Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The last three days of the January challenge

My feathered friend usually stands above the kitchen cabinets but I had no fresh vegetables and was feeling quirky. He’s made of real feathers and silly plastic feet with wires to hold him upright. The title came to me while I set up this still life, having painted eggs several times already during this daily challenge. 
"The Eggs Came First" 16x12 oil
Roses always fascinate me and this had been saved from a friend.s event several years ago. It was extremely dry and fragile and fell apart when I was finished. Untitled, I asked my Facebook friends to name the painting and had many great responses. I chose one that was quite accurate and could tell a subtle story as well. Title by Alice Gerard.
"After the Date" 8x10 oil

On January 31 my challenge was nearly complete. Some of the artists world wide (Over 800 finished and posted 31 daily paintings, hundreds more tried to) suggested self portraits for the final image. Never one to turn away from a challenge, I did mine. I’ve painted myself before, once from a reflection in the window, another time from a photo, but mostly looking in a mirror. I actually went out and bought a mirror for this. It was one dollar at the Dollar Tree, much larger than the hand mirror I had planned to use. Self portraits usually have an intensity of observation but it was such fun I fortunately didn’t have a grimace looking for shadows and lights.
"C'est Moi" oil 16x12

Refrigerator finds for daily paintings.

Here are three ‘ Refrigerator’ paintings from the daily challenge. Vegetables are good models and they encourage quick paintings as we like to eat them. This ceramic bowl seemed like it would be a challenge and I’m pleased with how it looks. 
"Purple Rubber Band", 11x15 oil 
I twisted and turned this head of cauliflower to get the perfect view without it tipping over. It was already half eaten from someone’s meal. Then, I chose the wrong format board to paint it on. It probably deserved a larger surface, but it also should have had a squarer shape. It was a huge challenge for a single vegetable on a small board. 
"Foxy", 7x5 oil

A little magic here, I changed the plate from orange to blue but respectfully copied the shadows and hilights. My homemade light box was helpful here.
"Good Leftovers". Oil 11x15
These grapes came to the studio with me as a snack. As I propped my legs on the table and looked at the birds in my tree, I considered my next painting subject. Aha! I wasn’t ready to eat them right away anyway. The lighting was a little tricky because the shadows were necessary for this composition. They were delicious, too.
A Half Dozen" 5x7 oil.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Window watching in January

Snow! And sunshine! These two January Daily Challenge Paintings are views from my studio window.

Snow Day, 12x4x1 oil on gallery wrap canvas

The pine is the same tree as the previous painting.

Sun In January, 9x12 oil on canvas

An Apple A Day. Or Three? More from January challenge

3 Gala Apples brought me back to 1985. I was determined to be able to draw well and Walter Prochonik guided me in an independent graduate study at University of Buffalo. He set me to draw apples and I discovered the nuances of various kinds, the importance of light and shadow and it gave me a bit of daring to be creative.  Two full sketchbooks and I learned to see. I learned that seeing is step one in drawing, and persistence is right up there, too. 
I ate two of them and needed a new model. I put it outside my light box and used a stronger light here. Although it is accurate, I consider this a fairly boring painting, it doesn’t say much to me. I do like the composition and the way the shapes are balanced.
Carly Mueller noted in Facebook that Gala apples are better for painting than eating. She inspired me to be more painterly with the same Apple as yesterday. I put the brushes away and used a knife.

'Carly's Apple' by itself, painted with a palette knife.
A Gala a Day, 11x15 oil on Arches Huile 
The Third Apple, 9x12 oil on Arches Huile
Carly’s Apple, 11x5 oil on Arches Huile


Having painted whole eggshells, it was time to crack a farm fresh one and see what I could do. My table is tilted and I was sitting closer and taller than the photo. Finished, I thought the yellow bowl looked tilted but that’s the way it looked. Good thing I began with the yolks, as the day progressed they settled and slumped and their reflections changed. I had picked the biggest egg in the carton and it had two yolk, twins!

I’ve painted these three times so far and I am ready to move them out of the studio. They have dried and faded and are much lighter in weight now. The big one is from a goose.

Really Big Eggs Are Twins 8x10 oil on canvas board
The Blue Egg  9x12 oil on canvas