A Week of Still Life

  King Oyster Mushrooms 6x8” oil on panel Sold    Process video here

King Oyster Mushrooms
6x8” oil on panel
Sold
Process video here

Recently, I had a week scheduled in which I was going to focus on Still Life paintings. Usually, I have done these one at a time, between other projects. But this had resulted in my not doing very many, because there are always a lot of things that need doing between projects, things that fall behind when I am in the midst of larger works.

So, knowing I had carved out some time, I decided I would paint one per day. This also meant that, having planned the time, I had the forethought to go do some shopping for specific things to paint, versus painting objects at hand when opportunity arises.

So my wife and I went to get some items, and since it is fall, there were a few good autumn things to paint. I let her pick a few things out, in part because I imagined she’d want to hang one or two of the final pieces until they sell.

  Raspberries 6x8” oil on panel Original art available    Process video here

Raspberries
6x8” oil on panel
Original art available
Process video here

Next, I decided I would try something else new: live streaming. I have on occasion posted time-lapse videos on Instagram, and they have a live stream option that I thought I would try. There were some issues though: my iOS devices are so old that the Live option was not an option on my versions of the app! As well, I learned that IG’s live streams are I think limited to one hour. These still lives usually take a good bit longer than that. Lastly, I don’t have a great setup for suspending my device for streaming.

  Flint Corn 6x8” oil on panel Original art available    Process video here

Flint Corn
6x8” oil on panel
Original art available
Process video here

So I went to Facebook Live. They allow 4 hours, and in 2-3 instances, I made it under the line by a couple of minutes! It was pretty enjoyable working live, and a number of folks made their way in, some popping in for a peek, others hanging out for most of the stream, one or two hanging out about the entire week of full streams. After the first day I decided to begin interacting with comments and questions verbally on-stream. That made it even more enjoyable for everyone I think.

Still life paintings are probably the most fun of the work I do to watch, in that they tend to get completed in one sitting, and they are very spontaneous: no pre-drawing in pencil or anything, just paint on board. Due to their low-commitment nature, I tend to try things I wouldn’t try in other venues: texture, materials, application, etc., are all fair game for experimentation in these. It could also result in failure, but if it does at least it doesn’t crater two weeks of effort.

  Gourd 6x8” oil on panel over acrylic Original art available    Process video here

Gourd
6x8” oil on panel over acrylic
Original art available
Process video here

Over the last few years of doing these still life paintings, I think I have both introduced and grown a little facility with palette knife application. I think it is easy to overdue knife applications, and for years I didn’t see a way to use them well, but I think I’m getting more comfortable with them as a tool.

I also used a brayer in one of the pieces. This is newer, but I’ve used it in some Hearts for Hardware pieces.

I also used a rubber-tipped paint wedge to pull paint off the surface. I bought it on a whim a few years ago but haven’t found many good uses for it yet.

  Blood Orange 6x8” oil on panel Currently NFS    Process video here

Blood Orange
6x8” oil on panel
Currently NFS
Process video here

In the Gourd piece I also started with some opaque acrylic base tones, which I used the paint wedge to reclaim and use in the final art a bit. The Gourd piece had 3 total of the above techniques.

In the end I was pretty pleased with all of them, and the Blood Orange piece at the end in particular was the winner. I’ll be saving that one for submission to some annual shows (and my wife gets to hang it in the meantime). The others are available for purchase.

I’d like to do the live stream thing again sometime, maybe on a multi-day piece like a landscape. Perhaps streaming on YouTube would be better than Facebook? Not sure. But I appreciated all who stopped in. The videos are archived and public, so anyone can view them even without an account.