With last night’s painting I am asking myself if what I am trying to achieve is looser and better brushwork while standing at arm-plus-brush length from the canvas, why am I using little toys for models that are sometimes as small as 1-1.5 inches high? I can barely see them from my vantage point, and find that I do have to move in closer from time to time.
On the other hand, I am really enjoying painting paintings of these little toys, even though their tiny size is not as conducive to my loosening up as, say, a basket of apples would be. Well, it’s all a process, and with each new (almost) daily painting, I learn a little more or gain a little confidence. Tonight, I was quite pleased with a few really good brushstrokes, and sometimes, that’s enough. 🙂
As with all of my small still life paintings here, it is painted on a 1.25″ deep gallery wrapped canvas with the sides painted black, so it is ready to hang on a wall, without a frame (it would also look great in a floater frame).
Finally, here is the companion to the Catbird painting! I aimed to keep this as fresh as possible, trying to define each patch of color with as few brushstrokes as possible. My goal was one brushstroke per patch of color, and I can’t say I achieved that 100%, but maybe 85-90%. I think the fish lips came out particularly well. 🙂
I had this lit with two lights – one from each direction (due to my still life and palette setup), and I think that was one light too many, or the placement could have been better. I would have preferred that the object’s roundness was better defined through light and shadow, as with the Catbird, but I didn’t notice it until I compared the two paintings after finishing this one (rolleyes). Next time…
Here’s another tiny painting of a little desk toy — this one of a flipping mouse. I seem to get tighter one day, looser the next, tighter the day after that. This one’s tighter; I was aiming for looser. Gonna be a hard habit to break, that tight close blending style of painting.
I love this little painting! I love the chattering teeth character; sometimes I feel like this painting looks. I’m happy with the looseness I managed in this painting, as well as being able to describe so many of the color-shapes with single brushstrokes. More tomorrow!
To date, this is the smallest painting I’ve ever painted. I also changed my still life set up for this painting. I have a warm light lighting the “scene”, and there’s a cool light lighting my palette (which is between the scene and me); hence the warm and cool shadows that you see on either side of the teeth-clippy thing.
This is my fourth representational still life painting since beginning (almost) daily painting. This one was a bit more of a struggle than Squidward Tentacles, but three painting sessions later, I think I mostly pulled it off. I’m still attempting to paint loosely, but a 20+ year-habit of “blending” the paint is a hard habit to break. I have to force myself not to get too close to the canvas, not to smooth out my initial brushstrokes, not to “draw” with the brush, and not to overdo it!
I’ll be painting Catbird’s partner, Catfish (pepper) later, so stay tuned. All my latest little still lifes (except for those that have already sold) are available in my shop, as well as in my gallery at DailyPaintWorks.
It’s been at least a decade since I painted any representational still life paintings. I thought I had perhaps gotten past painting still lifes in favor of abstraction, but have recently found myself wanting to work perceptually again, only this time, with any luck (or should I say, with the development of skill), in a looser, more painterly way.
Here are the first three perceptual still life paintings I’ve done this century: Spongebob Squarepants was the first and is still a bit tight, then I painted Patrick Star and Squidward Tentacles. I think they came out pretty well. These are, of course, based on small plastic figurines of these characters.
I’m really enjoying working this way again, and hope to do more or less daily paintings if I can. The intervening decade of pushing myself further toward abstraction has been a very interesting journey so far. I plan to continue working abstractly as well doing the small still lifes; I don’t know yet if I will be doing both simultaneously or if I will do the still lifes for a while and then pick back up with the abstracts. Stay tuned.