Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Melon and Mandarines

Original Oil on Linen  8 x 8  NFS

Here is the last still life from my workshop. I actually finished painting it at home and enjoyed taking a little more time to think through some of the decisions. Although I'm happy with the outcome, it's a bit tighter than I'm attempting to paint these days, as it's a Christmas present and the recipient will prefer that style. I really enjoyed the workshop with Keith Hiscock (find him on facebook), who has motivated me to shake things up a bit and remember to put the art into what I'm doing, by looking at the canvas instead of the set up once I have enough information. When I paint landscapes or cityscapes, I spend a lot more time putting the art into it - editing out, changing the position of things to create a better composition, changing the amount of light coming through the trees. It seems that still lifes really pull me into a literal place. I think it comes from trying to nail that value and hue with minimal brushstrokes and then the next thing I realize that I've become chained to the set up. I guess there are no compositional or lighting changes that need to happen as I've created the the set up to my liking, so the art part becomes all about edges and brush work.  What about you? Do you find yourself being more literal with still lifes, and if not, how do you work your painting to avoid it?



  1. Hi Claire, Lovely piece! I like the tighter style, but then I paint that way. I have accepted it and maybe someday in the future that will evolve into something looser but for now I'm really enjoying it. I love the leaves coming out of the crock. It's a great composition. I'm sure the recipient will be thrilled with their gift:)

  2. Very good!
    Excelent colors!

  3. Ma chère Claire,
    Il est toujours gratifiant de travailler encore et encore pour s'apercevoir d'une évolution soit dans le sens pratique ou émotionnel...
    Dans cette dernière toile, le tissage de votre chemin de table se dénote au premier plan et s'atténue pour se confondre avec le fond. Les franges apportent toute l'intensité et la profondeur à votre toile.
    Ainsi on peut sentir vos pots plus à distance de vos fruits... Les couleurs sont très harmonieuses et la lumière pénètre parfaitement et inonde bien votre sujet.
    Bonne continuation...
    Merci beaucoup pour votre gentil message.

  4. I like this painting, Claire. I'm sure someone will be very pleased with her gift!

  5. Love the brightness of this painting, Claire! I don't find it too tight . . .
    I tend to get very literal with still-lifes, especially when I'm told that I need to paint what I see. To make a good painting, I think, is as you said: editing, creating a flow, exaggerating lights or darks to create some drama, edges and paint-handling. If each object in a set-up has the same intensity and weight (and they pretty much do in a set-up), then I find I'm just trying to faithfully paint objects instead of making a painting. It's my continuing focus, amidst the many other things to keep in mind! Good advice about choosing an artwork to assess yourself against. The more aware we are, the quicker it'll become second nature. Nice gift for your friend!

  6. Thanks everyone for your thoughtful and encouraging comments. It's so rewarding to know that at the end of a painting, I have friends who will inspire me to keep painting and striving to improve my craft.