#53 Still Life with Onions (Start)

#53: Still Life with Onions (a Start)
FruitfulDark Painting #53: Still Life with Onions (a Start)

I thought long whether I should number this painting. I really like this, and my interest to finish it is lost. I am not really sure how or even if I want to finish it, so I am going to number and post it. This was based on a charcoal drawing I did some time ago (below).

I have been practising the technical and emotional art of starting a painting strong and then letting it be. This is on advice from my current teacher, whom I am very fortunate to have. He said:

I don’t know a better definition of an artist than one who is eternally curious. Every successful canvas has been painted from the point of view of a student, for a great painter is always a student…

Do studies, not pictures. Know when you are licked – start another. Be alive, stop when your interest is lost. Put off finish as it takes a lifetime – wait until later to try to finish things – make a lot of starts. (from: Hawthorne on Painting).

Once, a few days after one week-long silent meditation retreat, I had a moment of extreme clarity, joy and contentedness while walking over a wet parking lot. I told my wife about this. She commented. I wrote a poem:

Urban Explorer
I like walking upright
across wet parking lots –
awake to the space.
My wife is a genius.
She asks:
“What about dry parking lots?”
Don’t know –
haven’t tried it yet.


My sincere thanks to all who have encouraged me with positive comments, likes and especially those who take time to follow my blog. I hope you all have a great day, filled with joy and contentment.

9 thoughts on “#53 Still Life with Onions (Start)

  1. Thank you so much for this lovely and expressive post! I can recognise some of the things you mention from my own practice of painting. And I know the feeling of being happy with an ace underpainting! I had one leaning in my studio for months before I finally felt like putting colourful glazes on it. I would’ve liked the painting (of a cow) even without the glazes though. No pressure, I said to myself 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Antje! Perhaps putting it away for some time takes the pressure off and makes space for a more spontaneous finish? Thanks for your comment, I think I have seen some of your cow paintings, or at least one, they are great.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww, thank you so much! The cows like to hear it. And yes, you’re absolutely right, take the pressure off. Reserve it for work or other things we cannot avoid doing 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I get a similar thing with my photography, I don’t rate the picture I’ve taken at the time, but when I go back to do deletions find one that I really want to process and finish off. I like your onions as is, like they’re basking in heat drenched sunshine.


    1. Many thanks Aletha, glad you liked it. This taxed my drawing skills more than usual, if you can call this drawing. Prompted partly by you I now have a still life table in the studio and got some charcoal. Finding it good, and will post something to show for it soon!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Charcoal — or you can also draw with the paint — just as you’ve done in this image. When you work from life — a word to the wise — focus on the perception more than the drawing, certainly at first. And turn the criticism OFF. Just draw. Be a keen observer. Follow some lovely advice from Henry James and be someone “on whom nothing is lost.” Notice everything. Meditate on what your eyes see and be always striving to see MORE of what is there, just appreciating it, learning it, continually curious, asking yourself questions about the relationships between this and that. Let the image that you make lag behind what your mind grasps in the drawing — that’s okay — totally normal — and moreover it ain’t going anywhere. You can draw from now on, until the proverbial cows come home, and you’ll always SEE more than you can actually express.

        Liked by 2 people

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