Fish Wanted to be Painted

End of Day 1

Last week I’d set up a new still life but found I was doing “the tippy-toe dance of avoidance”. The weather had warmed up. Snow was melting. I threw myself into gardening chores. Anything to avoid starting that painting. Something was wrong.

The solution came Monday morning, around 2 AM, as solutions usually do. I woke up, seeing that still life in my mind. An inner voice said It’s too dark! Get rid of that aloe plant! Use a fish! I laid there, mulling it over. Yes, the aloe plant was huge. And dark. There was no contrast of lights and darks in the setup. And yes –a big fish was definitely the way to go. Of course I have several lying around in the studio.

I’m surprised I got as far with this as I did yesterday. I used to dislike the chore of drawing it all in. But I’ve come to love it –almost more than doing the actual painting. Betty Edwards, in her amazing book, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”, says drawing is just a matter of comparing things: Is it larger – or smaller? Is it straight up and down – or slanted? Lighter or darker? Drawing can get addictive….

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