I'm off to Florida for the next four months. Then Australia, and finally in the North West of the US......and I just have too many paintings to keep all of them. Here are a few that I have up for auction right now....more to come!!!!
I painted this one in Boston, in my studio in the North End. I never much cared for Asparagus. One day while looking for still-life objects to paint I struck up a conversation with the grocer I went to. The North End of Boston is like going back 50 years. The grocer had a small shop, three people could barely fin in comfortably. He told me the reason I didn't like Asparagus was that I didn't know how to do it. I didn't understand Asparagus. "Everybody goes for the thick kind which is bitter" he told me. He handed me the skinniest Asparagus I had ever seen and said "Chop up some purple garlic, heat up some olive oil, and throw it all in together when the oil gets really hot....but be careful not to burn the garlic." Not only was it great, I immediately got to work on this painting, which is why there are only a few pieces....I ate the rest! I have loved Asparagus ever since.
One of my favorite things to do is painting short poses. When I was in art school we did alot of gesture drawing which was always 2,3,5, and 10 minute poses. Only rarely did we get anything longer. When I moved to Arizona, their idea of gesture drawing was some two minute poses in the begining and then 20 minute poses for the rest of the night. I decided to try painting them and instantly loved it.
I always draw with the brush. I use Burnt Umber and White and do a quick gesture sketch. Then I draw over it in straight Burnt Umber. I try not to let the drawing take more than 10 minutes on a 20 minute pose or I will not have enough time to paint. On rare occasaions, I have just left it as a drawing in paint if I like the way it is coming out.
After I get a drawing down, I then move to the shadow areas. Sometimes I fill them in in solid burnt umber to save time, other times I am more precise. If I am in my studio I tend to be more accurate, because If I like the painting, I can just make the pose longer and finish it. Can't do that in a public painting environment. I can always go back and add color to the shadows later but sometimes I like to focus on the lights. A quick pass for the halftones which are often the same value as the tone of my canvas. If there is any time left I work on the lights. Often by the time I get to the lights there are only a few minutes left.
I use a limited palette on these of: White, Yellow Ochre, Cad Red Med, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Cobalt Blue, and Ivory Black.
This was number 2 in the series. The original point was to just paint the objects and have little or no background behind them. Just a few strokes of color that would be the same value as the toned panel. Somehow, as I keep painting these, the backgrounds keep getting more and more involved. This one is really what I originally had in mind. I plan on getting back towards it as I continue with the series.
Whenever I paint I long still-life I always over-buy fruit. I find it useful to use some of the extra to paint a Mini while I'm working on the larger piece. I had plenty of the green grapes left and thought they would look great next to the purple of the plum. When I first painted the grapes in the other piece I found them a bit boring to paint. When they sat out on the table however for a few days I found the colors to be much more interesting.
I have never painted green grapes before. I saw the pears first. I instantly loved the character of the one which is hunched over....like he was born to be in one of my paintings. Green always looks good with brown and purple so I thought the green grapes would go well with this one.