Meme of the day–Back it up!

My new hard drive that just arrived in the mail, 6X8, oil on canvas

A note about these still lives: they’re exercises before my “real work”, a sort of a meme-inside-a-meme, considering how popular the painting-a-day movement is. They take an hour, more or less. And I do them because I find the classic still life boring to paint, but it’s too cold for me outside to paint plein air.

I figure by the time spring comes, water reflections will seem awfully simple in comparison to all this plastic wrap, tinfoil and bubble wrap.

Neko-nabe, or fat cat in a dish (with notes about how to draw the ellipse of the dish)

Neko-nabe, or fat cat in a dish, 8X6 oil on canvas

An ellipse is a plane curve with two foci which is symmetrical on both the vertical and positive axes, and intersects with these axes perpendicularly.

I recently heard a student tell another one, “She means not a racetrack and not a football.” Works for me, as long as it’s symmetrical both ways, as below.

Use that boring old method, a pencil held up in space, to measure the distances above the bowl’s ellipse and below it. You’ll be surprised at how often the bowl has very little showing below the rim, and a lot above the rim.

There is nothing like a contour drawing to check your composition. This is not time consuming, but the most important work you can do. The mantra of my studio is, “draw slow, paint fast” (and thank you to Rhea Horowitz for coining that). It’s a lot easier to correct mistakes in a pencil drawing than in a mush of paint.

Meme of the day–Ginger is so last year, but so’s this purse!

Sandy’s ginger purse, which I found lying on the floor, 6X8, oil on canvas

These memes of the day are tiny (6X8) still life paintings, warm-ups for my “real” paintings, and if they take me more than an hour, I get quite grumpy. (Girls, can I send this purse away now, or should it kick around your bedrooms for another few years before being properly buried?)

Internet meme of the day–girl falls into fountain while texting

Girl falls into fountain while texting, 6X8″, oil on canvas

And the steps to do it, in about an hour:
I start with either a watercolor pencil drawing. Easily erasable with a wet paper towel, allows me to fiddle endlessly with composition.

Then I block in colors and values, very roughly.
Then these shapes are gradually refined until I have to go pick up my son or yell at the dog or answer the phone..
The water reflections were added last. After I raised my phone up on a small support, I poured a pitcher of water over the rest of the stuff.

Winter evening at Twelve Corners

Winter evening at Twelve Corners, sketch, 12X16 or thereabouts, oil on canvas

I was waiting for my son at Brighton High School and amusing myself by taking photos of the streetlights with a handheld camera. Never thought of the photos as a painting until it was suggested by my friend Pilan. Here it is in an expanded sketch.

Unicorn with double rainbow (for my kids)

“Unicorn reindeer visiting my front garden with a double rainbow in the background” 8X6, oil on board.

Today for my one-hour still life I returned to an old idea, painting an internet meme. I could find only half the props needed for “baby monkey riding on a pig,” so I fell back on that old standard, “unicorn” and added a newer element, the “double rainbow.” The unicorn is, of course, disguised as a florescent reindeer because I’ve been dying to paint this fellow.

My palette doesn’t have the gamut for his lovely pink mane. Carmine, naphthol red, quinacridone violet, quinacridone rose—none comes close to sufficient saturation. The blacks are much easier—two lights and two darks, warm and cool, covering the various lighting situations in my studio.

I flipped through my landscape sketches intending to use the first one with sky as the setting. It’s my own front-yard—well, what could be more appropriate? I decided to make it winter, however.

Pretty in Purple

A student left some carbazole violet behind; I did two small sketches in the holiday spirit.

“Mary’s shoes,*” 6X8 oil on board

“Happy New Year,”

6X8 oil on board

*To answer your questions: Mootsie Tootsies; silk; for a prom; yes, they were on sale at Kohls; they came in black too; no, you can’t borrow them.