Sunday, October 26, 2008

Traveling Man

This is a recent still life using some items that I had purchased at an antiques fair in Farmington, Connecticut. I purchased the dippers because I had been intrigued by the idea of using them in a painting after I had seen them in paintings by Andrea Smith. The suitcase is actually made out of wood and I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it but it has this really cool patina and the inside has this bright red varnished wood tiger pattern (which I'll probably feature in another painting).
Originally I had intended to paint it with daylight streaming onto it from the left side but as usually happens with me, it was a cloudy day when I was ready to start so I set up a lamp and got to work. Usually I don't have any concept in mind when I set up a still life, just a vague notion of possible objects and I look for the arrangement to kind of suggest itself. After setting up the dippers and suitcase I new it needed something on top, a horizontal element of some kind, but I was stumped as to what. Thinking about it for a few days when the sea shell image just kind of popped into my head, maybe because I work near the beach, and so I went through the house looking for shells and finally ending up with these few that my daughter had brought back from the beach a few summers ago.
When you live with a still life painter you have to hide your treasures because you never know what's going to catch my eye. Whenever my wife is missing anything the first place she looks is in my studio.
I can see by looking over these last few paintings that my work is definitely undergoing some kind of change. I'm not sure where it's headed but so far I'm happy with the results so I'll just go with it and hope for the best. I've never been one to try and cultivate a signature look or style; I just try to make honest work that's well crafted and hopefully inspired. I guess every artist has their own "handwriting" and if you don't try to hard to be unique eventually it will come about of it's own accord.