Tired of trying to find something portable enough to bring into class, yet interesting enough to bother painting, I set up a still life at home that I could never set up in class and replicate the lighting week after week. So I set it up and sketched it at home. I took this photo reference to work from in class.
These are all items from my studio that have meaning to me. There’s a small tabletop easel, my Graphic Chemical apron from college that I used for printmaking (the first time. GCC in Greenfield, MA. Woot!), Indian spirit stones bought at Pike’s Market place in Seattle while visiting my son, a hand manikin, and a shoe last that I think came from my mother (my grandfather owned a hosiery mill.) There are also two subtle connections to the historical fiction novel I’m working on—the stone held by the manikin has a turtle drawn on it (my main character’s Abenaki name is Tolba which means turtle) and shoes were the main industry in Haverhill, MA where part of my story takes place.
I am a lover of color. It is my raison d’etre. But I still wanted to honor the neutral tones in the still life so I chose two pumped up neutrals that were compliments—Raw Sienna and Moonglow. (Warning! The following is another gushing endorsement of Daniel Smith Watercolors, and no, I am in no way profiting from my endorsement.) Moonglow is another staining and granulating color from Daniel Smith, comprised of three pigments—Anthraquinoid Red, Ultramarine Blue and Viridian. It’s great for shadows sometimes leaving a pinkish washy edge. It’s so yummy! I liked the challenge of working in only two colors and was surprised by how it looked like more.
Here’s the result. I definitely took more than 15 minutes to paint it, but didn’t labor over it like I did the frame or doll piece. The drawing, particularly the lettering, fed the side of my brain craving organization, and I tried to let the watercolors do their thing without too much meddling. It’s hard to find that balance. Sometimes we just need to get out of our own way.