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Classic still life Jan 27, 2013

Classic still life Jan 26, 2013

It has seemed like a long time, but really, there has only been a month’s work on this one. By now, the apples had started to rot and the lemon dried to a hard little yellow  rock, but luckily I had the photo to work from as as well.  I didn’t work on this every day. I think there are maybe 15-20 hours of actual painting in this.

Here is the progression, though many steps have been left out between January 5 and the painting’s completion on the 26th.

It is hard to know when to stop on a painting. You need to be clear about your end intention.

Mine wasn’t to create a hyper realistic replica of what I saw in front of me. I wanted to appreciate it through paint really. I think that is what painting is for me, a way to make tangible my love for being on this Earth at this time, and gratitude for all the beauty contained in even the simplest objects. That is probably where Rende’s work and my work meet, though we work in different media.

I wanted to enjoy painting with a minimum of worry about whether things looked ‘right’ or not. Of course with realistic paintings you run into some of that, but my main aim was to explore what the paint and colours and textures were doing.

The other way I know when a painting is done is very simple: when it doesn’t bother me any more, and I can leave it alone.

When something is unresolved, I’ll keep going back to it and changing it. The changes may be unnoticeable to someone else, but they glare for me.

The consequences of rushing the last bits and just leaving unresolved problems is that I can never look at the painting with satisfaction that I gave it my absolute best. It will always bother me.

And of course the disadvantage of this, is that I have to keep from perfecting every little thing, because that leaves no room for mystery or for others to fill in their own interpretation.

This painting is complete event in itself, but it also has been a step toward greater understanding of the media and what I would eventually like to be able to do with it.

I want to thank Liam Rainsford for his site and his generosity in sharing his painting knowledge. One of his tips- to put thinned layers of paint on before applying the white,  pulled me through a stuck place I was in with the bowl.

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