Friday, April 1, 2011

"Three Roses and Copper" (oil on linen, 9" x 12") sold


I thought I would try my hand at still life in oil and signed up for a three-day workshop with Robert A. Johnson at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA this weekend.  Still life painting has been a well-trodden path by many renowned and talented artists for several centuries.  I have no intention of hunting for antique Ming vases, silver vessels and oriental rugs for elaborate and luxurious still life setups.  All I want to achieve is to be able to paint a few stems of garden flowers in a humble glass jar. 

Have you ever seen the French impressionist Edouard Manet's still lifes he painted in the last weeks of his life as he was dying of the untreated syphilis?   His friends would bring bouquets of flowers to cheer him up and he would plop a few sprigs in a simple jar to paint quickly before he ran out of energy.  These small, unassuming still lifes of Manet's touch my heart as no other paintings do.

After Robert's admirable demo in the morning, the students were left to their own devices to set up their own still lifes and paint in the afternoon.  I reminded myself of my goal--simplicity, and nothing fancy.  With the gentle help of Robert, a true southern gentleman, I was able to paint "Three Roses and Copper."  I admit that I have a long way to go, but am, nevertheless, pleased with the result on the first day of the workshop.

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