Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cut lemon

cut lemon
11/28: Cut lemon, oil on linen panel, 3x4.5 in.

Working out of my paint box really makes a difference. Without the heaviness and solidity of my easel I'm still not completely comfortable. I braced the inside of the box better and fixed the wobbliness, but I still have to get used to this vulnerable, skinny-legged contraption. I remember another time I had painted en plein air: a few guys and I were at our teacher Anthony Palliser's house, somewhere in the marshes around Savannah. We were sitting on a little pier behind the house, there were some attempts at fishing, and my friend Gus landed a hook into my pants leg (or was it me who got his leg?). Only other thing I remember now was that I settled on painting a boring cluster of trees across the water. Maybe there were other times, but I just can't recall.... Well, now I'm trying it again, and it seems like tomorrow will be partly sunny (or partly cloudy), so it could end up being a great day! Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Delicata squash #2

delicata squash 2
11/27: Delicata squash #2, oil on linen panel, 4x8 in.

In preparation for the Paint Out I worked out of my paint box to get more used to it. A few months ago I came across a simple way of turning it into a pochade, and discovered last night when I put it into action for the first time that it was too wobbly on the tripod. I started the painting pretty flustered and holding the box steady with one hand most of the time, expecting only to get a basic sketch. Eventually I relaxed enough to let it go and had a better time. I didn't have my lights on my work as usual so I ended up using too much chalky white throughout, but it could have gone worse. Now I'm trying to fix whatever was wrong with the box, hoping it won't take something MacGyverish.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Delicata squash

delicata squash
11/26: Delicata squash, oil on linen panel, 4.5x6.75 in.

Also called a potato/sweet potato/Bohemian squash, the delicata is an heirloom variety, and supposedly one of the tastier squashes. We had the ambercup last night and it was quite tasty too! I like that I stayed fairly loose in this piece, tightening up only gradually from the beginning stages. (I hope I can keep things loose on Friday, whatever it is I end up painting.) Overall I'm happy with this, though I don't think I captured the tautness of the actual squash.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ambercup squash

ambercup squash
11/25: Ambercup squash, oil on linen panel, 5x4.5 in. SOLD

The ambercup is a relative of the buttercup. When my wife came back from the store with this I knew I had to paint it. Talk about some hard to pin down reds/pinks/oranges - a carrot is nothing compared to this thing. There's so much going on, it should be painted in more than one session to really capture it.

* * *

I'm going to be taking part in "Out & About Norfolk," a plein air event this Friday and Saturday (thanks again to Jen K. for passing along the info), and I've been getting nervous. I haven't worked en plein air since maybe freshman year of art school when our class went to the park. It'll be great to meet some other local painters and see everyone's work on display Saturday evening. I just hope it doesn't rain.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gold potatoes

gold potatoes
11/24: Gold potatoes, oil on linen panel, 6x5 in.

I like that these are looser and fresher though they seem very stony, more so than yesterday's potato. Looking for reasons to use Indian yellow (other than as a possible glaze), I hit the top left edge of the left potato with some, which was toned down a bit later, perhaps defeating the purpose. If I were someone who had more painting pyrotechnics up my sleeve I could have done some of the glowing, feathered-edge type of effect that makes everyone drool. Anyway, that's not me. But I look at this and think someday I might come close to getting the highlighting and transparency and general roundness of form in good balance the way old (actually, young) Bonington did. Someday.... If he'd have chosen to paint a potato I think he could have done it faster than I could get a knife out of the drawer to peel one.