By W. R. Jones
A study for the general painting population is a trial of ideas or gathering of information in preparation for a generally larger, more complete, and more finished final painting. Painters such as Bouguereau and Norman Rockwell produced studies that are beautiful works of art. But for them they were stepping stones to the real work. The study might be of a composition or a drapery layout or body parts such as heads, hands, etc.
If I had any sense whatsoever, and apparently I don’t, I would do studies. Instead I invariably opt to start right in on my latest great idea. Then I paint myself in to a compositional corner. I’m always confident I can come up with a brilliant solution and paint my way out. I can’t figure where this confidence comes from given my near 100% failure rate.
Lisa’s last post was a study, not a completed painting as was asked in a comment. She does wonderful small studies of her still lifes. She swore on her mother’s grave she would give me one. Never happened; I found out later she wasn’t standing on her mother’s grave. It was the compost pile for her tomato crop.
I use the word “study” as a euphemism for a bad painting. Thus I have done a LOT of studies. “What are you painting there, Bill?” “Oh, I’m doing a study of a cow in a field.” “Really? It looks like a rock.” “That’s why it is called a study, you twit.” “Now what are you painting?” “I’m doing a study of a rabbit skull in the desert. Also, I’m including an orange poppy. It is a major study.” “Wow, you really work hard. Funny how your rabbit looks like a rock. And, you say orange? Did you mean red?”
I’ve done so many pieces that needed to be buried that my wife doesn’t believe I paint at all. She doesn’t trust me when I say I’m going painting. So now I’ve got to bring a “study” home with me whenever I say I’m going to paint. I’ve been doing a lot of garage sales looking for old paintings to take home to cover my tracks as it were. When I find one I brush it with a thin layer of Mazola oil to make it look wet. Hey, I’m still one step ahead of that woman.
I actually was painting for this back study. Not this particular piece but I did have this view. Somewhere in the first 5 minutes of the pose my painting went far awry. Christ! Not again. What am I going to do, I’ve been away from home for 2 days, I’ve got to bring back a painting. I can’t reuse that story that I was robbed again. I think 3 times is the limit on that if I want to maintain credibility.
The woman painting next to me did this work, bless her heart. I slipped outside during the final break and set off her car alarm. When she responded, I swapped paintings with her then packed her stuff. She came back puzzled about her car. I told her I put her stuff away since the session was almost over. She thanked me and left. I expect when she got home she was even more puzzled about her black male back study looking like blond white female breasts (ok, ok, rocks). This may be the reasoning behind the mantra paint what you see not what you know.
My chances of getting caught; slim and none. I’ve been watching CSI. When I snatched the painting I grabbed it putting my thumb in the wet paint. Thus MY thumbprint is on it. I removed any hair from the paint and put one of my three remaining strands in its place. I licked it to may sure it was my saliva on the canvass. She was a spitter so that had me worried. Mostly she hit the big trash can, but that fellow standing in front of her had a fair amount hit him in the back. I wonder how he will explain those tobacco stains. Will she see this painting? You calculate the probability – world population 6.6 billion divided into the number of readers (3). I think I’m safe.
I’m feeling a little ill now. I wish I hadn’t licked quite so much of those cadmimums.