Saturday, October 1, 2011

Picking Treasures for Painting Gold

"Tang Horse Study" 8x8 oil
I'd rather be painting or reading so I don't watch much TV, but one show I never miss is American Pickers on History Channel. I’m guessing fellow still life painters may have the same reaction as they watch Mike and Frank brush the dust off a rusty vintage toy or funky mechanical part. And that is: That thing would be an awesome still life subject!  

I’ve been an urban antique hunter for more years than I’d like to admit. On any given weekend if I’m not painting or teaching, you might find me at a resale shop, flea market, auction, estate sale, or sometimes even a scary basement (where magically my bug and germ phobias disappear) hunting for “rusty gold” still life treasures. (If you like this type of thing you might want to check out the book I just started reading called Killer Stuff and Tons of Money.)  

Anyway, several years ago, I found this little off white ceramic tang horse. The horse isn’t valuable (could be from Target?) but I just loved the shape. Plus, as I've mentioned before, I love painting white or off white subjects since they are often full of color depending on the lighting.

I placed my horse figure in kitchen window with late spring backlighting, made a quick sketch, and took a few reference photos. My painting goal was to capture the warm reflective light. If you don’t have time to paint something that catches your eye, grab your camera and take a few shots. 

You'll find these photos and/or sketches are handy later for reference and ideas in the studio. For example, I’d forgotten about this little horse until I browsed through my photos. Thanks for stopping by—I’ll be back with some more show entry tips in my next post! Students and friends I look forward to seeing you soon!

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