Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mini Bronze Scuppernog Muscadine Grapes And Cherries

Lately when I buy objects for a still-life, I make a little 4 x 6 study which I start at a lower price. It's fun and and gives everyone a chance to own one if they want to!
 It's up for auction! The story about these "wonderful" grapes is two posts down...

I posted the above shot to show the difference in size between a 4 x 6" and a 6 x 8".
The first one is also still up for auction!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Some Recent Figure Drawings

I have been so busy posting still-lifes and waves and other paintings that I have been slacking off on posting new drawings! I go figure drawing at least once a week, sometimes twice. Everything I like about my still life paintings I learned from figure drawing! I must admit though, out of everything I post, I am always a little hesitant to post figure drawings because I know two of my figure drawing instructors pop in and have a look here from time to time...Of course I would always welcome their input. Here are just a few out of the stacks I had to go through!

These are from the Thursday Night Drawing Session at Stuart Art Supply in Stuart, FL.

1 Minute Poses

5 min

5 Min Poses

10 Minutes

20 min

20 Minutes

Just in case anyone was wondering most of my gesture figure drawings are done on Borden And Riley Ledger Bond Paper, with Col-Erase Indigo Blue Pencil.
Sometimes I use other pencils as well but that one is my favorite.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bronze Scuppernog Muscadine Grapes And Cherries

When I first saw these grapes, I instantly loved the colors. I knew they wouldn't be easy to paint but I was pretty sure i knew the approach I would use to match the translucent skin color. A greenish brown always goes well with a deep red so I grabbed a few cherries to go with them. After I set up the still-life I popped one into my mouth. I didn't even think about it, I love grapes! There is no word to describe the feeling...UUGGGGCCCCKKKKK!! is about as close as I can get. They taste like perfumed soap! I'm not kidding. Immediately after making that noise, I said "Hey Jordan, try this... and she did! She made the same face by the way...Well, I still think they are pretty to look at! I did find out after I originally posted this that you are supposed to peal them before you eat them and it seems that they are pretty popular.

I would love to title this painting "Bronze Scuppernog Muscadine Grapes and Cherries"  but I can understand wanting to just call it "Grapes And Cherries" You can call it that if you want to!

One of the things that is unfortunate is that I really feel like I captured the translucent quality of the skin but it didn't really show up in the photo. I think the colors and the paint quality are much better in real life...

I also did a little 4 x 6 Minnie of them.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Dragon Fruit (Pitaya)

"Dragon Fruit" 10 x 20 Oil on Panel
In June, on a trip up to NJ, I went into my favorite Korean market and was shocked in the best way to see these things. I had no idea what they were but I knew immediately they were getting painted.

"Dragon Fruit Study" 6 x 8 Oil on Panel

 Because they are called Dragon Fruit, I thought it would be an interesting composition to arrange them like a Chinese Dragon you would see at a New Years celebration. I don't know why they reminded me of that they just did.

 Here is a shot of them finished, but before I put the background in. This is my favorite look of the painting and if I could make a living just leaving them like this, I would.

Several people have asked what they are so I thought I would include a shot of the set-up so that you all can see the actual Dragon Fruit.
 They are actually VERY difficult to paint. The only thing harder was a pineapple. The green "fingers" (I like to call them) turn colors rapidly and move slightly each day making them hard to keep in the same position.  What would you expect from a Dragon though right?

This is what they look like cut open. I always like to try something I paint. I was not overwhelmed with the flavor. They were surprisingly bland considering the look of them. A little grainy, and not very sweet. Although I could have just had a bad one. One website describes them as being between a kiwi and a pear which is close but not a perfect description. 


 Also known as Pitaya, they grow primarily in warm, wet climates like Vietnam and Thailand. There are also yellow Dragon Fruit, but I didn't find them as interesting to paint. I think it is interesting the way that they grow and would love to do a larger painting like the photo to the left.

"Dragon Fruit" 10 x 20 Oil on Panel
Available $2,000.00 

 I like the way they look in frames so here are a few shots of them. The above is for sale through this blog. I have a paypal link set-up but if you would prefer to mail a check send me an email at

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Brie And Figs

I always enjoy painting Figs but this is the first time I have tried one with the very dark background.
I was pleasantly surprised out how cool figs look on a dark background. I like to think of the figs as little universes or nebula, so I guess a dark background is fitting...Wish I'd thought of it sooner!
7 x 12 Oil on Panel

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Figs!! ...and A Couple Of Cherries


 I love painting figs. I thing if you glance at this blog once in a while you already know that but I'll say it again anyway. They remind me of little galaxies or nebula. Each one is slightly different, with different shapes and colors - I never get tired of painting them.
I also picked up some cherries to go with them, but for the one above I went with all figs. They pretty much fell on the table like that and I liked it so much I left them that way.
6 x 8 Oil on Panel

