Growing Painting & Gardening Skills

Ye Olde Whiskey Jug, Eggplant & Seminole Squash, 12 x 12″

As August closes out, I think of the many, many years it was sad to see the end of summer. Cooler weather would arrive to eliminate the sandals, shorts and summer shirts.

But now where I live is almost always summer and I’m always in sandals, if not barefoot. I look forward to a bit of cooler weather. Meaning it will not be in the mid 90s and so wiltingly humid.

In our waning August days, the early mornings are only 73F. I am hopeful garden vegetables will survive.

Black Beauty eggplant, Tidy Rose tomato, Publix lemon, 8 x 8″

This past week has presented daily torrential rains. Everything is always wet. Hard to dry the dripping basil and soggy sunflowers. Longevity spinach and turmeric enjoy the daily downpours but the newly growing Blue Lake beans and black-eyed peas are not sure they want so much water!

The summer of ’22 garden has provided opportunity to arrange and paint new still lifes of the garden and various vegetables. I could not have predicted this combination of learning more about oil painting still life and growing a garden in Florida. How does the garden grow? Is it like growing as a painter?

When the summer heat was too intense to be outside, I gathered fruits and vegetables — sometimes with help from the grocery store run — and arranged them on my indoor still life table fiddling with the lighting, then the placement of objects. Composition is an interesting friend or fiend. It can make a great photo or a great painting … or not.

Oil on board, 12 x 12″

My mother used to arrange dried flowers and I remember she would work with them for quite some time and then ask, “Does it look better this way or like this?” as she made the most subtle of changes.

I did not have the eye then to validate her artistic explorations. Sometimes I couldn’t see the difference moving a flower from one side to the other made. I wish I could let her know now that I use some of her jugs and collections in my own paintings — and spend time working with the best arrangement.

But with my paintings (as once with my photography) I continue the evolution of learning what spatial arrangement, lighting, color and texture I look for. I appreciate the difference in moving the garlic here or there and whether or not an onion needs to be added.

Mom’s jug with 3 peaches 12 x 12″

In September, I will start Strada’s daily painting challenge for a month. It is always interesting to see what everyone else paints and how far they get in a daily painting.

In January 2022, I completed Strada’s challenge and painted daily 6×6″ oil paintings and found the process highly instructive. This time, I wonder if I can manage to complete an 8×8″ size daily.

At this time, I am also gathering a collection of my still life oil paintings for an upcoming show in October (more on that in my next post). When the labels for these paintings (several pictured in this post) are completed, I will then turn to focus on growing the fall garden and my fall painting.

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