Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sketch of Breagha

sketch of Breagha
11/16: Sketch of Breagha, oil on linen panel, 5x3 in.

I took my palette into the poorly lit (even in the afternoon) living room and hoped for something at least halfway, while my daughter was sitting still and eating her lunch. A spur of the moment thing, and I was using mainly color blobs still on the palette from the previous night. This was probably about 20 minutes and, though I did some cleaning up later, I left most things alone like the light on her head that I know is off - the light, that is, not her head. I think I got the "feel" of the profile with her bulbous forehead (though it could even be bigger than this). She has quite a resemblance to the Curious George cartoon, actually, also she's very much like a tiny cub of some sort. She turned 19 months the other day.

Friday, November 16, 2007


11/15: Carrots, oil on linen panel, 4x5 in. SOLD

I didn't want to use a cad. red or orange to expand my palette, so the color wasn't exactly right. But painting isn't about matching it perfectly, and within the range of my everyday palette it's close enough. (Here the camera flattened a couple shots of red at the carrot tops.) The real hard thing though was just trying to get the local color shifts and light on the forms. I don't blame the small size, as even in a quarter-inch space or less one should be able to get a full range of values and hues.

Old English word of the day:

wealhmore [wĕəl(KH)'-môr-ə]: carrot? Literally, a foreign (Welsh?) root.
From more, "an (edible) root, carrot, parsnip." The word "carrot" didn't appear in English until the 16th century and it's generally agreed that before then a carrot (in Anglo-Saxon England) was something wilder, smaller, and white, yellow, or purplish red; the orange color would be developed in Europe. On the question of the name, here I am gratefully summarizing part of a summary of info on this very topic once posted kindly by another gentleman (it's hard to find answers to these sorts of things sometimes!). The Old English word apparently could have been applied to any root vegetable, and the term wealh- or Wylisc [wül'-ĭsh] more might have been used for "carrot" while an Englisc more was a parsnip. The site Regia Anglorum also mentions this, though reversing the Welsh/English bit. Very confusing!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Broccoli sketch

broccoli sketch
11/14: Broccoli sketch, oil on linen panel, 4x4 in. SOLD

This turned out fairly good I think. I probably went to 45 minutes or more, due to a good deal of redundant work in the crown area trying to get back the light that I lost, some of it finally just scratched in.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Garlic #2

garlic #2
11/13: Garlic #2, oil on linen panel, 4x5 in. SOLD

I thought the cloves were pretty with the reddish color. This began fairly quick and light but in the end got almost too wet and slippery in some parts. This linen is great but when the paint gets too juicy it's like working on a smooth panel, not so great. Though doesn't juicy paint cause the same problems no matter what you paint on? This is why I can't do what the good alla prima painters do.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


11/12: Kiwi, oil on linen panel, 4x5 in.

I really love this green, really a blue-green before adding ochre. I can't get over its mystery, for lack of a better word. It truly still feels like alchemy: add a little white to it and it is like water, with yellow it is like a forest, somewhere in the middle it is the mist between land and sea. Some time I'd like to do longer pieces in which I can examine these effects more, not around a kiwi fruit.

Monday, November 12, 2007


11/11: Kiwis, oil on linen panel, 3x5 in.

I've been working "softer" the last couple of nights, almost layering like pastels or chalk (there should be less chalkiness after some varnish). And I worked a little slower here, ending up painting much longer than I meant to. Not sure if this muted coloring is really my thing but it's different, and I think these kiwis aren't too bad. Tender, sort of....

* * *

Yesterday being Veterans Day, let me say we shouldn't forget that we as artists (or musicians, novelists, etc.) couldn't practice our art without the people who voluntarily fight for us. We generally have the privilege of working in peace and safety, unlike those Dark Age English monks hunched day and night over their tiny illuminations, always with the fear of seeing Viking maurauders come one day from across the sea. Except one day in 2001 we saw how easily we could be attacked by a tiny band of modern-day pirates (or pilots), who did it not for plunder but for the joy of causing so many deaths. Whatever one's view of war, it is a fact that we now have to defend against a "culture" that seeks to destroy culture itself and take all civilization back to the Dark Ages, but Dark Ages without even a glimmer of individual expression.

I've grown to support the Iraq war more, recently, despite thinking it was badly planned, despite the tons of negative news coverage (which is aggressive and biased), and being sickened by the rising death toll. We're all sick of it, but let us keep open our eyes and ears to the good news that quietly makes its way back to us - it's not shown nearly enough. I never feel more hopeful about our world than when I see American soldiers being greeted with smiles, wherever they happen to be.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lemon #3

lemon #3
11/10: Lemon #3, oil on linen panel, 3x5 in. SOLD

This was probably about 45 minutes if I remember correctly, more "finished" than I intended but some of the looseness is still there.