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  • Writer's pictureLucy

Still Life Challenge

[BLOG POST 12/5/23] Recently I began work on my 20th still life(!) and chose a challenging subject matter--vegetables!

I waited for cold weather to settle in so that the studio would stay nice and cool which would hopefully extending the life of the veggies as they "pose" on the still life stand. Knowing that they are wilting and changing daily has forced me to speed up my painting process which I don't particularly enjoy! I find it much preferable to work slow and steady, taking my time to observe and carefully paint with lots of time reviewing and refining.

But veggies are a little like people in that they are never the same day to day, moment to moment. So I have to chose a moment and capture the shape and color and then quickly move on. The results so far haven been looser and more "lively" than my previous paintings.

For example, you can see my pastel strokes in the leaves of the leeks:

I sort-of like this effect but also feel that it looks rough and a little cartoonish–more graphic and less subtle or refined.

But I still have a long way to go on this painting and maybe I'll come back to this section and change a few things...however the leeks have already dramatically changed shape and color so I won't have them to look at as I paint. This means that if I do want to change anything it will have to be from memory or from the internal logic of the painting.

Today I "finished" the artichoke (below) and tomorrow I'll move onto the Brussel sprouts and cabbage. The last veggies I'll paint are the radishes. I used some for the initial composition but despite of (or maybe because of) the cool weather they didn't last so I'll wait until I'm ready to paint them and then put them in. Hopefully I can get them looking finished that same day.

At this point all I can definitively say is that this composition is a challenge! Fingers crossed that I will like the finished painting. 😊

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