Thursday, June 28, 2007

"Demitasse & Orchids" -- oil on canvas -- 36x48"

I've been having fun with this one all week. Newly retired from the assembly line at Ford, I love having the daylight hours free to paint! This one is probably the most difficult one I've tackled so far. The cylindrical shapes of the demitasse cups with their spiraling stripes and reflections were quite a puzzle. And the problem of drawing in the obelisks of the plates (with their swirling stripe patterns) took me a while. A lot of artists take slides and project and trace, which is great for accuracy, but I'm just too impatient to wait for slide processing. I think it's quicker to just knuckle down and draw the thing in.

Last year a friend gave me this orchid before she moved to California. It's a moth orchid, the type which seems to like it at my house. It started blooming over a month ago and still is going strong. I used it in the last still life painting and wanted to use it again, it's just so spectacular.

Did the strawberries rot while I painted, you ask? Waste not, want not! I set up the empty bowl and the day when I decided to paint the strawberries, I set them into the bowl, painted them, then took them downstairs & ate them on my break.

The cookies: it's been too hot to bother baking, so I bought these. And they were expensive! My grandmother's probably turning over in her grave at the price I paid for these suckers. I put them on the plate during the setup and they sat there 4 or 5 days before I got around to painting them. When finished, I carefully gathered them up and took them down to the patio to enjoy with tea.

This beautiful fabric came from JoAnn Fabrics, at Livonia Mall. I'm amazed they're open yet. With the horrible economy in SE Michigan, it seems like half the stores have gone out of business. The seafoam-green napkins I found at a garage sale a couple years ago. I'd always meant to try to sell them on eBay but never got around to it. Glad I didn't sell them -- they're really pretty to use in a still life.

The other "toughie" that I struggled with was the curved plant stand (under the orchid). I realized that while looking at it and drawing it, I continually moved to a slightly different vantage point. This would throw the drawing off. Kind of like trying to fit together a picture puzzle on a spinning roulette wheel! To me, painting is like taking an algebra test: if you can't solve a problem right away, move on and find something you CAN do. If you can control your panic, you will figure things out.