Meme of the Day—Kim Jong Il Looking at Things

Abi’s stuffed opossum and green wine glasses, 8X6″, oil on canvas

Kim Jong-Il Looking at Things is my current favorite blog. I suppose it amuses me because it reduces a frightening, insane tyrant to an object of ridicule. (I sure hope he doesn’t see it and melt half of Asia in response.)

Much of the time, he’s wearing a grey-and-lavender parka similar to one my dad used to wear. I assume they have no heat in North Korea and his factotums freeze during these photo ops, but, hey, he’s the dictator.

It dawned on me that in his parka he looks just like the opossum who was camping out in our basement, so that’s how I painted him. Used Abi’s “pet” opossum because the live one has been relocated to public housing elsewhere in the county.

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.