Friday, September 22, 2017

"Why do you paint still lifes?"

"Gas Fired Iron" 11"x14", Copyright Steven J Parrish, Oil on Panel
I was asked this question during a discussion on subjects for art by someone who wasn't interested in still life paintings. I didn't need any time to think of my answer; "Because I am in control of everything and the subjects are limitless." This was someone I knew well and we have had numerous art discussions over the years, so we could discuss it freely. I thought more about it after that discussion and the following are just some of the reasons I paint still life.

From a composition perspective my studio has hundreds of objects, my garage hundreds more, my wife's studio hundreds more, and every antique shop thousands more. Anything I can get into my studio is a potential subject. I control everything about the light, including it's location, temperature, intensity, and direction. Shadows, oh the shadows! I can select objects in any color harmony or dis-harmony I want. Size, shape, surface, fabric, simple, complex, high key, low key, infinite possibilities.

I sometimes spend more time on my compositions than on the actual painting. On the simplest level I can solve many of my painting problems by fixing them in the setup. I start with either an object I am dying to paint (The gas fired iron above) or a concept I want to explore. Once I have an object or concept I start playing with supporting objects. This is the fun part for me, I don't care what the object is as long as it moves the concept forward of supports the main object. I am looking for reflections, cast shadows, reflected light. I love reflected light and color! Scale, shape, surface texture, warm, cool, bright, dark, complimentary color, whatever the setup needs to make me want to paint it.

First and foremost I paint for me. I hope people appreciate my work, but I have to want to paint it. I will work with objects until the setup either makes me smile, or a title pops into my head. Once either of those two things happens I know I'm close to starting the painting. At that point I start to make decisions on what I am going to accentuate and what gets pushed back from a "How I'll paint it" perspective.

The concept of the painting below was; What would happen if the little turquoise cup just threw it's color everywhere? The setup then gave it the title, "Coffee, Tea, or Something Stronger".

"Coffee, Tea, or Something Stronger", 11"x14", Copyright Steven J Parrish, Oil on Panel
I am currently working on a series of paintings that explore the concept of the concept. I'll cover that next time, once I finish the third painting.

Monday, January 16, 2017

New Workshop Announcement

 Workshop Information
This workshop is limited to 10 participants. Join us!