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  • Writer's pictureJimmy Craig Womble II

Still life for practice

Sometimes, when it's cold outside, the wind is blowing hard, or the rain is falling, or I just want to nest in the studio, I'll throw some objects together that are sitting around and create a still life to paint. The thing is, I don't want to think about it too much, just pick some stuff with different colors, textures, shapes, and sizes and paint. These still life paintings are great practice for honing the eye and hand, experimenting with ideas, and adding up the brush mileage. I've been doing these for many years, but have really found traction with them in the last few years, usually in the dead of winter... though this year there hasn't been many bitter days to push me to do many!

However, Friday I decided to spend the morning on one because I happened to pull up an old painting of the Portsmouth Village church, and it being the start of Lent and all said to myself "Why not? It fits with the theme of the week, and here's an empty bottle. I can practice painting colored glass, and convey the idea of giving something up with an empty bottle and cup in front of the old failed painting."

So, up they went, I got a small canvas, and began. I set the time for an hour and a half to do the painting. I started with the blue bottle, and smushed paint in the area I wanted it, then worked out from there, alternating blobs of general color, and getting the lines of the church in as they related to the size and placement of the bottle. I found that painting the idea of transparent glass with a blue tonality was extremely tricky! There was also a shadow cast by the bottle onto the painting that gave me pause. So I ended up painting for around an hour longer to try and bring the piece to some sort of finish. I feel pretty happy with the result, though think I'll have to put in a little more time tomorrow to get it exactly where I want it.

The color palette I used was my standard limited-ish set which includes Permalba white, cadmium yellow light, yellow ochre, cad orange, alizarin crimson permanent, transparent earth red, ultramarine blue, and pthalo green. Gamblin colors all, minus the white.

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