Apples and Glass

"Apples"
6" x 6"
oil on gessoboard

This was a 45-minute challenge. I had these apples sitting in my studio for a while waiting to be painted and I always chose something else to paint or to do. Finally it was their turn.

I decided to divide my time into painting time and study time. In my painting time I will not think about what I am doing, but paint instinctively and spontaneously (using my right brain). I will try to capture my feelings about what I am looking at on the canvas as quickly as I can.

In my study time my goal is not to complete a painting, but to study some aspect of nature. It might be to try to capture the color relationships on a particular evening landscape scene, or on a bouquet of flowers in a still life setup. Some other exercises I go through are:

♦ study the structure of a particular type of tree or a type of rock formation, or any particular type of object.

♦ explore the notan (dark/light harmony) design possibilities in an intimate part of a rocky cove, or the design of shadows on an old stone wall.

♦ improve my understanding of form by painting a still life.

♦ do some compositional studies from the old masters to explore how they used particular organizational structures in their work, or how they created an interesting composition out of the scene.

In all of these activities, my focus is on learning, not on producing a finished painting. This takes the pressure (to do a “good” painting) off me and helps free me up to be more adventurous.

As Barry John Raybould mentioned in his lessons, "the students who paint faster and looser, learn more quickly."
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