Thursday, March 1, 2012

"Blueberry Pie Party" (oil on canvas; 12" x 16") sold


Still life setup 

I am getting used to a complicated setup, so I wasn't flabbergasted at the above arrangement by my teacher John Murray in yesterday's class.  It was the presence of the red colander with the brass-knobbed lid that bothered me.  I knew that it belonged there for color.  But who puts a colander, pretty or not, in the middle of a setup, which is obviously celebratory!  Ah, perhaps it was used to drain blueberries.  In my painting I deliberately omitted its perforations.

There were other issues too.  John noticed that I put the still life too high in the picture again.  Why do I keep doing that?  I introduced a suggestion of the second vertical plane, which kind of helped.  Still I had a lot of empty square inches of foreground to deal with.  I added one more candle and moved the candles to point toward the subjects.  The way the white-handled knife was sitting on the small plate, pointing out of the picture, was troubling too, but it stayed there so that I would have seven, not six, candle-like objects.  Always go for the odd number.

Do you know what?  The biggest challenge actually had nothing to do with my painting.  John had set up another arrangement with yummy-looking donuts.  The students who chose to paint them were having such success that I was turning green with envy.  No awkward colander to worry about.  No empty foreground to struggle with.  Just fun and games.

Now as I look at the finished painting, I see an elegance in its scheme.  The painting is all about the three primary colors--red, blue, and yellow.  It isn't a fun, loud party we are looking at.  It is a quiet celebration of food and a shared life.

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