Vegetable entertainment

I’ve been pressing my fruits and vegetables into service in the interest of getting frequent painting warm ups. These slim but fiery red peppers are deceptively compact, they deliver a powerful heat, and the white pepper is new to me. The red ones might be Thai peppers. White = sweet pepper, or maybe a bell? I’ll find out how hot is is when I slice it for cooking!

Since I have a light bulb with changing colors, just for fun I thought to try doing one scene with these same vegetables with different color cast shadows. There seems to be no color in my palette which matches either of the cast shadows, or maybe I just don’t know how to do that yet. If you have any insights, please share them!

This pepper painting started out as a 20-minute study. 8×10
the colored lights were overall darker than a plain white. 8×10

The challenge of capturing children

Finding simple things to do in these days of staying at home a lot. Drawing and painting has been my #1 go-to, since it’s easily done within your home with just a minimum of space. “Simple” may not be an accurate description, maybe “elemental” is more like it. It feels direct, and the outcome is entirely up to you.

A few months ago, I participated in 30faces30days from sktchy art school. One day we were presented with the face of a baby—a difficult subject! You might think it would be easy, but to keep the lines brief and accurate, to show the sweetness is very difficult, at least for me. “There is no growth without pain” they say; this was pretty tolerable in the pain department, though hopefully enough to learn something.

I got through that one, and it inspired me to try some in oil paint as well.

Above is the baby’s face from sktchy. So droll, the old man look for sure.
A baby with fun hair, this one in oils.

sketch—shadows of large objects

Ha! Shadows can be so much fun – something not really there which is visible! In this case, the Carquinez Bridge provided the structure to obstruct the sun. This bridge is composed of an old trestle-ish looking bridge for going North, and the new graceful Southward bridge. I might add a few more pencil lines.

oil sketch of the Carquinez Bridge and shadows

working shipyard

Several years ago I started this painting, finally got back there last week. It is a busy shipyard, with workers biking and golf-carting themselves back and forth on the piers. There was spray-painting, pounding, banging and shouting going on.

painting of Bay Ship shipyard.
Bay Ship, 16″x12″

the here and now

Guard at the gate at Golden Gate Fields. I liked the simplicity of this scene, and simplified it even further. Midday. This is a lonely job these days. Many people pass on the new Bay Trail section which follows the shoreline just a few feet away, but few go up the hill towards the race track, mostly trainers, vets, other support people. We chatted for a short time, his wife is an artist, but paints only horses, and more horses. I think he hopes she’ll branch out and try a new subject some time. I may work on this more, add some detail, or maybe not, it is ok with me.

Guard at the gate of Golden Gate Fields.
Guard at the gate.

day 10. Black Lives Matter

I celebrate all those who have raised their voices and put themselves out there to support the African-American community, and our whole community! How can ANY of us feel safe if ANY of us are NOT safe? We are all one. 

One protester’s sign—

“We didn’t come this far to only come this far”

From an artist’s perspective, “black” people have always been beautiful to me. For one, there are so many different shades and tones, it’s endlessly interesting. The first portrait I ever painted was from my imagination of what a beautiful person would look like: an African woman (in Africa, of course). 

So, here, I revisited that theme and painted another African person, a man this time. He was in a story about a man starting a video “theater” in his home town where few had tv’s and there were no movie houses.  A hero of entertainment!

painting of an African man
Ciné

day 9. two tiny

Since these are so tiny, two will count as one. The little bowls were made by my step-mother. She delighted in making tiny vases, small enough for a single flower, tiny cups and saucers for her granddaughters, and these little bowls which were surprisingly useful. She mixed her own glazes, and liked the homemade look. Cherry tomatoes.

painting of handmade bowl 1
tiny pot with tomatoes
painting of handmade bowl 2
tiny bowl flipped to show the painted pattern

day 6. little boats

small boats are almost always charming, in my mind. Even if they’re ungainly or clunky, you can imagine all the utilitarian errands and occasional fun jaunts that they are put to. Those who use them put up with their sometimes flawed condition: broken oars, frayed ropes, leaky hulls. This one happened to be pretty stalwart, and a beautiful color as well. This is a very small painting, maybe 6×8, I don’t remember now, it’s gone home with someone else.

blue skiff

day 4. old school still life

at least, it seems a bit old-school to me! This was from a decade ago at least, but I could take another dive into still-life. There are many subjects which could be fun and informative to paint. This particular piece was done in pastels, maybe worth a revisit as well!

Eggplant, nectarines, garlic pastel painting.
Eggplant and companions