I know this is a portrait blog, and that is what I spend most of my time thinking about, portraiture - not this blog, but I was a little taken aback yesterday when I heard a still life of mine has been juried into The California Art Club Gold Medal Show for May 2009. The portrait I had entered which I thought the BEST piece I had done all year did not. And I just put it in a really expensive custom frame. Never count your chickens before they are hatched.
I should add that in reality I have long given up 'expecting' to get into any show. That way it is a bonus when it happens.
I enjoy painting still life. I am not saying they are easy but I find them a really nice break from the rigors of portrait commissions. And I look on them as a little treat to myself between said work. Sometimes a still life set up will stare at me for weeks waiting for me to get to it. And I will kind of talk to it, telling it to be patient. I will get there. Yes, I am certifiable it seems.
I also admire artists who paint still life so well. David Leffel comes to mind. About as good as still life gets in terms of a high level of Rembrandt understanding. Sad that so many Leffel wannabes are out there though. I get annoyed when I see that. That applies to Richard Schmid wannbes too. I like all sorts of still life painting styles to from Wayne Thiebaud and Duane Keiser (EBAY Painting a Day Maestro) to Laura Robb, magical soft, soft edges (www.laurarobb.com). One focal point.
In my teaching class at LAAFA, I suggest that an artist must paint it all. There is so much to learn from painting a still life. And if you can paint an apple really well around value, color, and drawing, you can start to approach the head with some understanding of the task ahead. My teacher, the marvelous Everett Raymond Kinstler, N.A., (www.everettraymondkinstler.com) always says a portrait painter should paint landscapes and vice versa to really learn.
I don't feel I am very good at landscapes at all. I just don't really have a desire to paint them. But I make myself do it especially on trips. Easy then to squeeze something in. Especially when you have carried that darn heavy painting box (Guerilla Pochade) through airport security and customs. You might as well get something out of it. I also paint them really small. Get in and out as fast as I can.
I post here the CAC Gold entry, Pansies and Pear, 16 x 20, and also a still life I just finished this week, Geisha and Mumms, 16x20.