Wednesday, June 27, 2012


This is a watercolor painting I completed in late 2010.  (Mexican Sun, watercolor on paper, 10"x10")

It's probably my first successful still life composition.  I realized I am good at drawing or painting objects alone, but arranging several things and putting in a background is more tricky for me. 
I was inspired to do this painting by the gorgeous, vibrant sunflowers we had bought the day before and really fun and bright pattern on those dishes we had from Pier 1. I set them all up in front of a west facing window in my house that gets great, bright afternoon sunlight and took a million photos from several angles and re-arranged the dishes constantly. This was my favorite angle (obviously...) and is one of the most fun paintings I've ever done. I love all the bright colors on the flowers and dishes and that great afternoon light shining on them. Now I'm going to highlight one of my least favorite parts of the painting and one of my favorite parts. 
I made up the old wooden table surface the objects sit on. This arrangement was actually sitting on an old wooden chest in front of a window in my parents dining room.  The wood of the chest inspired the made up table, but the very dark spot in the upper left corner was in the photo, just a dark, shadowed area. While I was making things up, I should have just continued the wood grain in that corner, but I went with the almost black shadow that was in the photo. Mistake. 

It bugs me a little but I don't know that I can change it now, since I've sprayed it with a varnish. D'oh well.  What I have learned from this mistake is not to rely too much on your reference photos.  Making changes and just plain making things up really can help a painting, and these super dark spots that sometimes happen in photos are not something that should be copied in the painting. It's just a dark, empty void in the corner that looks a little strange. 

One of my favorite parts of this painting is the bit of green vase showing on the bottom left corner. 
I'm not an abstract artist, and I'm not crazy about most "non-objective" and abstract art. Jackson Pollock really gets on my nerves. Paintings of squares? Seriously? (I'm talking to you, Josef Albers...)I don't want to offend any of you who may love and do abstract work yourselves, to each your own. I just personally don't like it. But painting the reflections and shadows and all the abstract shapes that come with painting glass was so exciting. Also, those gorgeous blues and greens!!! I would honestly love to zoom in on this part of the photo and do a large version of it. Maybe I'll just do that...

Just for fun, here is a preliminary sketch. I always love seeing peoples sketches and doodles, so here's one of mine.

1 comment:

  1. I love how the wood table turned out. It has so much texture and the variation in the color really gives you the feel of the wood. The composition makes it very dynamic painting with the bright sunfloweres and dishes againt the darker wood. You mentioned the reference photo uou used i would have liked to see it to compair it to your painting. :) looking forward to your next post!