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Still Life, ''abstract" realism

Since I get bogged down with details and end up with horrible art, I've decided to step back and take more of a 'abstract' realism. At least, it seems to help me a little. Also, I tend to try to correct everything and end up ruining a painting. This one is just paint slapped on a prepared canvas, warts and all. When I look back at the 'drawing' and lines I put in before I started painting, I see that I did not draw in the glass bowl correctly, so it's rather loppy. 

And while I still am ellipse challenged, I think I've improved a bit when I look back at the first still lifes I did in August/September. I just cannot seem to take a decent photo and then my computer makes everything gray and dull.

Since glass, mirrors, and curves scare the heck out of me, I decided to set up this still life. Sometimes you just gotta live life on the edge, you know what I mean?  B)

(This painting is very loosely based on the second photo below, added as reference since I painted from from the objects themselves and not from a photo)



  • I like it! It has a very nice quality where you have suggested the details :)
  • That's really good.  Look at all those edges!
  • Good job here @Renoir. It has a freshness and vigour as a result of not going back over and over
  • That's great!  My favorite of yours so far.  You have captured the scene beautifully.  I hope you foresake the curse here and call it done.  Re: ellipses, everyone, if Vermeer can paint masterpieces with imperfect ellipses, so can we (see Woman with a Pitcher). Not that we should not try but, just saying.  :)
  • @MikeDerby - am so humbled! Thank you. My husband bought me a large pallet rack so I can slip my paintings in to dry. The advantage to that is that I immediately put this painting on the rack where I could not see it repeatedly and worry it to death with 'fixes'. I have never done mirrors or glass before, so I have have to say I'm astounded those textures were communicated in this painting. 

    @Richard_P - Thank you! I was surprised at how details can be suggested through color/contrast etc. I remember when I was younger going to the Art Institute in Chicago and studying one of the classical painters, a scene packed with textures, still life, human form, and I looked up closely and discovered that the artist had perfectly conveyed the glass of wine with a small brush stroke. Fascinating.

    @PaulB - I had just watched a David Leffel video in which he talks about 'edges' in such a way that somehow I understood, although head learning does not often lead to accurate application. Thank you for your continued encouragement. It means so much to me coming from you.

    @Boudicca - thank you! Ultimately this type of lively, fresh approach is what I truly want to achieve at some point. I still have an immaturity to my art, so I need to continue to present correct reality, ie. measurements, ellipses, lighting.

    Thank you all so much. The kids go back to school tomorrow and in another month I should be able to set up a real studio in an extra bedroom.  It will be interesting to see what emerges with correct lighting, brushes, SDM, etc. 
  • @Renoir Can you give me a clue which Leffel video that was?  There are quite a few.  I need edge practice.

    I love how your special technique is to put the painting out of reach.  Glad you discovered it.  Paint more please.
  • edited January 2018
    Wow! This is definately your best so far, @Renoir. Lovey edges and texture and luscious, juicy paint. The teansparent glass is gorgeous. Well done!
  • @PaulB ; This was the Leffel video I watched and re-watched several times.  http://https//  He's far more artistic and conceptual and less technical. Somehow his reference to the edges of two forms as the 'air' between them allowed me to release the concept of harsh, rigid edges.  He speaks of edges as part of creating depth, interesting. I'd be very interested in your take away from this as well as any other thoughts you might have.

  • @tassieguy - Thank you so much for your enthusiastic response! I can learn a great deal from you, especially regarding light, water, and reflection. I hope one of my next paintings will be water/moving water in a natural setting. I may need to wait a bit as we've had below 0 Fahrenheit temperatures for weeks now.  

    I continue to see how painting from life is always beneficial. But I do find myself more and more intrigued by light, reflection, glass, water, mirrors, etc. Very challenging and yet rewarding too.
  • Thanks @Renoir.  I love watching those very slow, deliberate brush strokes.  I don't think I could ever do that.

    Two things he said rang true to me: That experience tells us that things with sharp edges are flat, and that at both points perpendicular to the light source, there are these neutral edges that can escape into the background or other objects.  Lost edges I guess.

    I'm sitting in a dimly lit living room, and looking around I can see these observations illustrated everywhere.  Thank you, it's making me look around differently.
  • edited January 2018
    Looks fantastic! I also like your choice of colors (your palette) for this.
  • @Forgiveness - Thank you! I so appreciate your feedback. And I'm excited for my next painting. I have a tendency to use colors which are not quite literal to the objects themselves. I enjoyed using a few blues for shadows in the oranges and played around a bit with several different reds. Alas, i only have Cadmium yellow light so that limited the oranges I could achieve, so that will be my next step. Thanks again for the feedback and keep at it with your artwork too. I truly value your feedback especially with your work as an artist!
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