Monday, February 14, 2011

Bee Industrious

Bee Industrious
Oil on Masonite - 8"x10" (20x25cm)
I got really lucky one day last summer as I was practicing with my telephoto lens. All set up on the tripod and just as I was about to push the shutter button a bee flew by yelling "HEY!!! I wanna be in the picture too!" and jumped onto this Mexican sunflower. What more could a guy ask for!
I had fun with the background on this as I tried to capture the blurring you get with a shallow depth of field from using a longer lens.
I like for my paintings to tell a story so I normally don't paint flowers because I can never figure out what story they might bring to mind. So this is an unusual piece for me.

This piece is framed by the artist and ready to hang.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

In Vino Vanitas

It's finished. Twelve days. I've lost track of the hours. For those who'd like to see the progression pics, just scroll down. At 24x36 this is probably the largest painting I've ever done. Working this large sure helps in getting all the details just right, but I've spent so much time on it I'm glad to be able to move on to something else now.

Oil on stretched canvas - 24 x 36"
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Friday, February 11, 2011

Vanitas in Progress - Days 11

Finished off all the dead grasses, reflected the skull into the silver pitcher, then the lettering on the book spine and did the moldy bread on the plate. Funny thing about that bread; it would not mold!!! It got dry and hard, but it wouldn't mold. I had to eventually paint the mold on the bread in my setup!

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Vanitas In Progress - Days 9 & 10

Catching up on my postings a bit today.

Day 9
A stack of books, the broken pieces of wine glass and the pocket watch. I'll still have the gold leaf lettering to do on the spine of the bottom book before that'll be finished. Parts of each letter are lit and the other parts are in shadow. It'll be tricky, but I have Confidence on my side. (LOL) :)

Began thinking about possible titles as I was painting on this day. My thoughts got so very philosophical thinking about the symbolism in vanitas paintings and how they are meant to point to the futility of life. Kinda depressing, huh? Hope I can think of a title that's at least a little uplifting.
Day 10
I had fun doing the pewter plate, but oh boy did the fancy embossed design on the pitcher give me trouble! It seemed to come down to black reflections, shiny highlights and one or two other values found somewhere between those two.

You can't really see it in the painting from this point of view, but when I look at my setup from above, the side of the skull casts a shadow across part of the pocketwatch. So for a title...?
"Death O'ershadows E'en Time"?
What do you think? Guess I was in a sort of "shakespearean" mood that day [LOL] so, ... maybe not a good choice.

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Vanitas in Progress - Days 7 & 8

Day 7
Creating the lace pattern wasn't difficult. In fact it was pretty mindless. It gave me all day to think about other things. Some of the things were about my art and what will be upcoming. The other things were probably things I shouldn't have been thinking about. They were more stressful than creating the lace.
Day 8 was a short day. Well actually it was the same length as they all are, but I had other things that called me away, so I didn't get much done. The base of the broken wine glass and a start on the stack of books. As I was creating the set up for this still life, finding the bottom book was a happy accident. I looked on a bookshelf for a book that would be just the right thickness to elevate the skull to the point where I could get it reflected in the pitcher twice. When I took the multi-colored garish looking dust jacket off of it I was pleasantly surprised to find it was black! "Great!" I thought. "That'll fit right in." And then I noticed the title! "The Immortals". "How ironically perfect!" I thought. Sometimes we just get lucky. Other times, lucky gets us. ;)

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