#290 - the making of a still life (8)

I had a tough time this morning.

I am on day #290 and only today does it feel like I woke up not knowing what I wanted to do.  I’m always teeming with ideas. I have to say it felt quite strange.

First I thought I’d make some mini-paintings.  I’d take a stack of 2″x3″ watercolor paper and see how many tiny paintings I could create in a day.

I wound up staring at tiny blank canvases. I decided to scratch that idea.

Next I took out an art book for inspiration.  The book was “The Artist’s Eye” by Harriet Shorr. If you have a minute, click on her name above.  Check out her work.  It’s amazing. Harriet works VERY LARGE. Roughly 5 feet x 8 feet. Her focus is still-lives.  At such a large size, she works on distorting reality.  Most things are traditional, yet a few unexpected things pop in or out of her paintings.  She is also a bold colorist.  This is why I look at her work when I need inspiration!

Harriet Shorr also uses small numbers of objects, generally around three objects on a GIANT canvas.  She says it’s to focus the eye, yet also let the eye rest.

I started with three objects.  My new day of the dead mug I made in pottery class, an empty Magic Hat #9 beer bottle and a bowl of oranges.

The only problem thus far, is that I’m not Harriet Shorr!  Somehow I wound up adding my favorite eye glasses, a brightly colored glass bead necklace and a paintbrush showing signs of love. Now it began looking more like a Mary Ercoli Walsh!

The idea of working large-scale appealed to me as well. However, I have no place to put something 5 feet by 8 feet, so I went with 25 inches by 35 inches which is still PLENTY BIG bby my standards.

I like to photograph my still lives and this is why, I don’t want to wind up with this:

#290 - the making of a still life (1)

A flat still life.  I want the eye to go in and around the objects.  In the olden days, artists would create a small frame and look through the frame to accomplish the same thing a lens does for me.  Figuring out how to crop what you are seeing.  I like to heavily crop objects, so that they then take on a new shape.  I like to focus on the negative space, just as much as the positive.

#290 - the making of a still life (5) #290 - the making of a still life (6) #290 - the making of a still life (8) #290 - the making of a still life (7)

Out of the many, many photos that I took, these were the few that personally, held visual interest for me.

Somehow, I picked one from that group and began to sketch it out on the large watercolor paper.

#290 - the making of a still life (3) #290 - the making of a still life (2)

I left my feet in the photo to give you a visual cue for gauging it’s size.

Tomorrow I should be ready to rock and roll!


I made it through a very mild case of artists block today. It sure is great knowing what I will be working on tomorrow!

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