|"Three Oranges and White Tureen"|
|"Yellow and Violet Still Life" (oil, 11" x 14")|
|"Two Red Peppers" (oil, 11" x 14")|
|"Red and Green Apples" (oil, 11" x 14")|
I am beginning to see the pattern in the still life setups by my teacher John Murray--the harmony created by complementary colors. In the first class he gave us red and green apples with neutral draperies. In the second week, he challenged us with the intensity of red bell peppers against two different shades of green cloths. The third week's setup was all about the yellow/violet vibrations. This week he not only baffled us with the orange/blue juxtaposition but also with the octagonal planes of the white tureen!
His choice of draperies is deliberate. They may someday come with stripes and all sorts of patterns and textures. The white bowls, which are clearly included for their reflective qualities, are becoming more complex in their shapes; one even flaunts floral patterns. In the midst of the ever-mounting challenges of painting fruits, vegetables, and fabrics, we are also constantly reminded of the crucial importance of composition and paint application.
We struggle valiantly to mix the right reds, blues, greens, oranges, violets, and yellows we see in the setups, and often end up with disgusting colors. The prominent colors in "Three Oranges and White Tureen" are blues and oranges. For whatever reason, my original color notes were oranges and violets. John's comment was that I have the violet tendency! I had to work hard to depurplize the violets and steer them toward blues. We can, of course, ignore what we see and paint the way we like, as one student was doing with the extremely limited palette of only three colors, plus white. Or, we can try to mix colors correctly. Argh. The vexing still lifes!