Sunday, August 1, 2010

fun with still life paintings

I'm sure I've painted still life subjects in the past but I have no memory of it. They weren't memorable experiences. Recently I saw some paintings by an artist, I don't know her name, they were just still life paintings, but there were lots of them. The sheer number of paintings this artist had painted, all of them still life subjects, all of them very ordinary (the subjects), was impressive by itself. And then, they were beautiful (the paintings) too. I mean, they were extraordinary because the subjects themselves should have been banal and instead her attention and care made them striking in their ordinariness.

I saw what she had done and I thought, I want to try that. I want to paint ordinary things and make them beautiful. I started with food--it's the classic still life subject, right? I painted white eggs in a white bowl. Something about the luminosity in this painting--the cream colored egg shells and gray blue paint--makes me squeal (privately, to myself).


I loved the first one so much I had to do it again.


This satisfied my egg thing. I'd like to point out that I've noticed that both the egg canvases have a very pleasing weight, and if I bang on the underside of the stretchers with an open, flat palm, the canvas makes a low, deep, gong noise. I wish I could remember where I bought these two canvases.

So then I painted tomatoes. I cut it open because the fleshy, greeny, dribbly parts on the inside are the best part.



Then I took a break from the still lifes and switched to a landscape. Love the colors.


And then I did a cantaloupe going bad in my fridge.


So then the cantaloupe thing didn't go the way I wanted it to and I became frustrated. It was 5:00 in the evening. I cleaned up everything to quit for the day. I was looking a the clock thinking, great, I can quit early and get everything else done that I need to do tonight and go to bed at a reasonable hour (1:30?--who needs sleep). But I kept turning around and looking at the kitchen table, the sunlight falling on the table. I do most of my painting at night--not so great for still life paintings. It's good to paint in natural light, but tomorrow I go work and I won't get home until I've already killed most of the daylight. That seemed like a terrible shame. And I have these carrots. I bought them just today. If I don't cut off the green parts and put them in fresh water today they'll get mushy and I can't eat them then, but if I cut off the green parts they won't be nearly as fun to paint, and that's actually why I bought them in the first place. So, I dragged all my painting materials back out and set everything up and this was the last painting I made.


The carrots are my favorite. It's a heavily textured painting. Plus, was a total surprise. It started off going so badly. I wish I had a better picture, but it was dark by the time I finished and I get poor quality photos at night.

1 comment:

  1. I love the eggs. How can you part with your favorite? You should keep it. You'll be happy you did 10 years from now. It's lovely.