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Monday, May 31, 2010

Right Foot

I've been wanting to paint some skin.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Star Fruit, Cherries

This one not as difficult as I thought, pretty straightforward.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chiles, Cherries

I have been watching reruns (Netflix) of the PBS Art 21 series and came across one of my favorite contemporary painters, Susan Rothenberg. Among many other things, she talked of
dirtying up colors on purpose, particularly whites, which she is famous for. Her remarks helped me think of white differently and to let go of the need to preserve a clean white, but to get right in and grunge it up. Still it reads as white. This photo can't get all the varieties here, but it is a more interesting white than I've been able to get before. And the darks are darker.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Self Portrait, Camera Close Up

I thought I would try a little portrait.
It is ever more clear to me that my dark values are not dark enough. I had to go back after a break and darken all the darks here - everything had the same weight. Wonder if I can retrain myself to see this the first time out - it is a problem in every painting.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fruit and Japanese Bowl

Better experience today. Being calm is a big help. Each step forward is so hard won that when a backslide starts you think the whole thing is going down. Then panic. So I'm looking for a Zen space.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fruit, Paintbrush

I sort of forgot how to paint this week that I was off. I hope it is not a permanent condition.
I painted all day today and everything was hard. This was the least bad. I am hoping sleep is the cure and that very soon I will be back in the saddle.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Vienna Sausages 2

This morning when I set up the still life the top of the can came off - so sad, I loved that top jutting out into space. So I had to go to plan b. Tried very hard not to try so hard and didn't overwork, much more pleasant painting experience.
I'm going to take a week off from painting and only draw, so no new posts until May 25th.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ellipses 7: Vienna Sausages

I did this one fast and didn't for the most part overwork. This is chiefly because I worked hard over an earlier one and it looked just like I worked really hard. So I wiped it and got out the can of vienna sausages to paint, which I have been wanting to do. Tomorrow I want to paint it again more thoughtfully and not out of disgust as I did today. Not disgust for the sausages, though they ARE so weird.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ellipses 6: Makeup

I was wanting a stacked composition, like a Guston or a Morandi. I seriously overworked this, smoothing and refining edges until it was practically mush. When I took the first photo of it, I saw this and returned it to the easel to further over work it by smearing some of the edges. I am repeatedly coming up against the importance of solid drawing skills.
(I did get that makeup brush down though!)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ellipses5: Vinegar Bottle

I am thinking to just sneak this one in to be visible for the shortest time period, because it is so dull! This will be the "before" shot for this vinegar bottle, for which I have big plans.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ellipses4: Walgreen's Bowl, Fruit

It was a relief to add some other stuff to the ellipse routine. I do have this thing for pink and I found a pink plastic bowl at Walgreens, so that helped to make it fun.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ellipses (3): Jaguar Cup

This WAS easier overall, and I did it late in the day yesterday, too, which is always more challenging, so I'm seeing some improvement.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Ellipsis: Olives, Cherries

Well - the ellipses are gradually improving. Although I did wipe a few times on the olive jar lid, the cherry lid went down in one go. I did have this realization over the olives: the turning edge of the top half of the ellipse occurs just before the greatest width because the center of the ellipse is NOT in the center of the oval, it is just back from the center. I really hope knowing this makes the whole experience less maddening from now on.

Also, another tip from blogsnooping: a phone book is great for cleaning up paint from the palette, although I might be the only one left who didn't know this. If you keep it open by your easel, you can rip out a page every time you need to wipe your palette knife or brush. Cheaper than paper towels.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ellipsis: Tomato Paste Can

The challenging aspect of the labelled can is that those ellipses repeat all down the length of the can, very exacting. I know of lots of painters who don't do it perfectly and it doesn't matter (Morandi, Van Gogh, Redon, Bonnard, Matisse, on and on) I guess I would like to be able to do it, and then forgeddaboutit.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ellipses Practice 2

A wiper. On quickly to the next.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ellipse Practice1

It could have been better, but it could have been worse.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Julep Stuff

Agony, ellipses are agony! Glass is fun, though. In this one, I have cleverly left a big hunk of empty space at the bottom, I don't know what I was thinking.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fresh Shallots from the Farmer's Market

Interesting to photograph this one, there are no darks! I didn't realize it as I painted.
I spent a lot of time on the saucer too, futzing and re working the edges.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jenel's 13th Glass

(1)I am going to force myself to do paintings with ellipses until I love them and they come easily. (2) I am learning something important about color in these last few paintings. When I set the still life up, instead of arranging lots of color in it, I have been using less. I even bought a beige (I never thought this would happen to me) cloth to use under the set up. In the process of painting, the color emerges anyway, and it is more subtle. I don't know what to do with this info -- it makes a difference, because I see a fork in the road developing. Van Gogh (I think) said you can't have color and modeling together, it has to be one or the other. If color is dominant, there is flatness, if modeling then depth. I like, no, love, the tension of color on the flat plane of the canvas. Is this really incompatible with realism, is the question.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Baby Screwdrivers

This was unexpectedly fun to paint. They seem so intimate. I like the elegant shapes and the unusual shadows they cast. It would be great to have a collection of them, old ones with unusual handles.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Another little dog.
He is so white as to be almost transparent, and I thought it would be a good exercise in modeling with pale greys. I put my white-ist whites down first, just as I have done in the last few paintings ( with relative success)except this time I could not keep the whites clean. They disappeared into surrounding paint and I had to spend lots of time re-establishing those areas, and very soon I hated the dog and the white, and it took twice as long to get it done and over with. However - I learned about the temperature of whites! And that is what must make white shimmer, shifts in temperature from cool to warm in very close tones.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Tomato Trio

I removed one of the tomatoes from this group (following the rule of threes) and ate it, and to my surprise it was a flavorful delicious ripe tomato. I ate it with green evoo and salt on heavy sourdough bread. (Three ingredients together.) Also, my color scheme numbers three and the amounts occur in this ratio: White (lots), red (some), green (a bit). Another composition rule I kept in mind but didn't manage to achieve, is to have varying distances between all objects and between objects and the canvas edge. I am not a lover of rules, but this was a valuable exercise.
Also, I worked some ultramarine into the lightest area of the shadows and it worked!