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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Persimmons on Blue

Have hit slough of despond, another day of baaaaaad painting. This one, not so bad, from last week, wiped the earlier ones.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bowl of Grapes and Persimmon

This is a painting I did last week and didn't like so much because of its stiffness and the slight wonk of the bowl, but am now posting because everything I did today was worse. I decided the best way to loosen up is not to be afraid of not making a "good" painting, and so just do several no pressure exercises taking chances and seeing where things go. And so I did not get a good painting! Back at it again tomorrow.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Green Tomatoes and Eggs

Well, I didn't see this one coming, I set out to do really loose and then here I was. It is sorta loose. I have been looking at loose work and absorbing. It looks to me like the key to it is genetics. Can I re-wire my nervous system is the question. But I have gathered some good advice from someone's site --so sorry! can't remember now where I got this -- for simpler and more spontaneous painting there are three requirements: a big brush, harsh light and thick paint. That I can do.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Two Persimmons

Glad to be finished with that bowl, thanks everybody for all your support. It takes a village. My next task is to looooooosen up. And also, to be economical in paint strokes. To loosen up economically. I have to think about what conditions could lead to that goal...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Plastic Bowl Number 9

These are crab apples with actual leaves attached!
Nearing the end - I have learned a lot with this. Three or four in I thought, big mistake, boring, tedious, etc., but it has been good. One of the biggest things is: accurate drawing is only necessary if your particular system of logic in your painting requires it. (my opinion) If the visual logic is inconsistent, the integrity is violated, and things fall apart. For me in my work, accurate drawing is necessary, so I have to learn it. But I delight in artwork that does not operate with that same logic and do not find it the lesser. Another thing: It's not about the bowl, although the ability to make the bowl look like plastic is a good skill to have up your sleeve. Another example of technique always taking a back seat to the overall statement of the painting. And another thing: when you do things over and over (changing a few things here and there to keep from going barking mad) you learn extra things that sneak in in spite of a laser focus on one thing, here the arc of the lip. Other pieces of information eventually shift together into a whole that passes into your understanding somehow when you aren't even trying. Isn't that great?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Plastic Bowl Number 8

This one!
(Bwha - ha - ha, only 2 more to go!)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Plastic Bowl Number 7

I can see the end from here, three more to go.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Plastic Bowl Number 6

Ai yi yi, 10 is a lot of bowls. Thanks you guys who are keeping me pumped for the duration.
The bowls get easier, slightly. It turns out this sort of curve is called a chord ( a strait line connecting the ends of an arc in mathematics) and is just impossible any way you do it!! What was I thinking...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Plastic Bowl Number Five

Can this be only number 5? It seems like so many more.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Plastic Bowl Number 4

This bowl is difficult because of drawing issues, not painting ones. The sides are squared and curved. Whatever, it is good practice. This painting was also good practice for values and I did better than I thought I would on that little ceramic whistle in the bottom corner. It is so mysterious and packed with mojo, very compelling to paint. This is on black gesso and I used a round brush for most of it and then went to a small flat brush for the whistle, but I should have done the whole thing with the one brush. It was just getting so crowded down there I couldn't maneuver with ease.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Still Life With Sky

I have recently joined a challenge blog, Some Texas Artists Like to Paint, and this is my first submission. The challenge theme for this month is sky! Please drop by and have a look at what everybody has done. You can click on the lettering at the top of the widget which is
to the right and lower down on the home page of this blog.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Plastic Bowl Number 3

I am including these shots of the beginning stages for the benefit of my extended family who have asked what is black gesso. Usually the ground is white and a thin wash of umber or another color is used to subdue the white because it sometimes is so overpowering that it interferes with color mixing. Whatever color the ground is affects the rest of the color, for instance a bright red ground will give a red cast to the entire painting, some bits of it will peek through.
Today the bowl was easier. I love its thin walls and the way it holds color in its edges. I poured in something called Big Red that I found in the back of my refrigerator, who brought that to my house???

