Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Real Life

I am just emerging from the studio and seeing that it is going on 2 in the morning.

One of the things that I'm trying to do in my life right now is go to bed at "a reasonable hour." This goal has eluded me for my entire life but I will not give up because I keep reading about how good it is for you to have regular sleep habits and to let the sun wake you up. As a painter, I should be highly motivated to be up with the sun, but as a modern woman with really great studio lighting and really bad habits, I burn the midnight oil; I simply lose track of time. My theory/excuse is that, when you are doing the thing that God designed you to do, you have one foot on earth, one foot in heaven. Well, in heaven, as everyone knows, there are no clocks. Time is irrelevant. One is never late in heaven.
So I have a very lofty excuse for not being in bed at this time.
Now, to blog.

Someone recently said in my hearing that still lifes were boring. I asked him why he thought so and he replied that they always look staged, fake. Well, as a genre I suppose still lifes are long on still, short on life, but one of the fabulous things about still life painting is: YOU CAN CHANGE THAT. You are the master of everything when you paint still lifes. Clayton Beck once told me that if you don't like what you see in a still life, change your set up, change your position, or change your lighting. That is not possible for the landscape painter and it has only limited application for the portrait painter. (I might also add, when comparing still lifes as a subject to a model as a subject, that still lifes are free, you don't have to give them breaks every 20 minutes, and they stay up all night if you need them to. But I digress...)

These conversations were floating around in my head and my thinking was, just observe real things. Boring still lifes are just overly-orchestrated. Do what the landscape painters do and capture something from REAL LIFE and make a work of art out of it. Then BAM! I had the opportunity to practice what my mind was beginning to preach. My husband and I came home the other evening and when we turned on the kitchen light, he said, "Wow, that's a painting!" Looking at the produce on the counter I said, "Yeah, that would be a good painting!" Then he said, "Paint it! Now! I'll help you set up your gear."
Ha! Bluff called! My mind was saying, "But I'm tired! I'll take a picture of it and paint it later. It needs better lighting than the stove hood light anyway..." Immediately I was thwarting myself, but before anyone knew what was going on in my head, I said, "Okay, I will!"
So here you have my set up, my gear, my block-in:

And here you have a zoom of the produce because I'm not sure I like the composition, after all the work of painting it "as is." But the experience was very liberating; it was fun to explore something so close, so spontaneously. Perhaps I have a painting from it... we'll see: 


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