Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Brandywine" -- oil on canvas -- 18x24" -- Margie Guyot

A few days ago I was visiting my neighbors, chatting away on their front porch, when I happened to see this marvelous tomato sitting in their windowsill. I loved the greenish-yellow "shoulders", contrasted with the red. It gave me goosebumps! I knew I just HAD to paint this tomato. Sue and Shirley graciously let me borrow it. They told me it's one of their heirloom tomatoes they plant every season: a brandywine.

I'd bought this lovely purple cabbage last week and had planned on using it in a painting as well. I love painting cabbages! Could paint them all day. Love the colors!

The next step for me was to dig through my collection of vintage linens. I just love tablecoths out of the 40's and 50's! I don't have dozens of them and am always on the lookout.

The cherry crop up here in Michigan was abundant, and I happened to have a bag full in my fridge. I thought the dark red sweets looked good with this arrangement. Used a glass dish from a garage sale to set them in. I love the design, with its ridges and how it allows bits of the tablecloth design to show through.

And those striped glasses! They were also from a garage sale. Guess I've got a "thing" for painting stripes and often use them in my still lifes. Sure, it's really tough to paint them, but I love a good challenge. Painting is, after all, nothing but a big puzzle. Instead of laboring over a crossword puzzle, I'd sooner spend that time figuring out my own puzzles.

Finally, I really love showing a strong sense of light and shadow in my paintings. One thing Clyde Aspevig taught me is to lay down your shadows early and stick with them. This still life was set up next to a big window and as I painted, the sun and shadows moved. Clyde told us to just establish the shadows early on and to avoid changing them (or you'll just go nuts!). I really enjoy establishing the color changes between the lighted areas and the shadows.

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