Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Epiphyllum" -- 0il on canvas -- 40x60" -- Margie Guyot

I thought of calling this "Stripes". Ha ha. The epiphyllum is the strange plant that is hanging out over half the painting. Also known as "the rickrack plant", it's an orchid cactus. Technically a succulent, when it finally gets big enough to bloom, it's spectacular. I'm a big fan of epiphyllums. There are a bunch of this type of plant in the greenhouse down on Belle Isle. When they bloom, the flowers are large as dinner plates and range in color from hot pink to screaming orange, white, red, etc. Give me spectacular, give me opulence! Give me screaming orange, especially!

Then OK, I guess I must also admit I love tough challenges. I tell people that doing a big still life is like doing a big crossword puzzle, only you have to make up the design and pieces for it all by yourself. This striped fabric, all wrinkled, with folds and in shadow & sunlight -- it about wore my eyeballs out! This still life took longer to finish than most of my paintings because of the difficulty. For a while there I didn't know if it would turn out. I may leave it set a while & might change things later, as I see fit.

Robert Bateman once told us that he felt very depressed during the first 95% of his painting; it was only during the final 5% of it that he got excited again. It was kind of like that with this one.

I think I'm going to do a series of smaller still lifes for a while. I really liked the look of that green Depression glass plate on the lower right. The striped fabric underneath got such interesting distortions, I think I'll have to do a small one with that combination. It's a good excuse to go buy some pretty cupcakes!

Often I like to place yummy-looking sweets on a plate in my paintings. But since I moved up to the sticks, yummy-looking cookies & cupcakes are very hard to find. About all I see in the store down the street are bags of Oreos. Nothing oozing and to-die-for. However, maybe I should think about doing a still life with Cheetos? Cheetos & beer? Or pizza? Plenty of those down at the IGA.

Let me explain that monstrous green glass torpedo-shaped bowl in the center. Naturally, it was a garage-sale find. I got it for about 50 cents ten or fifteen years ago. Of course it's butt-ugly, but it's a siren, beckoning me to pull out once every 10 years to try to paint. I liked how it cast blue and green hues onto the white stripes of the cloth.

I used almost an entire tube of alizarin crimson on this painting! But it was a good thing: a few months ago I'd lost the cap to the tube, so I had to do something to use it all up before it dried in the tube. Waste not, want not.....

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