Saturday, January 31, 2015

A month of still life painting... things I learned.

Painting seems deceptively easy, sometimes even to me.  In my mind, I can move from blank canvas to finished canvas so fluidly with wonderful results every time.  However, translating that to real life...not so much.  This month of painting still life has taught me so much.  First, painting still life is not a walk in the park.  It is a lot of work.  A good bit of it before you ever start painting.  My month has been consumed with composing paintings in my head, sometimes at midnight or 3:00 in the morning, and then trying to execute them in the studio.  But with the composing comes actually finding the objects in the composition, which sometimes proved to be impossible, and then arranging them in a way that made sense and told a story.  For each of these little paintings, hours and hours  and hours and more hours went into them.  You just can't imagine.   

Paint everyday for a month and some things begin to stand out.   I have laughed, cussed and screamed this month.  It would have been funny to have a film crew in while I was setting up and painting...or not.   I thought I would share with you some of the observations I made this month:
  • Balls roll over and fall out of your setup with amazing speed and frequency
  • garnishes don’t stay where you want them long enough to paint.  They basically come to life, moving of their own free will.
  • oysters don’t smell good under hot lights.  And the ice in a tray that the oysters are on? That melts too.  Amazingly fast, so fast in fact it starts running off of the tray onto the floor before you realize what's happening.
  • Tape is a girls best friend.... and lots of it.
  • I'm not sure but I think collard greens can actually be cooked under a lamp.
  • I need a better lamp. Or two.
  • I like painting bourbon.
  • ice cream still life requires more speed than is humanly possible.
  • after I finish painting a set up, I always think of one more thing that would have been the PERFECT addition and just made the painting
  • don’t have that 3rd cup of coffee when you are trying to hold the viewfinder 
  • don't expect anyone to understand what you are doing and why.  My own family was incredulous as to the lengths I was going to when I was gathering objects.  Some of my favorite quotes "can't you just pretend it's there" "just make it up".  When I sent my husband out for moon pies and coke to put in the coke bottle he looked at me like I had truly lost it. "Really? Can't you just color it in?!"  Yes, color it in.  I'm not sure he knows what I do yet.
I ran across this quote in one of the many blogs I subscribe to.  I wish I could credit the owner but I can't remember.  It really hit home with me because so often people have advised me to be successful I need to paint one subject, not everything.  Just landscapes or just cityscapes or whatever.  But that's not me.  I paint what appeals to me in the moment and what I am feeling at the time.  Painting to me is such an outpouring of my heart, a barometer of my mood.  It's just the way I'm wired.  

"The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling"
                Fabienne Fredrickson

Thanks again for hanging out with me this month, and if you saw a painting you wanted but didn't get... here is the link to see if it is still available:  Still Life Gallery . And here they all are in one big group.  Makes me smile :)


2 comments:

Sue Marrazzo said...

YOU are AWESOME, Dottie!

Leslie Newman said...

Dottie, really enjoyed following you all month! Love your style, theme and color work, value and great style! Great job! I only did about 10 paintings , but sure enjoyed seeing everyone's! Blessings to you