Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. It's a journal of sorts. It gives me a place to show my work-in-progress for my painting and photography. Comments are welcome --- add one at the end of an entry or email me at BarbBlumer@gmail.com.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Imaginary Prey

I started this painting when I was in Tom Buechner's workshop last August. During end-of-the-week critique, I announced that it was going in the trash. 

Here's how it looked then:

Why?  I felt very troubled (and embarrassed) when I looked at it.  It felt just too hard to try to finish.  There were so many problems. 

We were using Buechner's approach to creating still lifes --- take found objects from his pantry of junk he has collected over the years --- and create a story ---place the objects so that their relationship to each other is important as what they are --- elevate them into something more than a still life.  At a minimum, his approach is supposed to make it more entertaining for the painter --- and I think he believes this will translate to entertaining the viewer with both the cleverness of the concept as well as the mastery of the painting.

I think he does this so that his students spend less time painting "it" and more time on painting the environmental space. 

I had never done this before  ---- and I had some fear in doing so --- becoming a Buechner copy cat ---but I was in his workshop --- so what the hay?  I was there to learn and try something new. 

So, I created my story:  The bird basket is sitting in wait for the hard rubber mouse with innocent cute pink ears, who is obliviously doing its thing on the the edge of the shelf, in imaginary motion.  Like a hawk you might see along the side of the highway.  I named it Imaginary Prey.

When I chose them, I remember being interested in the opposite textures. And the difference in scale. I wanted to try using purple as the underpainting for the basket so that the golden basket would really pop. I wanted to paint the pink fuzzy ears!

At the first break,  this was all I had.

By the end of the day, everyone else had completed their still life.  I was obviously working too slow.

But they were kind in the critique. They suggested that I really play up the beak on the bird.  And to move the mouse away from the left edge.   There was silence when I talked about my color palette but I am getting used to that response now!
After I got home, I didn't throw it away, I left it alone for a while.  One day I propped it up in a frame for a second look.  Some how that was the step that got me to move forward.  Hmmm --maybe I could turn this into something?! So, I moved the mouse.  And repainted the beak.  I decided to skip making the bird into a basket and just work with the interesting paint I had already put down.

I worked on it until I was satisfied.  I played up the mouse by adding a tail and let the bird become what I could imagine.  Now I am glad I didn't throw it away.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you are posting some entries in your blog again Barb and I'm looking forward to seeing more of the projects you are working on. I find it very interesting how this work has progressed and like where it ended up. Thanks for sharing