Fabric Landscape Study 4

Today’s painting was really fun to make.

In case you’re wondering why I’m calling these still-lives landscapes, I just think it doesn’t hurt to look at things in different ways. Yes, I am painting little piles of fabric in my studio, but I’m shading slopes and folds and peaks in the same way I would paint hills and valleys and sunlight…

I haven’t painted as much still-lives as I have landscapes, portraits and nature scenes…  but looking at these little piles of things in my studio as if they were enormous worlds in themselves is providing endless inspiration for me.  For instance, this little stack reminded me of a mini-version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I wanted to name it “Leaning Tower of Fabric” but am saving that name for a higher, more “leany” tower which I may paint tomorrow…

Fabric Landscape Study 4, oil/canvas, 8 x 10"
Fabric Landscape Study 4, oil/canvas, 8 x 10″

Quilted Lake Day 5… and a study

The simple fabric still-life study got me in the studio and working, and after an hour or so I spent the remainder of the day working on my bigger piece, Quilted Lake.

Blanket Landscape study 2, oil/canvas, 8 x 10"
Blanket Landscape study 2, oil/canvas, 8 x 10″
Quilted Lake in Progress, oil/canvas, 24 x 42"
Quilted Lake in Progress, oil/canvas, 24 x 42″

Blanket Landscape Study 1

I don’t know if you realized, but I went missing for a few weeks! I had my brother-in-law and his new wife visit us in the middle of their Southwest USA Road trip extraordinaire! We enjoyed dining on a balcony overlooking the plaza in Santa Fe while a mariachi band played and people strolled with dogs and lazed with family on the grass. We then drove south to Cloudcroft, New Mexico where we camped for two days in the wooded mountains. A day trip to White Sands National Monument provided many beautiful photographs and I came home inspired anew.

Back at home I struggled to get myself back in the studio. It is so easy when one is sans-structure to find a million other things to keep oneself busy. Cleaning, cooking, and recovering from a five-day bout of poison ivy or poison oak or poison something (argh!!) filled my time.

I finally realized that it was the big half-finished canvas that was keeping me out of the studio (see Quilted Lake post). A project of that kind is daunting to me and can freeze me up if not completed within a few days of commencing. It’s not that I don’t want to be painting, it’s just hard to find that freshness that the work had in the beginning.

I did some research on the web and discovered there is a term for the way I like to paint. “alla prima”:

Wet-on-wet, or alla prima (Italian, meaning at first attempt), is a painting technique, used mostly in oil painting in which layers of wet paint are applied to previous layers of wet paint. This technique requires a fast way of working, because the work has to be finished before the first layers have dried. It may also be referred to as ‘direct painting’ or the French term au premier coup (at first stroke).

Thank you Wikipedia.

I know you’re probably shaking your head at me because someone who did a Bachelor of Fine Arts should really have already been familiar with the term, but somehow I missed that one… whoops.

Anyway, learning this term somehow brought validity to my preferred painting habits and I’ve plotted a way to keep myself painting, and ENJOYING painting in the near future.

In terms of today’s work, I feel that my recent traveling and sight-seeing has informed my painting and that the landscape is finding its way into my small world in the studio.

That’s all I’m going to say for now and before I sign off I will give you the option of seeing images of:

a) the gorgeous desert area in Southwestern NM called White Sands

b) the evils of poisonous plants

c) today’s painting progress

JUST KIDDING! I’ll pick for you and I’m picking “a” and “c”. Count yourself lucky.

White Sands National Monument
White Sands National Monument
Blanket Landscape Study 1, oil/canvas, 8 x 10"
Blanket Landscape Study 1, oil/canvas, 8 x 10″