What Is The Purpose Of Painting A Still Life?

For most of my artistic life I’ve wondered what the purpose of painting a still life was. In school, I found them to be the most boring subjects of all and a waste of time. They felt painful to work on and I had a lot of resistance to drawing and painting them. Portraits were my sweet spot and I loved the challenge of capturing someone’s essence on canvas.

Things started to change for me this year when I took up painting again. I knew I would be staying home more because both of my dogs were very ill and I needed something positive to put my mind to.

Teapot with Persimmon painting

Teapot with Persimmon 14″ x 11″ Acrylic on canvas 2017

Seeing Still Life Differently

Much to my surprise, I had discovered that “realism” was back as an art form. I was always a realist painter but modern art was more acceptable as “real art”, so I floundered around a lot not knowing where to put my

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Portrait Of A Dog And The Gifts Dogs Give Us Unconditionally

Last weekend I continued working on my digital painting skills by doing this portrait of a dog named Scoby. If you’ve ever drank kombucha, you may understand his name a little better. His momma, Donna Schwenk, is the founder of Cultured Food Life and is a dear friend.

Portrait study of a dog named Scoby

This is a portrait study of a dog named Scoby painted digitally in ArtRage

I got to meet Scoby last year when I had a leak in my roof. Donna’s husband, Ron, came to my rescue to fix it and brought the mighty Scoby along. Apparently, he goes everywhere with Ron and is obsessed with him. The reference photo I took for

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Painting Failures And Mistakes – Should I Give Up Or Start Over?

The odyssey of one of my painting failures begins…

Life is full of failures. I’ve had small painting failures before, but this one had me starting over. I had primed one of my panels improperly and the painting just wasn’t working. This painting was a commission and had to be done within a specific time frame and a mistake was not part of the plan.

Painting Failures image

It started out great, or so I thought…

Above you see the progression of the painting I’m talking about. It might look good in the photo, but the first two shots are of the panel that failed.

I started the drawing and captured the likeness, but as I continued to work I noticed I was struggling with the paint on the surface. I had just started painting in oils, so I really didn’t know if this was a normal thing or something going terribly wrong.

All I knew is that the struggle was getting really, really, real!

Step 1: The pain begins:

Painting of Sammie step one - painting failures

Sammie step 1 – a disaster waiting to happen

For step 1 on this little painting of Sammie, the cutie-pie Cavalier King Charles, I was feeling pretty good about how the drawing

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combine painting

Cool Combine is #2!

I painted this combine at the beginning of the year. It’s only the second oil painting I’ve ever done as an adult!

The Start of Something New…

At the beginning of the year I decided to expand from acrylic painting (which I still love) to oil painting.

I did oil painting as a kid, but the smell of the turpentine made me a little light headed.

Fortunately there are now more non-toxic ways to paint in oil, which has allowed me to breath a little easier.

Out of Iowa…

I’m originally from Eastern Iowa so any scenes that are reminiscent of the farmlands I (more…)