Monday, November 15, 2010

Plastic Bowl Number 2

This bowl is a bear. I am trying to do my "welcoming with affection" all things, including the bowl, but I admit to gritted teeth. Also, I used a 3/4 inch flat brush so I couldn't manage too much detail. I understand now that the wide brush makes you first grasp the desired shape in your mind and with practice all the correct shapes fall together to make the form. "Fall" is the operative word, which requires an overview of the relationships of parts. Am still liking the black gesso.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Plastic Bowl, Number 1

I have been working on this plastic bowl for three days already and could never bring it off -drawing problems mostly. By that I mean each of the three days I tried it anew, but wiped it down. Today's is very tight but is the best of the lot and a good place to begin a series of them. I figure if I do ten I should know the ropes. The interesting thing about this plastic bowl is that the rim sometimes picks up the color of something else. I didn't have the light in the right position this time for it to occur, but next time I will make it happen...the plastic is cheap and thin and provides the thinnest sliver of light. Also I am again on the black gesso and I really like it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vienna Sausages on Pink

A last shot at the Vienna sausages.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fig Studies

Yes --- Black Gesso! I bought some and used it underneath the second painting, the one just above this copy. I'm sorry the photo of the top painting is so glarish, it makes it difficult to compare them. The black gesso was fun to work on, BUT there is a diminishment of light in it. The top painting was done on white gesso with no toning at all, so there is maximum light. This is, though, only my first time to use the black so maybe you can compensate for it by having your paint really thick and laying it on in one go, no mucking it around which always thins it. And ruins it, too. Using the black was thrilling - the color of the paint as it goes down on the black ground is electric right away, very exciting. There is not that much difference in the two really, but if you saw them in person you would know right away which one was the black ground. I used the flat brush again, a number 10. I can see reasons for using both the round and flat, I guess maybe the more important issue is actual size. But that black gesso is a kick!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Figs on Green Plate

One more run for the figs. I am still using a pretty large round brush and mostly it feels right. It does not leave a chop in the paint like the bright -- but I do like the chop. I have to think about it. I'm not sure I want to see too much evidence of the brush, but neither do I want it smooth. More testing necessary.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Four Figs

I bought 5, but one was weeping and so had to be eaten with honey and gorgonzola.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Barbecued Vienna Sausages

Oh the poetry of Vienna Sausages. In Alabama where I grew up it was pronounced Vi - ayna, yes, hard to believe this, but true. The barbecue ones cost 10 cents more a can, but as they are drenched in thick red sauce, they are more fun to paint.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Little Apples

This time I went to little leftover dark apples and moved the easel farther away from the light box, so there would be more space around the forms. I tried to concentrate on what else was there: there were these electric green shadows under the apples which I didn't quite get, and also the luminous green of the cloth. The apples actually were the least compelling part of the set up. So it was interesting getting the darks down for them, sort of like exploring. One thing I have really learned on this exercise is that there are patches of grayed color on the edges of forms - I can see them now on everything. They are almost invisible, very delicate. I like this painting the best of the apples so far.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bowl of Apples

More apples -- I am trying to do them quickly (but sensitively) and not make them more important than the rest of the painting -- and I also saw Linda Popple's bowl of clementines and it was so simple and straightforward and beautiful I thought I would try the same approach.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Stacked Apples

This is today's warm up and it was really fun, because I was trying to find a way to see them new and stacking them did it. As I was painting them, I lost the apple label completely and had fun finding the values of the forms. It was joyous --

Friday, November 5, 2010


This is the warm up, apples on black. They are getting easier. However, I am using a value finder, a red plastic thing you look through, which shows me the lighter value of the shadow side. Without it, I couldn't get it! I think I can train myself to expect that light, but on a mid value form I have trouble even seeing it. I am liking doing a warm up for 30-40 minutes each day, something about that term makes it seem like it doesn't really count, so there is no strain.

This is Pofac, Queen of Cats. This painting is in trade for the self portrait of my student which is now hanging on my portrait wall.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Apple Study

Again, this is the warm up study before the real work, and then the second painting didn't work so I am going to wipe it. But it was a curiously good painting day. Using the round brush lets me get a lot of paint on the canvas and I love this luxurious feeling. The flat brush deposits it thinly. In the second painting I used both brushes, very exciting....and one part of that second canvas was really good while the rest was not, so I gave it up. But if I can do it on one part, eventually I can do it on the whole thing, so I'll try it again. Also, it was very nice to have apple commiseration from out there, thank you.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Three Apples

This is a little warm up I did this morning to get ready for the real stuff, and then the real stuff was no good, so now this one is the default real stuff - complete with raindrops because it is raining here and the photographing light is also terrible. Also, a word about apples: troublesome. Because the values change and the color changes and the temperature changes all in the same two inches, I am always a little shaken at the prospect of simplifying and getting the info down. I decided after watching my workshop artists pound through the exercises I set them and radically improve that I must do the same and just stick at it. We'll see how many it takes before I get it. The workshop and the people were fun and as usual, I learned a lot.