I had a really long day yesterday. I had to drive down to Palm Beach to drop off a painting, then I went to a figure drawing session. After that I came home and started working on the Figs at the top. By the time I got done it was around midnight. I thought I had a bit of energy left so I started this one.
I finished it today. I call it finished even though it is a mostly unfinished study. I think I like it as much as some of my finished work!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Cezanne's Apples Do Not Make Me Cry

"I will astonish Paris with an apple" Cezanne was famously quoted as saying. He apparently did astonish Paris with his apples. But every time I see his work I wonder why? Was it because he told everyone he would and so everyone believed him? I don't know. I'm tired of hearing people get all choked up over these apples. They say Cezanne painted hundreds of apples. Well, I've painted hundreds of apples too, and I don't see in Cezanne's paintings what attracts me to keep painting apples. I have to wonder, what it is that everyone else seems to see that I don't.

 In my opinion, Cezanne's apples are only about one thing - Cezanne. Look at the picture to the left. Honestly ask yourselves, does he really care about these apples or is it just brushwork? Are the apples treated differently? Personally I don't think so. I think all of these apples are treated the exact same way, and I don't get a sense that Cezanne loves the apples. I get a sense that Cezanne loves Cezanne.

A painting should never be solely about how well it was painted.  So much realism is done with tracing and grids, it just sucks the life out of the work. When I paint apples, I am looking at the personalities of the apples. In the painting to the right, titled "All Sorts Of Apples" I deliberately picked different apples. It may be difficult to see, but the third apple from the right, the golden delicious, has a stripe on it. I have never seen an apple with a stripe on it and picked it up immediately like a piece of gold. My painting is about the apples.

If Cezanne's were the only paintings that looked like that, I might be more inclined to like them. My issue is with the hundred thousand bad copies out there because people are imitating this style and constantly being told how wonderful he is. Why not do something new, something different? If I see one more apple painted like Cezanne I'll....well, I'll do nothing but rant in another Blog post about it. And don't just repeat how wonderful he is, think about it! Is he wonderful? Why is he wonderful? Who told you he was wonderful and who told them he was wonderful and who told them he was get the idea. I think it can get traced all the way back to Cezanne telling someone he was wonderful and now everyone repeats it.

Look at this painting to the left that everyone raves about how great it is. What is so great about it? Really? I'm asking you? The painting itself has no depth, it's flat. The perspective on the table isn't even close, the apples would roll right off of it. And the apples once again are all treated the same way. If Cezanne were to teach a class I think he could call it, "Painting Without Trying". I realize that when this was painted it was something that had really not been seen often so it's popularity comes from a sense of being different, but is that enough? Painting  is the only field where the rules can go out the window and people still love it. Would you listen to a song where the musician tossed out all of the rules...nope, it would be unbearable to listen to, something like Primus I would guess, but even worse. Would you read a book where the writer tossed them out? Could you read that book? Try reading Naked Lunch and imagine it about ten times worse...How about eat at a restaurant where the cook tossed the rules out? "Hmm how about I put some raisins in the fried chicken batter and some chili powder in the rice pudding"..No huh? Fly in an airplane where the pilot said "OK, no rules today on this flight!  You be scared out of your mind...One last one - would you live in a building if you knew that the architect tossed out the rules when he designed it? - "Support beams?  Nah, who needs support beams...and all of the electrical outlets will be on the ceiling"...yeah, that would work. The basic rules to painting are: Learn to draw well, study values, composition, perspective, color, and learn how to mix the paint well enough so that it doesn't get muddy.

We have a tendency to like what we are told to like without every really thinking too hard about why. Sometimes I have to force myself to look at a situation with fresh eyes. Cezanne's apples do not make me cry, in fact they don't make me feel anything at all. It's just a painting where everything in it is treated the same way. If I had never seen this before and a student brought this into my class, I would tell them to pay more attention to the objects in the painting. Do a few sketches, study perspective, and try again. I don't see this as brilliant, I see it as lazy painting.

I am also aware that no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to look at this painting with fresh eyes. It would be like seeing the 1931 version of Frankenstein and trying to pretend that you haven't seen a thousand versions of it since. It's difficult to do that.

I'm sure that this post is going to create some thoughts like: I'm full of myself, I compared myself to Cezanne, who am I to argue with history, and of course some comment like I wish I had his money. My point is that I am not just going to say I like or love a painting because everyone else loves it, nor am I going to copy the style because I like it, or it is popular. There are many impressionistic paintings and painters that I do love, Degas, and Monet just to name two, but I have no plans to copy their styles any time soon either.