I did most of a still life today. I’ll look at it tomorrow with fresh eyes, and I’m sure there will be some adjustments, but it’s close to what I had hoped (assuming I still like the wallpaper tommorrow — that’s the big variable). It’s from a farmers market bouquet I bought on Saturday that I couldn’t stop looking at and wanting to paint. Last night, after finally finishing and submitting (to a first place, anyway) the graphic essay, I treated myself by doing a quick watercolor of the bouquet after dinner and before heading to my jam. I don’t too often splurge on buying flowers, and it’s fun to make them more immortal in my sketch journal when I do. That way I can enjoy them all over again whenever I open the book.
This sketch went well, and I was really charmed by the whole bouquet. It reminds me of the small, last still lifes Manet painted in bed as he was dying. His friends would bring him bouquets, and he would paint them lying there. That’s what I hope for myself — to make art right up till my last days. And these pieces are absolutely exquisite and have some gorgeously handled glass as well as the flowers. I’ll never have that facility, but it was fun to try my own version. After thinking about the sketch overnight, I decided to do a full on oil today.
I drew it out on the canvas just after breakfast, and then I went on my walk to be able to come back to it with fresh eyes and make any adjustments necessary before committing to paint. Then I painted straight through till after my regular dinner time. I’m exhausted, but it’s deeply good to have a whole day to dive into art and just paint until I get to the natural end.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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