Saturday, March 17, 2007

"Gazing Globe" -- oil on canvas -- 48x48"
Last fall I trekked over to my neighbor's house and borrowed her purple gazing globe to use in a painting. Spring's just about here and I figured she'd want it back, so I got on the stick and did a yellow and purple-themed still life. Bright colors are my personal antidote to the dismal, sour-owlshit colors of Michigan winter. When I'm painting something with bright colors, listening to Diana Krall, it takes my mind off the factory or the frozen tundra outside. I imagine it's almost as thrilling as being in Key West, sipping a cold one under a palm tree.

It took me a good 2 weeks to do this one, slugging away on it on weekends and in the afternoons, after work. Pretty challenging to do. I work in the spare bedroom upstairs and it's pretty cramped, but manageable. The deep purple fabric is really a jacket. The yellow fabric with the purple and black squigglies is actually a dress I own. Life's too short for beige, honey! The red pieces are red tissue and a red plastic bag. My ascendant (astrologically-speaking) is Cancer, the Crab -- and it's been said that we just love packages and bags. They say that we tend to love the package the present comes in far more than what's inside -- and I'd agree! You should see all the boxes in my garage! But I digress. I found that great, gnarly glass vase at a consignment shop. I got to an estate sale in the last hour, expecting all the cool stuff to be gone, but I thought if there's anything I'm meant to have, it'll be there. And there it was, waiting for me: the iguana, marked down from $20 to $5! My lucky day.

The very first thing I painted in (or "nailed", as we say in the trade) was the canary melon. Waste not, want not. I quickly painted it in, then took it down to the kitchen, cut it up and ate it while I worked on the rest of the painting.

Notice the cat in the lower right corner? That's my dear Elvis, checking on me.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, March 03, 2007

"Fox & Alstromeria" -- oil on canvas -- 48x36"
After weeks of painting dismally depressing scenes of Michigan in winter (and freezing my bones, standing out there in it!) I had to take a break to do some bright, fiery indoor still lifes. Where did I get this fox? Several years ago I walked into the last minutes of an estate sale. Actually, it was a "demolition sale". It was in one of the rich suburbs of Detroit, where people buy perfectly good houses -- and then demolish them an have monster-size houses built. Since the house was to be torn down the next day, all the electricity had been shut off. Hence, no heat. The two guys running the sale had HAD it. They were cold, cranky and willing to deal. So I offered them half the asking price they'd marked for this fox. "SOLD!" barked the guy and wow -- I walked out of there with this great stuffed fox! To prevent it from being ripped apart by one of my terrorist cats, I parked it on top of the TV in the living room.

Last Sunday I decided to paint it in a still life with screaming cerulean blues and fiery orange. That orange "thing" in the foreground is a light, crinkly blouse. The zebra/leopard material that's swirling about is actually a 2-piece dress I'd bought on eBay! The blue sandals were a resale find -- and in my size (a double thrill!). That's yet another Peruvian reproduction of a water bottle, this time in a puma shape. He really reflected the orange foreground.
The backdrop for this is a 3-way mirror that I draped a leopard-print jacket over. It made all kinds of interesting reflections with the alstromeria.

Every day I'd rush home from work (at Ford Wixom) and paint for 2 - 3 hours. It's kind of amazing how much a person can accomplish, just working in steady little chunks. I finished this painting in less than a week, working this way. Oh, and by using big brushes as much as possible!