Merry Christmas

December 24, 2010

Candle and Teddy Bear, Oil on Canvas 14" x 11"

I had one last chance to paint in our family room for awhile. Helen begins her winter break after school lets out today. After today, Helen will be busy with all of her preparations for Christmas and I don’t wish to get in the way.

Painting from life rather than from photos becomes rather addictive. There is a certain immediacy that takes place and a feeling of a fleeting moment that necessitates a need to be swift and sure with your decisions and brush strokes. I find that my works created from life seem to have a greater feel of energy to them. So once again, I will set up a still life.

In looking for elements to use for this set up, I retrieved a small stuffed teddy bear. We purchased the bear with the thought that it would add a nice touch to a still life painting, some day. That was several years ago. In the meantime, the bear has been sitting. Waiting. Finally, the time had come to put the bear to use.

It is interesting to look back at my sketches, ideas and the moments of inspiration. In some cases, I get the inspiration and move quickly to paint the element or scene. In other cases, the muse is there, but not ready. I compare it to making a good stew or soup. Sometimes it just takes awhile before it is ready. It may take awhile cooking, before it is ready. Just like a homemade soup, the aroma is there, tempting you to do it now. But you wait. You revisit the idea. You add to it. You play with it. You contemplate it. Eventually, hopefully, the time comes to do it. Sometimes, the anticipation, much like the meal, much like Christmas, makes all the work and waiting worthwhile.

I executed the sketch with a warm color. I worked the bear in a mono-chrome block-in (I used the same warm color to create a value study of the bear). I blocked in the remaining elements, then started to finish off the painting moving from background to foreground. By the time I got back to adding the fur to the bear, the monochrome wash had set up and was tacky enough for me to work the fur in more of a drybrush manner. I was having fun with the bear. I needed to be cautious and not to get carried away with the technique (toilet seats – my students know what I mean).

Once again, I finished my painting and got everything cleaned up and put away before Helen got home from work. Now, time to have that homemade soup. I think that should be ready by now too.

Merry Christmas.

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