Set Up Your Own Still Life

By W.R. Jones

persimmon.jpg  Lisa and I rarely get together to paint but last Monday I felt the need to get in a few extra hours of painting for the week and so dropped in on her Monday night class at the California Art Institute.

    I was tired after a day at work that started at 5:00AM so I was hoping for a simple setup BY Lisa.  When I arrived she was busy helping students so suggested I set up something on my own.  There was a sack of persimmons ( on a table with one having a single leaf still attached at a nice angle.  I choose this fruit and thought I would paint it as a single entity.

    In walks a late student and Lisa then suggests we set up a shared still life.  This woman had brought a few items of her own to use.  Oh man,  now we have to satisfy two people.  She brought out some grapes which I felt did go well with the yellow/orange persimmon.  On top of that she was an outright beaver at setting up the table, lighting, and drapery.  Lisa apparently whips her students into a frenzy of getting the work done.   Then comes Lisa – can’t let well enough alone.   She was going to tear off my leaf but backed off when I threatened to open a jar of full odor turpentine.  Not done bugging me yet, she produced this ugly little odd shaped, planter? 

    The ceramic work was a demon to draw correctly and in fact I never did get it right.  At one point in the evening Lisa made a statement, “someone should step back from their work and look.”   That statement eventually worked it’s way into the remaining aware area of my brain which processed the information and figured, “maybe she means me – nha, can’t be me”.

    The drawing was so far off my first thought was to punish the ladies creating the setup.   Ok, it is not rational, but it is a solution.

This entry was posted in On Suffering, Painting, Still Life. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Set Up Your Own Still Life

  1. Janet says:

    I took a course in perspective drawing and found that it’s a lot harder than it appears to be. Of course, I was always being criticized for “not knowing where the back edge of the table is!”

    Having said that, I think your still life looks great!


  2. 100swallows says:

    Say that again, Janet. I don’t know how to understand those dark purple orbs floating in the air on the right. But I like this still life. And Lisa was right, Bill. That planter was just the thing the persimmon and grapes needed. Nice grape stems. Didn’t the grapes shine at all or were they really like plums? In any case they look right for your picture.

  3. grfxho says:

    I like the leaf on the persimmon–glad you fought for it.

  4. wrjones says:

    Thanks Janet – I made the back of the table very blurry to avoid being caught in yet another error.

    Those floating orbs are grapes light. A reduced calorie version, they will float off on you. My daughter looked at the piece and said, “I like the grapes – they are grapes, aren’t they?” They may have had a stronger highlight but I couldn’t concentrate with Lisa bugging me.

    Milkweed, I was severly wounded in the fight for the leaf and in fact had to finish the painting left handed. Hey, maybe that is the reason the grapes are drifting. I’m glad you appreciate the result of my suffering.

  5. killerbrush says:

    “Floating grapes” *L*
    Nice touch of light on the inside of the ceramic and along the inside edge, though.

  6. wrjones says:

    Thanks – The next grape I do will have a nail through it. I’m going to have to borrow a table for the setup; my wife will not be happy with a nail hole in our table.

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