#57: Small Still Life

#57: Still Life with Shelf (Oil on Canvas Panel 8 x 6 inches)
#57: Still Life with Shelf (Oil on Canvas Panel 8 x 6 inches)

A small invented still life I did last weekend. I wanted to try something with a larger negative background space and just a small positive space within it. The underpainting and thumbnail is shown below.



I have so much to learn. I fussed endlessly with this small thing. I long to free up my brush strokes, my vision – letting the river of the heart run free. Hawthorne gives me hope:

Have the humble attitude. To see things simply is the hardest thing in the world. When a man is sixty or seventy, he may be able to do a thing simply and the whole world rejoices. You can’t begin too early, for it is not a thing of a month or a day. The value of a canvas depends almost entirely on your mental attitude, not on your moral attitude; depends on what kind of man you are, the way you observe. Study continuously, developing yourself into a better person, more sensitive to things in nature. Spend years getting ready.

Paint starts for twenty years…

(from: Hawthorne on Painting). [italics mine]

I have been quite productive – doing charcoal sketches each morning before work. I will post some of these soon. But slowly I pick up signs, become aware -yet again – that productivity is not why I started this journey.

Why am I doing this again? T.S. Eliot reminds me in his Four Quartets (Little Gidding):

…And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk, of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all. Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured.
And is altered in fulfilment.
If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.
[underlining emphasis is mine]


Thanks to all who follow my blog and encourage me with comments and likes. I hope you are happy and content. Kate – I miss you!

6 thoughts on “#57: Small Still Life

  1. I think your desire to loosen up will find its’ way into your paintings….that need for control is inherent in all of us. I think that it is very smart that you have been doing a lot of charcoal sketches on a limited time is a good start. I see the looseness in your brushstrokes in your painting in the first one. I think if you allow the looseness to naturally occur because of your exercises rather than forcing it would be the way to go. It is a “catch and release” kind of approach….trying to catch by forcing and the releasing is the looseness happening as you stop trying so hard which can be a type of control (again…sigh, I know!) …..ha! boy, that was a mind twister. I need to read more of T.S. Eliot. I have read several of his poems and my favorite is “Prufrock”…..keep on, you’ll get it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Margaret. Yes, I think “catch and release” is an apt phrase. How to control “letting go” – a paradox for sure. The charcoal sketches are really great. I work on A3 size paper – so bigger than normal for me, and I can go crazy without worrying about “wasting paint”. I am quite happy with the images that come out – now just to paint them like that!

      Liked by 1 person

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