Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Still Life Painting-Memory versus Setup

I have never been much for the still life-I tend to paint landscapes, seascapes, anything nature oriented but recently because of Carmen’s’Delicious Caterings’ food as art and art as food tag line-the first of many still life became a necessary project.

It’s hard to paint on demand, for me anyway-I either feels it or not. The first painting was of a still life of an August picnic, complete with watermelon-kind of the centerpiece, grapes, tomatoes, peppers and the corn on the cob to finish off the picnic. I set up the still life on a wooden board and stared at it intently with nothing moving. It was one of the hardest paintings because it just didn’t do anything for me. I had the basic idea of the sky and the warm greens in the background and the foreground seemed to just lie there. All I can say is through discipline I found a place between capturing the still life as it is and weaving in my own feeling of the late August picnic seemed to fight against each other-logic and simple rendering fight as it always does with the creative and the figurative idea of the day. This is what I paint, even in the landscape-I rarely paint the place, it’s more the feeling of the place and usually when the logical rendering becomes stronger than the feeling of the place it seems colder to me.

The second in the series is an autumn gathering of pumpkins, squash and a cornucopia of good colors and flavors. Again the feeling of the sky was the first things that really jumped out at me and the under painting seemed to capture it so perfectly that it jump started the next step. This time I did not set up a still life-I gathered images and relied more on memory. The sudden and rich flow of paint seemed to surprise me. The painting pretty much did itself. The colors of autumn work so well against each other and the fact that I love the cool answer to summers’ heat seems evident in the way the painting took shape-also I must admit that the previous painting was done during a time of great creative block and this second in the series is at the beginning of the unraveling of my creative slump. Several other paintings began to take shape at the same time, but even still I weigh the difference between painting from passion and memory versus painting a set up still life and for me the memory works better than the real thing.

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