Is It?

Life is just a bowl of cherries. Or a bag full. Cherries in a Crinkly Bag, 24″×24″, oil on birch panel. Archival materials used.

“Wow Factor” impact a bit lost on small screen. I’m using this large format painting as my coat hook today. Going to festoon it with a few favorite hobby horses — things I’ve learned about and think important skills and tools for my art journey.

Every now and then painters should punch above their weight class (aka self perceived skill level) and deal with problems inherent in large compositions and attending techniques. (An aside: I wonder how photographers can stick with a small format… like forevermore. Another topic for another day.) I say problems, as it’s the open secret in oil painting — really any depiction of 3-D objects onto a 2-D surface — that one runs up against problems for the entire session. Talk about stressy pastimes. For instance: accurate anatomy/proportions, color mixing, the many subtleties within an object’s shading and cast shadow. The good artist is a good fixer. Is it axiomatic then that a fantastic artist is a fantastic fixer? A logical thinker. Observation sharpened by drawing. Drawing informed by spot-on accurate proportion. You’re probably wondering where is the good in all that stress. Well, it’s in the resolving curve of the plump cherry as it meets the deep shadow of its neighbor. Accurately. It’s in the reflections on the stretched and taute surface of the cellophane. It’s in the details of moisture trapped in the bag. It’s in the blushed reds. It’s in the satisfaction of solving all the problems you’ve set out for yourself.

Tomorrow I’ll chat about when and why one’s finished with a painting.

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