The school year is drawing to a close and I’ve been inundated with coursework. It’s been stressful. It’s been tedious. But I’ve learned quite a bit. Every week I’m at a local high school teaching the kids about various English things. They’ve been reading The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye and it’s been interesting to return to those texts so many years later. They’re much more enjoyable now than they were when they were assigned. And I suppose I’ve been forced to do closer readings since I have to teach them as well. I’ve had an enjoyable first year of grad school.
But I haven’t been able to draw as much as I like.
This small sketch of one of my teapots was done in a rushed hour before dinner. I experimented with different pen sizes and worked my way from an angular sketch into one with smoother transitions between lines. Not exactly happy with the angle of the teapot, as it feels like it’s leaning to the right, but that’s all right.
Finally, I discovered Jeremy Mann the other week and really liked his work. Check him out!
I learned something. While exporting my latest painting photos last night I received an error message and my photos were corrupted. In my attempt to repair them, I lost them. It was horrible. But I learned to backup photos as soon as possible. It was a good lesson. Unfortunately that left me with no photos to share today. So this morning I had to take a new shot of the final piece.
It was done on an 8″x10″ canvas over two days, from life, and with natural light. Usually I use an incandescent spotlight to get my exact lighting. This time I had to get crafty. I built a box around the still life using cardboard and adjusted the angle of the box in order to distribute the light and shadows where I wanted.
The concept for the painting came about when I was making tea with the red teapot. I received it as a Christmas gift from my girlfriend’s brother and was immediately struck by its wonderful color. I knew I had to put it in a still life. But the full idea didn’t come into being until I was making a nice sapphire tea with it. I sipped at my tea and thought of the phrase “tea for two” and realized I needed to make a painting that played off those words. However, I wanted there to be an uneasiness in the painting. So I excluded teacups and included two shortbread cookies instead. I wanted the viewer to wonder why the cookies were out but no cups. Why would someone set out tea like that? And to complete the composition and create a color theme, I added a red box of tea.
When I finished the painting, I discovered that I wanted to name it. I haven’t done that to any of my paintings so far. But I felt like it needed a name. So borrowing from the phrase “tea for two,” I have named this painting “For Two.”
With this posted, I am once again off to Boston. This time to visit the Museum of Fine Arts and see the exhibit of John Singer Sargent watercolors.