Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This is not from a photo. I set up a big still life: fruit, flowers, drapery, etc., as part of a birthday celebration for a friend. When the party was over I just couldn't resist the temptation to paint the set-up even though I am in the middle of the jazz piece - and a few others, as readers of this blog know. The party was on Sunday; on Monday I grabbed a big canvas and started working.

I'm doing the flowers first because they die so quickly. Painting flowers makes me anxious: I'm afraid that if I turn my back for a minute they will wilt on me. This is three days' work; I think I have the flowers going well enough now that I can move on to other parts of the painting and finish the flowers from memory later.

Ahh the emotions and anxieties of painting from life, it has been a long time since I've done so. Working from life seems easier and simpler than working from my imagination, more physical somehow. It may be that painting has become part of my muscle memory, like playing an instrument. When I am painting from life I can almost relax, respond to the subject and let my body do the painting.

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