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Indecision - it stops you in your tracks!

I don't know if this has ever happened to you.

You've been thinking about a particular still life that has possibilities of being really great! You've collected the items you want to put in it - everything is set up. It looks good. You're ready to start. And then ..... you just can't get started.

One solution is to relax and and do some studies of different approaches. This may even spark your interest in doing a series of the subject, in varying ways.


This is my experience right now. I had an inspiration one day a while back about a painting with white lilies, my black and gold Japanese screen, placed on the yellow tapestry on our dining room table, a little white porcelain bear that I bought in Japan, a large amber ball.....I got quite excited about it!

This morning I took out a piece of 22 x 30" hot press paper, set up my easel, and went blank. Not because I couldn't paint it. Because I had too many ideas. I could not make up my mind between some of the following:

1. No drawing. Wet the paper in the shapes of the petals, and paint the background up to the damp edges. The add the dark accents with "pasty pigment". Here's an example of this approach.


2. Lightly sketch a few of the petals, buds and leaves, and again, wet the background and drop in pigment in the values that I want, leaving lots of light areas so that I can add the various elements. In this case, the darker values were in the lower right and in the shadowed areas.

(I think this study would be improved by changing the delphiniums from blue to white).


3. Do a detailed drawing, and proceed from light to dark, losing some edges, bringing some forward. The "traditional" approach.

In this painting, I did draw all the tulips and the pitcher first. The other elements were added one at a time to complete the composition. The geometric shapes were added to hold it all together.

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