Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bon Painting!

As I may have mentioned before, in addition to painting, I love to cook and try new recipes for relaxation. I've always admired small, fresh still life oil paintings of fruits, vegetables, desserts, etc. There are some amazing daily painters out there who do marvelous things with simple, edible subjects.

Inspired by these painters, I was planning to set up a small scene of wine and cheese in my studio. But I decided I wanted to paint a much larger piece of Swiss cheese (I really wanted to paint the holes) than I had on hand. Quite frankly, I thought a photo would have less caloric impact as well and summer is just around the corner... 

So I'll confess here that I reluctantly used an online photo reference for this study. I try to "borrow" as little as possible and certainly I would never do so for any art competition. But there are times when I really want to paint  a particular subject matter that I just don't have easy access to such as a charging African elephant, a spewing Fiji volcano, or the Helsinki skyline.

Let's face it, most artists today are busy multi-taskers and I'll take some help where I can get it especially if it saves me time. While I do utilize online photos as learning and teaching tool, I do feel strongly about indicating when I'm NOT using my own photo, set up, etc.

And when I do work from these helpful reference photos I also prefer to print them out in black and white so I'm at least applying my own color sense. In this particular case, I immediately knew I wanted to work with a lively, mostly high key yellow green/red violet complementary palette--one of my favorites. I have to say though while this piece is not quite complete, I loved playing with the colors and textures (i.e. glass vs. grapes vs. cheese).

Call it artistic karma, but I also can't help but notice without my own reference material, as much as I enjoy the process these paintings always lack a certain spark and charm. Still any dedicated painting time in the studio is a pure luxury and learning experience.

This week I'm looking forward to several new students (Welcome all!) as well as hopefully taking some time to take a painting class myself. 

I'm also working on an abstract for the annual WOW (which stands for Wide Open Whatever--and trust me, they mean it) Art Show at Core New Art Space. The show has a special place in my heart because it was one of my first large oil painting sales almost 20 years ago.  I'll never forget when the collector invited me to her home to help her decide where to hang it in her home. And on that very positive art note, I'll wish everyone a creative and happy week!       

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