getting good help these days

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My studio assistant doesn’t look too happy.  He thought the job would pay more in dog biscuits than has proved to be the case.

In the background stands the work in progress.  I’ve taped a few more drawings to the canvas to gain a better sense of where some of the still life objects might go.


pulling out the big guns

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I had to take a high resolution photo of a painting for a prospectus, and while I had the pro camera out I took some pictures of the work in progress just for fun.  So the shot above is actually a small detail of a photo..  Ain’t technology wonderful?!  I usually use a now rather antiquated Kodak EasyShare for most of the blog’s photography.  It’s so ancient that you can’t buy the 2 GB chips very readily.  Of course I used to think — actually I still think — that the detail available on the old camera is amazing.

Well, here’s hoping I don’t break the internet with all the bytes. The above is a section of the shot below (whose total file size has been reduced).

hi def still life detail small file

You can see the weave in the canvas.

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someone else’s flowers

flowers in vase drawing

Not sure whose drawing this is, but isn’t it grand?  I’m painting my flowers today so here’s something aspirational I post to encourage a fine flower mood.  Hope you’re enjoying a fine flower mood wherever you are, whatever you do ….

I’m still working on these below,

picture and reference limoges 2

foreground, background, surface

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detail of the work in progress

Some of my artist heroes, when painting drapery, would paint the folds first creating the three dimensional structures over which they would afterwards add the design patterns as they fold around curves and disappear around corners.

Me, I am so enamored with the patterns that my instinct is to go for the pattern first.  I just do this, I make no particular claims for the process.  Maybe I just don’t like to do my homework.

I’m thinking there’s a case for either approach (and for various approaches that are neither one nor the other).  As I see it the whole painting is flat anyway.  If you start with the patterns, you afterwards put folds where they seem to make sense and those folds curve however much they do.  One can always put more paint on top.  Indeed the picture consists of the paint that’s “on top.”

Well, that’s very true for this picture more than for most because underneath all the flowers and folds and patterns and whatnot are some toy horses.  I cannot put too much paint on the surface to make sure those horses never see the light of day again!

I’ve begun putting the vertical lines in the blue just to see how they add up with the rest of the painting.  Not sure yet whether all those lines will stay.  And I’m glad to paint over them or over anything else so that my horses don’t come trotting out.

And this painting is the warm up for The Big Painting.  I remind myself of that from time to time …

the vase of flowers grows more sure

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Here’s how the painting looks on Friday night.  I put the study on a table beside the easel to make it easier to draw from.  The picture begins to feel more solid after a day of work.  I love painting that vase — and I’m not done yet.  The paint all over the canvas is very thick because I’m covering up parts of the earlier version.  There’s still lots of things to figure out, of course — like the entire bunched up green cloth that takes up the whole bottom half.

Here’s a closer view.  The painting measures 40 x 30 inches.

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What a fun day of painting, working on this picture.  You cannot look at blue and green all day with scattered red and yellow and violet and not be in a terrific mood.

Still quite a ways to go.  But I’m very glad with this stage.

dark garden: the teapot with flowers

black teapot with flowers

Beginning a study of the black teapot with flowers … it gives me more material for the big still life painting that’s in the works.  This is the first pass.  Making the studies of the various items is essentially “painting a day.”  But these are not ends in themselves.  The studies are rehearsals.  And they are fun too.  They can have a lot of freedom.  It is painting for painting’s sake.

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.


koi before flowers (2).jpg

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.

flowers in morning light

light coming through the back flowers detail

Lights comes through the back of the canvas that’s in the works.  The flowers are amorphous and I don’t know how much paint and flower I want — or how much I want the grain of the canvas to be part of the picture’s essence.

All I know is that the ethereal morning light, coming through the back of the canvas, is not a thing to be held and captured.