Still Life with Apples and Blossoms Oil on Panel, 11×14″
I painted this while on a visit to Florida last March. It was a workshop and I did not set this up. It has no brilliant color contrast or pattern. To my mind it’s boring. It should have an odd number of blossoms in the bowl. Three or five would have been my choice. I could have invented extra items but I was all the way across the room from it and my vision is not what it was. I couldn’t see the cues well enough for convincing invention.
I am very picky about my still life set-ups. It takes me a week to get exactly what I want when I set one up. I put out the items and, as I walk in and out of the studio, I look at it and make changes until it’s right. What makes it right is some intangible that seems to click for me. I’m looking for color contrast and color distribution. Pattern provides the color distribution. I am essentially solving compositional problems in the set-up rather than on the panel I paint it on. Sometimes some thing needs to be added after the painting is underway. It’s all about knowing what I want from a piece and also being honest at self-critique. Sometimes it means knowing what the painting needs. If I pay attention, the painting will tell me what it needs.
I don’t know what I might do with this piece. It’s telling me it needs some red. What form that will take I have not decided. I may add a red element or I may just leave it as it is and move on. I also want to be outside painting right now. The weather is just now beginning to moderate enough for more outdoor painting and while that’s the case I want to take advantage of that. So still life paintings are on the back burner.
Gray Day at the Shore
Oil on Archival Panel, 12×16″
This was also painted during my visit to Florida. I went to a park to paint. I had a shelter with a picnic table. It was very comfortable. In spite of the overcast, the temperature was perfect too. So it was a good day. I have made my lessons in color matching work for this piece. All the values and the color express the grayness of the day. You will see hints of orange because I painted the panel with orange paint. I let tiny bits of the orange peak through so as to give the painting a counterpoint to over all the grayness. The clumps of shrubbery began at the crest of the dune with the ocean beyond. Then they descended into a hollow while I looked over the scene through the foreground grasses.
I intend to do some more pleine aire paintings in oil this summer. I usually paint watercolor outside. Oil requires more schlepping. Watercolor is very portable. It remains to be seen if I live up to my rhetoric. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I say this because, as I get older, it seems the door to my schlepp department is gradually closing. I have to say that all my exercise in the pool has helped me some and my physical abilities have improved slightly. I will keep exercising and painting. I have to take advantage of both for as long as I can. Time marches on and, damn it, I keep getting older!