Friday, July 29, 2011


And yet more lemons. This one was actually begun before the previous
post. I was trying for a tonal painting but it was too tonal and needed some
bright lights. I spend a little time each day staring at other artists' work I like.
There are paintings I've memorized but aspects of those paintings, specific
elements of what actually was done to achieve them, seem to escape my
left brain when I'm working. Whatever I do identify seems to evaporate.
Doing a series of studies of the same subject with similar lighting helps to
reinforce the small things I learn. But those lessons didn't carry over to
the coffee cup I tried to paint yesterday!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Trying to hold to the "sketch/study" mindset.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lemon Coven

This is the 12 x 16 I was struggling with when I took a breather and
tried an oil sketch. Might be a good idea to do a sketch before attempting
a larger painting? It was still helpful to have a time out midway. The
difficulties I have are related to the way I see the paint I've put down.
I persist in thinking I could do it better so I hone in on the objects and
forget the rest of the surface. I feel I'm doing less of that and thinking
more in terms of light, texture, composition . . . how to make the surface
sing. I did the green background first and had lovely drips. Then painted
them out. I wasn't brave enough. Baby steps . . .

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Just a Sketch

Since I set foot into the representational world of painting, I've often
longed for painterly effects usually seen in more abstract work. I keep
trying to marry both on one surface and often feel like I end up with
something artificial. I know there are artists all over the place who
succeed. Looking at David Shevlino and Meier Appelfeld have helped
jog something, but I recently saw Terry Miura's blog and the idea of a
"sketch" finally penetrated my brain. I see "study" and "sketch" everywhere
on people's blogs out there but when I get to the studio, my "bad" self
takes over and pushes to make each painting a finished-done-for-posterity
painting. Sheesh! What an ego! I've been working on a larger (12 x 16)
of lemons in a row and struggling with it and a light bulb went off: why
not do "just a sketch?" My thinking and decisions were entirely different
from my usually rigid mind-set. I could think in terms of where I want lights
and darks for the composition. I could use runny paint and just let brush-
strokes be nothing more than brushstrokes. I admire Lisa Daria's work.
She doesn't let a boundary or outline confine her. I just can't seem to make
myself do the things I know I want to do. OK . . . time for a drink.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Jazz Apples on Pink

I spent all day yesterday obsessed with painting this and wiped it
off three times, then gave up for the day. I notice I'm in an irritable mood
when paintings don't work out. I get anxious watching my tube of
permanent Alizarin get smaller and on the verge of psychosis as more
cad red goes onto the palette just to get scraped and wiped off the panel.
But I couldn't give up altogether. Part of the challenge of these variegated
apples is trying to keep value and color straight. Started fresh this morning
and told myself to slow down, step back with each stroke and assess. Because
I tend toward swashbuckling strokes, I often obliterate good strokes/values/colors
and end up with muck. My other weakness is that I don't notice quickly what
I've done well for the painting and compulsively paint over it. I'm learning
that I can wield the brush in different ways and it doesn't have to be rapid
to be loose. And, I am actually capable of putting a stroke down and leaving
it alone.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pitcher + Apples

Each time I think I've learned something to apply to
future paintings, it doesn't work again. Maybe that's as
it should be? So one always stays present and finds a
unique solution to the painting at hand? Still it would be
nice to feel like progress has been made with the craft of
painting but I'm still not getting the kind of surface I'm after.
Or, think I'm after. But then, there's also something to be
said about noticing what was done well enough, accept it
and look forward to the next one.