|The still life setup|
We don't often give ourselves and others enough time. Enough time for sleeping; for eating (by doing other things like reading at the same time); for others to finish talking; or for painting. We beat ourselves up, rush about, and get all stressed out as a result. For instance, my still life class with John Murray on Wednesdays is always hectic. Out of three hours, more than an hour is dedicated for the teacher's putting together three setups in a crowded studio, a quick demo, and a group critique.
Instead of being disgusted with my painting as was by the end of the class, I decided to continue working on it at home with a photo of the setup. I don't know whether it is cheating or not, but there was no reason whatsoever to get stressed out by the pressure of the limited time. Painting is neither a race, nor a performance art. It is a kind of meditation. One is supposed to be truly present, mindful of the task at hand. Unfortunately, I tend to paint fast and dash off one painting after another, quite a few of which turn out to be duds. I am aware of my shortcomings and intend to work on them.
Anyhow, I am glad of my decision to take the above picture. The drawing wasn't bad. It was my initial treatment of the green and dark blue violet draperies that was problematic. I had ignored all the folds and creases and had also made a straight "horizon" line where the fabrics met. Dead boring! The color of the green cloth was too warm; the brushstrokes were too grassy-looking. I fixed the problems, as you can see. I also worked some more on the peppers and bowl as well. I am rather pleased with the final painting.
The more I look at it, however, the more I see green and dark blue landscapes in the background. The peppers and bowl look like huge objects lying on green fields, like Gulliver in the island country of Lilliput. Perhaps I should stop meditating while painting by staring at my painting too long!