37 minute painting

September 5, 2013

Tanny's fruit bowl  Oil on canvas board

Tanny’s fruit bowl Oil on canvas board

This piece was done today in 37 minutes, inspired by Robert Genn’s ’37 club’.  It is 30 x 40 cm (about 12″ x 16″).

I’ve been receiving Robert Genn’s wonderful artist’s newsletter, ‘Painter’s keys’ for several years now. Even when I was convinced I wouldn’t ever get back to painting seriously, I always read each letter. Robert always addresses central issues to creating art, everything from why inspiration hits some times and not others, and what to do about it to getting a good gallery, to self evaluating your work.

I am sure the support it gives and the community around it have helped pave the way to finding my way back to oil painting.

The 37 club stems from a painting workshop exercise that Robert and his daughter Sara give to their participants. You have to finish a piece in 37  minutes (which just happens to be the time span of their hourglass).  This technique breaks you out of getting fixated on details, and the results certainly surprised me. I didn’t have any idea how I would get all that fruit, the bowl and the cloth even sketched, in that amount of time. But I worked fast and directly with thicker paint than I usually use. The result is another step in the direction I’m moving, which is more painterly, less precise. Like one of those mysterious canvasses which look abstract up close,

Detail from Canadian painter exhibition

Detail from Canadian painter exhibition

and then resolve into a beautiful realistic scene when you move back.

Canadian painter, 20th century

Canadian painter, 20th century

These were taken awhile back at the Groninger Museum, sorry I can’t remember the name of the specific painter, the show was called The Canadian 7, I believe, and showed wonderful outdoor art done by a group of men in working en plein air in the Canadian wilderness.

As to the 37  minutes, before I put the timer on, I did make a pencil sketch to analyse the oval and the negative shapes. I put down an acrylic under-painting in raw sienna and cadmium medium which is why it looks sunny where that shines through the hastily applied paint. And I painted in the contours of the bowl, fruit and cloth roughly in acrylic. I squeezed out my paints, put on the timer and painted like mad, even finishing 5 minutes before time.  I was tempted to do a little touching up, but the whole point of the exercise is to just leave it, for goodness sake!!  So I am.

(From a photo by the way).

8 Responses to “37 minute painting”

  1. I love this Sarah it looks so alive and fresh I want to reach out and eat it. Congratulations.

  2. You have an amazing talent, Sarah! I fell in love with this painting. It’s so fluid and fresh and alive. Definitely love your new focus!

    • Sarah Zoutewelle Says:

      Annie, thank you! And it makes me happy when someone falls in love with a painting of mine, I usually am in love with it as I do it. Especially the ones which don’t need a lot of reworking. It is kind of interesting to me to see how fresh and complete this is after a bit more than a half an hour’s work, compared to ones that contain layers of changes and stories over weeks before they finally get done. I guess each has its place.

  3. Beautiful and delicate light

  4. decorartuk Says:

    Love the only 37 minutes idea! Will have to try this out, as your painting looks briliiant. K.

    • Sarah Zoutewelle Says:

      K, don’t forget that many mucho 600 minutes plus! paintings went before this 37 min one. I was as surprised as anyone that it turned into a nice painting, but I think that is only because of the experience I’d built up to that point. I’d be curious to see what you’d gain from a 37 minute study. I think you are already quite loose and spontaneous. And are less prone to overworking than I am. But do try it, Í’d love to hear/see how it goes. Do you subscribe to Painter’s Keys? It is really worthwhile. )S

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