seem to be going left to right so the whole vertical right side comes next.
Nonetheless it’s kind of a prototype for this motif because I have another version in mind too.
The first painted sketch I made for it was called “the little garden” so I guess the version above shall be considered “the big garden. Little Garden is here:
This drawing demonstrates as well as any might how the mere act of drawing can become a walk through ideas. It’s the wrong format (it’s too squat). It lacks relevant detail. It’s just an exercise in motion. It’s me telling myself: this little bush is here, this span of light grass is there, and so on. And I hear my thoughts echoing back saying, “well, duh — tell me something I don’t know!”
I did already draw all these things in the painting that I’m trying to reenter. And there’s no new information in this drawing. And it’s not the right size or the right anything.
And yet it helps in its way. At least I think so ….
Or am I like the hapless drunk in Paul Watzlawick’s amazing book The Situation is Hopeless who looks for his car keys under the street lamp because “the light is better over here” (even though he dropped the keys over there).
It’s another blue ball point pen drawing which I’ve made to help me figure out the big shapes of a new landscape painting that’s in the works. I love drawing this way. It totally suits me. It’s wonderful when you have a form that fits your thoughts and emotions to a tee. With the pen, I figure out how to think about the scene. With a pen I can walk around in my own imagination.
Been focused on all these landscapes, but I got to remember to finish my big still life — the one I posted here: