Saturday, August 18, 2007

Baby's snap beads

Snap beads, oil on canvas panel, approx. 4x6 in.

8/17. These two beads still have their shape while others are half destroyed from aggressive chewing. Also probably made from poison plastic as all toys seem to be. My angles here are maybe a little wonky.

Friday, August 17, 2007

White turnip

White turnip, oil on canvas panel, approx. 7x5 in.

8/16. I always forget that our DSL modem is something you can turn off/on. When I was ready to upload this picture and I couldn't connect I wasted plenty of time rebooting, running a bot check, even calling about our account (and having to respond to questions asked by a computer on the other end that couldn't understand my voice half the time). Until a real person in India or somewhere reminded me to try switching off the modem for a few seconds. So silly.

Old English word of the day:
dysig [roughly, dü'-zē]: foolish, irrational.
(dysigdóm, dysignes: folly.)
Interestingly, modern "turnip" comes from turn (probably from its being shaped like something turned on a lathe) + M.E. nepe (turnip, rape; from O.E. nǽp, L. napus). Scots have a word, "neep."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Study of an egg under water

Underwater egg, oil on canvas panel, approx. 4x6 in.

8/15. I'm glad so many of you are getting a kick out of this little blog, and that some are feeling inspired along the way! Well, here I'm painting an egg again.... An assignment I'm working on involves some polar bears in their zoo tank seen through the glass, so at first this egg was to be a simple sketch of the light underwater - just for "fun," as I wouldn't really go through this kind of preparatory rigmarole (I could just take a photo, or Google some underwater polar bear pictures). Mainly it was just something different to paint.

I set the egg on an upside-down baby food jar in the container of water, with a worklight clamped to a shelf above, and to the shelf under that I clamped a stick, on the end of which was another clamp (green thing at top of photo), to which was clamped another blue plastic lid for the light to shine partway through. All that was fun.

Then later as I painted along I must have switched to using some Magical Ingres Brushes on the egg, as I got more and more carried away (I hate when I do that) and my sketch became a dumb, lifeless airbrushed sort of thing. I've never had much practice mixing blues so the color of the water might have been the hardest thing to pin down, and the camera didn't quite get it (I settled on a mix of Prussian blue, white, and yellow ocher - ocher goes with everything!) - that alone made this exercise worthwhile.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mushrooms #2

Mushrooms #2, oil on hardboard, 4x6 in.

8/14. This was on oil primed Masonite. The nice part was being able to use a coarse brush to scrub out the lighter areas, as well as blend the middle shadows together to round out the forms better. It was an interesting composition I think, with sort of abstract shapes that only started to take on some weight near the end.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Self-portrait, oil on canvas panel, approx. 6x4 in.

8/13. Throughout this process the mirror has become my best friend. I use one to see what I'm working on from a new perspective, in order to help correct basic mistakes in massing, lighting and drawing. It was while thinking about that that I decided to paint myself and leave aside the jam jar and knife I'd set up. I used to be able to crank out a fairly decent self-portrait between 1 and 3 am for next class, back in the day. I don't remember the last one I did recently.

This panel was another one I oil primed and, while I didn't let the paint get to me too badly, I worked on it longer than I meant to and it started to feel sticky and waxy, in the end making it feel like I was doing one of those funerary portraits from Roman Egypt. Except those are infinitely more elegant.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bananas and clementines

Bananas and clementines, oil on canvas panel, approx. 5x7 in. NFS.

8/12. To those who know me - thanks so much for all your encouragement, and I hope no one is getting the sense that somehow pigs have flown as I have been daily painting for three weeks now. I'm sure I may fall behind here and there as I devote time to other projects, but if that happens I will still try to have something interesting to look at.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fig bars

Fig bars, oil on canvas panel, approx. 6x4 in.

8/11. The term "Newton" was genius, like "Kleenex." These were made by Kroger so sadly they're just bars. I started with a pencil
sketch and the painting might have worked better if it was done sketchier. I tried an oil primer (on top of the acrylic gesso) which I've used many times long ago, but I had a hard time working wet on wet. It would be the ideal surface, however, for another session if such were to take place, and for a virtuosic landscape sketch at Italy's Lake Como if I were R.P. Bonington.