Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Still Lifes

"Play with Me",  14" x 18", oil on linen

I've been so ambitious this week.   I completed one still life and started two new ones, but the paint fumes were so bad,  I had to bring a fan into the studio.  Now it's so chilly I feel like Mimi in "La Boheme."  I need two pairs of socks and those gloves with the fingers cut off.

In all of these paintings, I've been working on brushwork and paint application, trying to keep a freshness to my work and striving for a realistic look to the final piece.  In the first still life, "Play with Me," I did most of the painting alla prima but spent several days glazing and adding finishing touches to some portions of the work, especially the doll chest.

In one of the paintings that I started this week, I'm using beets and have been challenged by the fact that the leaves wilt so fast.  I tried cutting the leaves and putting them in water as well as wrapping the entire thing, beet root, leaves and all, in wet paper towels and plastic in order to keep them fresh for the painting.  Wrapping the whole beet and putting it in the refrigerator seemed to work the best, but I'm still forced to keep buying new beets.  This challenge forces me to work fast, which is also a good thing.

Beginning of day one

End of day one

P.S.  It's a good thing I love beets.  (My husband hates them.) This plethora of purple beauties has forced me to experiment with different ways to prepare them.  One of my favorites is to toss warm sliced beets in a dressing of olive oil, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Yum.