August Bounty, acrylic, 12″ x 16″
I don’t paint many still lifes. Somehow they just haven’t seemed as interesting as a beautiful landscape or a person with an interesting face or pose. But there are advantages to this kind of art as I realized recently when I painted those vegetables. I had driven out in the country to paint with friends, which I do almost every week. It was a hot day and shade can so quickly turn to sun as the light changes. So I decided I didn’t want to paint on the surrounding grounds. My friend and her husband have a large garden and at this time of year it is yielding abundantly. In fact, she had vegetables piled up in the kitchen for us artists to take home. I took a closer look at them and decided that I would arrange some in one of her bowls to paint.
To me vegetables are for cooking and eating. But I enjoyed looking at these. Eggplant has a wonderful, deep color. Some of vegetables were unfamiliar to me, such as the heirloom tomato that contained various shades of green along with the red and the pale yellow sweet pepper, different in color and shape than the ones I had seen in the supermarket. The orange and red sweet peppers were a also a different shape.
A good thing about painting a still life is that you can control the light. Outdoors it is changing constantly. And still life stays still. It doesn’t move around like people or animals. That makes it easier to come back to a painting the next day and still see the same thing in front of you. Of course this isn’t true if the still life contains flowers in a vase. Some of them could easily have wilted. With this arrangement, there was an additional advantage. When I took the still life home to continue painting the next day, my friend let me keep the vegetables, which were delicious.